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Legal Careers

Law Student Volunteer, Summer

Hiring Organization
United States Attorney's Office (USAO)
Hiring Office
District of Montana
2601 2nd Avenue North, Suite 3200
Billings, MT 59101 - United States
Application Deadline:
About the Office

The mission of the USAO for the District of Montana is to protect and serve the citizens of the District of Montana through the ethical, vigorous, and impartial enforcement of the laws of the United States. In so doing, we defend the national security, improve the safety and quality of life in our communities, and protect the public funds and financial interests of the United States. The U.S. Attorney's Office seeks to maintain a courteous and professional working environment; an environment in which exceptionalism is the standard and diversity is valued; and where initiative, skill, diligence, commitment, and integrity, combine to achieve justice in every matter.

The USAO conducts the most federal criminal prosecutions in the State of Montana. We receive criminal referrals from federal investigative agencies, state and local investigative agencies, tribes and occasionally from citizens. After careful consideration of each criminal matter, the U.S. Attorney decides the appropriateness of bringing criminal charges and, when deemed appropriate, initiates prosecution. The U.S. Attorney's Office prosecutes, oversees the investigation of, a wide range of criminal activities. It's workload is more diverse and far reaching than ever before. The caseload includes violent crime, complex and time consuming financial institution fraud, computer fraud, environmental crime, public corruption, organized crime, complex drug and money laundering activities, child pornography, and cases involving multiple defendants and criminal enterprises.

We also conduct the majority of the federal civil litigation in which the United States is a party or has a financial interest. Our work in the civil arena entails the initiation of civil actions; affirmative litigation to assert and protect the interests of the United States. We also defend the government in lawsuits filed against the United States. Finally, our office handles other civil cases when the United States is a third party plaintiff or defendant, a creditor, or an intervenor.

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

Law Students will work with AUSAs on projects related to ongoing litigation and appeals or issues of significance in prospective litigation. Applicants should indicate a preference for civil or criminal assignment if the applicant has a preference. Our goal is to introduce our Law Students to the federal legal system, to develop their legal skills, and, above all, to enjoy their summer. Law Student positions are available in Billings, Great Falls, and Helena, Montana.


Second-year students who apply for summer positions must forward a resume, cover letter, list of classes to be completed by the end of the academic year, and a writing sample to U.S. Attorney Leif Johnson, no later than January 17, 2022.

First-year (second semester) students who apply for summer positions must forward a resume, cover letter, list of classes to be completed by the end of the academic year, and a writing sample to U.S. Attorney Leif Johnson, no later than January 17, 2022.

Must be a U.S. Citizen.

Clerkships are a minimum of eight weeks, and may not exceed fifteen weeks (between May 1 - September 1, 2022).

Applicants must be able to pass a background investigation, which requires disclosure of any drug use, law enforcement and employment records, and financial credit information. Drug use within the past one year will result in disqualification.

Application Process

Resume, cover letter, transcripts, and writing sample, should be submitted to:

USAO District of Montana
Attn: Human Resources
901 Front Street, Suite 1100
Helena, MT 59626

Deadline to apply is January 17, 2022


Law Students interested in volunteering are invited to apply. Work-study is offered upon availability.

Number of Positions
Approximately five projected volunteer positions in the District for the Summer of 2022.
Relocation Expenses
No relocation expenses will be authorized.

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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 10, 2021