Summer Law Intern Program - Conditions of Employment

Law Students

Summer Law Intern Program (SLIP) General Information and Conditions of Employment

Eligibility, Credentials, Citizenship & Residency Requirements | Multiple Internships Within 12 Months | Application Process | Application Status | Selection, Interview, and Offer Process | Conditions of Employment |
Security and Suitability (Background Investigation) | Permanent Employment

Eligibility, Credentials, Citizenship & Residency Requirements

Who is eligible for the Summer Law Intern Program (SLIP)?

The majority of the candidates who apply to the SLIP are second year law students who work at Justice during the summer between their second and third year of law school. Any failing law school grade disqualifies applicants who will intern before law school graduation. Third year law students who wish to intern between law school graduation and the start of judicial clerkships, legal fellowships, Presidential Management Fellowships, or full-time graduate law programs in the fall after graduating are also eligible to apply. Please review the eligibility guidelines for specific information.

Are first year students eligible to apply for the Summer Law Intern Program?

Generally, no. You must have completed at least one full semester of law school (equivalent to full-time study) before the application deadline in September to be eligible to apply to the SLIP.
National Association for Law Placement (NALP) guidelines prohibit prospective employers from contacting first-year, first-semester law students prior to December 1st. Justice is a member of NALP and abides by its guidelines.
First-year, first-semester law students who are interested in work experience at Justice should consider applying for volunteer, work-study and part-time legal employment. Learn more about Volunteer opportunities for law students at Justice.

What factors does the Department consider when selecting summer law interns?

The Department considers many elements of the candidate's background before selecting him/her for employment, including: academic achievement, law review experience, moot court competition, legal aid and clinical experience, specialized academic studies (including undergraduate and post-graduate degrees), work experience and extracurricular activities that relate directly to the work of Justice.

Does the Department hire students from my law school?

There are graduates from virtually every ABA-accredited law school working at Justice. Graduates from non-accredited law schools are eligible for employment provided they are admitted to practice before the bar of any State or federal jurisdiction. Click here to view a list of law schools whose graduates were hired through the 2014-2015 Attorney General's Honors Program and 2014 Summer Law Intern Program.

Must my law school be ABA-accredited for me to work at Justice?

No.  SLIP applicants are not required to attend an ABA-accredited law school to work at Justice.

What are the Department’s citizenship and residency requirement for SLIP hires?

Congress generally prohibits agencies from employing non-citizens within the United States, except for a few narrow exceptions as set forth in the annual Appropriations Act .  Pursuant to DOJ component policies, only U.S. citizens are eligible for employment with the Executive Office for Immigration Review, U.S. Trustee’s Offices, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.  Unless otherwise indicated in a particular job advertisement, qualifying non-U.S. citizens meeting immigration and appropriations law criteria may apply for excepted service employment with other DOJ organizations.  However, please be advised that the appointment of non-U.S. citizens is extremely rare; such appointments would be possible only if necessary to accomplish the Department's mission and would be subject to strict security requirements.  Applicants who hold dual citizenship in the U.S. and another country will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

All DOJ employees are subject to a residency requirement. Candidates must have lived in the United States for at least three of the past five years.  The three-year period is cumulative, not necessarily consecutive.   Federal or military employees, or dependents of federal or military employees serving overseas, are excepted from this requirement.  This is a Department security requirement which is waived only for extreme circumstances and handled on a case-by-case basis.

May I be considered for both the Summer Law Intern Program and the Honors Program simultaneously?

No. If you are eligible for one, you are not eligible for the other. Justice has unified its applications into one system, and permits limited transfers from the Honors Program applicant pool to the Summer Program for several weeks after the application deadline to accommodate third-year law students applying to clerkships, fellowships, or to full-time graduate law programs. Initially, those applicants will be considered through the Honors Program for an entry-level position following law school graduation.
If, after the Justice application deadline, the applicant accepts a judicial clerkship, fellowship, (or is admitted to a graduate law program), then the system will permit that applicant to re-enter their application for the limited purpose of adding clerkship data (e.g., name of the court, name of the judge, start and end dates of the clerkship) or graduate law program data (e.g., the law school, type of degree program, start and end dates), and requesting transfer out of the Honors Program applicant pool and into the Summer Program pool. The components will be notified of the change electronically.

If I am a third year law student, but do not plan to enter a judicial clerkship, fellowship, or full time graduate law program following graduation, am I eligible for the Summer Law Intern Program?

No. As a third year student, you would be considered through the Honors Program for an entry-level attorney position.

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Multiple Internships Within 12 Months:

Working at the Department requires access to DOJ information, DOJ IT systems, and DOJ facilities.  Security regulations permit short term access for not more than six months.  Beyond six months, or for two short term appointments within a 12 month period, a background investigation is required.  In some cases, organizations sponsoring legal interns may not be in a position to justify the time and cost of the BI process in these short term employment situations.  If you have served in a prior DOJ internship/externship and are considering a second DOJ internship within 12 months of the start of the first internship, we encourage you to raise this issue with the hiring component prior to accepting an offer. 


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The Application Process

Where can I find a SLIP application?

The Department of Justice uses an online application that you can access electronically. We strongly recommend that you review the eligibility criteria before applying. Individuals who need an accommodation can leave a voice mail message at (202) 514-3396.

When is the SLIP application available and what is the submission deadline?

The application opens on July31st. The absolute deadline for receipt of applications is the Tuesday after Labor Day (11:59 p.m., Eastern time; 10:59 p.m. Central; 9:59 p.m. Mountain; 8:59 p.m. Pacific). We regret that we can make no exceptions. Due to the high volume of applications submitted immediately prior to the deadline, we encourage you to apply early. If, however, you are awaiting the announcement of membership to law review or moot court, scholarships or honors, and you expect that information to be available prior to the deadline, then you should not apply early because you cannot update or amend your application once it is certified and submitted.

Which Justice components participate in the SLIP, and how many interns will they hire this year?

Component participation in the Summer Law Intern Program may have some variation from year to year. View a list of participating components for the current SLIP cycle and the estimated number positions they will fill.

Most of the SLIP positions are in Washington, DC. The Antitrust Division and the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) often hire summer interns for positions in other parts of the country. U.S Attorney’s Offices hire for their specific District. Please refer to the current listing of participating components to identify available SLIP internships outside of the Washington, D.C. area.

How many Justice components will consider my application?

You will only be considered by the components you identify on your application. Specifically, the application requires candidates to rank, in order of employment preference, up to three participating components you wish to consider your application. Some components are hiring for more than one location, or ask applicants to specify practice areas, or sections. If you designate one of these components as an employment preference, you have only used one of your three choices, even if you designate more than one location, or section.
You may also check a box to indicate your interest in being considered by components/offices that are informally participating.  These selections do not count against your three choices from among the formal participants.   Upon completion of initial review, all eligible applications are referred to all components listed by the applicant.

If you are a first-year, second-semester law student or a second year law student, you may select from any of the participating components except the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) and the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC). Third-year law students who will graduate in the current academic year and enter a judicial law clerkship after graduation may apply to any of the participating components, as well as OSG and OLC. OSG and OLC only hire candidates to intern during the summer following law school graduation prior to the start of a judicial clerkship.

How long does it take to complete the online application?

We estimate that it will take most applicants about an hour to complete the online application. We recommend, however, that you spend as much time as you find necessary to gather the information required by the application and to craft your response to two brief essay questions. Please review the application checklist to ensure that you have the information that you will need to complete the application.

May I partially complete the application and return to it at a later time?

Yes. Once you log onto the application, you create a user profile accessed by a unique password of your choice. Please be sure to create only one account and make a note of your password, as you will need it to access the application in the future. If you create multiple accounts, you may receive erroneous "status updates.”  You may enter and exit from the application an unlimited number of times. Prior to actually submitting your application, you may update or change your application provided you save your changes on the application program. You may print a blank application, a partially completed application, or your completed application. But once you certify your application and submit it, the program will not permit you to make further substantive changes. We strongly recommend that you print a copy of your application and review it carefully prior to submission. Pay particular attention to dates - we find that many candidates erroneously enter the current year rather than the year of expected law school graduation. The Department does not accept duplicate applications or substantive corrections to your application after you submit it. We regret that we cannot make any exceptions.

How do I submit my resume and my transcript?

The application contains fields that prompt you to enter your resume and transcript data. You may enter data either by typing it in, which we recommend, or by "cutting and pasting" the information from an existing document provided that it is in Microsoft Word or WordPerfect format.  The program will later assemble your resume and transcript data into a standardized format. The program will prompt you to review the appearance of the information in your resume. You may use hyphens to separate entries or create emphasis; however, we strongly recommend that you avoid using bullets or symbols as they may not transfer to the computer systems used within the Department. Please note, we cannot accept resumes and/or transcripts submitted separately from the online application; however, some components may later request hard copy resumes and/or transcripts from candidates selected for further consideration.

How will I know the Department received my application?

Once your application is received, the system will send you an e-mail message, to the email address you designate on your application, confirming receipt of your application. Alternatively, you can check on your status online using your password at We strongly encourage you to maintain your same email address throughout the hiring process as that will be the means with which you receive communications and notifications regarding your application status.  We also recommend that you add to your personal address book. This reduces the chance that messages issued by the Department are not screened out by a spam or junk mail filter used by your school, internet provider, or security system. If you do not receive an email confirmation then your application was not properly submitted.

Can I modify, update, or correct my application after I submit it?

To protect the integrity of the information you submit on your application, the system generally does not permit substantive changes once an application has been certified and submitted. Only contact information (e.g., e-mail address, telephone number, address) can be updated. There is a limited ability to update the application to add judicial clerkship or graduate law program information. We regret that we cannot make any exceptions.


May I submit letters of recommendation, writing samples, or a cover letter with my application?

No. We do not accept these documents as part of the application or documents mailed separately to the Department. We process and review applications electronically. Candidates who are selected by a component for consideration for employment may be asked to provide writing samples and/or recommendations at a later time. You may preview the Pre-Interview Submissions required by participating components - but only candidates who are selected for consideration should submit the listed materials.

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Application Status

How can I get information about the status of my application?

Individual applicants may check on the status of their applications through the Internet at Individual SLIP applicants will be able to see the following status updates: upon referral of applications to components for review, upon selection or non-selection for consideration for employment, upon selection or non-selection as a component finalist, and upon acceptance of an offer.

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Selection, Interview, and Offer Process

If I apply for a SLIP position, will I be interviewed?

Not necessarily. Each hiring component determines whether or not to interview candidates for the SLIP. Some components hire on the basis of information in the application, references and other information specifically requested from the applicant. When a component nominates candidates for consideration for employment, the Department will notify those candidates that they are under consideration for employment by a specific component. PLEASE NOTE: This does not guarantee that a candidate will be interviewed or contacted by the component that is considering them for employment. Some components will conduct interviews by telephone, video teleconference or in field offices. Components will individually contact candidates.

What qualifications does Justice look for in a SLIP hire?

Individuals are selected for the Summer Law Intern Program on the basis of multiple factors, including academic achievement, writing skills and experience (e.g., law journals), the ability to reason independently and creatively (e.g., moot court competition), clinical/volunteer and work experiences that relate to the specific work of the Department, and extracurricular activities that indicate a candidate's legal acumen. Successful applicants are those with well-rounded backgrounds, illustrating academic achievement, intellectual and analytical thinking, and commitment to the work of Justice.

Does the Department apply veterans’ preference eligibility to SLIP hiring?

Yes. Applicants who will intern prior to law school graduation will be hired pursuant to the regulations applicable to the "Pathways Intern Program," 5 CFR Part 362.For law school graduates, the Department's policy in excepted service legal intern hiring is to select the best qualified applicant for the position in terms of skills, background, knowledge, and relevant experience while complying with laws applicable to veterans' preference eligibility. Excepted service legal positions for law school graduates within Justice are not subject to the appointment procedures of 5 C.F.R. Part 302. If you are a veteran and wish to contact someone in the Department's Veterans Employment Program Office, contact Cortez Puryear or call (202) 514-0349.

If I am notified of selection for consideration for employment or contacted for an interview, what are my next steps?

If you are notified that you were selected for consideration for employment for the SLIP, or a component has contacted you for an interview, please review the Component Contacts and Pre-Interview Submissions and comply with the instructions for the selecting component.  Questions regarding submissions or interviews should be directed to the appropriate component contacts.

If I am selected for consideration by a component that conducts interviews, will my travel expenses be repaid?

No. Expenses associated with SLIP interviews (including meals, travel, and lodging) are the responsibility of the candidate.

When are offers made?

There is no set schedule for offers of employment for the SLIP. The majority of offers will be made from mid-November through December. The offer process occasionally extends into January.

How much time do I have to respond if I receive an offer?

Justice adheres to the guidelines issued by the National Association of Law Placement (NALP) regarding the time period that offers must remain open. Generally, offers will remain open for at least 28 days or until December 30, whichever comes first. Candidates should reaffirm these offers within 14 days from the date of the offer. Employers may retract any offer that is not reaffirmed within the 14 day period. Offers made after December 15 for the following summer should remain open for at least two weeks.

If hiring components offer a position for the following summer to candidates previously employed by them (e.g., current intern), then those offers remain open until at least October 1, provided that such offers are made prior to or on September 2. Candidates should reaffirm these offers within thirty days from the date of the offer. The Department may retract any offer that is not reaffirmed within the 30 day period. After September 2, employers offering positions for the following summer to candidates previously employed by them should leave those offers open for at least 28 days following the date of the offer letter.

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Conditions of Employment

How long do summer internships last?

Summer internships are usually appointments not to exceed 90 days, however, some components may permit shorter periods.

Does Justice allow students to "split" summers?

Most but not all of the components allow summer interns to split their summer between Justice and other employers or between two Justice components. If you are interested in splitting a summer, you should ask your component contact about its policy for splitting summers and about the required minimum numbers of weeks when you receive your offer.

Does Justice require employees to take a drug test?

It is the policy of the Department to achieve a drug-free workplace, and persons selected for employment will be required to pass a drug test to screen for current illegal drug use prior to entry on duty/start date.

Are there residency requirements that impact the hiring of summer interns?

Yes. Candidates for the Summer Program are subject to a residency requirement. Any candidates who have lived outside of the United States for two of the past five years may have difficulty being approved for appointments by the Department's Security Staff. Federal or military employees (or dependents of federal or military employees) serving overseas are excepted from this requirement.

When will my summer internship begin?

When you accept an offer of employment, the component will ask you when you are available to work and how many weeks you would like to work. Most components are quite flexible about times between May and September. As long as you agree to work the minimum number of weeks required by the component, you may request a work period at any time during the summer.

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Security and Suitability (Background Investigation)

Is a background investigation is required for SLIP hires? How long does it take?

SLIP candidates are subject to suitability review and adjudication that includes a fingerprint check, credit check, drug test and a thorough review of the summer candidates' pre-employment forms (which cover a period of seven to ten years). Some components require a National Agency Check with Inquiries through the Office of Personnel Management. The process normally takes at least two to three months. 

However, if you have served in a prior DOJ internship/externship and are considering a second DOJ internship within 12 months of the start of the first internship/externships, you should discuss  background investigation requirements with the hiring component prior to accepting an offer.  Working at the Department requires access to DOJ information, DOJ IT systems, and DOJ facilities.  Security regulations permit short term access for not more than six months.  Beyond six months, or for two short term appointments within a 12 month period, a background investigation is required.  In some cases, organizations sponsoring legal interns may not be in a position to justify the time and cost of the BI process in these short term employment situations. 

What are the most common suitability issues or problems that arise during the suitability review process?

The most common suitability issues that arise during the suitability review process are: past unlawful use of drugs, failure to comply with financial obligations, failure to register for the selective service (male applicants only), and misrepresentations or omissions on the security form. After an applicant has received an offer of employment from the Department, the Office of Attorney Recruitment and Management can advise the applicant as to any issues regarding potential suitability problems. In a few unfortunate cases, the Department has withdrawn offers of employment when the investigation process revealed information that precluded a security or suitability clearance.

What happens if serious concerns are identified during the suitability review process?

The Department can withdraw an offer of employment if the review process reveals information that precludes a security and/or suitability clearance.

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Permanent Employment

Offers for Permanent Employment Following Summer Law Internships

The Department permits components to issue offers for permanent employment following law school graduation to interns hired under the SLIP through a “funnel offer” directly into the Attorney General’s Honors Program for the following year. Unlike the practice in private law firms, funnel offers are issued sparingly to a relatively small number of SLIP participants. Interns working at the Department through student programs other than the formal SLIP are not eligible for funnel offers.

Components may, at their discretion, issue funnel offers to SLIP participants at the end of the summer with a response deadline of October 1st, provided that such offers are made prior to or on September 2. Candidates must reaffirm these offers within thirty days from the date of the offer. The Department may retract any offer that is not reaffirmed within the 30 day period. Funnel offers issued after September 2 of a candidate's final year of law school will remain open for at least 28 days following the date of the offer. Candidates who receive a funnel offer must still apply to the Attorney General's Honors Program.

If you have already received a funnel offer at the time you complete your Honors Program application, you must list that component as an employment preference on your application. If you were an intern hired through the Summer Law Intern Program who has not received a funnel offer by the Honors Program application deadline, but think that you may receive a funnel offer, we strongly recommend you list the component as an employment preference. You may list other components as employment preferences also. If you receive a funnel offer, you must respond by October 1 (or within 28 days, whichever deadline is appropriate), even if you were selected for an Honors Program interview by another component. The Department will not automatically extend the decision deadline on the funnel offer. If you elect to continue through the interview process, there is no guarantee that you will receive an offer from the component(s) that selected you for an interview or a second offer from the component that issued the funnel offer. If you accept a funnel offer, you will no longer be eligible to interview with any other component.


Updated October 25, 2018

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