Skip to main content

Legal Careers

Law Student Volunteer (Summer 2021)

Hiring Organization
Environment and Natural Resources Division (ENRD)
Hiring Office
Denver Field Office
999 18th Street, Suite 370, South Terrace
Denver, CO 80202 - United States
Application Deadline:
About the Office

The Environment and Natural Resources Division of the Department of Justice handles environmental and natural resources litigation on behalf of the United States. The work of the Division arises under approximately 150 federal civil and criminal statutes, including the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, CERCLA (Superfund), Safe Drinking Water Act, Endangered Species Act, Marine Mammal Protection Act, National Environmental Policy Act, Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act, and Tucker Act. As well, the Division is responsible for litigating matters related to the United States' responsibility to protect the natural resources (land, water, minerals, etc.) held in trust for federally recognized Indian tribes.

Nearly one-half of the Division's lawyers bring cases against those who violate the nation's civil and criminal pollution-control laws. Others defend environmental challenges to government programs and activities, and represent the United States in matters concerning the stewardship of the nation's natural resources and public lands.
ENRD's Denver Field Office is comprised of attorneys representing five of ENRD's ten litigating sections. The law clerk internship opportunities offered are specifically for the Environmental Enforcement Section, Environmental Defense Section, Indian Resources Section, and Natural Resources Section.  
To learn more about the Division, please visit: 

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

Summer 2021 Unpaid Legal Intern Position with ENRD in the Denver Field Office:
2 (Joint) Full-Time Law Clerk Positions with the Environmental Enforcement Section (EES) and Environmental Defense Section (EDS). 
1 Full-Time Law Clerk Position with the Indian Resources Section (IRS). 
1 Full-Time Law Clerk Position with the Natural Resources Section (NRS).
The Denver Field Office handles cases covering a broad spectrum of issues including the civil enforcement of federal pollution control laws, defending challenges to environmental regulations and agency actions, matters related to the listing of endangered species, and cases relating to Indian tribes and Native American issues. 
While assignments will vary, law clerks are typically called upon to conduct legal research, draft legal memoranda, draft portions of briefs and written discovery, present oral reports on shorter research assignments, and attend settlement and planning sessions with client agency counsel and technical experts. Law clerks may also attend or assist with local site visits, witness interviews, depositions, and hearings taking place in or near Denver, dependent on current case load.


Second- and Third-year law students currently enrolled at least half-time in a law degree program during participation in the law clerk program may apply for Summer 2021 law clerk positions at the Denver Field Office starting October 6, 2020. Joint degree and LLM students cannot currently be practicing law.
First-year law students may apply after December 1, 2020 for Summer 2021 law clerk positions at the Denver Field Office. Hiring decisions will be made on a rolling basis through January 5, 2021 and may be filled prior to that deadline.
Full-time, 10 week minimum commitment, start time in late May/early June. 
Applicants must be U.S. citizens and successfully complete a security clearance prior to appointment. Applicants must have been residents of the United States for 3 of the previous 5 years prior to their prospective start date, with exceptions made for active duty military and Foreign Service employees posted abroad.

Application Process

October 6, 2020 - January 5, 2021 for second-year law students and December 1, 2020- January 5, 2021 for first-year law students. Hiring decisions will be made on a rolling basis. 
Please email completed application to:   
Please indicate in the email subject line of your application "Denver Field Office, ""Summer 2021," and which section(s) you are applying for. 

Application Package:
- Cover Letter expressing interest (please also indicate if there is a specific Section preference)
- Current Resume
- Copy of Law School Transcript (unofficial accepted)
- Writing Sample (11 pages maximum)
- 3 References


Uncompensated, but will work with law school programs that offer academic course credit.

Number of Positions
4 summer law clerk positions (2 = joint position with EES and EDS; 1 = position with IRS; 1 = position with NRS)
Relocation Expenses
Relocation expenses are not authorized.

*         *         *

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.

*         *         *

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 October 6, 2020