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Legal Careers

Law Student Volunteer, Summer 2021

Hiring Organization
Environment and Natural Resources Division (ENRD)
Hiring Office
Washington DC Office - REMOTE
150 M St., NE
Washington, DC 20002 - United States
Application Deadline:
About the Office

The Environment and Natural Resources Division (ENRD) is the component of the U.S. Department of Justice which enforces federal environmental laws and also defends the federal government in complex civil litigation arising under a broad range of environmental statutes.  The Division is organized into ten sections:

•Appellate                                       •Environmental Crimes

•Environmental Defense            •Environmental Enforcement

•Executive Office                          •Indian Resources

•Land Acquisition                          •Law and Policy

•Natural Resources                      •Wildlife and Marine Resources

With offices across the United States, the Division is the Nation's environmental lawyer and the largest environmental law firm in the country. Our mission is to enforce the Nation’s civil and criminal environmental laws, including the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, and hazardous waste laws.  Our mission also involves the protection of the Nation’s natural resources and handling cases relating to tribal rights and resources. The Division’s efforts result in significant public health and other direct benefits to the American people through the reduction of pollution across the Nation and the protection of important natural resources.

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 clerks assist the Division trial lawyers in litigating cases in federal district and appellate courts and advising the Assistant Attorney General on environmental legal and policy questions. Responsibilities typically include conducting legal research and drafting pleadings, discovery documents and legal memoranda dealing with a variety of federal environmental and natural resource issues. The Division handles cases covering a broad spectrum of issues including the listing of endangered species, civil and criminal enforcement of federal pollution control laws, and defense of federal agency actions under environmental and natural resources laws. Law clerks will have the opportunity to observe court hearings, moot courts, and other events that may occur in Washington D.C., such as depositions, settlement conferences, or client meetings.

The ENRD Law Clerk Program not only provides students with invaluable academic and career experience, but also includes benefits such as a mentoring program, social events, and networking opportunities. Past examples include a lecture program specifically for law clerks with the Attorney General, a meet and greet session with the ENRD Assistant Attorney General and Section Chiefs, a workshop on resumes and interview tips, jobs panels on applying for different government jobs, a career fair, and a trail hike.


Desired Skills & Experience

ENRD is seeking students with: * Strong academic accomplishments * Strong research and writing skills * An interest in ENRD key areas, litigation, and/or public interest law.

Minimum Weeks Required: Full-time for at least 10 weeks.  Applicants who are available to work for the entire summer will be given preference.

Position Type

  • Internship/Externship

MBA or Law School Class Levels

•1Ls and 2Ls must be currently enrolled at least half-time in a law degree program during participation in the law clerk program.

•Joint degree and LLM students must be currently enrolled at least half-time and cannot currently be practicing law.

To be eligible for this position, you must: •Be a U.S. citizen •Successfully complete a background check prior to appointment •Have been a resident of the United States for at least 36 months out of the previous 5 years prior to their prospective start date. Active duty military and Foreign Service employees posted abroad are exempt from this requirement.

Application Process

Using the ENRD application form, prospective law clerks may designate their preferences among the nine litigating Sections for review of their application. Any number from one to nine Sections may be selected. More information about ENRD Sections and the work is available at with the option to download the "Section Overviews" pamphlet.

You must submit the following materials in a single email with the subject line “[Your Last Name, First Name] Summer 2021 Law Clerk Application” to •Section Application Form* (posted at •Cover letter, which must include the number of weeks you are available to work during the Summer of 2021 (there is a minimum 10 weeks commitment) •Resume, which must include your country of citizenship •Writing sample •Copy of your most recent transcript (official or unofficial). •Three references with contact information, including telephone and email (letters of recommendation are not required) •The Section Application Form requires you to select which of ENRD’s nine Sections you are applying to. Your application will only be evaluated by the Sections you select on your Section Application Form. *These documents must be submitted in PDF format as 6 separate attachments. 


Uncompensated - ENRD will coordinate with students who are eligible to receive academic or work study credit from their law school.

Number of Positions
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 2, 2020