Externship Program for Law Clerks in EPA's Office of General Counsel (OGC)
OGC is committed to attracting a talented and diverse applicant pool interested in a dynamic and challenging federal experience. We are looking for students interested in a full-time or part-time externship beginning with the spring semester 2021.
OGC is the chief legal advisor to the EPA, the federal agency with primary responsibility for implementing the nation's environmental laws. OGC attorneys provide counsel to EPA policy makers on legal issues associated with implementing these environmental laws, as well as the laws governing the day-to-day operations of a federal agency. Approximately 185 attorneys work in OGC. Our principal office is located at EPA's headquarters complex in downtown Washington, DC.
OGC is organized by practice area into eleven law offices:
- The Air and Radiation Law Office provides legal support for EPA to reduce threats to public health and the environment by cleaning up the nation’s air and dealing with radiation issues.
- The Civil Rights and Finance Law Office provides legal counsel and legal services to EPA offices with respect to civil rights, equal employment opportunities, contracts, claims by and against the Agency, real and personal property, financial assistance awards, interagency agreements, and appropriations law.
- The Conflict Prevention and Resolution Center provides legal advice and counsel regarding the use of alternative dispute resolution (ADR), including protecting the confidentiality of dispute resolution communications. It is the home of the, EPA's national office for ADR, providing environmental ADR services, training, and collaborative problem solving and public engagement expertise for the entire Agency
- The Cross-Cutting Issues Law Office provides legal advice under the numerous federal statutes, Executive Orders, and policies that affect all EPA programs, including the Administrative Procedure Act, Environmental Justice, the National Environmental Policy Act, he Endangered Species Act, Indian law and Children's Health issues. The Office also provides a focal point for international environmental legal expertise and advice.
- The Ethics Office oversees all aspects of the Agency's ethics program, including the Standards of Ethical Conduct, conflicts of interest statutes, financial disclosure, ethics training and the Hatch Act.
- The External Civil Rights Compliance Office ensures that any entity that receives EPA funds complies with federal non-discrimination laws.
- The General Law Office functions as a boutique litigation group and provides advice and representation on issues relating to EPA operations in these areas: Information Law including Freedom of Information Act, Privacy Act, and the Federal Records Act; Labor and Employment Law, and Intellectual Property Law, including patent, trademark and copyright issues. Attorneys in this office litigate in administrative forums and in federal courts.
- The National Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Office is the principal advisor to the Agency’s General Counsel in performing the functions of the Agency’s Chief FOIA Officer. The NFO assists the General Counsel to implement Agency-wide responsibility for efficient and appropriate implementation and compliance with the FOIA.
- The Pesticides and Toxic Substances Law Office provides legal counsel and handles legal issues for the EPA programs that address pollution prevention, pesticides and toxic chemicals, and inform citizens about toxic releases in their communities.
- The Solid Waste and Emergency Response Law Office provides legal support for the Agency’s hazardous and solid waste programs and cleanup initiatives, including Superfund, the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, land revitalization (brownfields, federal facilities, oil spills, underground storage tanks), and the emergency response program.
- The Water Law Office provides legal support for Agency programs that ensure drinking water is safe; that restore and maintain oceans, watersheds, and their aquatic ecosystems to protect human health; support economic and recreational activities; and provide healthy habitat for fish, plants, and wildlife
Externs will be asked to perform legal research and writing assignments in support of EPA's environmental mission. We prefer second or third year students seeking academic credit as we cannot accept volunteer work. Externships may have flexible work schedules, but must keep a regular schedule and work up to full time 40 hours per week or part time 20 hours per week. The appointment will begin in January 2021.
For more information about OGC projects, please visit our website at http://www.epa.gov/ogc.
Who Should Apply?
OGC seeks law clerks with strong academic credentials who have a demonstrated interest in environmental, administrative, government operations, civil rights, or public interest law. The effectiveness of EPA's legal responsibilities depends upon the recruitment and hiring of excellent and diverse legal talent. We recognize the need for attorneys and legal interns of varied backgrounds and skills, and we offer an inclusive environment that relies on those diverse perspectives to ensure that we effectively serve the American people.
Students who participate in our programs will experience a new era of outreach and protection for communities historically underrepresented in EPA decision-making. The Agency is building strong working relationships with tribes, communities of color, economically distressed cities and towns, young people and others, but this is just a start. Therefore, we want to recruit the best, the brightest and most diverse candidates ever, and ensure that EPA continues to be a place for people who are talented, smart, and passionate about protecting the environment.
- Law clerks must be U.S. citizens.
- EPA is an equal opportunity employer. Selection for this student volunteer appointment will be based solely on merit without regard to race, color, religion, age, gender, national origin, political affiliation, disability, sexual orientation, marital or family status or other differences.
- Veterans are encouraged to apply.
- Law clerks for this program must be through a law school that has a full or part-time, for credit externship program.
OGC is committed to providing law clerks with a tremendous legal learning experience. Law clerks can expect to gain experience researching and writing about administrative, environmental, and general law issues. Law clerks also are assigned individual mentors and have opportunities to participate in client meetings, attend field trips, and improve professional skills.
How to Apply
To be considered for the spring 2021 semester, students should submit their application materials by October 30, 2020 via email (Cardwell.Rhonda@epa.gov) or mail to:
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Office of General Counsel
1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
WJC North, Room 4315G; Mail Code - 2311A
ATTN: Rhonda Cardwell
Washington, DC 20460
To be considered, students must submit their cover letter, resume, transcript, and writing sample to Rhonda Cardwell, OGC Extern Program Coordinator, at Cardwell.firstname.lastname@example.org.
OGC is sometimes able to conduct on-campus interviews at law schools in the Washington, D.C., area and, for other finalists, will offer either telephone interviews or in-person interviews at certain law schools. Travel expenses to interview locations will not be paid by EPA. EPA is committed to offering selectees with a semester-long professional development experience. We expect those who accept an offer to honor and adhere to their commitment. Please let us know if your school has any particular registration timelines EPA should be aware of.
Rhonda Cardwell, Externship Coordinator
Phone: (202) 564-5001