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Legal Careers

Law Student Volunteer Intern, Summer 2023

Hiring Organization
Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR)
Hiring Office
Portland Immigration Court
1220 SW Third Avenue, Suite 500
Portland, OR 97204 - United States
Application Deadline:
About the Office

The Portland Immigration Court, housed within the Executive Office for Immigration Review, is responsible for adjudicating immigration cases in a neutral, fair, expeditious, and uniform manner.  The Court makes decisions on charges of deportability and inadmissibility and adjudicates applications for relief from removal.

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 Portland Immigration Court is seeking a volunteer law student intern for Summer 2023.  Interns must commit to working full-time, for at least ten weeks.  Internships offer individuals the opportunity to develop their research, writing, and analytical skills, and expand their knowledge of immigration law and the adjudicatory process.  Prior knowledge of immigration law is helpful, though not necessary.  Strong research and writing skills are required.  Interns will prepare draft rulings on motions and draft final decisions for immigration judges, and may also research issues of removability, implications of criminal convictions, and eligibility for relief from removal.  All interns will work under the supervision of one or more staff attorneys and will have frequent opportunities to interact with the Court's three immigration judges.


This internship is open to first and second year law students.  Prior knowledge of immigration law is helpful, though not necessary.  Strong research and writing skills are required.  All interns at the Courts must be enrolled in law school at the time of their application and their internship, and successfully complete an FBI background check before beginning their internships.

Application Process

Applications will be accepted and reviewed on a rolling basis until January 17, 2023, and must include the following:

(1)    Cover letter (1 page)
(2)    Resume
(3)    Law school transcript (official or unofficial) 
(4)    Legal writing sample (5-10 pages)
(5)    List of three (3) references

Please email application materials to:        

Joren Lyons, Attorney Advisor (he/him)
Executive Office for Immigration Review
Portland Immigration Court

Evaluation of applications, scheduling of interviews, and decisions about offers are on a rolling basis.  Last year, we received several strong applications in the first few weeks and made an offer prior to the closing date of the job posting, so do not delay if you are interested!  Please feel free to contact us with any questions about where we are in the selection process.


None (volunteer position). Academic credit may be available if your school permits it.

Number of Positions
Ordinarily, the Court requires that interns work in person on-site.
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 December 1, 2022