Legal Intern

United States Attorneys Office, SDNY
Law Student Volunteer, Summer
One Saint Andrews Plaza
86 Chambers street
NY, NY 10007
United States
About the Office: 

The U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of New York has jurisdiction over the New York City boroughs of Manhattan and the Bronx, as well as Dutchess, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Sullivan, and Westchester counties. AUSAs in its Criminal Division prosecute a wide range of federal cases involving, among other things, terrorism, white collar and cybercrime, mortgage fraud, public corruption, gang violence, organized crime, international narcotics trafficking, and criminal civil rights violations. AUSAs in its Civil Division handle a challenging caseload of affirmative and defensive cases in a broad array of subject matters, including civil rights enforcement, environmental protection, health care and financial fraud, national security issues, tax and bankruptcy cases, challenges to administrative or regulatory actions, constitutional claims, immigration matters, and all varieties of tort and employment discrimination claims against the federal government. AUSAs are assigned to either the Criminal Division or Civil Division. The USAO’s main office is located in Manhattan, and its branch office is located in White Plains, NY.

Job Description: 

The Office offers an unpaid summer internship program for first-year and second-year law students. Students are placed in either the Criminal or Civil Division and participate in a wide range of work alongside Assistant U.S. Attorneys. The Office also hosts a variety of summer events, such as training sessions and brown bag lunches, designed to educate interns about the legal profession in general and government lawyering specifically. Interns must commit to working a minimum of 8-10 weeks. Interns are paired with one or two Assistants. Typical assignments include research and writing projects, participating in witness interviews, document analysis, assisting in preparing for depositions and oral arguments in court, and assisting with trials.


U.S. Citizen
Applicants must be U.S. citizens.

U.S. Residency Requirement
For three of the five years immediately prior to applying for an internship, the applicant must (i) have resided in the United States; (ii) have worked for the United States overseas in a federal or military capacity; or (iii) have been a dependent of a federal or military employee serving overseas.

Background Check
Students who have been preliminarily selected for an internship or externship position must thereafter supply information for a background check and be granted a favorable security clearance in order to work in this Office.

School Permission
Your law school must execute a Volunteer Agreement as part of the final clearance process for students who have been preliminarily selected for an internship or externship position.

No Payment
Internships and externships are unpaid. Summer interns may apply for stipends that are offered by private fellowship associations with funds administered by a committee of the Federal Bar Council. Further information concerning these stipends is made available at the time a student is preliminarily selected for the summer internship.

Conflict of Interest
Law student interns and externs cannot work for or be paid by another law firm or similar entity during the period of the internship or externship at the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Interns and externs are also prohibited from participating in any law school or other legal clinic involving litigation with or proceedings before the United States or any federal entity during the period of the internship or externship. Written consent from the U.S. Attorney’s Office is required to participate in any other type of law school or legal clinic, or in any other type of outside employment, during the period of the internship or externship.

These are uncompensated internships
No salary
Application Process: 

The Summer Internship Program is open only to first-year and second-year law students. Students may apply to only one division (Criminal or Civil). To apply, submit the following documents:

  1. A one-page cover letter explaining your interest in the internship and indicating the division to which you are applying
  2. Resume
  3. Your law school transcript (copies are acceptable)
  4. A writing sample – must be no longer than five pages

Second-year law students may apply during the period September 10– October 12, 2018 for the summer of 2019. Please submit the application materials noted above either online or by mail according to the instructions set forth below. Be sure to indicate whether you are applying to the Criminal or Civil Division in your cover letter and, if you are applying online, on the online form. If you would prefer to work in the Office’s Criminal Division in White Plains, please also indicate that in your cover letter and on the online form.

First-year law students may apply during the period December 20, 2018 – January 25, 2019 for the summer of 2019. Please submit the application materials noted above either online or by mail according to the instructions set forth below. Be sure to indicate whether you are applying to the Criminal or Civil Division in your cover letter and, if you are applying online, on the online form. If you would prefer to work in the Office’s Criminal Division in White Plains, please also indicate that in your cover letter and on the online form. Note: In order to complete their applications, first-year law students must provide their transcripts when they become available. First-year students must submit the other application materials within the timeframe provided.

Following submission of your application, the Office will determine whether to follow up with you for an interview. Interviews will be conducted via telephone.

Apply Online
To be considered for the summer internship, submit an e-mail to for the Criminal or White Plains Division or  for the Civil Division. You may only apply to one division! Attach your resume, a copy of your transcript, a writing sample of at most 5 pages in length, and a one-page cover letter explaining your interest in the Office.

To expedite the process, please have the e-mail formatted such that the subject line contains the name of your law school as well as the year you are currently in. In the body of the message, please include your last name, first name, e-mail, phone number, name of your law school, year of law school, and the division of interest.

Notes: Documents must be submitted in either Word, RTF, or PDF format. You must be a U.S. Citizen. The requirement for citizenship cannot be satisified by "Permanent Residency / Green Card" status. Unfortunately, if you are not a citizen, we cannot consider you.

Apply by Mail
Submit your application to:
U.S. Attorney’s Office, SDNY
Attn: Human Resources, Summer Intern
86 Chambers Street, NY, NY 10007

Application Deadline: 
Friday, January 25, 2019
Number of Positions: 
50 - 60
Updated October 18, 2018

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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 color, race, religion, national origin, political affiliation, marital status, disability (physical or mental), age, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, genetic information, status as a parent, membership or non-membership in an employee organization, on the basis of personal favoritism, or any other non-merit 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.

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 his  or her retirement was due to a permanent service-connected disability or that he/she was transferred to the permanent disability retired list (the statement or retirement orders must indicate that the disability is 10% or more).


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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.