The Catholic University of America

Public Service Law Career Path Timeline

Ongoing:

  • Review the OCPD Program Calendar for events of interest.
  • Meet with an OCPD career counselor to refine resumes and cover letters, as well as to practice mock interviews.
  • Research, contact, and apply to employers of interest.
  • Begin building public interest credentials: join student service groups, such as the Legal Services Society or Students for Public Interest Law, participate in externships, clinics, and journals, and explore opportunities for student leadership at the law school.
  • Participate in the Pro Bono Challenge by completing 30 or more hours of volunteer legal service prior to graduation.
  • Network and conduct informational interviews with public interest students, professors, and alumni (please see our office to pick up an alumni request form).
  • Think about individuals who could write letters of recommendation (i.e., maintain contact with first year professors, volunteer to be a teaching or research assistant, and/or take on a directed research project).
  • Attend regional public interest career fairs and networking events.
  • Review online resources for public service career opportunities:

 

First Year:

  • Fall
    • Begin learning about careers in public service law.
      • Review The Public Service Handbook and Serving the Public: A Job Search Guide, both of which are located in OCPD.
      • Visit and register an account at PSJD and Idealist.
      • Visit the website of Equal Justice Works, an organization that provides training, support, and fellowships to students interested in public interest law.
      • Review the Summer Experience binders in our office for information about summer opportunities.
    • Begin building your public service law resume.
      • Join a public interest or community service student group, such as the Legal Services Society or Students for Public Interest Law, or Street Law.
      • Visit our pro bono website and meet with Jen Tschirch, Pro Bono Coordinator, to learn about area organizations in need of law student volunteers.
      • Meet with one of our career advisors, after November 1st to update your resume and discuss summer and public interest career path plans.
      • Sign up with our public service listserv to receive job and internship postings from OCPD.
    • Begin researching public service law organizations that accept applications from first year students.
      • Attend the Equal Justice Works Conference and Career Fair in October.
      • Attend OCPD's Public Interest Speed Networking event in November.
      • Attend OCPD's Summer Funding program in November.
      • Attend the CUA Externship Fair in November.

 

  • Spring
    • Seek first-year summer employment. The career counselors are available to meet with you to discuss your search.
    • Attend OCPD's Public Interest Speed Networking event (date TBA).
    • Attend OCPD's Fellowship program (date TBA).
    • Attend the CUA Externship Fair (date TBA).
    • Participate in the Greater Washington/Baltimore Public Service Career Fair in January.
    • Apply for summer funding and fellowships (see OCPD's Funding for Summer Work and Fellowship Opportunities handouts).
    • Consider working as a summer research assistant to a professor, taking on a directed research project, or serving as a teaching assistant during your second year.

 

  • Summer
    • Network, network, network.
    • Develop relationships with individuals who may serve as references, such as professors, summer work supervisors, and area attorneys.
    • Consider participating in a Fall externship.
    • Review the line-up of employers participating in On-Campus Interviewing (OCI) during the fall.

 

Second Year

  • Fall
    • Begin your 2L summer employment search and meet with one of the career advisors to discuss public interest plans.
    • Be aware of upcoming government honors deadlines, which usually begin at the end of August. For example, the Department of Justice Summer Law Intern Program (SLIP) deadline is the beginning of September.
    • Continue building your public interest resume:
      • Consider participating in a Spring semester internship or clinical program.
      • Visit our pro bono website and meet with Jen Tschirch, Pro Bono Coordinator, to learn about area organizations in need of law student volunteers.
    • Prepare for interviews by participating in our Mock Interview Program in August or by scheduling an individual mock interview with an OCPD career counselor.
    • Apply to employers attending the Equal Justice Works Career Fair in October.
    • Attend OCPD's Public Interest Speed Networking event in November.
    • Attend OCPD's Summer Funding program in November.
    • Attend the CUA Externship Fair in November.

 

  • Spring
    • Continue 2L summer employment search.
    • If you are considering applying for post-graduate fellowships, please attend OCPD's Fellowship Program (date TBA) and follow up with OCPD to target your search.
      • Be aware that much of your work on fellowship applications needs to be completed over the summer - begin setting a calendar of relevant dates and deadlines!
      • Resources are available in the OCPD office to assist you with the application process (see OCPD's Funding for Summer Work and Fellowship Opportunities handouts).
    • Attend OCPD's Public Interest Speed Networking event (date TBA).
    • Attend the CUA Externship Fair (date TBA).
    • Participate in the Greater Washington/Baltimore Public Service Career Fair in January.
    • Consider participating in a Fall semester clinical program.

 

  • Summer
    • Network, network, network.
    • Begin the application process if you are interested in a post-graduate fellowship:
      • Make a calendar of relevant dates and deadlines.
      • Secure a sponsoring organization.
      • Research placement and funding opportunities on PSJD.
      • Research Equal Justice Works deadlines.
      • Begin assembling relevant documents and completing applications.
    • Consider participating in a Fall semester externship.
    • Prepare for interviews by participating in our Mock Interview Program or by scheduling an individual mock interview with an OCPD career counselor.

 

Third Year

  • Fall
    • If you are applying for judicial clerkships:
      • Meet with a career advisor in OCPD.
      • Be aware of upcoming deadlines for federal and state court applications, and consult our clerkships website for more information.
    • If you are applying for post-graduate fellowships:
      • Meet with a career advisor in OCPD. We are happy to help with or review fellowship application materials.
      • For project fellowships:
      • For organizational fellowships and staff attorney positions:
    • Be aware of upcoming government honors deadlines, which usually begin at the end of August. For example, the Department of Justice Attorney General's Honors Program deadline is the beginning of September.
    • Prepare for interviews by participating in our Mock Interview Program in September or by scheduling an individual mock interview with an OCPD career counselor.
    • Attend OCPD's Public Interest Speed Networking event in November.
    • Attend the CUA Externship Fair in November.

 

  • Spring
    • Apply for staff attorney positions and fellowships with Spring semester deadlines.
    • Continue pursuing non-fellowship public interest job opportunities.
    • Attend OCPD's Public Interest Speed Networking event (date TBA).
    • Participate in the Greater Washington/Baltimore Public Service Career Fair in January.



If you have questions or would like additional information, please contact Jill Frost, Director of OCPD and at (202) 319-5132 or frost@law.edu.