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Legal Careers

Law Student Volunteer, Academic Year

Hiring Organization
Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR)
Hiring Office
8701 S. Gessner Road, 10th Floor
Houston, TX 77074 - United States
Application Deadline:
About the Office

The primary mission of the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) is to adjudicate immigration cases by fairly, expeditiously, and uniformly interpreting and administering the Nation’s immigration laws.  EOIR administers the Nation’s immigration court system. After the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) charges a foreign-born individual, a noncitizen, with violating immigration laws, EOIR decides whether that individual is removable from the country and if found removable, whether they qualify for protection or relief from removal.  To make these determinations, EOIR’s immigration judges conduct removal hearings and other administrative court proceedings in approximately 60 immigration courts nationwide.  The Houston—S. Gessner Immigration Court is one of EOIR's newest, only opening in January 2020.  There are eleven (11) immigration judges and four (4) attorney advisors who handle the court's daily caseload.

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

Under the direction and supervision of an attorney advisor, the intern will: (1) draft written decisions for immigration judges; (2) conduct legal research and write legal memoranda; (3) observe immigration court proceedings and discuss them with immigration judges; (4) read and summarize recent binding decisions on immigration law from the Board of Immigration Appeals, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, and the U.S. Supreme Court; and (5) review the legal sufficiency of I-589 applications for asylum, withholding of removal, and relief under the Convention Against Torture.



  • U.S. citizenship (dual citizens considered on a case-by-case basis)
  • Ability to pass an FBI background check
  • Enrolled at least half-time in law school in a J.D. or LL.M. program (for students in a J.D. program, at least one academic year (two (2) semesters) must be completed before the beginning of the internship)
  • Lived in the United States for at least three (3) of the past five (5) 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)
  • Legal research and writing skills



  • An expressed interest in public service and/or immigration
Application Process

Email the following to in a single Microsoft Word or PDF attachment: (1) cover letter, (2) resume, (3) legal writing sample, and (4) most recent unofficial law school transcript.  The subject line of the email should read "[Term] [Year] Internship Application - Candidate Name"; example: Spring 2024 Internship Application – John Doe.  Candidates may be required to conduct a remote interview.


Volunteer (but will work with law schools for academic credit or public interest stipend)

Number of Positions
Work in-person required; flexible schedule
Relocation Expenses

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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 September 29, 2023