Spring 2020 Law Clerk

Washington, D.C.
Law Student Volunteer, Academic Year
150 M ST NE
Washington, DC 20002
United States
About the Office: 

The Environment and Natural Resources Division (ENRD) litigates in five key areas:

  • Pollution
  • Natural Resources and Public Lands
  • Wildlife
  • Indian Resources
  • Land Acquisition

ENRD’s attorneys represent federal agencies by preparing and arguing civil and criminal enforcement cases and by defending challenged federal agency actions under more than 100 federal laws. Cases handled by ENRD are at the cutting edge of environmental and natural resources law. The Division’s work protects our environment for future generations.

Our office places a high value on diversity of experiences and perspectives and encourages applications from all qualified men and women from all ethnic and racial backgrounds, veterans, LGBT individuals, and persons with disabilities.
Job Description: 

Law Clerks assist the Division’s lawyers in litigating cases in Federal district and appellate courts. Responsibilities typically include conducting legal research and helping to draft pleadings, discovery documents, and memoranda of law 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. 

Using the section application form, law clerks may select which of ENRD's nine litigating sections they wish to review their application. Any number from one to nine may be selected. To learn more about ENRD's sections and their work, visit https://www.justice.gov/enrd/internships and download the "Section Overviews" pamphlet.


ENRD is seeking students with:

  • Strong academic accomplishments
  • Strong research and writing skills
  • An interest in one of ENRD’s five key areas, in litigation, and/or in public interest law

In addition, applicants must:

  • Be U.S. citizens
  • Successfully complete a background check prior to appointment
  • Have been residents 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.
Volunteer only; ENRD will work with law schools that offer academic course credit or work-study. Travel reimbursement is available to law clerks.
Application Process: 

Apply for a volunteer legal internship in Washington, DC by submitting via email to applyintern.enrd@usdoj.gov the following materials:

1. Section application form (posted at www.justice.gov/enrd/internships)

2. Cover letter stating hours/days available to work;

3. Resume (which includes your country of citizenship);

4. Writing sample;

5. Copy of your most recent transcript (official or unofficial);

6. Three references with contact information, including telephone and email (letters of recommendation not required).

Specify the year and term (i.e., Spring 2020) that you're applying for in your application and in the subject line of your application email. You must apply separately for each term. Positions will be filled on a rolling basis. 

Application Deadline: 
Wednesday, September 25, 2019
Relocation Expenses: 
Number of Positions: 
Updated August 1, 2019

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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, protected genetic information, pregnancy, status as a parent, or any other nonmerit-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 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.