Left Navigation

 Law Clerk Opportunities

OSC's Law Clerk Program provides challenging year-round remote and in-person training opportunities to motivated law students seeking to pursue a career in administrative law or government oversight and accountability. Some volunteer internships qualify either for course credit or as part of a law school's work-study program. Interested students can contact their law schools for specific requirements.

Students selected for the Summer Law Clerk Program will participate in an immersive 10-week program that provides students with valuable professional and networking opportunities. The program also allows students to learn about other small agencies, attend Merit System Protection Board (MSBP) hearings, and gain insight into the roles that attorneys play in the public sector.

As an OSC Law Clerk, duties will depend on the assigned Program Office. The selected candidates may be placed within one of the following Program Office's based on the office's function and the student's skill set, past work experience, and interest. Brief descriptions of OSC's divisions, offices, and units are below:

Immediate Office of the Special Counsel (IOSC). The Special Counsel and IOSC are responsible for policy-making and overall management of OSC. This responsibility encompasses supervision of the agency's congressional liaison and public affairs activities.

Law clerk duties include assisting front office staff with research projects, drafting memos, and reporting on important and/or relevant Congressional hearings. IOSC law clerks will be exposed to all of OSC's programmatic functions and will be given a large breadth of experience with all of OSC's operations.

Case Review Division (CRD). The CRD is responsible for conducting the first line review of all disclosure and PPP complaints filed with OSC. CRD also performs the Office of the Clerk functions for OSC, which involves implementing the Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI), Privacy, Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), and Records Management programs, and providing legal or policy advice to agency officials on matters related to these programs.

Law clerk duties include assisting in the screening of new allegations to ensure that disclosures and PPP complaints within OSC's jurisdiction are directed to the appropriate program units for further action.

Investigation and Prosecution Division (IPD). The IPD is responsible for investigating allegations of PPPs in the Federal workforce, particularly allegations of whistleblower reprisal. The IPD engages in both informal resolution of complaints and prosecution before the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) to seek corrective and/or disciplinary action. 

Law clerk duties include conducting initial review of complaints to identify the legal issues involved; drafting letters and memoranda explaining legal conclusions; assisting attorneys in the investigation and litigation of cases, including developing case strategy, reviewing documentary evidence, and interviewing witnesses; and conducting legal research involving the interpretation or application of court opinions, executive orders, regulations, rules, and administrative decisions.

Disclosure Unit (DU). The DU conducts legal analysis of all disclosures of information of a violation of law, rule, rule, or regulation, gross mismanagement, a gross waste of funds, an abuse of authority, a substantial and specific danger to public health and or safety, and censorship related to scientific research. The DU is responsible for reviewing and analyzing cases on a broad spectrum of topics from whistleblowers nationwide. Through review of information provided in the disclosure, interviews with whistleblowers, and review and research of relevant agency laws, rule, and regulations, the DU determines whether the statutory threshold is met for investigation under 5 U.S.C. § 1213.

Law clerk duties include an initial review of the disclosure, review of documents provided by the whistleblower, participating in whistleblower interviews, analyzing factual and legal issues, conducting legal research, drafting supporting memoranda and closure and referral correspondence for DU staff attorneys.

Retaliation and Disclosure Unit (RDU). The RDU handles cases in which a single complainant alleges both whistleblower disclosures and retaliation. OSC created the RDU to streamline its processes and provide a single point of contact for complainants with multiple claims. The RDU performs the full range of action in these cases, including the referral of whistleblower disclosures to agencies and the investigation and prosecution of related retaliation, and other PPP claims, where appropriate.

Law clerk duties include reviewing disclosures and PPP complaints to identify the legal and/or factual issues involved; identifying missing information needed for the proper disposition of a case; drafting letters and memoranda explaining legal conclusions or case recommendations; assisting attorneys in the investigation and litigation of cases, including developing case strategy, reviewing documentary evidence, and interviewing witnesses; and conducting legal research involving the interpretation or application of court opinions, executive orders, regulations, rules, and administrative decisions.

Hatch Act Unit (HAU). The HAU investigates and resolves complaints of unlawful political activity under the Hatch Act and may seek corrective and disciplinary action informally as well as before the MSPB. HAU also provides issues advisory opinions under the Hatch Act.

Law clerk duties include assisting attorneys in the investigation and litigation of cases; researching and drafting memoranda on statutory interpretation; analyzing legal issues in cases; and drafting letters and memoranda explaining legal conclusions.

Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Unit. The ADR Unit conducts mediation for selected PPP and Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Act cases. The Unit also serves as the agency experts in negotiation, communication, and settlement.

Law clerks are involved in all stages of mediation, from determining whether cases are suitable for mediation, contacting the mediation parties for various requests, drafting mediation correspondence to send to the parties, to assisting OSC neutrals during the mediation. Candidates must have taken a mediation course or have equivalent experience.

Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) Unit. The USERRA Unit is responsible for enforcing USERRA, which protects veterans and service members from employment discrimination and provides for their job reinstatement following military duty. OSC reviews USERRA complaints against Federal executive agencies referred from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) to determine whether to pursue corrective action on a veteran's or service member's behalf before the MSPB.

Law clerk duties include reviewing DOL investigative files to determine if there is sufficient evidence to seek corrective action; obtaining and analyzing additional information from agencies, complainants, or third parties to assist in making those determinations; conducting legal research and analysis of novel issues of law;  making recommendations to senior attorneys and OSC leadership about individual cases; assisting with litigation before the MSPB; participating in settlement negotiations; and providing training and technical assistance to Congress, the public, and other stakeholders.

Diversity, Outreach & Training (DOT) Unit. DOT is responsible for developing, conducting, and overseeing external whistleblower training for all federal supervisors and maintaining OSC's Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Program, which includes managing the federally mandated Special Emphasis Programs, the anti-harassment program, and providing guidance on reasonable accommodation. DOT also directs and manages the voluntary 2302(c) Certification Program to assist agencies in meeting the statutory mandate of 5 U.S.C. 2302(c), which requires agencies to inform their workforce about whistleblower rights and remedies and prevent violations of PPPs.

Law clerk duties include assisting with nationwide training, responding to questions about agency training requirements and the 2302(c) Certification Program, devising innovative methods to educate the largest number of federal employees possible, and drafting educational materials for public use. Law clerks may also assist with updating internal documents in compliance with EEO laws, rules, and regulations.

Office of General Counsel (OGC). The Office of General Counsel provides legal advice to OSC program areas. In addition, attorneys in this office are responsible for OSC's Freedom of Information Act and Privacy Act programs, for defending OSC in litigation in federal court, and for advising on any area of law that may affect a federal agency, such as ethics, appropriations or information security.


Full-time and part-time law students who have completed at least two full semesters of legal study are eligible to apply. Candidates who are selected for the fall or spring semester must commit to working no fewer than 16 hours a week for a minimum of 12 weeks. Candidates selected for the summer must commit to working no fewer than 35 hours a week for a minimum of 10 weeks.


TermMin HoursApplications AcceptedProgram Begins/Ends
Fall16Deadline: July 21September-December
Spring16Deadline: November 1January-May
Summer35Deadline: February 17May-August

 **If you missed the deadline, you may still submit your application for consideration. 


OSC accepts applications on a rolling basis. To be considered, please apply via USAJobs​.