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 1,800 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’s efforts to secure the Nation are lawful and consistent with the civil rights and civil liberties of our citizens and residents. Operating 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, cybersecurity, fiscal and appropriations law, federal procurement, and environmental law.
OGC also coordinates DHS’s rulemaking process, manages interdepartmental clearance of proposed legislation, and provides 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 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 Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Office of Chief Counsel, the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) Office of Chief Counsel, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) Office of Chief Counsel, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Office of Chief Counsel, the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) Office of the Judge Advocate General, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Office of Chief Counsel, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Office of the Principal Legal Advisor, and the U.S. Secret Service (USSS) Office of Chief Counsel.
About Our Summer Law Extern Program
The Summer Law Extern Program provides law students the opportunity to earn credit while working in unpaid, volunteer positions in the Office of the General Counsel at Department of Homeland Security headquarters located in Washington, D.C. DHS Summer Law Externs will be assigned positions that offer both valuable experience and substantial individual responsibility. During the course of the summer, Law Externs will have the opportunity to work in one or more of the nine legal divisions within OGC’s nine headquarters law divisions: Immigration, General Law, Intelligence, Legal Counsel, Technology Programs, Regulatory Affairs, Ethics, Operations and 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. Successful candidates are selected to work on a term appointment not to exceed September 1, 2014. Summer Law Externs are required to enroll in at least one externship credit through their law schools and must satisfy their law school’s externship program requirements.
Only U.S. citizens are eligible for employment in DHS’s Summer Law Extern Program.
The Summer Law Extern 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.
OGC selects candidates based on multiple factors including:
- Academic achievement (GPA of 3.3 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
OGC will accept applications for the 2014 Summer Law Extern Program from October 1, 2013 until November 15, 2013. Candidates are asked to submit a cover letter, resume, and law school transcript (unofficial copies will be accepted) to firstname.lastname@example.org. 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] Summer Law Extern Application.”
- 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.
- We will only accept electronic submissions.
You may include the following address in the cover letter that you submit by email:
Summer Law Extern Program Manager
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Office of the General Counsel
245 Murray Lane, Mail Stop 0485
Washington, D.C. 20528-0485
Writing samples and references 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 for 2013.
The OGC Selection Committee will conduct telephone interviews in December 2013 and January 2014. OGC will notify successful applicants in January 2014. All Summer Law Externs must be able to obtain a suitability clearance in order to work at DHS.
Additional questions can be addressed to Alexandra Edwards, Office of the General Counsel at email@example.com.
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.
We understand that not all law schools follow a standard GPA or class ranking and ask that candidates applying from such schools submit a grading or ranking explanation from the school.