Federal Government Honors Programs & Fellowships

Federal Government Honors Programs & Fellowships

Federal Government Attorney Honors Program Basics:
Most federal government agencies, with a few exceptions, hire entry- level attorneys only through their own highly competitive “Attorney Honors Fellowship Programs.”  Postings announcing Attorney Honors Program openings are typically available on USAjobs.gov and, most importantly, are consolidated and tracked in the Government Honors and Internship Handbook prepared by The Arizona University James E. Rogers College of Law (the “Arizona Guide”). The Center for Career and Professional Development (CCPD) subscribes to the Arizona Guide and all Pace Law students can access the Guide with our username and password (listed below). The Public Interest Law Center (PILC) sends out regular reminders of upcoming deadlines throughout the year.

Important Information about Early Deadlines:
The application process for some federal government attorney honors programs will open over this summer and have deadlines as early as mid-summer or September a full year before the start date; Therefore, rising third-year full-time (fourth-year part-time) law students who are interested in obtaining a post-graduate position in a federal government attorney honors program should begin looking into opportunities early in the summer before their final year. Note, also, that some federal agencies offering these programs review applications on a rolling basis, so applying early can give you a distinct advantage.

Specifically, the application process for some of the most popular programs - for example those offered by the US Department of Justice (the DOJ Attorney General Honors Program), certain programs within the Environmental Protection Agency, the Housing and Urban Development Corporation, the Department of State, and the Department of the Interior, Solicitor’s Office, to name just a few - will likely open in by mid-summer and will have deadlines as early dates in July-October.

What to Do in May/June:

  • Review agency websites of interest and the Government Honors & Internship Handbook (the “Arizona Guide”) to learn which federal agencies typically offer post-graduate attorney honors fellowships/programs and become aware of upcoming or, if not yet updated, last year’s application deadlines and requirements. (Access the Guide at: http://arizonahandbooks.com/u/pacelaw; contact publicinterest@law.pace.edu for the password. The Guide will be continuously updated for 2016-17 as deadlines become available.
  • Regularly review emails from the CCPD; forwarding your Pace Law email to another account that you check more regularly if necessary.

What to Do Over the Summer:

  • Create a spreadsheet of deadlines and application requirements for honors programs of interest.
  • Research agencies and programs of interest.
  • Contact Elyse Diamond ediamond@law.pace.edu with questions and she or other counselors in the CCPD/PILC to review and assist with your application materials.
  • Collect supplemental application materials including transcripts, writing samples, and references as required.
  • Access, begin working on, and submit honors program applications by applicable deadlines.
  • Contact Elyse to arrange a mock interview if you are invited to interview.

The Presidential Management Fellowship Basics:
The Presidential Management Fellows (PMF) Program (one of three programs that make up the federal government’s Pathways Program) is the federal government’s flagship two-year leadership development program designed to attract entry-level advanced (graduate level) degree candidates into federal government agencies in management and policy-oriented positions. It was created more than three decades ago by Executive Order, has gone through many changes over the years, and was revamped and revitalized in Fall 2012 when it began, among other changes, to also permit recent graduates to apply.

The Program attracts and selects candidates from all graduate disciplines – it is not designed specifically to attract law students/graduates - and was really created with a narrow focus; developing potential government leaders.Traditional attorney positions are not offered through the PMF program (hiring for entry level attorney positions continues to take place primarily through agency specific post-graduate attorney honors programs/fellowships), however, law graduates interested in federal government management, public policy, and other related positions are welcome to apply.

Assuming the program qualifications are the same as they were for 2015-16 applicants, you will eligible to apply for the PMF Class of 2017 if you will meet your Pace Law School graduate degree requirements during the academic year September 1, 2016 to August 31, 2017 (or if you obtained your advance degree from a qualifying college or university no more than 2 years prior to the opening date of the announcement for the Class of 2017 application).

Basics about the Application Process and Timeline:
The PMF Program application process is a unique and multi-phase process, beginning with the open online application period including an online assessment and, if you are selected as a Semi-Finalist, a live assessment. Last year, the online application period opened October 1 and closed October 15, and we expect the application period to open during that same period in fall 2016.  The entire application process, including submission of all necessary documents, must be completed during this time period.  To learn more about this program, you can visit the PMF website at: www.pmf.gov.

The CCPD will email rising 3Ls (Class of 2017 students) information about the 2017 PMF Program and deadlines in the early fall as information becomes available. Pace Law School has had PMF Semi-Finalists and Finalists and, in some years, has had graduates selected as PMF Fellows.  We are happy to work with students on their application materials and at all stages of the application/assessment and interviewing process. Feel free to contact Elyse (ediamond@law.pace.edu) over the summer or in the early fall to express your interest in the program.