Volunteer Undergraduate and Law Student Internships with OIG's Office of Chief Counsel

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Office of Chief Counsel

The Office of Chief Counsel serves as an advisor to OIG management on a wide variety of issues. Among other responsibilities, the Office of Chief Counsel:

  • Advises OIG auditors and investigators on legal questions;
  • Works with the U.S. Department of Justice on litigation;
  • Manages OIG’s ethics and FOIA programs; and
  • Represents OIG in administrative legal proceedings before the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission and the Merit Systems Protection Board.

Undergraduate Internship

Our undergraduate internship provides college juniors and seniors insight into the Federal government. Interns will work alongside OIG attorneys, providing research and other support.     

Examples of past responsibilities include:

  • Working with government managers, including the Chief Counsel;
  • Tracking, analyzing, and briefing OIG officials on high-profile and landmark transportation-related legislation in Congress;
  • Attending congressional hearings and Supreme Court arguments;
  • Crafting legislative memoranda and briefs of committee hearings;
  • Supporting attorneys with litigation projects involving research, testimony preparation, and transcription;
  • Conducting research using LexisNexis, Westlaw, Thomas, and various Congress-specific news sources;
  • Assisting in the creation of presentations for meetings, training, and conferences;
  • Working with attorneys to assemble comments from the government-wide OIG community on specific projects; and
  • Processing Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests.

Students in the program gain enhanced skills and knowledge, explore career options in the Federal government, acquire hands-on legal skills and experience, expand their networks in the Federal sector and transportation industry, and gain insight into the role of Federal agencies and Congress. In addition, we encourage students to expand their professional network and experiential basis by participating in any number of extracurricular programs designed for interns working in the Federal government. Both summer and academic-year internships are available under this program on an on-going basis. The program includes an 8-week summer term and 12- to 15-week fall and spring terms and will accommodate varying academic schedules. 

Applying for an Undergraduate Internship

We select interns from a pool of highly qualified undergraduates. Successful applicants must have well-developed problem-solving skills, excellent writing ability, a professional demeanor, and the ability to work in a team environment. We evaluate candidates based on a number of factors including:

  • Grade point average (minimum 3.0 GPA);
  • Writing ability; and
  • Demonstrated achievement, character, and aptitude.  

Your application must include:

  • Cover Letter (noting desired start and end date, including the number of hours per week you could work);
  • Resume;
  • References (3) including contact information; and 
  • Transcript.

This is an unpaid internship, but we do offer transit benefits to pay for your commute to and from the office. Applicants must be a U.S. citizen and enrolled in an accredited undergraduate institution to apply. 

  • We offer fall, spring, and summer clerkships.
  • We will make accommodations for trimester schedules and varying academic calendars, and we will consider part-time schedule requests.
  • The application process is structured around the following time frame:

Internship Term

Applications Accepted

Internship Begins/Ends

Spring

Rolling Basis

January 5–April 20 (approx.)

Summer

June 8–August 8 (approx.)

Fall

September 1–December 15 (approx.)

 

Electronic submissions are preferred and should be sent to Legal.Intern@oig.dot.gov. If you have any questions about the application process, please call 202-366-8751 and ask to speak with the Legal Intern Coordinator.

Law-Student Clerkship

Because OIG is a law-enforcement agency with broad oversight authority, our office offers an experience that is unique within Federal government. From the investigative side, law students will have an opportunity to gain experience in criminal law from the investigative stage through prosecution. Law clerks play a key role in researching high-profile and challenging questions of law regarding DOT programs. The Office of Chief Counsel has been involved in key issues such as the Recovery Act, cross-border trucking under the North American Free Trade Agreement, and other major transportation legislation. Given the mission of the OIG, law clerks may also gain experience with government-wide laws, regulations, and policies regarding government contracts, ethics, grants, information technology security, and privacy issues.

In addition to the investigation- and audit-specific support role, our office serves as “in-house” counsel for the OIG, a government agency with approximately 400 employees. The legal support role and environment is unique to government administration but has wide-reaching transferability across the public and private sectors.

Examples of past responsibilities include:

  • Conducting research and drafting memoranda on legal issues that arise in OIG’s audits and investigations including:
    • Whistleblower protections available to transportation industry workers,
    • DOT’s oversight over programs administered by state agencies,
    • The impact of an agency’s failure to follow Federal acquisition rules, and
    • The use of copyrighted material in government reports;
  • Participate in and prepare for decision-making meetings on OIG audits;
  • Working with the attorneys in the development of legal training;
  • Drafting summaries of pending legislation with a focus on provisions that impact the OIG and its areas of interest; 
  • Assisting attorneys with FOIA requests and drafting FOIA appeal decisions;
  • Assisting with preparing senior officials for Congressional testimony;
  • Drafting motions in Federal court and administrative bodies such as the EEOC and MSPB; 
  • Drafting referrals of criminal matters to the Department of Justice for prosecution; and
  • Assisting staff with administrative and clerical assignments including copy, scanning, assembling briefing binders and filing.

Applying for a Law-Student Clerkship

Our office seeks current law students with excellent verbal and written ability, strong analytical and interpersonal skills, and demonstrated achievement. We take a number of factors into account including academic performance, life experience, writing ability, and personality. 

Your application must include:

  • Cover Letter (noting desired start and end date, including the number of hours per week you could work);
  • Resume; 
  • Writing Sample (no longer than 15 pages);
  • References (3) including contact information; and 
  • Transcript. 

This is an unpaid internship, but we do offer transit benefits to pay for your commute to and from the office. Applicants must be a U.S. citizen and enrolled in an accredited law school to apply. 

  • We offer fall, spring, and summer clerkships.
  • We will make accommodations for trimester schedules and varying academic calendars, and we will consider part-time schedule requests.
  • The application process is structured around the following time frame:

Clerkship Term

Applications Accepted

Clerkship Begins/Ends

(all dates are approximate)

Spring

Rolling Basis

January 5–April 20

Summer

June 8–August 8

Fall

September 1–December 15

 

Electronic submissions are preferred and should be sent to Legal.Intern@oig.dot.gov. If you have any questions about the application process, please call 202-366-8751 and ask to speak with the Legal Intern Coordinator.

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