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Judicial Internship Program

For more than 40 years, the Judicial Internship Program in the Office of the Counselor to the Chief Justice has provided advanced undergraduate students and recent college graduates with the opportunity to support and study the non-adjudicative responsibilities of the Chief Justice in his role as head of the Federal Judiciary. Many prior Judicial Interns have become practicing attorneys. Some have become law clerks at the Supreme Court and other federal courts, professors and deans of leading law and business schools, senior staff members in Congress, and attorneys at the U.S. Department of Justice.

Office of the Counselor to the Chief Justice Congress created the statutory position of the Counselor to the Chief Justice in 1972 to aid in the increasingly complex planning and leadership duties of the Chief Justice. Within the Court, the Counselor serves as the Chief Justice's chief operating officer. Outside of the Court, the Counselor supports the Chief Justice in his broad-ranging responsibility as head of the federal judiciary, including in his roles as presiding officer of the Judicial Conference of the United States, Chair of the Board of Directors of the Federal Judicial Center, and Chancellor of the Board of Regents of the Smithsonian Institution. The Counselor is also the Chief Justice's point of contact and representative for many varied entities having business with the Court, including judicial organizations, bar associations, foreign courts, and visiting dignitaries.

Intern Role and Responsibilities Judicial interns conduct background research for briefings provided to guests of the Supreme Court; draft correspondence; collect, track, and summarize relevant news articles; and provide support throughout the Office of the Counselor to the Chief Justice. On a day-to-day basis, interns are supervised by the Supreme Court Fellow. Their research is wholly distinct from the case work of the Supreme Court, and interns do not work on cases pending before the Court or with the Justices.

Opportunities When time permits, interns may observe Court sessions and take advantage of outside lectures and conferences. The Counselor may invite interns to educational luncheon meetings with leaders in government, academia, and private institutions. In recent years, interns have attended luncheons with the Solicitor General, the Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, and the Counsel to the President. The Supreme Court Fellow is responsible for ensuring that the internship experience provides substantial educational benefit to each participant.

Requirements The Judicial Internship Program is unpaid, and applicants must be prepared to work eight-hour days, five days a week. Interns selected for the Fall and Spring should plan to work for sixteen weeks. Summer interns are expected to work for at least twelve weeks, generally starting no later than the week of Memorial Day.

Academic Credit & Confidentiality Judicial Interns are encouraged to pursue academic credit in consultation with the Supreme Court Fellow. Given that interns often have access to sensitive information, anything they write about their experience must be subject to the approval of the Court's Public Information Officer. No work product or other documents may be removed from the office except by express written permission of the Counselor's Office.

Qualifications The Program draws interns from a highly qualified applicant pool; those selected bring to the Program a wide range of backgrounds, talents, and experience. Competition is keen, and a certain amount of self-screening is advised. In general, interns should possess: demonstrated high intellectual achievement; ability and willingness to work closely with others in a complex and sensitive organization; flexibility; self-sustaining motivation and initiative; and impeccable trustworthiness, discretion, and maturity. Good judgment is critical. To be eligible for selection, applicants must apply during, or for a term immediately following, undergraduate study.

Application The application consists of a cover letter, resume, college transcript, a short essay about a former Justice of the Supreme Court, and three letters of recommendation including at least one from an undergraduate course instructor (to be submitted online or mailed directly by each recommender).

Applicants: To apply online, please click here.

Recommenders: To submit a recommendation, please click here.


The online application must be submitted by:

For fall placement - June 10
For spring placement - October 20
For summer placement - March 10

For questions regarding the Judicial Internship Program, please call (202) 479-3415 or email us at
Judicial Intern Program.