job search

Want to work for the federal government? Here’s how!

The federal government has approximately 111,700 employees working in the legal field, including attorneys, law clerks, paralegal specialists, and contract representatives.  Even more employees with JDs work in policy-related positions, legislative liaison roles, etc.

In July 2012, the government implemented its new Pathways programs, streamlined developmental programs aimed at employment opportunities for students and recent graduates in the federal workforce.


The Pathways Internship Program provides paid internship opportunities for current students to work in federal agencies. Students who successfully complete the program may be eligible for conversion to a permanent job in the civil service. Internships are administered by each individual agency, but some agencies must post opportunities on, making searching for these opportunities easier while others post internship positions directly on their website.

The Government Honors & Internship Guide, published by the University of Arizona College of Law, is a great resource for learning more about government internships and keeping track of deadlines.  The Guide, available at includes information on opportunities at a number of federal agencies. The OCPD maintains an annual subscription – contact us for login information.

Entry-Level Positions

There are essentially three ways to obtain an entry-level position with the federal government: (1) the new Recent Graduates Program, part of the Pathways programs; (2) Honors Programs; and (3) the Presidential Management Fellows (PMF) program.

Pathways Recent Graduates Program: This program is intended to streamline hiring for recent graduates.  Students are eligible for the program for up to two years after graduation. The program lasts for one year (unless the training requirements of the position warrant a longer and more structured training program). All agencies are required to provide the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) with information about available positions, and OPM posts the information publicly on about how to apply for specific positions.

Honors Programs: Many federal agencies (including the Department of Justice) hire new attorneys primarily through Honors Programs. These usually require a two-year commitment, after which participants convert to permanent federal employees. The Government Honors and Internship Guide (see above for details) is the most comprehensive resource for these programs.

Presidential Management Fellows (PMF): This is a competitive program that recruits students with graduate-level degrees to policy and management jobs (not attorney positions) in the federal government. Students are eligible to apply in their final year of graduate school or up to two years after receiving their degrees. As part of the Pathways Program, the federal government has streamlined the process and reinvigorated the PMF program for 2012-13. More detailed information is available at (The website has not yet been updated with the application process for the Class of 2013, but last year’s application process began in mid-September). You can subscribe to the PMF listserv to receive updates and keep track of key dates.

For additional detailed information on opportunities with the federal government, consult the 2012-13 Federal Legal Employment Opportunities Guide and additional federal career resources available at

Finding Success in a Tough Legal Market

The Office of Career & Professional Development presents:

Finding Success in a Tough Legal Market: Advice & Perspectives from Richard L. Hermann, Esq., professor, author and speaker

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


Room 1312 – Courtroom

A program to discuss the effect of the economy on various legal employment settings and to offer suggestions to students on how you can achieve success in the job search.

Richard L. Hermann, Esq. is a graduate of Yale University and Cornell Law School. His diverse professional background includes:

·         Legal Consultant, US Department of Justice, Defense, & FEMA

·         US Army Judge Advocate General’s Corps, JAG Officer

·         US Department of Energy, Attorney

·         US Department of Defense, Attorney

·         National Public Radio (NPR), Legal Commentator

Mr. Hermann is currently a law professor and an accomplished author, blogger, op-ed columnist and sought-after speaker on topics related to legal careers and the legal market.  Some of his books include:

From Lemons to Lemonade in the New Legal Job Market:

Winning Job Search Strategies for Entry-Level Attorneys

Landing a Federal Legal Job: Solving the US Government Job Market

 Managing Your Legal Career: Best Practices for Creating the Career You Want

The Lawyer’s Guide to Job Security: How to Keep Your Job – and Make the Most of It– in Good Times and Bad

The Lawyer’s Guide to Finding Success in Any Job Market

Mr. Hermann’s presentation will draw from his career, as well as all of his books including his forthcoming ABA book, Back to Nature: Practicing Law in Small-Town America.

Books will be available for purchase (student discount with student ID) outside of the courtroom, before and after the program.

Book Signing Times: 11:15-11:50am and 12:50-1:30pm

Please RSVP for the presentation by clicking the Events tab and finding this program in Symplicity by Friday, September 7th to reserve lunch. This program is a career education program for the 1L Career & Professional Development Certificate of Completion.

Equal Justice Works Fellowship Applications – Deadline is Sept. 18!

The Equal Justice Works Fellowships Program provides financial and other forms of support to lawyers working on innovative legal projects in nonprofit organizations across the country.  The two-year Fellowships offer salary (up to $41,000 annually) and generous loan repayment assistance; a national training and leadership development program; and other forms of support during the term of the Fellowship.

As you may know, Equal Justice Works recruits law firms, corporations, bar associations, foundations, and individuals to fund the majority of our Fellowships.  We refer to these funding partners as “sponsors.”

We receive applications proposing projects in a wide range of subject matter and geographic areas.  This year, we have particular sponsor interest without geographic constraint in several unique issue areas: Corporate Accountability Veterans Issues Economic Justice/ Economic Opportunity (poverty alleviation, community benefit agreements, tax reform, sustainable development, microfinance) Business Incubators Access to Education Issues STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) Education

We therefore strongly encourage candidates that are interested in working on these issues beginning next fall to consider submitting an application.

The application deadline is September 18, 2012, 5 p.m. EDT.

If you have any questions, please email Sarah Snik, Program Manager for Fellowships, at or call (202)466-3686 ext. 107.


General Information about 2013 Equal Justice Works Fellowship Application Process

The 2013 Equal Justice Works Fellowships application is available at  To review the application form, you must create a profile and an application name.  All applications will be assessed according to the quality of the proposed project, the host organization and the individual candidate, in addition to consideration of other factors such as issue area and geographic diversity.  Interviews will be conducted nationwide throughout the fall and winter, and offers will be extended on a rolling basis.

Equal Justice Works encourages sponsors to establish relationships with their Fellows from the beginning of the selection process and continue and grow these relationships throughout the Fellowship tenure.  To facilitate this process, sponsors participate in the selection of the Fellows.  Some sponsors will consider strong proposals located anywhere in the country and/or focused on any issue.  However, many sponsors provide us with geographic or issue area preferences for their Fellowships (typically projects based in cities in which they have offices or on issues of interest) and then participate in the interviews.  As previously mentioned, we have recruited sponsors who have expressed an interest in funding 2013 Equal Justice Works Fellows working on the particular issue areas included above.

Equal Justice Works SummerCorps Application is Open!

Don’t miss out on this summer funding opportunity!

Summer Corps is now accepting online applications for the 2012 program.  The deadline to apply is March 23, 2012 at 11:59 p.m. EDT.

Summer Corps is an AmeriCorps-funded program that will provide law students with the opportunity to earn a Segal AmeriCorps Education Award for dedicating their summer to a qualifying legal project at a nonprofit public interest organization. Summer Corps members may also serve at organizations that currently host Equal Justice Works AmeriCorps Legal Fellows and traditional Equal Justice Works Fellows.
As part of the 2012 Summer Corps program, 711 members:

  • Gain first-hand experience and legal skills in areas such as client intake, representation and legal research and writing;
  • Earn a $1,175 AmeriCorps education award voucher upon completion of 300 hours of service that can be used to pay current educational expenses or qualified student loans;
  • Have access to Equal Justice Works’ network of alumni, experience and expertise as the nation’s largest provider of public interest opportunities for law students and attorneys; and
  • Become an official member of AmeriCorps, one of the largest national service networks in U.S. history.

For more information, or to apply, visit

FREE Webinar: The Summer Public Interest Job Search

NALP and Equal Justice Works have teamed up to offer students this FREE webinar with insight into the key elements of the summer public interest job application process.  Attorneys with years of experience will highlight do’s and don’ts, explain how and why public interest application materials may differ from law firm materials, and explore the dynamics of personal interactions in interviews and networking situations.

If you are looking for work in the public sector, don’t miss out on this valuable information and advice!

Part 1: Wednesday, January 25  at 3pm: Best Practices in Drafting Cover Letters & Resumes

Part 2: Wednesday, February 1 at 12pm: Best Practices in Interviewing & In-Person Networking


To register, go to

For more information, visit

Finding & Funding Your Summer Job – Tuesday, January 24 at noon

Don’t miss this presentation next week:

Want to get details on the summer PILO grant application process or hear from students about how they found and funded their summer jobs last year?  

Finding & Funding Your Summer Job

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

12:00 – 12:50 pm in the Courtroom


A panel of six students will discuss their summer job search process and methods of financing their summer work experience. The summer grant application process for PILO and work study grants will be described, along with other financing options/resources. Lunch will be served to those who RSVP in Symplicity by 3pm Friday, January 20th,  but please bring your own drink.

**This is a required program for 1Ls; you do not need to RSVP.

The panelists include: 

Tiffany Chadwick (’12) US Department of the Interior, Office of the Solicitor, Intermountain Regional Office, Salt Lake City, UT

Melissa Evett (’13) Lee County District Attorney’s Office, Sanford, NC

Allison McCowan (’13) Judicial Intern for the Honorable Chief Justice Myron T. Steele, Supreme Court of Delaware, Dover, DE

Brittany Speas (’12) Forsyth County Public Defender’s Office, Winston-Salem, NC

Villy Stolper (’13) Legal Aid of North Carolina, Winston-Salem, NC

Scott Villarreal (’12) Dallas County Public Defender’s Office, Dallas, TX


Grant application forms will be available in the Office of Career & Professional Development as well as on the Intranet, after the program.

Don’t miss these deadlines!

The OCPD has compiled a list of job postings on Symplicity with late December and early January deadlines.  As you leave town for winter break, don’t miss out on these job opportunities!

You can find a list of employers in our Winter Break newsletter below.  Check Symplicity for detailed job postings.

Winter Break Deadline Reminders

Making the Most of Your Winter Break

As the semester is winding down, it is important to think about ways to make the most out of your time off over winter break. These few weeks off provide a great opportunity for you to work on your career plans without the time demands that you face throughout the semester.

Here are several things to do over winter break to make effective use of your time.

Finalize your resume and cover letter. You’ve probably already met with your career coach (and if you haven’t yet, try to fit it in before break!). Use your down time to make sure your resume and cover letter are polished, incorporate suggestions from your career coach, and be ready to hit the ground running in January.

Set up informational interviews. Winter break is a great time to meet with professionals in the field(s) that interest you.  Start researching employers as soon as possible, then contact them to set up a time to meet during your break.  Keep in mind that many people take time off over the holidays, so the sooner you contact them to schedule a meeting, the better.  Also, try to be as flexible as possible as to the day and time of your meeting to make it convenient for the professional.  Don’t forget to follow up by sending a personal note to the person who took the time to meet with you.

Set up a job shadowing opportunity. Ever wonder what asset securitization lawyers do all day? Following one around might be the perfect opportunity to determine what type of practice you’re drawn to.

Join professional associations. Affiliating with professional associations provides access to networking contacts, educational opportunities, and information about local job markets.  Consider a student membership to the American Bar Association, your local bar association, and other specialty bars such as the American Intellectual Property Association or an association of women attorneys.  Most groups have a minimal cost for student membership.

Create a master job search “to do” list and develop a job search tracking method. This can be as simple as an Excel spreadsheet or Word chart, including the name of the employer, contact information, date of application, and notes on follow-up.  See page 41 of your Career Planning Guide for an example.

Visit prospective employers – If you are applying for jobs at home, your winter break is a good time to follow up in person with potential employers.  An in-person visit to the employer’s office can leave a lasting impression and can make you stand out from other candidates.  Of course, you want to make sure that you are leaving a positive lasting impression, so be sure to dress professionally and be considerate of the employer’s time.

Check e-mail and Symplicity over break. The OCPD staff will continue to update job postings over break and may send out emails with important announcements.

This article and more detailed advice can be found in the OCPD weekly newsletters:

1L Newsletter4

2L Newsletter11

3L Newsletter11

REMINDER: Application Deadline for PAID NC State Government Internships

Applications for the North Carolina Summer 2012 Internship Program must be postmarked by December 5, 2011.

North Carolina residents attending a college, university, technical institute or community college can apply for one of up to 55 paid state government internships available for summer 2012. The 2012 State Government Internship Guide describing all available opportunities and rules is now online at

The State Government Internship Program offers students real-world experience in a wide range of state government workplaces. Internships provide opportunities for students to work in their chosen field and to consider careers in public service. More than 3,500 students have participated since the program was established in 1969.

Paid summer internships are available in locations across the state. They provide North Carolina students with a compensated professional work experience that integrates education, career development and public service. Opportunities exist in numerous recognized fields of study, from architecture to zoology.  Interns earn a stipend of $8.25 per hour and work 40 hours per week for 10 weeks in the summer.

All internships will begin on May 29, 2012, and conclude on Aug. 3, 2012. Interns also participate in seminars, tours or other activities designed to broaden their perspective of public service and state government.

To be eligible for the program, a student must be a permanent North Carolina resident with an overall grade-point average of 2.5 or better on a 4.0 scale.  Applicants must be continuing their education in the fall following their participation in the program.  To qualify for a position designated for law interns, a student must have completed at least one year of law school before the beginning of the internship.  Students having previously held paid internships at the Youth Advocacy and Involvement Office are not eligible to apply.

Interns are selected through a competitive process overseen by the N.C. Internship Council. Selection is based on a review of applications by the Council, student interviews with prospective supervisors, academic records, participation in extracurricular activities and interest in state government.

Note that applications for summer 2012 internships are due earlier than in previous years. Applications must be postmarked by Monday, Dec. 5 to be considered. For details, visit or call the Youth Advocacy and Involvement Office in the N.C. Department of Administration at 919-807-4400.

Use Thanksgiving to Help Your Job Search…

If you’re going home for Thanksgiving, here are three effortless things you can do to further your job search.

You might be asking, how can Thanksgiving dinner help with my job search? Can’t I just enjoy my turkey and football and not think about the job market for one day? Of course you can.  But there are a couple of simple things you can do that don’t require leaving the comfort of your home – you never know what might pay off!

First, tell people that you are looking for a job. You should be doing this anyway.  Your kooky Aunt Sally might just happen to know someone in the field of your interest.

Second, share what you’ve been learning.  You can pull this off without seeming obnoxious.  For example, if the turkey is dry, don’t start talking about what section of the UCC you can sue under.  But if there’s a subject you enjoy, getting into a debate with your cousins about it might just highlight an area of practice that interests you and help you focus your job search.

Finally, manage the expectations of your family and friends. Are you feeling pressure from them about the job search? Do their expectations seem unrealistic? Be up front about your plan and tell them about your strategy.

Most importantly, don’t forget to enjoy the holiday! Take the time to listen to what’s going on in other people’s lives and get some perspective on life outside of law school.

More information is included in the OCPD weekly newsletters, available here:

1L Newsletter2

2L Newsletter9

3L Newsletter9