About the Office of the General Counsel for the Department of Homeland Security
The General Counsel is the chief legal officer for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and oversees and integrates more than 1800 attorneys throughout DHS. The Office of the General Counsel (OGC) is responsible for ensuring that departmental activities comply with applicable legal requirements, as well as establishing that DHS' efforts to secure the Nation are consistent with the civil rights and civil liberties of our citizens and observe the rule of law. As one of the few elements within DHS that operates in every realm of the department, OGC provides legal advice on areas such as national security, immigration, litigation, international law, intellectual property, maritime safety and security, transportation security, border security law, cyber security, fiscal and appropriations law, federal procurement, and environmental law. OGC also provides legal services in several areas where the law intersects with the achievement of mission goals, such as the coordination of the DHS' rulemaking activities, managing interdepartmental clearance of proposed legislation, and providing legal training for law enforcement officers.
OGC is comprised of nine law divisions at OGC Headquarters in Washington, D.C. and eight component legal offices with attorneys located both at their headquarters offices in the Washington, D.C. area and around the country at regional offices. The headquarters law divisions are: Ethics, General Law, Immigration, Intelligence, Legal Counsel, Operations and Enforcement, National Protection and Programs, Regulatory Affairs, and Technology Programs. Our eight component legal offices include the Counsel’s Office for the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA), Transportation Security Administration (TSA), U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), U.S. Coast Guard (USCG), U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and the U.S. Secret Service (USSS).
About Our Summer Law Intern Program
The Summer Law Intern Program is a competitive program under OPM’s Pathways Program for compensated positions in OGC at DHS headquarters located in Washington D.C. Summer Law Interns may expect to be assigned positions which offer both valuable experience and substantial individual responsibility. Successful candidates are hired to work in OGC in Washington, D.C. on a term appointment not to exceed September 1, 2014. During the course of the summer, Law Interns will have the opportunity to work in one or more of the nine legal divisions within OGC headquarters: Immigration, General Law, Intelligence, Legal Counsel, Technology Programs, Regulatory Affairs, Ethics, Operations & Enforcement, and National Protection and Programs. They may interact with clients, attend legislative hearings, and meet with attorneys and representatives from other agencies over the course of the summer.
Only U.S. citizens are eligible for employment in DHS’ Summer Law Intern Program.
The Summer Law Intern Program is open to second-year law students, as well as third-year law students in four-year programs at accredited schools. OGC may also consider eligible first-year law students starting December 1 of the application year, contingent upon available vacancies.
DHS selects candidates based on multiple factors including:
- Academic achievement (GPA of 3.0 or higher or Top 1/3 of the class preferred)*;
- Exceptional research, writing and analytical skills; and
- Demonstrated involvement in activities beyond required coursework is encouraged.
Application Process and Deadlines
DHS will accept applications from 2L and 3L candidates for the 2014 DHS Summer Law Intern Program from August 15, 2013 until October 1, 2013. Candidates are asked to apply through the announcement on www.usajobs.gov.
Interested 1Ls may visit www.usajobs.gov starting December 1, 2013 to see if an announcement is posted, which would indicate that DHS will accept applications from 1Ls. Hiring of 1Ls is dependent on available vacancies.
OGC will make its hiring decisions in January/February 2014. Subject to budgetary or security clearance issues individuals selected for the Summer Law Intern Program can expect to commence employment with DHS after Memorial Day following the completion of their spring semester.
Additional questions can be addressed to Alexandra Edwards, Office of the General Counsel at Alexandra.Edwards@hq.dhs.gov. Due to the volume of interested applicants each year we are not able to address telephone calls.
The United States Government does not discriminate in employment on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, political affiliation, sexual orientation, marital status, disability, age, membership in an employee organization, or other non-merit factor.
The DHS Summer Law Program does not fall under Executive Order 13562 which refers to OPM’s Pathways Program.
* We understand that not all law schools follow a standard GPA or class ranking and will consult with those schools to ensure consistent review and consideration.