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Homeland Security

Office of the General Counsel's Law Student Volunteer Program


Program Name
Office of the General Counsel Law Student Volunteer Program
The Law Student Volunteer Program at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office of the General Counsel (OGC) is a volunteer program during the fall or spring semesters offering law students the opportunity to gain valuable professional experience and to earn academic credit while working in the headquarters Office of the General Counsel, located in Washington, D.C.

The General Counsel is the chief legal officer for DHS and oversees more than 1800 attorneys throughout the Department. OGC is responsible for ensuring that departmental activities comply with applicable legal requirements, and that the Department's efforts to secure the Nation are lawful and consistent with the civil rights and civil liberties of our citizens and residents.

Participants in the OGC Law Student Volunteer Program will work in one or more divisions in OGC headquarters which include the Ethics Law Division, the General Law Division, the Immigration Law Division, the Legal Counsel Division, the Management Division, the National Protection and Programs Law Division, the Operations and Enforcement Law Division, the Regulatory Affairs Law Division, and the Technology Programs Law Division. Volunteers may also have the opportunity to visit certain DHS operational sites in the Washington, D.C. area during their participation in the program.

Program Length
The anticipated length of the fall program is from August/September to December, and the anticipated length of the spring program is January to April/May. Volunteers are expected to work 16-20 hours per work-week. Applications for full-time volunteers are also accepted, and may be given preference over part-time volunteers.
Office of the General Counsel
Washington, D.C.
Eligibility Requirements
To be considered you must:
  • Be a U.S. citizen;
  • Be a rising 2L, rising 3L, or LLM student at the time of application;
  • Undergo a suitability determination by the DHS Office of the Chief Security Officer;
  • Demonstrate high academic achievement (GPA of 3.5 or higher required or top 1/3 of the class preferred);
  • Possess exceptional research, writing, and analytical skills; and
  • Demonstrate interest in homeland or national security law; this may be demonstrated through coursework that directly relates to the DHS mission or extracurricular activities; and
  • Enroll in at least one externship credit through your law schools and satisfy your law school's externship program requirements.
Application Deadline
Applications will be accepted for the fall Law Student Volunteer Program from March 15 through April 30. Applications for the spring Law Student Volunteer Program will be accepted from August 15 through September 30. Please note that in limited circumstances, fall volunteers may stay through the spring, subject to the discretion of OGC.
Application Requirements and How to Apply
Interested students must submit a cover email, resume, transcript, and two references to The following instructions must be followed in order for your application to be considered:
  • The subject line of your email must be: "[Last name first name] fall (or spring) Law Student Volunteer Program – [law division you prefer]"
  • The cover letter should specify the division(s) with which you would prefer to work and why. If you would be willing to work in any law division, please include that you are open to working in any of the law divisions in your cover letter and include "Open" in the subject line of your email: "fall (or spring) Law Student Volunteer Program – Open."
  • If you are interested in applying for more than one division, please submit a separate application for each division to which you are applying; applicants may apply to no more than three divisions.
  • The cover letter should also specify if you are available for full-time hours (32-40 hours/week) or part-time hours (16-20 hours/week).
  • The cover letter, resume, and transcript must be attached as three separate PDF attachments to your email. Documents should be titled with your last name, first name, and the document title (example: Doe John Resume, Doe John Cover Letter, Doe John Transcript). Please do not use commas in the labeling of your documents.
  • Only electronic submissions will be considered.

Cover letters should be addressed to:

Alexandra Edwards
Program Coordinator
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Office of the General Counsel

Writing samples will not be accepted but may be requested later during the application process. Please do not submit any application materials until the application period opens.

Who to Contact for Additional Information
Additional questions can be addressed to Alexandra Edwards, Office of the General Counsel, at Please note that applications will not be accepted if sent to this address. To apply for the OGC Law Student Volunteer Program, please follow the application instructions above.

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Program Objectives

The program offers law students the opportunity to gain valuable professional experience and to earn academic credit while working in the headquarters DHS Office of the General Counsel, located in Washington, D.C.

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Salary and Benefits

  • Law volunteers are unpaid and not entitled to benefits through the federal government as they are not federal employees.
  • Unpaid law volunteers are protected in the event of job related injuries under the Federal Torts Reform Act.
  • Relocation expenses and recruitment incentives are not paid for law volunteers.

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Last Published Date: August 15, 2014
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