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Summer Legal Intern

Law Student Volunteer, Summer
615 Chestnut Street
Suite 1250
Philadelphia, PA 19106
United States
About the Office: 

United States Attorney William M. McSwain leads the United States Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, one of the largest in the country with 130 Assistant United States Attorneys (AUSAs) currently on staff. There are 105 non-attorney positions in the office. The USAO is located at
615 Chestnut Street in downtown Philadelphia, one block from the Federal Courthouse and overlooking the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall. The office is divided into three divisions: Criminal, Civil, and Administration, whose Chiefs report to the United States Attorney William M. McSwain.

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 offers unpaid summer internships for students in law school. The internship program is nine or ten weeks long and begins shortly after Memorial Day. Interns are assigned to work on either criminal or civil matters, although it is usually possible to work on both types of cases during the summer if that is desired.

The program allows interns to work on and observe cases litigated in the United States District Court and the Third Circuit Court of Appeals. Interns participate with Assistant United States Attorneys in all phases of litigation, from investigations through trial and appeal.

Interns also attend training sessions in which they learn relevant skills and hear from various participants in the criminal justice system. The speakers include judges and staff members of this office. When possible, the office also sponsors field trips to locations (such as prisons and local courthouses) relevant to the prosecution of criminal cases.

The office participates in work study programs but does not provide any matching funds.

If you have questions about the program or the application process described below, please call Assistant United States Attorney Richard W. Goldberg at 215-861-8200.


To be hired, an applicant must be:

  • currently enrolled in a law school
  • a United States citizen
  • selected by the internship committee
  • successfully cleared following a background check undertaken by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (which includes inquiry into illegal drug use and bad debts)


The summer internship program is open to all currently enrolled law students (1st year, 2nd year, 3rd year attending at night or part time). It is not open to those who have already graduated law school.

Uncompensated. The office will work with law schools that offer academic course credit or work study.
Application Process: 

Applications consist of a cover letter and a resume (a resume submitted through a law school placement office is also sufficient). If not submitted through a law school placement office, applications must be post-marked or hand delivered no later than January 25, 2019. to:

Richard W. Goldberg
Assistant U.S. Attorney
615 Chestnut Street
Suite 1250
Philadelphia, PA 19106

  • Applications submitted by e-mail will not be considered.
  • The internship committee selects candidates to interview from the resumes submitted. Please do not call the office to attempt to arrange an interview as this is not how candidates are selected for interview.  If you are not attending a Philadelphia area school but are going to be in the Philadelphia area on particular dates, please specify those dates in your cover letter.
  • Candidates who are interviewed are asked to provide at the interview a law school transcript and writing sample.
  • Candidates selected by the committee must provide information for a Federal Bureau of Investigation background check.
  • Final approval for all applicants is then obtained from the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C.
Application Deadline: 
Friday, January 25, 2019
Number of Positions: 
Updated November 9, 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 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.