Begin getting your applications ready now if you are interested in applying to any of the prestigious honors programs that the federal government offers. Working for the federal government offers new attorneys a lot–interesting work, excellent benefits and competitive pay. Some agencies also sponsor summer intern “Honors Programs” for rising 2L’s, which can be a great way to show interest in a federal government career and impress a potential employer. Typically, an agency Honors Program will require applications from rising or current 3L’s over the summer and into the very early part of fall.
The application period for the Attorney General’s Honors Program offered by the Department of Justice begins July 25 and ends on September 6. The Honors Program is the only way many federal agencies will hire graduating law students, because most of their positions are not for entry-level attorneys. Another prestigious program, the Presidential Management Fellows (PMF) Program, has an even shorter application period in the fall, but the dates have not been announced yet for the Class of 2012. (The 2011 application period was in October.) For the PMF program, candidates must be “nominated” by their law school—but there can be multiple nominees. Please request a nomination from Dean Dickey if you plan to apply.
Many post-graduate programs may have rolling deadlines, and it is best to submit your application as early during the application period as possible. In 2010, some positions closed before the published deadlines because of the overwhelming number of applications, partially as a result of fewer law firm jobs.
More information about the Department of Justice Honors Program, including the application process, can be found at http://www.usdoj.gov/oarm/arm/hp/hp.htm. Although the DOJ Honors Program may be best known, numerous other federal offices have their own Honors Programs, from the CIA to Health and Human Services! The competitiveness for positions and application deadlines vary. One of the best resources to use when exploring federal opportunities is either the Government Honors & Internship Handbook or the Public Policy Handbook, which will both be updated over the summer. The current versions still provide useful information on the agencies which have internships and Honors Programs. Go to http://www.law.arizona.edu/career/honorshandbook.cfm for the Government Honors and Internships Handbook or https://www.law.arizona.edu/career/PublicPolicy10-11/LoginForm.cfm for the Public Policy Handbook; the usernames and passwords are in the “passwords” document found in the “Document Library” in Symplicity. Another great resource is PSLawnet, which the law school subscribes to so that our students have free access to the opportunities listed there. Register with pslawnet.org: http://pslawnet.org/, which has articles and other resources helpful in seeking government jobs.