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Opportunities to Work
in the Office of the Legal Adviser

The Office of the Legal Adviser (L) hires generalist lawyers who rotate through the broad range of L’s practice areas around every two to five years.  New hires to L are generally drawn from judicial clerks, attorneys from other federal agencies, and attorneys in the private sector and other entities involved in legal work.  L also occasionally hires third-year law students with superior credentials.  Competition for positions in L is intense.  Outstanding academic performance, international or other relevant professional experience, demonstrated interest in public service, strong interpersonal skills, analytical ability, writing skills, special honors or achievements, publications, and relevant extracurricular activities are important considerations in all selections.

In addition to generalist attorney-advisers, L also hires non-rotating “specialist” attorneys with specialized legal experience in the following areas: employment law; medical privacy and health care operations; construction, contracting and procurement; FOIA litigation; ethics and financial disclosure; regulations and administrative law; international arbitration; visas and immigration; and nationality and citizenship.

L also maintains a robust internship and externship program for second- and third-year law students.  L selects approximately 15 summer interns, as well as 20 to 25 externs annually.  As with permanent hiring, competition is intense.

L is committed to fostering a diverse and representative workforce and encourages women and minorities to apply.  Attorney positions within L are excepted from competitive service hiring procedures.  L follows the principle of veterans’ preference in its attorney hiring procedures as far as administratively feasible and treats veteran status as a positive factor at all stages in the hiring process.  L complies with all applicable federal non-discrimination laws.  The U.S. Department of State is committed to recruiting and retaining qualified individuals with disabilities.  The Department is firmly committed to satisfying its affirmative obligations under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, to ensure that persons with disabilities have every opportunity to be hired and advanced on the basis of merit within the Department.

Additional Information and How to Apply

For more information on opportunities in L, including on how to apply, please select:

As explained in the sections on the Summer Intern Program and on Externs, for information on other legal internship and externship opportunities at the State Department, at the U.S. Embassy in The Hague, Netherlands, the U.S. Mission in Geneva, Switzerland, and the U.S. Mission to the United Nations in New York, visit

U.S. Department of State

The Lessons of 1989: Freedom and Our Future