Unpaid Law Student Volunteer, Academic Year- National Courts Section

National Courts Section
Law Student Volunteer, Academic Year
PO Box 480
Washington, DC 20044
United States
About the Office: 

The National Courts Section is one of the largest, oldest, and most active litigating sections in the Department of Justice.  Its primary mission is to protect taxpayer dollars in lawsuits brought against the U.S. Government.  The National Courts Section handles a variety of cases involving government contracts, international trade and tariff matters, constitutional claims, government pay and personnel suits, and veterans' and other benefits appeals before the United States Court of Federal Claims, the United States Court of International Trade, and the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (the "national courts").  In a sense, the National Courts Section is the "U.S. Attorney" in these specialized courts of national jurusdiction.  Because these courts exercise nationwide jurisdiction, National Courts Section attorneys often travel outside of Washington, DC for trials and other matters.  The National Courts Section also handles occasional matters in other federal district and circuit courts, as well as in administrative tribunals.  For more information about the section visit, http://www.justice.gov/civil/commercial/national-courts/c-natcourts.html




Job Description: 

Intern assignments closely equate to the work that is routinely performed by National Courts Section attorneys.  Typically, this means that interns will be utilized to research and draft appellate briefs, dispositive court motions (e.g., motions to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b), motions for summary judgment pusuant to Rule 56), and legal memoranda.  Interns may also be assigned to assist attorneys in all phases of trial preparation and trial, and may attend depositions, moot courts and oral arguments.

Weeks/Hours: Academic semester interns must commit to work a minimum of 15 hours per week for a period of at least 10 weeks during the semester.


Must have completed at least one year of law school by the start date of the internship. Top third of class preferred. Candidates must undergo a background investigation. Candidates must also be U.S. citizens or nationals, and must have resided in the United States for at least three of the past five years.

Work-study credit possible. Transit subsidy is available. The positions are unpaid.
Application Process: 

Applicants should submit a cover letter, resume, law school transcript (official or unofficial), and a brief writing sample to nationalcourts.interns@usdoj.gov.  Applications are accepted on a rolling basis, but positions are typically filled by May for the fall semester, and by October for the spring semester.

Relocation Expenses: 
Number of Positions: 
5 per semester
Updated April 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 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 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.