The Office of the Pardon Attorney offers internships during the academic year and the summer to law student interns. OPA will accept as many volunteer interns as it has space to accommodate.

About the Office: 

The Office of the Pardon Attorney assists the President in the exercise of executive clemency. Under the Constitution, the President’s clemency power extends only to federal criminal offenses. All requests for executive clemency for federal offenses are directed to the Pardon Attorney for investigation and review. The Pardon Attorney prepares the Department’s recommendation to the president for final disposition of each application. Executive clemency may take several forms, including pardon, commutation of sentence, remission of fine or restitution and reprieve.

Job Description:

Volunteer law interns will assist the Office’s attorneys and paralegals in case-processing tasks, such as obtaining the reports needed to evaluate a clemency case, building electronic case files, preparing drafts of reports to the President on selected cases, as well as preparing responses to correspondence. Special research projects may be assigned by Office attorneys as need dictates, and may include historical and legal research.

Qualifications & Requirements:

Second-year law students (Summer students must have completed their first year of law school by their start date). Must have word processing skills and ability to quickly learn new information technology. Students with an interest in criminal justice, constitutional law, administrative law, or prisoner rights would be good matches for the Office.

Interns during fall and spring semesters are expected to work a minimum of 16 hours per week with a 12-week commitment. Summer interns are expected to work 40 hours per week with a 10-week commitment.

Please note that participation as a student intern is contingent upon the satisfactory completion of a background investigation.


Uncompensated volunteers. OPA works with law schools that offer academic course credit and work-study. Relocation expenses will not be authorized.

How to Apply:

Application Deadlines:

Deadline for submitting applications for fall semester: June 1

Deadline for submitting applications for spring semester: October 1

Deadline for submitting applications for summer semester: March 1

All potential candidates should attach the following documents to their initial email and should be sure to include “Volunteer Law Internship for OPA” in the subject line:

  • Cover letter
  • Resume
  • Writing Sample
  • Transcript (Unofficial is acceptable)


Office of the Pardon Attorney
145 N Street N.E., Suite 5E.109
Washington, DC  20530
ATTN: Intern Coordinator


Applications that are received after the deadline or that do not have all of the required material (in PDF form) will not be considered.


Questions regarding internships, applications, or materials should be directed to:

The U.S. Department of Justice is an Equal Opportunity/Reasonable Accommodation Employer.



Updated March 9, 2018

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