Law Student Intern

Office of Chief Counsel
Law Student Volunteer, Summer
600 Army Navy Drive
Arlington, VA 22202
United States
About the Office: 

The Office of Chief Counsel provides legal services and guidance to all components of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) in matters that arise in the conduct of the DEA mission to enforce the controlled substances laws and regulations of the United States.  The Office provides legal support to DEA by analyzing the legal implications involved in policy decisions; advising and training DEA personnel worldwide on criminal, civil, and regulatory issues; reviewing pertinent legislation and regulations affecting DEA operations; and representing DEA in civil and administrative litigation.  

Job Description: 

DEA's Office of Chief Counsel offers interns the opportunity to work closely with attorneys in all of the Office's practice areas, to include:  Administrative Law; Asset Forfeiture; Civil Litigation; Diversion and Regulatory Policy and Litigation; Domestic Criminal Law; International Law; Legal Training; Legislative Affairs; and Technology Law.  Interns can expect to conduct research, draft memoranda, motions, and correspondence, interact with agency officials, and perform other tasks as required.  Interns will be assigned a mentoring attorney, and will be encouraged to work in a variety of subject areas in which they have an interest.  A program goal is to give interns the opportunity to develop at least one (and probably more) polished, releasable writing samples.  Although the position is  uncompensated, the Office will work with law schools to secure academic or work-study credits.


Applicants must be currently enrolled in law school, have a strong academic background, excellent research and writing skills, experience with or a demonstrated interest in public service, and mature judgment.  Due to the sensitive nature of the work, applicants must pass a background check, including a drug use questionnaire, before then can begin the internship.  Applicants must be able to work a minimum of 8 weeks (more is encouraged); for 40 hours per week (35 if the intern is participating in a law school program that involves class time).
NOTE:  Applicants who are found, through investigation or personal admission, to have experimented with or used narcotics or dangerous drugs, except those medically prescribed, will not be considered for employment with DEA.  Exceptions to this policy may be made for applicants who admit to limited youthful and experimental use of marijuana.  Such applicants may be considered for employment if there is no evidence of regular, confirmed usage and the results of the other steps in the process are otherwise favorable.  Compliance with this policy is an essential requirement of the position.  All applicants must complete and submit the DEA Drug Questionnaire with their application package. 

The position is uncompensated. The Office will work with law schools that offer academic course credit or work-study programs.
Application Process: 

Send a cover letter (including dates when available), resume, transcript (official or unofficial), writing sample, and DEA Drug Questionnaire, attention Carol Wilkinson, Intern Program Coordinator, to: (Application by email preferred) 
Drug Enforcement Administration
8701 Morrissette Dr.
Springfield, VA 22152-1080
ATTN: Carol Wilkinson, Intern Program Cooridinator
Telephone:202 307-5575
Fax:  202 307-3603
Application deadline:  January 31.  

Relocation Expenses: 
Number of Positions: 
Updated January 29, 2018

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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 color, race, religion, national origin, political affiliation, marital status, disability (physical or mental), age, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, genetic information, status as a parent, membership or non-membership in an employee organization, on the basis of personal favoritism, or any other non-merit 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.

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 targeted/severe disabilities are encouraged to register for the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Shared List of People with Disabilities (the Bender Disability Employment Registry) by submitting their resume to and referencing "Federal Career Opportunities" in the subject line.  Additional information about the Bender Registry is available at  Individuals with disabilities may also contact one of the Department’s Disability Points of Contact (DPOC).  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 his  or her retirement was due to a permanent service-connected disability or that he/she was transferred to the permanent disability retired list (the statement or retirement orders must indicate that the disability is 10% or more).


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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.