Summer Law Clerk

Law Student Volunteer, Summer
700 Stewart Street, Suite 5220
Seattle, WA 98101
United States
About the Office: 

The United States Attorney's Office (USAO) for the Western District of Washington is responsible for representing the federal government in virtually all litigation involving the United States in the Western District of Washington (WDWA).  This includes criminal prosecutions for violations of federal law, civil lawsuits by and against the government, and actions to collect judgments and restitution on behalf of victims and taxpayers.  WDWA has an authorized strength of approximately 72 Assistant United States Attorneys (AUSAs).  The USAO is divided into two litigating Divisions (Criminal and Civil).  The USAO's main office is in Seattle, Washington, with a branch office located in Tacoma, Washington.

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: 

The United States Attorney’s Office will be appointing approximately 6 law students for our 2020 Summer Law Clerk program, based in Seattle and Tacoma. The program lasts for 8-10 weeks. These clerkships are performed on an unpaid - volunteer basis.

During the summer, our clerks work in all areas of the office, both civil and criminal divisions.  Law Clerks research and draft civil, trial and appellate briefs and motions.  The clerks work directly with Assistant U.S. Attorneys enabling them to meet and work with many different attorneys throughout the summer.  Each summer clerk also has one mentoring attorney who provides assistance and support consistently throughout the summer.

The Summer Law Clerk program also involves a series of “brown bag” lunches with a variety of speakers from the federal judicial/legal systems. In past years, speakers have included federal judges, public defenders, law enforcement agents, U.S. Marshals and probation officers.  We have sessions hosted by AUSAs on career paths, appellate clerkships, and interview skills.  We also regularly include the following opportunities:

  • A trip to the Federal Detention Center, operated by the Bureau of Prisons, in SeaTac, Washington;
  • A tour of the U.S. Marshals courthouse lock-up facilities;
  • A meeting with tribal prosecutors and investigators in one of the District’s 25 federally recognized tribes;
  • A firearms “shoot” with ATF agents;
  • A day of training in search warrant execution and takedowns;
  • A visit with the Joint Base Lewis McChord JAG unit.

Applications will be accepted from students who have completed either their first or second year of law school.  Applicants 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 U.S. citizen.

Externships are subject to and must pass a background investigation, which includes fingerprinting and a credit check.

Volunteer (uncompensated).
Occasional travel
Application Process: 

Each applicant packet must include:

  1. A cover letter describing your interest in an externship with the United States Attorney’s Office;
  2. Resume;
  3. Your most recent available academic transcript; and
  4. A writing sample.

Applications can be emailed (preferred) or mailed to the following addresses:

U.S. Attorney’s Office

ATTN:  Summer Law Clerk Committee

700 Stewart Street, Suite 5220

Seattle, WA 98101

Applications must be received by ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­January 17, 2020.

If you wish to apply for the externship program for credit at your law school, contact your respective Externship Coordinator at your law school to initiate the application process.

Application Deadline: 
Friday, January 17, 2020
Relocation Expenses: 
Relocation expenses are not authorized.
Number of Positions: 
Updated October 4, 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, 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.