Externships with Northwest Section


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


The Northwest Section of the Office of General Counsel provides volunteer opportunities for law students, in the summer and throughout the academic year. In the past, externs have engaged in research and writing in the areas of natural resource protection and fisheries management, and attended agency meetings with NOAA attorneys. The office strives to ensure that each extern 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 natural resources protection (e.g., endangered species) and/or fisheries management law.

Externships Application Process:

1. How can I apply for an externship with your office? Submit cover letter, resume, 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 externships are highly competitive. Please send all requested materials by email to Jennifer Borrero@ jennifer.borrero@noaa.gov.

2. Is there any additional information I should provide? Your cover letter should indicate prominently the time frame of the proposed externship and explain clearly your interest in natural resources and/or fisheries management law.

3. How will I know if I am being considered for an externship? Candidates considered for an externship 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 or Deputy Chief of the Northwest Section may send you an email offering you a position as an extern. If you accept the offer, you will be asked to fill out the "Forms for Student Volunteers" 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 externship? No, the office only offers unpaid externships.

2. How many externs do you normally have? One.

3. What is the duration and weekly work requirements? During the academic year, externships generally last at least 10 weeks, with at least 10-15 hours of work per week expected. Summer externs generally work 40 hours per week for at least 10 weeks of the summer.

4. Could the externship be extended for more than one semester or quarter? Yes.

5. 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 relevant areas of the law.

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

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

8. Is a security clearance required for employment? Yes, before you can receive a badge (which is necessary for employment as a volunteer extern 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 Student Volunteers" 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.

9. Is U.S. citizenship a requirement for this externship? Yes, externs must be U.S. citizens. However, exceptions may be made where there are no U.S. citizens available to do the work or project. 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.