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Legal Careers in EPA's Office of General Counsel (OGC)

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Why Work at OGC?

We believe that there is no better place than EPA OGC for attorneys who want to practice public sector general or environmental law! OGC offers both junior and senior lawyers exciting and challenging legal work, and an outstanding opportunity to advance the nation’s environmental policies. For example:

  • OGC lawyers work on novel, cutting-edge legal issues that impact how EPA carries out its mission. Through their work in counseling Agency program offices and litigating legal issues of first impression in federal courts, OGC attorneys have a major role in shaping federal environmental law.
  • OGC lawyers are given extraordinary responsibility early in their careers. Individual attorneys are often responsible for providing legal advice on environmental programs affecting public health and the environment across the nation.
  • OGC lawyers quickly become highly proficient in particular areas of general or environmental law. Even at an early stage in their careers, they are recognized as legal experts both inside and outside the Agency.

OGC attorneys are generally responsible for providing all types of legal support, including legal advice on not only the Agency’s policy development process, rulemaking, and legislation, but also on contracts, grants, managing property and money, protecting EPA's intellectual property, advising on eDiscovery, records, information issues, working with EPA's employees, and litigation support. As a result, OGC lawyers have an opportunity to use and perfect a wide array of lawyering skills, including brief and memo writing, client relationship skills, and legislative and regulatory drafting.

OGC offers excellent opportunities for professional growth and development not generally available in the private sector, including excellent training opportunities (for example, in-house continuing legal education and brown-bag sessions, and the opportunity to attend courses at EPA’s Trial Advocacy Institute and OPM’s Federal Executive Institute) and the chance to work temporarily in other legal and non-legal positions at EPA, as well as other federal and state agencies.

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Paths to OGC Employment

OGC is seeking attorneys with excellent analytical and writing abilities, a strong commitment to public service, effective “people” skills, and an ability to take on significant responsibility.

  • Extern Program:  The extern program is a volunteer program during the academic year.  These opportunities are available to second- and third-year law students and LLM candidates seeking academic credit.  To be considered, students must submit their cover letter, resume, transcript, and writing sample to Rhonda Cardwell, OGC Extern Program Coordinator, at  For additional information or questions, please contact Rhonda Cardwell at (202) 564-5001. View information on how to apply to the Extern Program.

Extern Program Coordinator
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Office of General Counsel
1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W. (2311A)
Washington, D.C. 20460

(Please note: the above address is for postal mail only. For delivery by FedEx, UPS, etc. use the same street address but change the ZIP code to 20004.)

  • Summer Honors Program:  The Summer Honors Program is the primary vehicle used by OGC to recruit law students for attorney positions. View information on how to apply to the Summer Honors Program.

  • Honors Fellowship Program:  OGC offers a two-year Honors Legal Fellowship for applicants who:
    • are about to graduate from law school, or
    • have completed a judicial clerkship, or
    • have prior law experience within two to three years of graduation from an ABA-accredited law school.
    OGC is seeking applicants with excellent analytical and writing abilities, a strong commitment to public service, effective "people" skills, and an ability to take on significant responsibility. View information on how to apply to the Honors Fellowship Program.

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