Federal Government Agencies

FEDERAL PUBLIC DEFENDER – TRIAL UNIT (1 position)

The Federal Public Defender of Arkansas operates under the authority of the Criminal Justice Act to provide legal representation to indigent persons in federal proceedings and related matters upon appointment by the United States District Courts. The Trial Unit represents persons charged with federal offenses and who cannot afford retained counsel. An extern in the Trial Unit will work exclusively on serious felony cases. Responsibilities include assisting trial lawyers with the preparation and presentation of defense motions and legal arguments in federal district court. Click here for more information about the Federal Public Defender.

Education, training, or experience in the fields of psychology, psychiatry, social work and/or education is desirable, but not necessary. Successful completion of courses in criminal procedure also would be beneficial prior to beginning this externship, but it is not required. Strong research ability, people skills, initiative, interest in criminal-defense work, and a commitment to equal justice are required. The Trial Unit will interview students recommended for an externship prior to final approval of the placement.

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT – OFFICE OF GENERAL COUNSEL, LITTLE ROCK FIELD OFFICE (1 position)

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is a cabinet-level agency whose mission is to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all. HUD is working to strengthen the housing market to bolster the economy and protect consumers; meet the need for quality affordable rental homes; utilize housing as a platform for improving quality of life; build inclusive and sustainable communities free from discrimination; and transform the way HUD does business. Click here for more information about HUD.

The Office of General Counsel (OGC) is composed of more than 700 attorneys who operate at HUD headquarters in Washington, D.C. and in 48 regional and field offices. OGC field offices generally consist of an associate regional counsel for Housing Finance and Programs (ARC) and one or two attorney advisors. Attorneys in the HUD Little Rock field office conduct multi-family loan closings; work with U.S. attorneys on single-family defensive foreclosure actions; and advise program staff on issues arising in multi-family development and asset management, public housing, and community planning and development.

An extern with the Little Rock OGC field office will work with the ARC and the attorney advisors and may be called upon to, among other duties (1) assist attorney advisors in preparing for and conducting loan closings, (2) review single-family foreclosure petitions and provide answers to various U.S. attorneys’ offices; and (3) assist the staff attorneys in performing legal research and advising program staff. Courses in secured transactions and real estate law would be beneficial, although they are not a prerequisite to placement in the externship. Although law review experience is not required, law review caliber research skills, proficiency with the Lexis research system, and attention to detail are a must. Little Rock OGC staff will interview students recommended for an externship prior to approval. The selected student will be required to successfully complete the federal Personal Identity Verification (PIV) process, which is a federal background check that will necessitate travel to Hot Springs for fingerprinting, prior to beginning the externship. Students who apply for this externship must be U.S. citizens in order to successfully complete the PIV process.

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS – OFFICE OF GENERAL COUNSEL (1 position)

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is a federal cabinet-level agency that strives to provide veterans the world-class benefits and services they have earned, and to do so by adhering to the highest standards of compassion, commitment, excellence, professionalism, integrity, accountability, and stewardship. The Office of General Counsel (OGC) serves as VA’s in-house counsel and is, by statute, the Department’s chief legal officer. OGC attorneys act as business partners, providing sound legal expertise, and, as needed, critical problem-solving skills and risk-management advice. OGC provides a full range of legal and litigation services, as well as support for legislative and regulatory activities.

In this externship, you will work at our OGC field office located on the Fort Roots campus in North Little Rock, Arkansas. Our local clients include the VA facilities in Little Rock and North Little Rock, the regional office, and the VA’s law enforcement training center. Your primary focus will be employment litigation and defense. You will learn to litigate cases before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board. You will participate in all stages of litigation, including but not limited to witness interviews, legal research, written discovery, depositions, status conferences, motions for summary judgment, settlement negotiations, witness preparation, and final hearings. In addition, you will assist with the review and analysis of human resources actions such as removals from federal service, disciplinary actions, and reasonable accommodation determinations. Depending on the needs of the Department, you may also have the opportunity to participate in grievance hearings and union-related matters.  For more information about the agency, visit va.gov.

Successful completion of Professional Responsibility and Legal Writing classes is preferred. Local OGC staff will interview any student recommended for placement prior to final approval.