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Legal Careers

Legal Extern, 2023 -2024 Academic Year

Hiring Organization
USAO Western District of Washington
Hiring Office
United States Attorney's Office, Western District of Washington
700 Stewart Street, Suite 5220
Seattle, WA 98101 - United States
About the Office

The United States Attorney's Office hosts law student externs each academic term, August through June, with preference for students from the University of Washington Law School and Seattle University Law School.  Law school externs receive academic credits from their respective law schools based on the educational experience they gain from their work in the United States Attorney's Office. Per law school accreditation requirements, students who work in, and receive academic credits through, extern programs may not be paid for that externship.

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 student externs participate in the work of various Assistant U.S. Attorneys (AUSA) in the Civil and Criminal Divisions under the guidance of AUSA Field Supervisors.  Externs have the opportunity to work on a variety of civil and criminal cases, predominantly conducting legal research and drafting legal memoranda.  Depending on the activities of the office at the time, externs may also participate in preparations for, and attend, discovery conferences, depositions, mediations, court hearings, witness interviews, and trials. 


Must have successfully completed at least one year of law school.  Must have superior research and writing skills, be detail oriented, be dedicated to upholding and advancing justice and human rights, and have a commitment to fairness and integrity.  Must be a United States Citizen.

Externs are subject to and must pass a background investigation.  This includes fingerprinting, drug testing, a credit check, and completing a security questionnaire.

Application Process

Each application packet to the United States Attorney's Office for the Western District of Washington must include:

  1. A cover letter describing your interest in an externship with the United States Attorney's Office for the Western District of Washington;
  2. A resume;
  3. Your most recent available academic transcript; and
  4. A writing sample.


Extern Applicants from Seattle area law schools:

Seattle University

Students with Seattle University School of Law must initiate their application through the Law School’s Externship Program, at

The AUSA Field Supervisor for Seattle University students is AUSA Jocelyn Cooney. She can be reached at 206-718-4712 or

Applications must be submitted by the Externship Program to AUSA Jocelyn Cooney by the following dates:

Fall Semester:  May 15 of the prior Spring

Spring Semester:  October 15 of the prior Fall

University of Washington

Information on the externship program is posted for each quarter on the UW Career Service’s website, SCS Online.  Applicants may apply for the position through SCS Online or may apply directly by emailing or mailing application materials to:

AUSA Kristen Vogel, Field Supervisor

UW Externship Program

U.S. Attorney’s Office

700 Stewart Street, Suite 5220

Seattle, WA 98101

Applications from the University of Washington must be received by the following dates: 

Fall Quarter: May 15 of the prior Spring

Winter Quarter: October 15 of the prior Fall

Spring Quarter: January 15 of the prior Winter.

Extern Applicants from non-Seattle area law schools:

For law students attending a non-Seattle area school who are interested in this Office’s externship program, initiate your application through your school’s externship office and/or follow the externship office’s procedures for applying for an externship.  Students may submit their application, along with a copy of their school’s externship office placement requirements, to AUSA Field Supervisors Jocelyn Cooney and Kristen Vogel for the application to be considered.  The application must be received by the Field Supervisors at least three months prior to the school term for which the externship is to begin.


Volunteer (Uncompensated)

Number of Positions
2 or more
Minimum travel to other offices in the district.
Relocation Expenses
Relocation expenses will not 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 September 22, 2023