Post-Graduate Public Interest Opportunities for Rising 3Ls

If you are a 3L interested in pursuing a unique post-graduate position that will give you an edge in your public interest career path, the following opportunities might be right for you.  Anyone interested in applying for any of these opportunities should contact Shannon O’Bryan in the Career Center as soon as possible.      

The Attorney General’s Honors Program

The Attorney General’s Honors Program is the largest and most prestigious federal entry-level attorney hiring program of its kind.  Various components and U.S. Attorneys’ Offices hire entry-level attorneys through the Honors Program, and the number of entry-level attorney positions varies from year to year.  The Honors Program is centrally managed by the Office of Attorney Recruitment and Management, but each participating component reviews the applications submitted and makes independent hiring decisions.  Selections are made based on many elements of a candidate’s background including a demonstrated commitment to government service, academic achievement, leadership, law review or moot court experience, legal aid and clinical experience, past employment, and extracurricular activities that relate to the work of Justice and the relevant component.

If you are interested in starting your career as an entry-level attorney with the Department of Justice, you must apply through the Attorney General’s Honors Program via an on-line application.  The application period for employment beginning in 2017 is open now and closes on September 6, 2016.  Interested applicants should review the application tips and checklist and assemble requested information before starting the online application [external link].  If you need an accommodation in order to complete the application, please contact Deana Willis at (202) 514-3397 for assistance.  For technical assistance in submitting your application, please contact the AVUE Help Desk via Live Chat at the top right of the screen within the Avue Platform (available Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. until 8 p.m., Eastern Daylight Time).

Equal Justice Works Fellowships

Equal Justice Works (“EJW”) has helped launch the public interest careers of more than a thousand attorneys through its paid postgraduate public interest fellowship programs. These fellowship programs fund hundreds of public interest attorneys each year to close the justice gap on issues such as unemployment, foreclosure, community economic development, immigration, civil rights, homelessness, access to healthcare, and domestic violence.

EJW Fellowships provide the opportunity for lawyers to positively affect vulnerable communities around the country through new and innovative legal projects that can impact lives and serve communities in desperate need of legal assistance.  Together with a host organization, Fellows design a unique project which focuses on legal advocacy on behalf of disenfranchised individuals, groups or issues not adequately represented in our legal system.  The host organization must be willing to be the Fellow’s employer during the term of the two-year fellowship, meet salary requirements, and provide supervision, a work space, employee health and fringe benefits, and the materials (computer, internet access, phone, etc.) necessary to successfully complete the project.  EJW reviews the applications and selects projects that can be matched with potential sponsors.  Sponsors determine whom they would like to interview and ultimately choose the Fellow.

Depending on funding, EJW typically provides between 45-55 two-year fellowships annually supported by the sponsorships of major law firms and Fortune 500 companies. Fellows receive a competitive salary, generous loan repayment assistance, connections to their prominent sponsors, participation in trainings, and additional support during their two-year tenure.  Click here to learn more about current Fellows and their projects!

The application is available now on the EJW website and must be submitted online by 4 p.m. CST on September 16, 2016.  Prospective applicants are strongly encouraged to review the application guide, create a profile, and draft an application well in advance of the September deadline to get a sense for how the online application form works.  Online drafts can be saved and updated on an ongoing basis until the deadline.  You should also watch the EJW’s free webinar titled “How to Create a Successful Application for an Equal Justice Works Fellowship.”

Becoming an EJW Fellow is highly competitive, and decisions are made on a rolling basis, so it is best to submit applications as soon as possible.  Note that bar passage is not required at the time the application is due; however, bar passage within the first fellowship year is required if determined necessary by the host organization and by the nature of the project.

Presidential Management Fellows

The Presidential Management Fellows Program (“PMF”) is a flagship leadership development program administered by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management designed to attract outstanding candidates to Federal service.  PMF is a rigorous two-year paid program which includes 160 hours of interactive training each year, a mandatory 4-6 month developmental assignment, optional rotations of 1-6 months, challenging work assignments, potential for accelerated promotions, and opportunities to network with other future leaders.  More than 80 Federal agencies hire Fellows and provide exposure to domestic and international issues.  During a panel regarding post-graduate job opportunities within the Federal government, PMFs were described as “total rock stars” and that they “seem to be on a golden path”.

The application is an arduous, multi-phase process that takes patience and endurance, but it also gives you a chance to demonstrate your leadership ability and potential.  The first step in successfully becoming a PMF is paying attention to the details of the annual application and assessment process.  For detailed eligibility requirements, check out the Eligibility webpage.  Once the application period opens, it will appear on USAJOBSThe application is typically open for two weeks in the fall (September or October) and closes at 11:59 PM (Eastern Standard Time) on the last day. Review the Application Process to learn about all the steps to apply.  The application takes 2-3 hours to complete, so do not wait until the last minute!

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