Law Student Volunteer (Summer 2024)
Washington, DC 20002 - United States
The Vaccine Litigation Group represents the interests of the Secretary of Health and Human Services in all cases filed in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims under the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act. The cases involve claims of injury as a result of the receipt of certain vaccines.
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.
The Vaccine Litigation Group is currently seeking law students for a limited number of full-time Summer 2024 volunteer (unpaid) law clerk positions. We will be accepting applications for full-time summer volunteer clerkships beginning December 1, 2023. The application deadline is January 31, 2024, but we will accept interns on a rolling basis, so early applications are encouraged.
Law clerks work closely with attorneys and paralegals on substantive matters in all stages of litigation. Indeed, the position offers a unique experience in public service. The legal and medical issues at stake in each case vary greatly. Attorneys and staff in the group handle heavy caseloads, and while streamlined procedures are utilized, cases frequently involve complex liability and damages issues. The Group is obliged to ensure that the Vaccine Trust Fund, from which damage awards are paid, is protected and, where eligibility criteria are met, that fair compensation is distributed to those to whom Congress has intended. Attorneys appear frequently before the U.S. Court of Federal Claims and before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, which affords law clerks the opportunity to gain experience in trial and appellate practice.
More information about the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program can be found at http://www.hrsa.gov/vaccinecompensation/
Law clerks should be able to start in late May or early June 2024, and be able to commit to approximately 40 hours per week, for a minimum of 9 weeks. We are only accepting applications for in-person internships.
Applicants should have excellent academic credentials, writing, and interpersonal skills, exhibit good judgment, and have an interest in tort litigation. Experience in the medical sciences is helpful, but not required. 1L, 2L, 3L, 4L evening students are eligible for the positions. Unfortunately, graduates are ineligible for the positions.
Application materials must be postmarked or e-mailed by the deadline date of January 31, 2024, but early applications are encouraged, as offers are made on a rolling basis. Please reference Vacancy Announcement #2-VLC-S15 in your cover letter. Applicants should send a (1) cover letter, (2) resume, (3) writing sample, and (4) a list of three references, preferably by e-mail (in PDF format), to:
Alexa Roggenkamp, Esq.
Co-Director, Law Clerk Program
Office of Vaccine Litigation
Torts Branch, Civil Division
U.S. Department of Justice
P.O. Box 146
Washington, D.C. 20044
No telephone calls please. PLEASE FORWARD LAW SCHOOL TRANSCRIPT WHEN IT BECOMES AVAILABLE.
The positions are unpaid.
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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, 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 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.