The Department of Defense (DoD) Office of the General Counsel
has an annual summer law clerk program, the “Office of the Secretary of Defense Honors Legal Internship Program,” which provides 1st
and 2nd year law students an opportunity to gain experience practicing law for the Federal government by working for DoD at the Pentagon.
The Internships are paid positions, with different salary rates for 1st and 2nd year law students.
The client, DoD, with over 3 million military members and civilian employees is one of the largest entities served by any group of attorneys in the world. Its mission,
to defend the United States, makes the practice of law within DoD a unique experience. Few organizations can
provide summer law clerks the diversity of practice areas and experiences that are available as an Office of the Secretary
of Defense Honors Legal Intern in the Office of the DoD General Counsel!
About Our Office:
The DoD Office of the General Counsel (OGC) is part
of the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD). The DoD General Counsel is appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate
and serves as the Chief Legal Officer of DoD, the legal advisor to the Secretary of Defense, and the Director of the Defense Legal
Services Agency (in which capacity he or she oversees the General Counsel Offices of over two dozen Defense Agencies and DoD Field Activities).
The DoD OGC is the highest level legal organization in DoD. While DoD as a whole has over 10,000 full-time and part-time civilian and military attorneys,
the DoD OGC itself employs approximately 100 attorneys.
What We Do:
The DoD OGC is responsible for advising high level policy makers in OSD.
In addition, the Office works closely with senior attorneys and policy makers
from the military departments, as well as the White House, Departments of Justice,
State, Treasury, and other Government agencies. The Office also frequently works on special projects for OSD.
The issues considered by DoD OGC are very broad and surprisingly diverse.
Not surprisingly, unique legal issues arise as a result of the national
security and military missions of DoD such as those involving international relations,
military operations, the Uniform Code of Military Justice, and intelligence
and counterintelligence policy. The office also advises in all practice areas
common to the practice of law in the federal government, including constitutional
issues, the acquisition process, the appropriations process, environmental law,
property law, administrative law, employee and labor management relations, information
disclosure (the Freedom of Information Act and the Privacy Act), government ethics,
legislation, litigation support, and review of investigations. Perhaps surprising
to those not familiar with DoD are the many legal questions arising from practice
areas that some may not immediately associate with DoD such as healthcare
(DoD runs it own hospital and health care system) and education law
(DoD operates its own K-12 school system for its dependents, as well
as a series of undergraduate, graduate, and post-graduate schools).
Other pages on this website provide more detail on the diverse practice areas of DoD OGC.
What You Can Expect to Do as an OSD Honors Legal Intern:
Within the Office, interns are usually assigned to one of eight
sub offices: Acquisition & Logistics; Environment and Installations;
Fiscal; International Affairs; Intelligence; Legal Counsel; Personnel
& Health Policy; and Standards of Conduct, or to the Offices of General
Counsel of a defense agency or DoD field activity.
Summer interns in the OSD Honors Legal Internship Program are given considerable
flexibility in their assignments. There are substantial opportunities to enhance
research and drafting skills by working in close association with members of DoD OGC.
Interns will assist in drafting and commenting on legislation, regulations,
congressional testimony, litigation materials, and legal opinions. Interns will
have the opportunity to assist in the process of formulating DoD legal policy on
high-profile topics of current interest.
Our intern program also includes visits to the U.S. Supreme Court, the U.S. Court
of Appeals for the Armed Forces, the Senate Armed Services Committee, various
military bases and Defense agencies or DoD field activities. In addition,
throughout the summer, senior attorneys within the DoD OGC describes to each
student his or her area of legal practice so the interns have a better understanding
of the variety of legal work performed within DoD OGC. In addition,
Presidential Appointees confirmed by the Senate also speak to the interns
about their respective areas of expertise and about policy at the Pentagon.
All of these program activities are intended to familiarize the interns with
both the mission of DoD and the practice of law by federal attorneys in general.
How to Apply:
An announcement with specific details of how to apply for the OSD Honors Legal
Internship Program in the following summer will be posted each year in September.
Please check back at that time for the addition of a link below for the announcement
of how to apply for the program.
** IMPORTANT UPDATE **
DUE TO AN ADMINISTRATIVE PROCESSING CHANGE, ALL APPLICANTS WHO WISH TO BE
CONSIDERED FOR A SUMMER 2013 HONORS INTERN POSITION MUST NOW APPLY THROUGH THE USAJOBS WEBSITE
This means that all 2L applicants who previously e-mailed their applications to DoD OGC must now go the USAJOBS website:2L JOB ANNOUNCEMENT and submit the required application materials again,
in accordance with the instructions on the USAJOBS website. 2Ls who did not previously apply are also welcome to submit
their applications for the first time through the USAJOBS website. All 2L applications must now be submitted by December 3, 2012 to be considered.
1L applications must also submit their applications through the USAJOBS website:1L JOB ANNOUNCEMENT by December 6, 2012.
Any applications previously e-mailed to DoD OGC must be resubmitted through the USAJOBS website to be considered.
1L applicants that have not yet e-mailed applications to DoD OGC should just submit their applications through the USAJOBS website.
All 1L applications must now be submitted by December 6, 2012 to be considered.
We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience.
GC Letter to Prospective Applicants