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Legal Careers

Law Student Volunteer

Hiring Organization
Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR)
Tacoma, WA - United States
About the Office

The Tacoma Immigration Court is hiring law student volunteers for summer 2024. Immigration courts are responsible for adjudicating immigration cases in a neutral, fair, expeditious, and uniform manner. The Tacoma Immigration Court is a detained court housed within the Northwest ICE Processing Center and is part of the DOJ’s Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR). We are small and collaborative, allowing interns the opportunity to become familiar with all aspects of the court’s work. Tacoma is a great place to live for the summer! Prior interns have found readily available short-term housing and have enjoyed the ease of living in Tacoma, with access to mountains, ocean, and Seattle.

For more information about the Tacoma Immigration Court, please visit For more information about EOIR, please visit

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 main duties of an intern are researching and writing for immigration judges. Interns are directly supervised by attorney advisors who are committed to our interns’ excellence and the growth of their career goals. Interns work closely with immigration judges to prepare orders on motions, draft decisions on applications for relief from removal, and prepare memoranda on complex legal issues. Interns will gain understanding of immigration law and procedure as it relates to removal and deportation, with a particular emphasis on crimmigration. Interns become familiar with the Immigration and Nationality Act, the Code of Federal Regulations, and immigration case law set forth by the Board of Immigration Appeals and the federal courts. Interns must commit to working full-time for at least ten weeks.

In the past, we have provided additional learning opportunities like attending Ninth Circuit oral arguments, observing detained and non-detained merits hearings and bond hearings, touring the Canadian/U.S. border with Customs and Border Patrol, roundtable discussions with USCIS and DHS attorneys, observing naturalization ceremonies, and touring the Sea-Tac Airport Port of Entry. Our goal is to help interns understand the work of EOIR within the context of the wider immigration system.


All current law students who are United States citizens are eligible to apply. Strong research and writing skills are required. Prior knowledge of immigration law is helpful, but not necessary. Interns must be able to commit to 40 hours per week for 10 continuous weeks. Selected applicants will be required to submit to a security background check. For more details, visit

Application Process

Applications will be accepted until 11:59pm Sunday, February 11, 2024. Interviews will be offered on a rolling basis and will be conducted virtually.

Please submit the following application materials as a single PDF file to, Attn: Hilary Smith and Meghan Lunders: cover letter, resume, 5–7 page writing sample, official or unofficial law school transcript, and the contact information for three references. We encourage applicants to identify their interests in the cover letter and how that relates to the work of the immigration court. Per NALP guidelines, we will only review 1L applications starting December 1. Keep in mind that every year we receive several strong applications and typically make an offer prior to the closing date of the job posting, so do not wait until the last minute if you are interested!


Uncompensated volunteer. Interns may obtain academic credit with the permission of their law school.

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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 23, 2023