Student Volunteer

Housing & Civil Enforcement Section
Law Student Volunteer, Academic Year
Washington, DC 20530
United States
17-VOL-001
About the Office: 

The Civil Rights Division (“CRT” or “Division”) of the Department of Justice (“Department”), created by the enactment of the Civil Rights Act of 1957, works to uphold the civil and constitutional rights of all Americans, particularly some of the most vulnerable members of our society. The Division is primarily responsible for enforcing federal statutes and executive orders that prohibit, among other things, unlawful discrimination in education, employment, housing, police service, public accommodations and facilities, voting, and federally funded and conducted programs. The Division also has jurisdiction to enforce constitutional prohibitions on certain conduct by law enforcement agencies and public residential institutions, such as health care and correctional facilities.

The Housing and Civil Enforcement Section (HCE) enforces five federal civil rights statutes:

• the Fair Housing Act, which prohibits discrimination in housing;

• the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, which prohibits discrimination in credit;

Title II of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination in certain places of public accommodation, such as hotels, restaurants, nightclubs and theaters;

• the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act, which prohibits local governments from adopting or enforcing land use regulations that discriminate against religious assemblies and institutions or which unjustifiably burden religious exercise; and

• the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, which provides for the temporary suspension of judicial and administrative proceedings and civil protections in areas such as housing, credit and taxes for military personnel while they are on active duty.

Job Description: 

Legal interns have the opportunity to get hands-on experience in investigating and litigating civil rights cases under the diverse array of laws that HCE enforces. In the past, legal interns have performed a wide variety of tasks, including:

• interviewing witnesses;

• researching legal issues;

• participating in trial strategy sessions;

• reviewing documents;

• attending mediations; and

• drafting memoranda, complaints, motions, and briefs under the supervision of attorneys.

HCE accepts part-time and full-time volunteer legal interns for the fall and spring semesters, and full-time legal interns for the summer. For the fall and spring semesters, HCE prefers candidates who can commit to at least 20 hours per week. For the summer, HCE prefers candidates who can commit to 40 hours per week for a minimum of ten weeks. HCE does not currently accept applications from undergraduate students.

Qualifications: 

Interns are assigned an attorney-mentor, and they also work closely with the attorneys for whom they complete assignments. HCE accepts interns for each semester (or equivalent) of the academic year and for the summer. For academic semester internships, HCE prefers applicants who can commit at least 20 hours per week for a minimum of ten weeks. For summer internships, HCE asks that applicants commit 40 hours per week for a minimum of ten weeks.

Salary: 
Student Volunteer (Uncompensated)
Travel: 
Some travel
Application Process: 

Interested students should submit a resume, brief writing sample (no more than 10 pages of their own work), transcript (unofficial is acceptable), a list of three references, and a cover letter highlighting their qualifications, interest, and experience in the work of the Division and the Housing and Civil Enforcement Section, as well as the dates/time period they are available to work. Any applicant eligible for veterans’ preference is encouraged to include that information in their cover letter or resume and to attach supporting documentation to their submissions.

Interested students should submit a resume, brief writing sample (no more than 10 pages of their own work), transcript (unofficial is acceptable), a list of three references, and a cover letter highlighting their qualifications, interest, and experience in the work of the Division and the Housing and Civil Enforcement Section, as well as the dates/time period they are available to work. Any applicant eligible for veterans’ preference is encouraged to include that information in their cover letter or resume and to attach s

Applications are considered on a rolling basis, and positions, particularly for summer interns, may be filled quickly. Applicants are encouraged to apply early in the process. Applications for HCE should be emailed to crt.volunteervacancies-HCE@usdoj.gov.

  • Summer Interns: Applications from 2Ls will be considered from October 15 through March 1 (and from 1Ls from December 1 through March 1).

  • Fall Semester: Applications will be considered from March 1 through August 1.

  • Spring Semester: Applications will be considered from August 1 through December 15.

Application Deadline: 
Monday, December 14, 2020
Relocation Expenses: 
Not authorized
Number of Positions: 
2-8
Updated September 15, 2017

*         *         *

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 targeted/severe disabilities are encouraged to register for the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Shared List of People with Disabilities (the Bender Disability Employment Registry) by submitting their resume to resume@benderconsult.com and referencing "Federal Career Opportunities" in the subject line.  Additional information about the Bender Registry is available at www.benderconsult.com.  Individuals with disabilities may also contact one of the Department’s Disability Points of Contact (DPOC).  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 who have lived outside the United States for two or more of the past five years will likely have difficulty being approved for appointments by the Department Security Staff. The two-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.

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).

 

*         *         *

 

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.