You are here

Legal Internships

Volunteer Legal Internships

The Office of the General Counsel welcomes applications from law students for various internships offered in our offices.  These positions are available year round and may be with or without academic credit.  Please see the information below for a list of our current internship opportunities.  The Office of the General Counsel is an equal employment opportunity employer.

Office of General Law

The Office of the Assistant General Counsel for General Law, which is part of the Office of the General Counsel, directly serves the Secretary of Transportation and the Department's senior officials by providing legal advice, counsel, and representation that reflect a problem-solving approach to achieving national transportation policy goals and the efficient operations of the Department.  The issues that we deal with are wide-ranging and ever-changing.  The General Counsel's management team is committed to our employees and to ensuring that our Office is a place where the quality of our work is matched by the quality of our work experience.

The Office  of  General Law has unpaid legal internships available for each semester and during the summer. As an intern, you will have the opportunity to work on a wide variety of matters such as: appropriations, fiscal law and financial management; acquisitions, financial assistance and public private partnerships; innovative financing;  real property and asset management; information technology investment and capital planning; employee ethical conduct, conflicts of interest and political activities; equal employment opportunity and other civil rights matters; Federal personnel and employment; and alternative dispute resolution.   The successful candidate will have strong research and writing skills, the ability to work within tight deadlines on multiple projects and strong interpersonal skills.

To apply for a summer 2019 internship, please email a cover letter, resume, unofficial transcript, and a brief writing sample (no more than 10 pages), to Laura Wainwright, Attorney Advisor, Office of General Law, at laura.wainwright@dot.gov, no later than January 25, 2019. 

Office of International Law

The Office of International Law, U. S. Department of Transportation, has unpaid legal clinical internships available for JD candidates for each semester and during the summer. The internships may be with or without academic credit. The Office of International Law provides legal support to the Office of the Secretary in all modes of Transportation. Its areas of responsibility include transportation negotiations with foreign countries (including aviation, maritime, global position satellite matters, and trade), international transportation safety and security, Global Satellite issues, aviation licensing and regulatory matters involving international transportation, and international aviation antitrust matters. Projects have included research and analysis of the law of executive agreements, treaty denunciation, and dispute resolution clauses in international agreements, writing international technical cooperation agreements, review of legislation affecting international transportation, and review of orders granting license authority to U.S. and foreign air carriers in contested adjudicatory cases.

We will not be hiring a spring or summer intern this year.

Office of Litigation

The Office of the Assistant General Counsel for Litigation provides advice and legal counsel for litigation in which the Department is a party or has an interest.  The Office oversees all Supreme Court cases and appellate cases involving the Department, supervises the preparation of all filings before independent regulatory agencies in proceedings in which the Department has an interest, and provides legal advice concerning litigation risk, pre- and post-litigation policy decisions, bankruptcy proceedings, and antitrust issues.  The Office works with the Offices of the Chief Counsels of the various DOT modal administrations, which handle cases involving modal administration issues.

As an intern/extern, you will have the opportunity to work on cases requiring extensive legal research, brief writing, settlement negotiations, as well as other duties necessary for the handling of pending litigation matters.  Ideal candidates will have strong writing and analytical skills, the ability to work within tight deadlines on multiple projects simultaneously, exceptional legal research skills, and a desire to learn about the nation's transportation industry.  While the position is unpaid, in the past, our interns have been able to receive academic credit for their experiences in our office through programs with their law schools.

To apply for a summer 2019 internship, please email a cover letter, resume, unofficial transcript, and a brief writing sample (no more than 10 pages), to Paula Lee, Trial Attorney, Office of Litigation and Enforcement at paula.lee@dot.gov, no later than January 18, 2019. 

Office of Regulation

The Office of Regulation, a component of the Department’s Office of the General Counsel, provides legal guidance on administrative law matters affecting the Department.  Our portfolio is substantively diverse and involves transportation by air, sea, road, rail, and pipeline.  We review and coordinate the clearance of rulemaking documents produced by the Office of the Secretary of Transportation and the Department’s nine operating administrations, e.g., the Federal Aviation Administration, Federal Railroad Administration, and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.  We serve as the Department’s liaison with the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs within the Office of Management and Budget and we have overall responsibility for preparing the Department’s section of the semi-annual Unified Regulatory and Deregulatory Agenda, which provides information on rulemaking activities under development throughout the Federal government.  We play an essential role in formulating Department-wide regulatory policies and procedures, including implementing regulatory reform.

Interns will become well-versed in the Administrative Procedure Act and many other laws and executive orders affecting the rulemaking process.  Interns will have the opportunity to work on rulemaking matters dealing with all modes of transportation, as well as cutting-edge issues, such as automated vehicles and unmanned aircraft.  Ideal candidates do not need to have a transportation or administrative law background, only excellent writing and analytical skills, the ability to work effectively on multiple, high-profile, time-sensitive projects, and a desire to contribute to the safety, security, and vitality of America’s transportation system.  Although internships in our office are unpaid, past interns have received academic credit for their work with us through arrangements they made with their law schools.

To apply, please email your resume, cover letter, transcript, and writing sample (less than 10 pages) to Jonathan Dols, Acting Deputy Assistant General Counsel for Regulation, at jonathan.dols@dot.gov

Office of Operations

The Office of the General Counsel, Office of Operations, is seeking a law student for a full-time summer internship.  Interns are integral members of our team of eleven attorneys.  They conduct research, draft opinions, correspondence, and memos, present findings, and lead special projects.  Interns also have opportunities to attend intra- and inter-agency meetings and gain exposure to the diversity of our practice.  While the position is unpaid, interns may receive academic credit for their work experience in our office through programs with their law schools.

The Office of the General Counsel is part of the Office of the Secretary.  As principal legal officer and advisor to the Secretary, it coordinates and oversees the work of the Department's many legal offices, with approximately eighty lawyers and professional staff.  The Office of Operations, one of seven divisions of the Office of General Counsel, is the principal legal advisor on matters related to environmental law, economic/competition issues affecting airports and airlines, security and emergency response activities, maritime law, the Freedom of Information Act, and privacy.  Our work often involves novel and cross-cutting legal issues, and attorneys actively engage interns in the work of the office.  Additional information about our practice is available on our website.

To apply, please email your resume, cover letter, transcript, and writing sample (less than 10 pages) to Krystyna Bednarczyk, Attorney Advisor, Office of Operations, at krystyna.bednarczyk@dot.gov, no later than February 1, 2019.

We will also consider applications for a full-time internship during the fall or spring semesters on a rolling basis.

Office of Aviation Enforcement and Proceedings

The U.S. Department of Transportation Office of Aviation Enforcement and Proceedings has unpaid legal clinical internships available during the summer. The internships may be with or without academic credit. The Office monitors compliance with and investigates violations of aviation statutes and regulations related to consumer protection, civil rights, and air carrier economic licensing.  Where necessary, the Office pursues enforcement action, which may be in the nature of warning letters or more formal action, such as consent orders or administrative litigation to impose cease and desist provisions and civil penalties. Additionally, the Office develops and issues various rules regulating U.S. and foreign air carriers and ticket agents. In recent years, the office’s work has included setting policy on the carriage of service animals on planes, fining airlines for keeping passengers on planes for extended periods, requiring airlines to advertise the full fare of airline tickets inclusive of taxes and fees, providing economic licensing expertise on unmanned aircraft systems issues, and a variety of other salient issues in the field of commercial aviation.

Interns will assist attorneys in enforcement matters, from the initial stage of receiving and evaluating passenger complaints, through a potential investigation.  If enforcement action is warranted, then the interns will provide support throughout the enforcement process.  Interns will also assist attorneys during the rulemaking process, which includes review and analysis of public comments, research related to the rulemaking topics, and assistance in drafting preliminary documents related to both proposed rulemakings and final rulemakings. In addition, interns will have the opportunity to observe and assist in the office’s internal response to developments in the commercial airline industry that may attract national attention.

To apply, please send your resume, along with a short cover letter, a copy of your transcript, and a writing sample to the attention of Vinh Q. Nguyen, Senior Attorney, at vinh.nguyen@dot.gov.

Center for Alternative Dispute Resolution

The practice of law is often about conflict: winners and losers, suing or protecting against suits. But law can be about something else. Law can be about problem-solving, positive outcomes, and enhancing professional and personal relationships. Law can be about better results. The Center for Alternative Dispute Resolution provides legal and policy advice on alternative dispute resolution (ADR). The Center builds the Department's ADR capacity to improve program performance and customer service.

If you are interested in learning more about this growing area of the law, the Center for Alternative Dispute Resolution has unpaid legal clinical internships available for each semester and during the summer. The internships may be with or without academic credit.

The Center offers an opportunity to work in a variety of areas: Training and Education: The Center offers informational and skill-based training workshops on topics including conflict management, communication skills, basic mediation skills, advanced mediation skills, interest-based problem solving, and representing clients in mediation. In addition, the Center maintains resources including publications, videotapes, and other materials about dispute resolution and conflict management. Mediation and Facilitation Services: The Center provides mediation and facilitation services to help interested parties resolve disputes efficiently and effectively. The Center also helps customers identify ADR providers outside the agency.

Dispute Systems Design and Implementation: The Center develops overall ADR policy within the Department, and helps organizations design and implement specific ADR mechanisms that meet the organization's particular needs.

For more information contact: Fern Kaufman, fern.kaufman@dot.gov Center for Alternative Dispute Resolution, 202-366-8067, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Washington, DC 20590.

Updated: Thursday, December 13, 2018
Submit Feedback >