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Summer Law Clerk Program

About the Office:  The United States Attorney's Office (USAO) for the Western District of Washington is responsible for representing the federal government in virtually all litigation involving the United States in the Western District of Washington (WDWA).  This includes criminal prosecutions for violations of federal law, civil lawsuits by and against the government, actions to collect judgments and restitution on behalf of victims and taxpayers, and civil rights litigation.  The USAO has both a Criminal Division and a Civil Division and approximately 70 Assistant United States Attorneys (AUSAs). The USAO’s main office is in Seattle, Washington, and a branch office is located in Tacoma, Washington.

Job Description:  The United States Attorney’s Office accepts up to 6 law students for our summer law clerk program. The program lasts a minimum of eight weeks, with a preference for a ten-week commitment.  Because the clerkships are performed on an unpaid, volunteer basis, they are primarily intended for students who have completed their first year of law school and are interested in experiencing legal practice in a public-service environment.  Students who have completed their second year of law school will be considered on a case-by-case basis. While this position is open to all law students, the USAO for the Western District of Washington specifically encourages individuals with a connection to the Pacific Northwest to apply.

During the summer, our clerks work in both the Civil and Criminal Divisions.  Law clerks research and draft pretrial, trial, and appellate briefs and motions.  The clerks work directly with AUSAs on both short and long-term projects.  During the summer law clerks have opportunities to observe trials, motions and settlement conferences, and appellate arguments.  Each summer clerk also has one mentoring attorney who provides assistance and support consistently throughout the summer

The program also provides opportunities for law clerks to meet with a variety of speakers from the federal legal system. In past years, speakers have included federal judges, public defenders, law enforcement agents, United States Marshals, and probation officers.  We also host sessions with AUSAs on career paths, appellate clerkships, and interview skills.  We also regularly include the following opportunities:

  • A visit with military Judge Advocates (JAG Corps) and tour of military facilities.  
  • A day of training in search warrant execution and takedowns. 
  • DEA force training.
  • A meeting with tribal prosecutors and investigators in one of the District’s 25 federally recognized tribes. 
  • A tour of the U.S. Marshals courthouse lock-up facilities


QualificationsApplications will be accepted from students who have completed either their first or second year of law school.  Applicants must have superior research and writing skills, be detail oriented, be dedicated to upholding and advancing justice and human rights, and have a commitment to fairness and integrity. 

  • Must be a U.S. citizen.
  • Must meet DOJ residency requirements (must have lived in the United States for 3 of the last 5 years. Must be cumulative. Does not have to be consecutive).

Before any offer is finalized, law clerks are subject to and must pass a background investigation, which includes fingerprinting, drug testing, a credit check, and completing a security questionnaire.

Salary:  Volunteer (uncompensated). 

LocationSeattle/Tacoma, Washington.

Application Process and Deadline Date: Each applicant packet must include the following in a single PDF document (preferably in the order listed below):

  1. A cover letter describing your interest in working as a law clerk with the United States Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Washington;
  2. Resume;
  3. Your most recent available academic transcript; and
  4. A writing sample.


Applications can be emailed (preferred) or mailed to the following addresses:

U.S. Attorney’s Office
ATTN:  Summer Law Clerk Committee
700 Stewart Street, Suite 5220
Seattle, WA 98101

If you wish to apply for the externship program for credit at your law school, contact your respective Externship Coordinator at your law school to initiate the application process.

Applications will be considered on a rolling basis starting on January 2, 2024.  Applications submitted after January 16, 2024, will not be considered.

Number of Positions:  Up to 6.

Updated December 28, 2023