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Jobs, Fellowships and Externships

EPA Careers and Internships

Attorney Positions

Attorneys in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Chicago office are responsible for a variety of legal duties associated with implementing various environmental laws in six Midwestern states. The responsibilities include:

Attorneys work on matters receiving intense public and congressional attention involving serious threats to public health and the environment and often millions of dollars in cleanup costs to eliminate those threats.

Working in a large organization, attorneys must be skilled at coordinating and cooperating with large numbers of involved parties. Attorneys must also be able to resolve disputes and develop a consensus among different interests, including the public, industry, environmental groups, and state and local governments.

The salary for FY 2013 for a GS-905-11 Step One General Attorney in Chicago is $62,909.

How to apply

The Region 5 Office of Regional Counsel does not currently have any permanent attorney positions available. In the event such a position were to be available, to apply, please submit:

  1. a resume,
  2. two reference letters attesting to your professional qualifications,
  3. a personal statement (not to exceed one page in length) expressing why you desire to work for U.S. EPA and how your educational background and/or professional experience will benefit this office,
  4. a writing sample,
  5. and law school transcripts.

Send your application materials to the attention of:

Bertram C. Frey, Deputy Regional Counsel
Office of Regional Counsel (C-14J)
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 5
77 W. Jackson Blvd.
Chicago, IL 60604

Please direct questions about the status of your application to Ms. Darlene Weatherspoon, 312-886-6823.

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Region 5 Honors Attorney Fellowship Program

The EPA Region 5 Honors Attorney Fellowship is designed for a recent law school graduate with excellent academic credentials and a strong interest in an environmental law career and the public sector. It provides an opportunity for entry-level attorneys to practice law in a leading governmental environmental organization, and to receive extensive training in and exposure to environmental law and policy work in the public sector. Region 5 offers new attorneys significant responsibility, the opportunity to handle a varied caseload that includes enforcement and counseling work, and extensive training and mentoring from dedicated colleagues with recognized expertise. The Region offers a diverse and supportive work environment.

Winter 2015 Region 5 Honors Attorney Fellowship

The Office of Regional Counsel seeks applications for the Winter 2015 Region 5 Honors Attorney Fellowship. This is a temporary two-year position in the Chicago, Illinois office. The Honors Attorney Fellow is expected to commit to the full two-year term. The Winter 2015 Fellowship will begin as soon as possible. The deadline to apply for the Winter 2015 Fellowship is January 2, 2015. Applications for this position must be submitted via the USAJOBs website.

Qualifications

Qualification requirements are set forth in detail in the USAJOBs announcement.

Desirable Characteristics

The ideal candidate will be a recently graduated attorney with excellent academic credentials and a strong interest in an environmental law career and the public sector. We have particular interest in individuals who graduated with a J.D. or a post-J.D. Master of Laws (in environmental law) from an ABA accredited law school in 2013 or 2014. We also have particular interest in judicial clerks or environmental law fellows who received their J.D. or a post-J.D. Master of Laws (in environmental law) from an ABA accredited law school no earlier than 2012.

Application Process

The application period for the Winter 2015 Fellowship is from December 10, 2014 through January 2, 2015. You must submit your application via the USAJOBS website. Alternatively, you may search the USAJOBS website at http://www.usajobs.gov for CI-R5-OT-2015-0001, the announcement number for the position. Please note that all required supporting documents must be submitted electronically via the USAJOBS website.

If you cannot apply on-line, you should contact the office listed in the job announcement on the USAJOBS website at least three business days prior to the closing date of the announcement. Reasonable accommodations will be provided on a case-by-case basis.
Please follow the directions listed in the vacancy announcement posted on the USAJOBS website to determine the appropriate application process. We will require the following information:

Selected applicants will be invited for interviews in Chicago (at the candidate's expense), or telephone interviews may be conducted when appropriate. Offers for the Winter 2015 Fellowship will be made shortly thereafter.

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Fall 2015 Region 5 Honors Attorney Fellowship

The Office of Regional Counsel seeks applications for the Fall 2015 Region 5 Honors Attorney Fellowship. This is a temporary two-year position in the Chicago, Illinois office. The Honors Attorney Fellow is expected to commit to the full two-year term that will begin in the fall of 2015. The deadline to apply for the Fall 2015 Fellowship is January 2, 2015.

Eligibility

Current law school students receiving a J.D. or a post-J.D. Master of Laws (in environmental law) from an ABA accredited law school no later than the summer of 2015 will be eligible to apply. It is expected that bar membership will be pending. Judicial clerks or environmental law fellows who received a J.D. or a post-J.D. Master of Laws (in environmental law) from an ABA accredited law school in 2013 or 2014 and who are admitted to the bar of any State, U.S. territory, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, or the District of Columbia with active status and authorized to practice law will also be eligible to apply. Applicants must be a U.S. citizen to qualify for this position. If you qualify for veterans preference and want the Agency to consider that preference as a positive factor in reviewing your application, you must include in your application appropriate documentation such as DD214 (copy4), your VA letter, or Standard Form-15 (disabled veteran).

Pay

During the first year, salary will be at the GS-11 level (currently starting at $63,538 per year). During the second year, salary will be at the GS-12 level (currently starting at $76,157). Judicial clerks may be hired at the GS-12 grade. There is no promotion potential beyond GS-12 for this position. Relocation expenses are not authorized.

Application Process

The office seeks applications for the Fall 2015 Fellowship from December 10, 2014 through January 2, 2015. Please note that EPA will not accept applications after the closing date. All required supporting documents must be submitted electronically via email to R5HonorsAttorney@epa.gov , Attn: Ignacio Arrázola, with the subject heading “Fall 2015 Region 5 Honors Attorney Fellowship.”

Please submit the following information, preferably in pdf format:

Selected applicants will be invited for interviews in Chicago (at the candidate's expense), or telephone interviews may be conducted when appropriate. Offers for the Fall 2015 Fellowship will be made shortly thereafter.

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Honors Attorney Fellowships in Other EPA Offices

Other EPA law offices have Honors Attorney Fellowship programs. Follow the links below for more information:

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Legal Externships (and Internships)

Description

Externs in Region 5's Office of Regional Counsel typically conduct legal research and write legal memoranda to support enforcement cases brought under Superfund (CERCLA), the Clean Air Act (CAA), the Clean Water Act (CWA), the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), and the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA), among others.

The experience will of course vary depending upon the project assigned to the extern. It is not atypical for externs, in addition to legal research and writing, to attend negotiations and public meetings, to draft dispositive motions (such as motions for accelerated decision in cases before an administrative law judge), or to draft requests for information or subpoenas pursuant to statutory authority.

For more detailed information, please read our brochure, Summary of Extern Program Office of Regional Counsel (PDF) (8pp, 783KB)

Qualifications

Most all the externs at ORC are law school students in their second or third year of study (or between them). We find these students have the training and interests most applicable to the experiences we provide at ORC, and in turn they benefit the most from such experiences. At times there are externships available that do not deal with legal research and writing, and are thus open to undergraduate students, though these are rare. Application procedures for any type of externship are the same (see below).

For Fall and Spring, interviews typically conclude about one month before the start date of the externship. For Summer, interviews start in September and typically conclude in February. If an extern wishes to continue working for a second or third semester for ORC, we do ask the extern to reapply.

How to apply

In order to be considered for an extern position, an applicant should submit a cover letter, resume, unofficial law school transcript and short writing sample (no more than 10 pages) by email (preferred) to Leverett Nelson (nelson.leverett@epa.gov), or by mail to:

Mr. Leverett Nelson, Associate Deputy Regional Counsel
Office of Regional Counsel (C-14J)
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 5
77 West Jackson Blvd.
Chicago, IL 60604-3590

In order to begin their externship, successful candidates must submit several forms, including an application for government employment, a worksite experience form (which requires a signature by the school in which the candidate is enrolled), a computer security form, and an ethics form. Externs must be U.S. citizens and are subject to a background check.

Scheduling & Compensation

Externs are expected to work at least 16 hours per week, and preferably 20 hours per week, during the semester. During the summer, externs work 40 hours per week. To the greatest extent possible, these hours should be in blocks of time (for example, mornings or afternoons four days a week or two eight-hour days a week). We find that less time than that means less interesting and productive experiences for the extern.

Fall, spring, and summer externships are available. Fall externships usually start the day after Labor Day; spring externships start after the Martin Luther King holiday; and summer externships begin after Memorial Day.

While externship positions do not provide monetary compensation, select applicants may qualify for a paid internship. The number of available paid internships varies annually.

Because we are aware that many externs receive academic credit for their experiences, we work hard to ensure that externships are both beneficial and challenging.

For more information about ORC's externships, contact Leverett Nelson (nelson.leverett@epa.gov), 312-886-6666.

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