Internships with International Section


We accept and consider internship applications on a rolling basis throughout the year


The International Section of the Office of General Counsel provides year-round internship opportunities for law students. In the past, interns have engaged in research and writing and attended interagency working group meetings at the U.S. Departments of the Interior, State, Defense, Homeland Security, Transportation, and Commerce as well as at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative. The office strives to ensure that each intern has an opportunity to complete a minimum of one substantial writing assignment. The ideal candidate will have a strong research and writing background as well as a demonstrated interest or experience in international environmental law, oceans law, and the Law of the Sea.

Internship Application Process:

1. How can I apply for an internship with your office? Submit cover letter, resume, official or unofficial transcript, references and at least one writing sample. You may provide more than one writing sample, however, at least one of your writing samples should be relatively short — no more than five (5) pages. We accept applications on a rolling basis and while there are no deadlines we encourage you to get your application in early as our internships are highly competitive. Please send all requested materials by email to Richard Mannix with a copy to the office email account. The backup documents can be faxed to (202) 371-0926 if they are not scanned and submitted electronically.

2. Is there any additional information I should provide? Your cover letter should indicate prominently the time frame of the proposed internship and explain clearly your interest in international environmental law, oceans law, and the Law of the Sea.

3. How will I know if I am being considered for an internship? Candidates considered for an internship will be contacted for additional information and/or for a telephonic or in-person interview. The office is not always able to respond to every application.

4. Will any interviewing expenses be paid? No funds are available to reimburse applicants for any expenses associated with interviewing.

Offer/Acceptance Process

Upon consideration of your application, the Chief of the International Section may send you an email offering you a position as an intern. If you accept the offer, you will be asked to fill out the "Forms for NOAA Interns" and the "Office of Security Coversheet" in order to get a security clearance required for NOAA identification badges for access to the office as well as access to NOAA computers.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is this a paid internship? No, the office only offers unpaid internships.

2. How many interns do you normally have? One to three interns per semester (spring, summer, fall).

3. How competitive is the internship application process? For summer internship positions, we routinely receive more than 75 applications for two to three internship positions. For spring and fall internship positions, we receive fewer applications.

4. What is the duration and weekly work requirements? Fall and spring internships generally last at least 10 weeks, with at least 20 hours of work per week expected. Summer interns generally work 40 hours per week for at least 10 weeks of the summer.

5. Could the internship be extended for more than one semester? Possibly, if the work circumstances warranted an extension.

6. Can first year law students apply for a position? Yes, but they will be competing against second and third year students with potentially more experience in international law issues.

7. Would an internship potentially result in a paid position? Hiring of a new attorney-advisor position depends on several factors, including the availability of funds. Qualified interns would be considered should an attorney-advisor position become available.

8. May I receive credit for the internship? We will gladly complete all paperwork necessary for your institution to grant you credit for successful completion of the internship.

9. Is a security clearance required for employment? Yes, before you can receive a badge (which is necessary for employment as a volunteer intern and entrance into the building), you must have received a security clearance from the Department of Commerce Office of Security. In filling out the "Forms for NOAA Interns" and the "Office of Security Coversheet" you will be required to answer questions, including with respect to any past unlawful activity for which you were fined or penalized. Any positive answers will have to be explained to the satisfaction of the Department of Commerce Security Office and that office must determine that you are eligible for the required security clearance.

10. Is U.S. citizenship a requirement for this internship? Yes, interns must be U.S. citizens. However, exceptions may be made where there are no U.S. citizens available to do the work or project. In addition, it is possible for foreign students do a NOAA research fellowship to continue their studies in the U.S. Non-citizens must generally complete additional paperwork and undergo additional scrutiny before being cleared to pursue a fellowship or internship with NOAA.

Department of Commerce/NOAA Resources:

NOAA’s Office of Education web site has additional information on other student opportunities available throughout NOAA.

The Department of Commerce (of which NOAA is a part) has a Legal Internship Recruitment web page. Additional career opportunity resources within the Department of Commerce include the job career and student career opportunities web sites.

Additional Resources — Use at Your Own Risk.

Law Jobs

Consistent with Department of Commerce Administrative Order (DAO) 216-3, the Office of General Counsel upholds the Department’s policy on equal opportunity recruiting and works to generate diverse applicant pools consistent with race, national origin, and gender percentages in the civilian labor force.