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Legal Careers

2024 Summer Law Clerk

Hiring Organization
USAO Western District of Washington
700 Stewart Street
Suite 5220
Seattle, WA 98101 - United States
Application Deadline:
About the Office

The United States Attorney’s Office (USAO) for the Western District of Washington is responsible for representing the federal government in virtually all litigation involving the United States in the Western District of Washington (WDWA). This includes criminal prosecutions for violations of federal law, civil lawsuits by and against the government, actions to collect judgments and restitution on behalf of victims and taxpayers, and civil rights litigation. The USAO has both a Criminal Division and a Civil Division and approximately 70 Assistant United States Attorneys (AUSAs). The USAO’s main office is in Seattle, Washington, and a branch office is located in Tacoma, Washington.

U.S. Attorney's Office | Western District of Washington (

As the federal agency whose mission is to ensure the fair and impartial administration of justice for all Americans, the Department of Justice is committed to fostering a diverse and inclusive work environment. To build and retain a workforce that reflects the diverse experiences and perspectives of the American people, we welcome applicants from the many communities, identities, races, ethnicities, backgrounds, abilities, religions, and cultures of the United States who share our commitment to public service.

Job Description

The United States Attorney’s Office accepts up to 6 law students for our summer law clerk program. The program lasts a minimum of eight weeks, with a preference for a ten-week commitment. Because the clerkships are performed on an unpaid, volunteer basis, they are primarily intended for students who have completed their first year of law school and are interested in experiencing legal practice in a public-service environment. Students who have completed their second year of law school will be considered on a case-by-case basis. While this position is open to all law students, the USAO specifically encourages individuals with a connection to or desire to pursue a legal career in the Pacific Northwest to apply.

Our summer law clerks work in both the Civil and Criminal Divisions. Law clerks research and draft pretrial, trial, and appellate briefs and motions. The clerks work directly with AUSAs on both short- and long-term projects, and they have opportunities to observe trials, motions and settlement conferences, and appellate arguments. Each summer clerk has a designated mentoring attorney who assists and supports the clerk consistently throughout the summer.

The program also provides opportunities for law clerks to meet with a variety of speakers from the federal legal system. In past years, speakers have included federal judges, public defenders, law enforcement agents, United States Marshals, and probation officers. We also host sessions with AUSAs regarding career paths, judicial clerkships, and interview skills. And we regularly include the following opportunities:

  • A visit with military Judge Advocates (JAG Corps) and tour of military facilities.
  • A day of training in search warrant execution and takedowns.
  • DEA force training.
  • A meeting with tribal prosecutors and investigators in one of the District’s 25 federally recognized tribes. 
  • A tour of the courthouse lock-up facilities.

Applications will be accepted from students who have completed either their first or second year of law school. Applicants must have superior research and writing skills, be detail-oriented, be dedicated to upholding and advancing justice and human rights, and have a commitment to fairness and integrity. Other requirements:

  • Must be a U.S. citizen.
  • Must meet DOJ residency requirements. (Must have lived in the United States for 3 of the last 5 years. Must be cumulative. Does not have to be consecutive.)

Before any offer is finalized, law clerks are subject to and must pass a background investigation, which includes fingerprinting, drug testing, a credit check, and completing a security questionnaire.

Application Process

Each applicant packet must include the following in a single PDF document (preferably in the order listed below):

  1. A cover letter describing your interest in working as a law clerk with the United States Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Washington;
  2. Resume;
  3. Your most recent available academic transcript; and
  4. A writing sample.

Applications can be emailed (preferred) or mailed to the following addresses:

U.S. Attorney’s Office, WDWA

ATTN: Summer Law Clerk Committee

700 Stewart Street, Suite 5220

Seattle, WA 98101

If you wish to apply for the externship program for credit at your law school, contact the Externship Coordinator at your law school to initiate the application process.

Applications will be considered on a rolling basis starting on January 2, 2024. Applications submitted after January 15, 2024, will not be considered.


Volunteer (uncompensated).

Number of Positions
Up to 6
Relocation Expenses
Relocation expenses are not authorized.

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Department Policies

Equal Employment Opportunity:  The U.S. Department of Justice is an Equal Opportunity/Reasonable Accommodation Employer.  Except where otherwise provided by law, there will be no discrimination because of race, color, religion, national origin, sex - including gender identity, sexual orientation, or pregnancy status - or because of age (over 40), physical or mental disability, protected genetic information, parental status, marital status, political affiliation, or any other non-merit based factor.  The Department of Justice welcomes and encourages applications from persons with physical and mental disabilities. The Department is firmly committed to satisfying its affirmative obligations under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, to ensure that persons with disabilities have every opportunity to be hired and advanced on the basis of merit within the Department of Justice. For more information, please review our full EEO Statement.

Reasonable Accommodations:  This agency provides reasonable accommodation to applicants with disabilities where appropriate. If you need a reasonable accommodation for any part of the application and hiring process, please notify the agency.  Determinations on requests for reasonable accommodation will be made on a case-by-case basis.

Outreach and Recruitment for Qualified Applicants with Disabilities:  The Department encourages qualified applicants with disabilities, including individuals with targeted/severe disabilities to apply in response to posted vacancy announcements.  Qualified applicants with targeted/severe disabilities may be eligible for direct hire, non-competitive appointment under Schedule A (5 C.F.R. § 213.3102(u)) hiring authority.  Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to contact one of the Department’s Disability Points of Contact (DPOC) to express an interest in being considered for a position. See list of DPOCs.   

Suitability and Citizenship:  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 which screens for illegal drug use prior to final appointment.  Employment is also contingent upon the completion and satisfactory adjudication of a background investigation. 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 (see, 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 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.

Veterans:  There is no formal rating system for applying veterans' preference to attorney appointments in the excepted service; however, the Department of Justice considers veterans' preference eligibility as a positive factor in attorney hiring. Applicants eligible for veterans' preference must include that information in their cover letter or resume and attach supporting documentation (e.g., the DD 214, Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty and other supporting documentation) to their submissions. Although the "point" system is not used, per se, applicants eligible to claim 10-point preference must submit Standard Form (SF) 15, Application for 10-Point Veteran Preference, and submit the supporting documentation required for the specific type of preference claimed (visit the OPM website, for a copy of SF 15, which lists the types of 10-point preferences and the required supporting document(s). Applicants should note that SF 15 requires supporting documentation associated with service- connected disabilities or receipt of nonservice-connected disability pensions to be dated 1991 or later except in the case of service members submitting official statements or retirement orders from a branch of the Armed Forces showing that their retirement was due to a permanent service-connected disability or that they were transferred to the permanent disability retired list (the statement or retirement orders must indicate that the disability is 10% or more).

USAO Residency Requirement:  Assistant United States Attorneys must reside in the district to which appointed or within 25 miles thereof.  See 28 U.S.C. 545 for district specific information.

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This and other vacancy announcements can be found under Attorney Vacancies and Volunteer Legal Internships. The Department of Justice cannot control further dissemination and/or posting of information contained in this vacancy announcement. Such posting and/or dissemination is not an endorsement by the Department of the organization or group disseminating and/or posting the information.

Updated October 3, 2023