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Legal Careers

Law Student Volunteer, Spring 2022, Tucson Office (Criminal/Civil/Appellate)

Hiring Organization
USAO District of Arizona
Hiring Office
Tucson Criminal / Civil/ Appellate
405 W. Congress St.
Suite 4800
Tucson, AZ 85701 - United States
Application Deadline:
About the Office

The Tucson branch of the United States Attorneys Office for the District of Arizona has primary responsibility for prosecuting federal crimes occurring in and relating to Southern Arizona. Law student clerks will handle research and writing projects from the office's of Criminal, Civil, and Appellate Divisions:

Criminal Division : Assistant U.S. Attorneys working in the Criminal Division prosecute violations of the federal criminal code including: narcotics trafficking crimes, violent crimes occurring on the Indian reservations and federal facilities located in southern Arizona (including homicides, child abuse, sex offenses and bank robberies), white collar crimes (including mortgage fraud, tax fraud, money laundering), crimes affecting the national security of the United States (including weapons smuggling, and terrorism) and crimes particularly prevalent in the southwest border states (including illegal reentry, drug smuggling, and alien smuggling).

Appellate Division: Assistant U.S. Attorneys working in the Appellate Division research and write appellate briefs and conduct oral argument on behalf of the United States before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. They also provide legal advice to the attorneys in the Civil and Criminal Divisions and help draft pleadings of first impression. In addition to working on appellate briefs, law clerks may be invited to attend and actively participate in moot courts that are conducted before every Ninth Circuit oral argument.

Civil Division: Assistant U.S. Attorneys working in the Civil Division handle an extensive volume of cases, including defending the actions of federal agencies, handling Freedom of Information Act and Privacy Act cases, defending medical malpractice actions and employment discrimination claims, and defending Federal Tort Claims Act cases. Attorneys also represent federal law enforcement officers. The Civil Division handles bankruptcy matters, and contains the Financial Litigation Unit, which handles collections on behalf of the government.


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

While being mindful of the offices inherent confidentiality guidelines, law clerks will conduct legal research and draft motions and pleadings filed in U.S. District Court, and will have the opportunity to assist with court and trial preparation. Clerks may also have the opportunity to help draft appellate briefs filed with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Law clerks are encouraged to watch federal court proceedings, attend legal trainings, and explore federal practice and procedure.

Successful applicants should: 1) be proactive self-starters who are interested in working in a fast-paced environment offering a variety of opportunities and experiences; 2) have solid research and writing skills; and 3) have a demonstrated interest in public service, particularly including experience working in a prosecution office. Clerks will be given assignments in as many different practice areas and with as many different attorneys as possible, providing exposure to a number of subject matters and styles of practice. Additionally, interested individuals participating in the Summer Clerkship Program will have the opportunity to have a guided behind the scenes tour of port of entry facility along the U.S./Mexico border, as well as of a federal prison.


Enrolled in an ABA-accredited law school and be a rising 2L or 3L. Graduates cannot be considered for this particular posting. Must be a U.S. citizen. Strong grades and excellent research and writing skills. Completion of courses in Evidence and in Criminal Law or Procedure are a plus, but not required. A background check must be completed upon acceptance of the clerkship offer because of the sensitive nature of the work performed by the United States Attorneys Office. Prior criminal arrests and/or convictions, illegal drug or alcohol use, and tax issues could disqualify the student. Applicants who are available for at least 10 weeks during the spring are preferred.

Application Process

Applications should be e-mailed to Micah Schmit at Applications should include the following materials, all in one consolidated PDF file: (a) cover letter and résumé, (b) law school transcript, (c) legal writing sample (10 pages or less, please), (d) dates of availability, and (e) telephone number(s) where the applicant can be reached.

USAO District of Arizona
Criminal Division
405 W. Congress St.
Suite 4800
Tucson, AZ 85701

ATTN:  Micah Schmit, Tucson Criminal Division, Law Clerk Supervisor
Telephone:  (520) 620-7300
Fax:  (520) 620-7320


The clerkships are unpaid, and clerks will not receive benefits; however, the office will work with law schools that offer academic course credit and/or stipends to their students.

Number of Positions
up to 3 positions

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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 July 13, 2021