Federal agencies that hire recent grads?

(On Campus Interviews, Summer Associate positions, Firm Reviews, Tips, ...)
Forum rules
Anonymous Posting

Anonymous posting is only appropriate when you are revealing sensitive employment related information about a firm, job, etc. You may anonymously respond on topic to these threads. Unacceptable uses include: harassing another user, joking around, testing the feature, or other things that are more appropriate in the lounge.

Failure to follow these rules will get you outed, warned, or banned.
sallygoodwin2

New
Posts: 6
Joined: Thu Aug 08, 2019 2:39 pm

Federal agencies that hire recent grads?

Post by sallygoodwin2 » Thu May 07, 2020 4:24 pm

I have the opportunity to intern at a federal agency in DC through my school (my school would reach out and set up interviews etc.). I would like to use this internship as a stepping stone to working for the government full-time post-grad. So I don't want to necessarily "waste" the internship at an agency or office that doesn't typically hire recent grads or doesn't typically have a lot of openings. I use the word "waste" hesitantly because I know every experience is valuable. But I was wondering if there are certain offices or agencies you know of that comport with the stated goal of getting hired fulltime (assuming that my work product and everything else is deserving of it). And let's say subject matter of the office or agency does not necessarily matter to me, what's most important is having the opportunity to work hard somewhere that will consider hiring me full time right out of law school. Thanks for any help or suggestions.

decimalsanddollars

Bronze
Posts: 415
Joined: Tue Jul 02, 2019 6:26 pm

Re: Federal agencies that hire recent grads?

Post by decimalsanddollars » Thu May 07, 2020 5:08 pm

I don't know of any federal agency that hires like this. Most federal agencies hire straight-out-of-law-school attorneys exclusively through Attorney Honors Programs.

The most famous (and one of the most competitive, depending on division and branch) is the DOJ Attorney General Honors Program, though which the DOJ hires for dozens of entry-level positions (although judicial clerkships are seen as an advantage over applicants without clerkships). Some of these divisions have a SLIP program (summer after 2L) that have some potential for "funneling"---that is, postgrad offers outside of the usual Honors Program slots to people who did a SLIP. Those vary year-to-year, and SLIP funnels are super competitive as well; you apply in early fall of 2L for the following summer. I'm assuming you're not doing one of those, based on how your internship thing is set up. Note that interning for a different federal agency can strengthen your DOJ Honors application, but it's not like DOJ is saving Honors slots for people who intern for, say, EPA or SEC. Very rarely---and I've only heard of this secondhand---a USAO will make a postgrad offer to an exceptional intern. I doubt you're doing that either, just based on how rare that is (if it exists)

Many other federal agencies have some sort of postgrad Honors Program, including the EPA, Dept of Interior, IRS, USPS, FTC (quite competitive), FCC, HUD, DOT (lowkey super competitive), CFPB, OCC, FDIC, and others, plus about a dozen state AG offices. For more info, you should ask your career office for access to the Arizona Handbook and similar job lists. Some of these have summer programs and internship opportunities, and interning for your target agency will make your Honors program application stand out, but I've never heard of these agencies reserving specific honors spots for former interns. Some agencies, like the SEC, are explicit in saying that their internship program won't yield a post-grad offer, and SEC isn't currently hiring people straight out of law school or clerkships.

tl;dr: your general idea about how fedgov straight-out hiring works is wrong, at least generally, but there are good reasons to do an internship with your target agency

Anonymous User
Posts: 351090
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Federal agencies that hire recent grads?

Post by Anonymous User » Thu May 07, 2020 6:29 pm

Why do you think DOT is low-key competitive? Not sure ppl are gunning for transportation law. I'm also interested in gov hiring.

Anonymous User
Posts: 351090
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Federal agencies that hire recent grads?

Post by Anonymous User » Thu May 07, 2020 7:34 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Why do you think DOT is low-key competitive? Not sure ppl are gunning for transportation law. I'm also interested in gov hiring.
DOT is not low-key competitive, it’s actually
competitive. A good friend was one of TWO honors hires in our class year out of over a thousand applicants. So yeah, F off with that ridiculous entitlement.

Anonymous User
Posts: 351090
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Federal agencies that hire recent grads?

Post by Anonymous User » Thu May 07, 2020 7:36 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Why do you think DOT is low-key competitive? Not sure ppl are gunning for transportation law. I'm also interested in gov hiring.
Because DOT oversees a lot of other federal agencies, and also because it's not JUST transportation law. Plenty of l&e, gov k, ethics, fiscal, admin etc issues with DOT and other big agencies. Also it seems like one of the more popular programs outside of DOJ, yet only hires 4-6 per year, so competition is stiff.

Want to continue reading?

Register now to search topics and post comments!

Absolutely FREE!


Libya

New
Posts: 97
Joined: Fri Dec 13, 2019 9:01 pm

Re: Federal agencies that hire recent grads?

Post by Libya » Thu May 07, 2020 7:40 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Why do you think DOT is low-key competitive? Not sure ppl are gunning for transportation law. I'm also interested in gov hiring.
assuming the positions generally convert into full-time jobs: job security, QOL, pension, good pay eventually, better reg/lit experience than you'd get as a junior? Don't know much about the program but I'd imagine honors program attorneys do more substantive work than biglaw junior associates. DOT seems like they do some decently interesting work too.

Anonymous User
Posts: 351090
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Federal agencies that hire recent grads?

Post by Anonymous User » Thu May 07, 2020 8:12 pm

Does DOT--or other honors programs for that matter-require as rigorous of a background check as DOJ honors? Asking specifically about drug use, which is why I'm anon (you can infer why I ask)

Anonymous User
Posts: 351090
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Federal agencies that hire recent grads?

Post by Anonymous User » Thu May 07, 2020 8:40 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Does DOT--or other honors programs for that matter-require as rigorous of a background check as DOJ honors? Asking specifically about drug use, which is why I'm anon (you can infer why I ask)
Some are more intrusive, some are less. Also highly dependent on the specific office within the agency, two offices can have different requirements.

nixy

Gold
Posts: 2698
Joined: Fri Feb 16, 2018 8:58 am

Re: Federal agencies that hire recent grads?

Post by nixy » Thu May 07, 2020 8:46 pm

decimalsanddollars wrote:tl;dr: your general idea about how fedgov straight-out hiring works is wrong, at least generally, but there are good reasons to do an internship with your target agency
Yeah, going back to the OP, this is absolutely correct.

Want to continue reading?

Register for access!

Did I mention it was FREE ?


Anonymous User
Posts: 351090
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Federal agencies that hire recent grads?

Post by Anonymous User » Thu May 07, 2020 9:00 pm

Any word of hiring freezes at any federal agencies yet?

Anonymous User
Posts: 351090
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Federal agencies that hire recent grads?

Post by Anonymous User » Thu May 07, 2020 10:34 pm

Not at mine, but the positions were allotted before the pandemic started.

The Lsat Airbender

Silver
Posts: 1074
Joined: Wed Jan 30, 2019 7:34 pm

Re: Federal agencies that hire recent grads?

Post by The Lsat Airbender » Thu May 07, 2020 11:19 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Why do you think DOT is low-key competitive? Not sure ppl are gunning for transportation law. I'm also interested in gov hiring.
Because DOT oversees a lot of other federal agencies, and also because it's not JUST transportation law. Plenty of l&e, gov k, ethics, fiscal, admin etc issues with DOT and other big agencies. Also it seems like one of the more popular programs outside of DOJ, yet only hires 4-6 per year, so competition is stiff.
The FAA in particular has a ton of employees, a huge budget, and amazing private-sector exit opps. Some of the other agencies are pretty cool too.
Anonymous User wrote:Does DOT--or other honors programs for that matter-require as rigorous of a background check as DOJ honors? Asking specifically about drug use, which is why I'm anon (you can infer why I ask)
Stop doing drugs ASAP if you want to work for the feds, including pot. Sorry for the boomer-y advice but that's just how it is.

decimalsanddollars

Bronze
Posts: 415
Joined: Tue Jul 02, 2019 6:26 pm

Re: Federal agencies that hire recent grads?

Post by decimalsanddollars » Fri May 08, 2020 10:00 am

The Lsat Airbender wrote:Stop doing drugs ASAP if you want to work for the feds, including pot. Sorry for the boomer-y advice but that's just how it is.
+1. Most agencies make you fill out an e-QIP SF-86, which asks you to disclose use of illegal drugs for the last 7 years. Most agencies that ask about this care about this, but it varies, and if you lie and they find out, it may ruin your career. The DOJ generally cares a lot, and intelligence/crim-focused subdivisions care the most (including USAOs but especially FBI). Note that "illegal" is based on federal law, not state law decriminalizing things like pot, so Airbender's advice to avoid pot and all other drugs ASAP is spot on.

Register now!

Resources to assist law school applicants, students & graduates.

It's still FREE!


historyminor

New
Posts: 17
Joined: Thu Sep 20, 2007 9:38 pm

Re: Federal agencies that hire recent grads?

Post by historyminor » Sat May 09, 2020 10:04 pm

I'd try CBP. They'll hire straight out of law school, have offices all over the country, and do a huge variety of work, only some of which is immigration. Folks pretty regularly lateral out to other agencies after a few years, so it's a great place to get a foot in the door. Some offices can be pressure cookers, but overall you can expect lots of responsibility and should be able to make an argument for getting a job at virtually any other agency.

Anonymous User
Posts: 351090
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Federal agencies that hire recent grads?

Post by Anonymous User » Sat May 09, 2020 11:14 pm

decimalsanddollars wrote:
Fri May 08, 2020 10:00 am
The Lsat Airbender wrote:Stop doing drugs ASAP if you want to work for the feds, including pot. Sorry for the boomer-y advice but that's just how it is.
+1. Most agencies make you fill out an e-QIP SF-86, which asks you to disclose use of illegal drugs for the last 7 years. Most agencies that ask about this care about this, but it varies, and if you lie and they find out, it may ruin your career. The DOJ generally cares a lot, and intelligence/crim-focused subdivisions care the most (including USAOs but especially FBI). Note that "illegal" is based on federal law, not state law decriminalizing things like pot, so Airbender's advice to avoid pot and all other drugs ASAP is spot on.
If intelligence (CIA/NSA/DSA) hiring for legal positions is anything like it is for analysts, it's pretty much zero tolerance I think. But disclose absolutely everything on the SF-86. And I third the advice to quit drugs immediately if you ever want to work for the feds.

deference

New
Posts: 28
Joined: Fri Dec 09, 2016 9:34 pm

Re: Federal agencies that hire recent grads?

Post by deference » Mon May 11, 2020 4:19 pm

First, you need to figure out how hiring works at your summer agency, and most likely, post-grad employment is not an assurance or even advertised.

Second, you're coming from the wrong angle, especially considering you don't care what type of law your agency practices. Kids who land entry level positions in agencies (outside of the honors programs) are students who have a focus in a particular type of law, and their resume screams that type of law. This should be your takeaway if you want to get into government. There are some agencies that do have "excepted" positions where they don't have an official entry level hiring program and can hire you straight out of law school, but those hired usually have a background and resume that makes sense to the agency hiring managers. E.g., why would an immigration agency want to hire a 4.0 GPA grad with a resume that screams some other type of law, such as health law?

Third, why do you want to get into government? If it's for work life balance and all the associated benefits, there are plenty of other non-legal government positions for you to consider where JD is an advantage. Look into those because they are going to be less competitive.

Fourth, you'll realize that as an intern, even while you may be kept busy (really depends), you don't know a lot of stuff that you don't know. TBH, don't be surprised that you'll be treated as merely as a warm body and the actual attorneys don't really see you as a productive member of the group, but rather just a student who is here to learn. Let's be true here, you're not even a JD holder, and even an entry level attorney would more likely than not need several months to learn the ropes. So to say that you're going to produce some mind-blowing work product off the ground running, and somehow persuade senior attorneys that they should hire you is a long shot.

Overall, the second point being your main takeaway, use your time in DC wisely and network (assuming things are up and running as normal) your ass off with other attorneys through your alumni or other professional network. Start paving the road for your next move.

Devil

New
Posts: 6
Joined: Tue Jul 31, 2018 9:41 pm

Re: Federal agencies that hire recent grads?

Post by Devil » Fri May 15, 2020 3:06 am

[quote="Anonymous User" post_id=10425332 time=1588890570 user_id=45852]
Why do you think DOT is low-key competitive? Not sure ppl are gunning for transportation law. I'm also interested in gov hiring.
[/quote]

The DOT honors program consists of working in different offices every few months for two years. It sounds like a pretty fun experience.

"During the two-year program, honors attorneys complete one rotation in the Department's Office of the General Counsel and five rotations in the operating administrations' Offices of Chief Counsel. Rotations provide each honors attorney with substantive and challenging assignments across a wide spectrum of legal fields. Honors attorneys find themselves working in practice areas such as administrative, aviation, environmental, constitutional, torts, labor and employment, and contract and procurement law. Honors attorneys may assist with litigation, draft legislation, enforcement, and participate in the rulemaking process."

https://www.transportation.gov/administ ... ey-program
Last edited by cavalier1138 on Fri May 15, 2020 5:27 am, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Outed for anon abuse.

Get unlimited access to all forums and topics

Register now!

I'm pretty sure I told you it's FREE...


Post Reply Post Anonymous Reply  

Return to “Legal Employment”