National Labor Relations Board (NLRB)
The function of the Contempt Litigation and Compliance Branch is to conduct civil and criminal contempt litigation in the U.S. Courts of Appeals to coerce compliance or to punish non-compliance with judgments enforcing orders of the Board; to obtain protective orders to ensure that assets will not be dissipated in an effort to avoid the payment of backpay judgments; to institute and monitor ancillary collection proceedings; to assist the Regional Offices in bankruptcy proceedings filed by respondents; and to obtain other injunctive relief pendente lite. Contempt litigation is nationwide in scope, affects all segments of industry and applies to all unfair labor practices proscribed by law. Through this litigation, compliance with orders of the Board that have been enforced by judgments of the U.S. Courts of Appeals and other orders of the Courts of Appeals is obtained, and the policies enunciated in the National Labor Relations Act and the orders of the courts are effectuated.
Work in the Contempt Branch is centered in four primary areas: civil contempt, criminal contempt, protective order/collection work and compliance guidance. Civil contempt actions involve, among other things, evidentiary investigations, the drafting of internal legal memoranda, the drafting of court pleadings, civil discovery (document production, requests for admissions, depositions, interrogatories), motions practice, bench trials, the drafting of appellate briefs and the presentation of appellate arguments. Criminal contempt actions involve, in addition to much of the work detailed above, grand jury work and jury trials.
The Contempt Branch is also responsible for obtaining injunctive relief in order to ensure compliance with enforced Board orders, engaging in affirmative bankruptcy litigation and collection work, and providing guidance and assistance to the Board's Regional Offices in enforcement and compliance matters.
Currently 10 attorneys, one paralegal and one legal secretary staff the Branch. The Branch also operates a year-round law student employment program.
The Branch administers a law student program for students who have completed at least their first year of law school. Candidates must have strong research and writing skills, and it is preferred, although not required, that they have taken the basic Labor Law and Federal Civil Procedure courses.
Law students assist the trial attorneys in investigating contempt allegations, preparing internal legal memoranda, drafting discovery documents, preparing for trial and drafting appellate briefs.
Where possible, law students will participate in discovery proceedings and assist attorneys at trial. The availability of paid positions depends on budgetary considerations.
The Division of Advice, located within the Office of the General Counsel in Washington, D.C., consists of three branches: the Regional Advice Branch, the Injunction Litigation Branch and the Legal Research & Policy Planning Branch.
The Regional Advice Branch provides guidance to the General Counsel and to the Regional Offices with respect to difficult or novel legal issues arising in the processing of unfair labor practice charges. It determines whether charges have merit and, if so, what legal theories should be advanced in support. If the decision is to dismiss a charge, it sets forth the theories that support that decision. In either case, the guidance must take into account the current law and agency policies as well as an analysis of how those legal principles and policies may be evolving.
The Injunction Litigation Branch implements, in conjunction with the regional offices, the General Counsel's Section 10(j) program to obtain interim injunctions to restore or preserve the status quo where necessary to preserve the effectiveness of the Board's ultimate remedial order. The Branch evaluates Regional recommendations for seeking interim injunctive relief and drafts recommendations to the Board in cases in which the General Counsel recommends seeking such relief. It provides to Regional Offices resource materials and training on the investigation and litigation of Section 10(j) cases. The Branch also advises and assists Regions in the litigation of both Section 10(j) and Section 10(l) injunction cases in federal district courts, and directly handles all appellate litigation in such cases.
The Legal Research & Policy Planning Branch provides agency employees with current summaries of NLRB and related court decisions both through the publication of case digest summaries and through an electronic research database. It also processes documents for release to the public pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act, develops and promulgates changes in the Board's procedural rules which are then published in the Federal Register, and provides assistance with a number of other agency programs, including processing cases arising under the Equal Access to Justice Act and development of internal and web-based electronic research tools.
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)
The Office of Legal Counsel (OLC), akin to an in-house counsel, is located at EEOC Headquarters in Washington, D.C.
Coordination and Guidance Program attorneys draft regulations and policy documents interpreting federal antidiscrimination laws that apply to the majority of U.S. workplaces. They also work with other federal agencies on equal employment opportunity issues to ensure consistency and eliminate duplication of enforcement efforts across the federal government. Its attorneys also advise the EEOC Commissioners, EEOC offices, and the public about EEOC policy matters.
Advice and External Litigation Division attorneys defend EEOC in all litigation brought by outside parties, draft regulations and guidance on the Commission's charge processing and federal sector functions; and provide legal advice on issues including ethics, administrative law, fiscal law, and procurement. This unit currently does not accept interns.
Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Program attorneys and staff oversee the EEOC's compliance with FOIA legal and reporting requirements, respond to document requests from the public, and maintain the EEOC's FOIA regulations and policy.
Positions Available: Current law students may apply for unpaid positions in the Coordination and Guidance Program and the Freedom of Information Act Program.
OLC interns may perform in-depth legal research, prepare detailed legal memoranda, help draft guidance on how to comply with EEOC-enforced laws, update agency materials to reflect recent legal developments, and respond to disclosure requests made under the Freedom of Information Act or other disclosure authority. Interns may have the opportunity to attend public Commission meetings or forums covering various employment discrimination topics, and/or coordination meetings with other federal agencies.
Internship Program Requirements: The Office of Legal Counsel internship program accepts law students who possess strong legal research, analysis and writing skills. Students should possess a demonstrated interest in civil rights issues, labor and employment law, or public interest law. The OLC also prefers students with membership on a law review, academic journal, moot court or similar organization with legal writing requirements.
The Office of General Counsel, the litigation arm of the EEOC, is composed of four units, headquartered in Washington, D.C.
Attorneys in Appellate Services practice in the federal appellate courts, handling all appeals of cases brought by the EEOC in federal district court and filing briefs as amicus curiae in other appeals (brought by private parties) that raise important or novel legal issues relating to the laws the Commission enforces.
Attorneys in Defensive Litigation defend suits in the federal district courts brought against the Commission by Commission employees complaining about discrimination.
Attorneys in Litigation Advisory Services review and evaluate cases that the EEOC's 15 district offices are recommending the Commission should litigate.
Attorneys in Litigation Management Services oversee the district offices' litigation and assist those offices in finding experts, reviewing settlement offers and addressing procedural and substantive legal issues.
Over the past several years, our interns have researched and drafted memoranda on various legal issues for cases in active litigation, including cases pending before the United States Supreme Court; evaluated lower court cases for possible amicus participation; evaluated data pursuant to the investigation of alleged systemic discrimination; and participated in settlement conferences. Interns may also attend the moot court arguments that our appellate attorneys do in preparing for oral argument in the courts of appeals.
Commissioner Feldblum is one of five Commissioners who lead the agency by establishing policy and regulations, approving litigation in a variety of areas, and establishing and overseeing various programs and initiatives.
Chai Feldblum has served as a Commissioner of the EEOC since 2010, having been nominated to serve by President Barack Obama, and confirmed by the Senate, initially for a term ending on July 1, 2013. President Obama nominated her to serve a second term ending on July 1, 2018, and she was confirmed by the Senate on Dec. 12, 2013.
Prior to her appointment to the EEOC, Commissioner Feldblum was a professor of law at the Georgetown University Law Center where she has taught since 1991. As Legislative Counsel at the American Civil Liberties Union from 1988 to 1991, Commissioner Feldblum played a leading role in helping to draft and negotiate the ground-breaking Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. Later, as a law professor representing the Epilepsy Foundation, she was equally instrumental in the drafting and negotiating of the ADA Amendments Act of 2008. Commissioner Feldblum has also worked to advance lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights, has been one of the drafters of the Employment Nondiscrimination Act, and is the first openly lesbian Commissioner of the EEOC.
United States Department of Commerce (USDOC)
The DOC-ELLD, akin to an in-house counsel, is located at DOC Headquarters in Washington, D.C., and in agency offices throughout the metro area.
The Employment and Labor Law Division provides advice and guidance to management regarding employment and labor law issues, including the legal standards for taking adverse and performance-based actions; laws regarding discrimination and harassment; issues relating to labor relations, unions, collective bargaining agreements, negotiations, and grievances; and statutes, regulations, and policies relating to the administration of leave and other employee benefits. Division attorneys represent the Department, its bureaus and activities, in administrative proceedings relating to employment or labor law matters before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Merit Systems Protection Board, the Federal Labor Relations Authority, and the Foreign Service Grievance Board. This representational function also extends to third-party arbitrations and mediations. Division attorneys assist the Department of Justice and the various U.S. Attorney Offices in representing the agency in Federal courts.
The Employment and Labor Law Division is headed by a Chief assisted by a Deputy Chief. Approximately 25 attorneys are divided into four teams representing and advising specific bureaus and activities within the Department of Commerce. The four teams are:
Census Team (for non-Decennial Census issues)
Decennial Team (for Decennial Census issues)
In addition to representing the Department in approximately 300 administrative or judicial cases at any given time, Division attorneys provide training to more than 3,000 employees nationwide each year.
Eligibility and General Information:
An intern’s assignments may include research and analysis of legal decisions, opinions, rulings and statutes; drafting legal memoranda on issues relating to the Department’s programs; case preparations for agency hearings and litigation before federal courts. In addition, interns are invited to participate in brown-bag lunches and other gatherings within OGC, so that they may obtain a broad overview of the legal issues that arise within the office. Highly qualified interns who demonstrate outstanding performance in their work may be considered for permanent attorney positions at the Department of Commerce as vacancies occur.
Offices participating in the Spring Legal Intern program include the Department of Commerce headquarters located in Washington, D.C., the Bureau of Census located in Suitland, MD, and at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) located in Silver Spring, MD.
Spring Legal Internships are highly competitive. Legal Interns will work in positions that offer both valuable experience and substantial individual responsibility. Students are selected on the basis of merit. Selection is based on many factors including academic achievement, law school courses, law review or other publication experience; moot court, legal aid or legal clinic participation; demonstrated commitment to public service; extracurricular activities; and previous summer and/or part-time legal intern employment.
Third-year law students should submit a resume, a law school transcript (official or unofficial), and a short legal writing sample of 10 pages or less.