The Consumer Protection Branch (CPB) is responsible for protecting the health, safety, and economic security of the American consumer. CPB leads the Justice Department's efforts to enforce federal consumer protection statutes throughout the United States. Much of the litigation handled by CPB brings Congressional and media interest.
CPB is the only office in the Civil Division to handle criminal, as well as civil, litigation. CPB attorneys handle a wide variety of criminal and civil cases, including these areas:
- Adulterated, counterfeit, and misbranded food, drugs, and medical devices
- Hazardous and unsafe consumer products
- Fraudulent business opportunity, debt relief, lottery, and telemarketing schemes
- Automobile odometer tampering schemes
- Defensive litigation in challenges to federal policies, initiatives, and regulations about food, drugs, devices, and other consumer protection efforts
Recent examples of CPB cases include:
- Conviction of CEO for his role in the largest salmonella related recall in the United States
- Guilty plea by drugmaker for adulterated Children's Tylenol
- $1.375 billion settlement with Standard & Poor's for defrauding investors
- Defense of FDA against attempt to stop approval of a generic drug
CPB works closely with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Federal Trade Commission, U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, as well as the Federal Bureau of Investigation, US Postal Inspection Service, and FDA's Office of Criminal Investigation.
CPB legal interns work closely with attorneys on a broad range of challenging substantive assignments, including legal research projects, drafting pleadings and motions, attending court hearings and case meetings, and trial preparation. Interns are given ample opportunity to work on the many types of cases handled by CPB.
Examples of recent projects include:
- Research and prepare a memo about what privilege, if any, may apply between a corporation and a third-party consultant within a specific federal circuit
- Draft a motion seeking court authorization to disclose grand jury testimony
- Draft jury instructions in a criminal prosecution
- Research and prepare a memo about when a franchisor may be liable for the acts of a franchisee under a federal consumer protection statute
Interns have the opportunity to attend presentations about recent cases by CPB attorneys, in addition to participating in Department-wide training programs and special intern events.
Must have completed at least one year of law school by the start of the externship. Candidates should have strong analytical and writing abilities. Top third of class preferred. However, CPB considers the entire background and experience of candidates in assessing an application.
10 weeks minimum required; 20 hours minimum per week.
Selected candidates must successfully complete a background investigation.
Applicants should submit a cover letter, resume, transcript (official or unofficial), and writing sample to CPB.firstname.lastname@example.org.
Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis. Early applications encouraged.