Summer 2020, Criminal Division, Law Extern

Phoenix Criminal Division
Law Student Volunteer, Academic Year
2 Renaissance Square
40 North Central Avenue, Suite 1800
Phoenix, AZ 85004
United States
About the Office: 

The Criminal Division of the USAO for the District of Arizona has primary responsibility for prosecuting federal crimes in and relating to Arizona.  Our extensive criminal practice is broken into six sections:

(1) Violent Crimes (e.g., homicides and other violent offenses committed on Indian reservations, bank robberies, and firearms offenses);

(2) Financial Crimes (e.g., securities or mortgage fraud);

(3) Public Integrity (e.g., bribery of public officials);

(4) Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) (e.g., narcotics trafficking conspiracies);

(5) General Crimes (e.g., illegal re-entry of aliens after deportation, human trafficking, alien smuggling, and drug seizures at the ports of entry); and

(6) National Security (e.g., domestic and international terrorism, international smuggling and export violations, and economic espionage).  

We also have an appellate practice, which draws cases from the six groups described above.  We are seeking volunteer law student externs for the fall and spring semesters.  Law student externs have opportunities for direct involvement in all of our practice areas.

Job Description: 

Law student externs have unparalleled opportunities for direct, substantive involvement in federal criminal prosecution.  Our law student externs frequently complete the following assignments:  research legal issues in active cases; write briefs filed in the District Court or the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals; assist with trial preparation, evidence review, and witness interviews; observe hearings, jury selection, and trial; and contribute to a variety of other projects relating to federal criminal prosecution.  To ensure that all externs have a strong writing sample at the conclusion of their externship, all interested externs will author a pleading filed with the court, under the guidance of an Assistant United States Attorney.  Externs will receive assignments in as many different practice areas and with as many different attorneys as possible, providing exposure to a number of subject matters and styles of practice.  In addition to the externships discussed in this listing, there are externship opportunities in the Civil Division of the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Arizona.  Civil Division externship opportunities are described in a separate listing.


Internship Location: Phoenix

Minimum Weeks Required: Flexible.  Applicants who are available for at least 10 weeks will be preferred.

Web Site:


First-year, second-, or third-year of law school. Must be a U.S. citizen. Strong grades, and excellent research and writing skills. A background check (covering criminal and financial history, among other things) is required because of the sensitive nature of the work performed by the United States Attorney’s Office.

The clerkships are unpaid, and clerks will not receive benefits; however, the office will work with law schools that offer academic course credit.
Application Process: 

Applications should be e-mailed to and

Applications should include the following materials, all in one consolidated PDF file: (a) résumé, (b) law school transcript, (c) legal writing sample, (d) dates of availability, and (e) telephone number(s) where the applicant can be reached in the daytime and evenings. A cover letter is optional.

USAO District of Arizona

Criminal Division
2 Renaissance Square

40 N. Central Ave, Suite 1800
Phoenix, AZ 85004


Keith Vercauteren
Krista Wood


Email: &

Application Deadline:  Vacancies will be filled as applications are received, and the latest application will be received March 15, 2020.

Number of Positions: 
Updated October 3, 2019

*         *         *

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).


*         *         *


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.