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Legal Careers


Hiring Organization
Environment and Natural Resources Division (ENRD)
Hiring Office
501 I STREET, SUITE 9-700
SACRAMENTO, CA 95814 - United States
Application Deadline:
About the Office

The Environment and Natural Resources Division (“ENRD”) is the Nation’s environmental lawyer and the largest environmental law firm in the world. It is responsible for litigation at the frontiers of the law, ranging from protection of endangered species, to global climate change, to cleaning up the nation’s hazardous waste sites. Over one-half of ENRD’s lawyers are involved in enforcing the nation’s civil and criminal environmental laws in order to protect the health and environment of citizens of the United States. ENRD also defends environmental challenges to government programs and activities. It represents the U.S. in all matters concerning the protection, use, and development of the nation’s natural resources and public lands, wildlife protection, Native American rights and claims, and the acquisition of Federal property. Many of these cases are precedent-setting.

The Sacramento Field Office includes attorneys within ENRD’s Natural Resources Section (“NRS”) and Indian Resources Section ("IRS"). NRS is responsible for litigation involving the nation’s national forests and parks, other federally-owned public lands, and natural resources. NRS attorneys defend federal agencies in inverse condemnation claims brought under the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and in legal challenges to federal agency decisions regarding the use of natural resources 

IRS litigates to protect the trust resources, programs, and governmental authority of federally recognized Indian tribes, as well as real property held in trust or restricted fee for members of such tribes.  This includes litigation both in the prosecution of suits for the benefit of federally recognized Indian tribes and their members, and in the defense of suits challenging statutes, regulations, and agency action designed to protect the rights of Indian tribes or their members.  These defensive suits include, but are not limited to, suits against the Department of the Interior and its officials, and suits against the National Indian Gaming Commission and its officials.

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

ENRD’s Sacramento Field Office is seeking law students with a strong interest in gaining practical experience in environmental law and litigation. Law clerks conduct legal research on a variety of substantive and procedural environmental issues.  Our attorneys make every effort to provide interns with challenging work in as many areas of our practice as possible.  Interns typically research and draft legal memoranda and briefs, prepare written discovery, present oral reports on research assignments, and attend planning sessions with client agency counsel and technical experts.  Interns may also attend or assist with witness interviews, depositions, settlements conferences, and court hearings.

The Sacramento office will consider both in person and remote internship arrangements, so please indicate a preference in your cover letter.


Student applicants must (1) hold full or dual United States citizenship (note: applicants must identify their citizenship in their cover letter); (2) have resided within the United States for three of the past five years, unless military/diplomatic service was involved; (3) be enrolled in, and in good standing at their law school; and (4) commit to work full-time in the summer over a period of 10 weeks, or a minimum of 16 hours per week during the fall or spring semesters over a period of 14 weeks. Second-year and third-year law student applicants must have completed a minimum of two semesters of law school. First-year law students, who have not completed their first semester, may only apply after December 1.


Application Process

Email (1) cover letter (which must identify the applicant’s country or countries of citizenship), (2) resume, (3) unofficial transcript, and (4) a recent legal writing sample (maximum. 12 pages) consolidated into a single unlocked PDF file  to: 


Fall Semester


Spring Semester


Summer Session


March 1, 2024


April 22, 2024

Fall internship must occur during your 2L or 3L year

August 1, 2024


September 25, 2024

Spring internship must occur during your 2L or 3L year

December 1, 2024


January 5, 2025

Summer internship may take place after 1L or 2L


Strictly voluntary, uncompensated. We are, however, happy to work with law schools for students seeking academic credit for their internship.

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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 February 6, 2024