Unpaid Law Student Volunteer, Summer- Federal Tort Claims Act Section, Torts Branch

Federal Tort Claims Act Section, Torts Branch
Law Student Volunteer, Summer
Washington, DC 20002
United States
About the Office: 

The Attorneys of the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) Section defend the United States in a wide range of complex, and often controversial, suits filed under the Federal Tort Claims Act. 28 U.S.C. § 1346(b).  Suits often arise from medical care or treatment, regulatory activities, law enforcement, and maintenance of federal lands.  Attorneys in this section have handled the defense in litigation related to Hurricane Katrina, which sought billions of dollars in damages for losses caused by flooding, sensitive law enforcement cases involving informants, and suits brought by individuals who were detained on immigration charges following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. 
FTCA Section attorneys also serve as the principal point of contact for other Department of Justice components, such as the United States Attorneys Offices, and other federal agencies.  Our attorneys assist in litigation development and settlement strategy, and have particular expertise in the evaluation and settlement of catastrophic injury cases. The FTCA Section’s Director has authority to act on settlements by federal agencies of up to $1,000,000. 
In addition, FTCA Section attorneys make appeal recommendations on all adverse judgments entered in FTCA cases. They also provide comments on FTCA-related Congressional legislation that may have an impact on taxpayer liability.  Further, the FTCA Section is responsible for administrative adjustment of tort claims filed as a result of DOJ employee conduct nationwide.

Job Description: 

The FTCA Section's summer law intern program is highly-regarded.  Its interns (or "law clerks") are given substantive "lawyer's work" which is utilized in the office's practice.  On average, a summer law clerk will have completed six to ten substantive assignments which often include issues involving federal rules of procedure, evidence, and a variety of state law issues.  Where possible, the clerks are encouraged to attend moot courts, local depositions and court appearances.  An extensive brown bag lunch series is conducted throughout the summer.  Speakers include FTCA attorneys as well as outside speakers who discuss the breadth of today's legal profession in both private practice and public service.  Past speakers have included a prominent legal treatise co-author and law firm partner, a corporate lobbyist, local and federal judges, an Assistant White House Counsel, a World Bank attorney, a big law firm recruiting director, an FBI agent, and Counsel for a Congressional Committee.  The series also includes educational and fun events such as an annual Potomac River cruise, a custom Docent's Tour of the National Gallery of Art, a Trivia Night, a Supreme Court Curator's Tour, attendance at a Supreme Court opinion reading session, and a Nationals game. 
The office's friendly and open-door atmosphere fosters and encourages mentoring relationships between FTCA attorneys and law clerks.  Clerks receive close review of their assignments and a  candid written evaluation is provided at the conclusion of the summer.   
Clerkship Location:  175 N Street, N.E.  (Adjacent to NoMa/Gallaudet Metro Stop in Northeast Washington, D.C.) 
Weeks/Hours:  Law clerks work full-time (40 hours per week) for ten weeks, minimum.


Students who will have completed at least one year of law school by the start of the clerkship.  Candidates should be excellent writers in excellent academic standing.  The office, however, considers the entire background and experience of applicants in assessing an application.

Candidates must also be U.S. citizens or nationals, must have resided at least three of the past five years in the United States, and must successfully complete a background investigation. 

Academic or work-study credit possible. Transit subsidies are available. Snacks provided.
Application Process: 

Applicants should submit a cover letter, resume, writing sample (no more than ten pages and mostly legal analysis), and law school transcript, where available.  Unofficial transcripts are accepted.

Applications should be sent by email to Gail K. Johnson at civftca.internjobs@usdoj.gov

Please indicate that you are applying for a summer position in the subject line of your email.  
Application Deadline:  Applications for the summer are accepted on a rolling basis, post-NALP December deadline for first-year law students.  Positions will typically be filled by late December 2018 or early January 2019.  Early applications are encouraged.  

Relocation Expenses: 
Number of Positions: 
Updated November 8, 2018

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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 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 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, https://www.usajobs.gov/Help/working-in-government/non-citizens/). 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, www.opm.gov/forms/pdf_fill/SF15.pdf 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).


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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.