Law Student Volunteer, Academic Year and Summer, Criminal & National Security Divisions

Criminal & National Security Divisions
Law Student Volunteer, Academic Year
Los Angeles, CA 90012
United States
About the Office: 

The USAO for the Central District of California provides extern opportunities to law students during the fall and spring semesters as well as summer.  Duty is on a volunteer (non-paid) basis.

Job Description: 

Assignments may include assisting attorneys with legal research, drafting legal memoranda and appellate briefs, and assisting in trial preparation.  Externs are given the opportunity to attend trials and other court proceedings and participate in law enforcement training exercises.  Externs who have already completed courses in evidence and criminal procedure and qualify to practice under the district court's student practice rules appear in court to argue motions or to try petty offense or misdemeanor cases before a magistrate judge.

Internship Locations: 

Minimum Weeks Required:  10 weeks    Summer: Full time

Web Site:  


First-year (second semester) second- or third-year law students. Class ranking in the top 25%.  Criminal procedure and evidence preferred.  Must pass a federal background check and be a United States citizen

Work-study credit possible.
Application Process: 

Law students wishing to apply for an externship should submit a resume, cover letter, transcript, and writing sample to the division(s) of their choice, as indicated below. If applying to more than one division/office, please indicate preference.

Criminal Externship
Cassie Palmer
Assistant U.S. Attorney
Criminal & National Security Divisions
U.S. Courthouse, Suite 1212
312 N. Spring Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012

Carley Palmer
Assistant U.S. Attorney
Criminal & National Security Divisions
U.S. Courthouse, Suite 1403
312 N. Spring Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012

Veronica Alegria
Assistant U.S. Attorney
Criminal & National Security Divisions
U.S. Courthouse, Suite 1413
312 N. Spring Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012

Applicants must email their applications to and to indicate in the subject line when they would like to serve as an extern (e.g., “Application for Summer 2019”). During the fall and spring semesters, externs are expected to work at least three full days per week.

Riverside Branch Office
Eli Alcaraz
Assistant U.S. Attorney
3403 10th Street, Suite 200
Riverside, CA 92501

Applicants must email their applications to and to indicate in the subject line when they would like to serve as an extern (e.g., “Application for Summer 2019”); the Riverside office only has extern positions available in the Criminal Division

Santa Ana Branch Office
Rosalind Wang
Assistant U.S. Attorney
411 West 4th Street, Suite 8000
Santa Ana, CA 92701

Applicants must email their applications to and to indicate in the subject line when they would like to serve as an extern (e.g., “Application for Summer 2019”); the Santa Ana office only has extern positions available in the Criminal Division

Application Deadline:  Fall: March 15 /Spring: September 15/Summer: December 15

Number of Positions: 
Updated November 27, 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.