Law Student Volunteer Summer 2018

Law Student Volunteer, Academic Year
110 East Court Ave
Des Moines, IA 50309
United States
About the Office: 

The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Iowa contains a Civil and Criminal Division. The Criminal Division prosecutes violations of federal criminal law - types of cases include, but are not limited to: mail, wire, tax and securities fraud; environmental crimes; firearm crimes; bank robbery; drug crimes; Internet predators; etc. The Civil Division attorneys act as defense counsel for government agencies and employees. Types of civil cases handled include, but are not limited to: discrimination (race, sex, age, disability, religion); bankruptcy; immigration; Federal Tort Claims Act; etc. Civil Division attorneys also act as plaintiff's counsel in areas, which include, but are not limited to: Medicaid and Medicare fraud; the False Claims Act; and any other cases in which the United States has been injured financially or where injunctive relief is needed.

Office Website:

Job Description: 

Assignments include, but are not limited to, assisting attorneys with legal research; writing pleadings; trial preparation; and drafting responsive motions, dispositive motions, memoranda of law, and appellate briefs. The law student volunteers will become familiar with the Federal Rules of Civil and Criminal Procedure, the Federal Rules of Evidence, the local rules of practice for the United States District Court, and the local and Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure. In addition, they may attend witness interviews, meetings with investigative agents, and accompany the attorneys to observe court proceedings in cases on which they have worked or in cases of general interest in the office. Law students who qualify to practice under the district court's student practice rules may also be assigned to handle motion hearings. Our goal is to introduce law students to the federal legal system and to help them develop their practical legal skills.


Law Students with strong legal research, analysis, and writing skills. U.S. citizenship required. Ability to volunteer 20-40 hours a week is required. Due to the sensitive nature of the work performed by the office, candidates invited to interview will be expected to consent to a credit check; all offers to candidates are conditioned upon the successful completion of a required background check which requires disclosure of any drug use, law enforcement and employment records, and financial credit information.

Application Process: 

E-mailed applications are preferred and may be sent to Email links icon Attached to each e-mail should be a single pdf file consisting of: (1) cover letter (including availability); (2) resume; (3) law school transcript; and (4) a legal writing sample (no more than 10 pages)

Applications may also be mailed to:
U.S. Attorney's Office
Southern District of Iowa
110 East Court Ave
Des Moines, IA 50309

Point of Contact:
David Harris (Human Resources Specialist)
Email: Email links icon

Fax: (515) 473-9298

Application Deadline: 
Friday, January 26, 2018
Relocation Expenses: 
Relocation expenses will not be paid.
Number of Positions: 
Up to three student volunteer opportunities may be available for Summer 2018. Two students may be selected in the Des Moines office, and one student in the Davenport branch office. In your cover letter, please state location preference.
Updated January 23, 2018

*         *         *

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 who have lived outside the United States for two or more of the past five years will likely have difficulty being approved for appointments by the Department Security Staff. The two-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.

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).


*         *         *


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.