The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences

Internship Opportunities: Supreme Court Internship Program

Article Type 

These are unpaid internship opportunities from outside the Rockefeller Center.

Position Type: Internship-unpaid

Location: Washington, D.C.

Sector: Government

Start Date: TBD (around September)

Wage or benefits: Unpaid

Time Commitment: Interns selected for the fall and spring terms should plan to work for 16 weeks. Summer interns are expected to work for at least 12 weeks. Preference will be given to applicants prepared to work eight-hour days, five days per week. Some offices may accept interns available less than full time but at least four days per week.

Desired Class Year: N/A

Desired Major or Interest: Law

Application Deadline:

  • For fall placement - June 15
  • For spring placement - October 15
  • For summer placement - March 1

Organization website: https://www.supremecourt.gov/jobs/internship/InternshipProgram.aspx

About the organization:
For more than 40 years, the Supreme Court Internship Program has provided students with a unique opportunity to build a substantial working knowledge of the role, functions, and history of the Supreme Court of the United States. The Program offers a compelling study experience and valuable exposure to work in a professional environment. Special enrichment opportunities include attending Court sessions as well as seminars organized by the Supreme Court Fellows.

Interns have responsibilities wholly distinct from the case work of the Supreme Court and do not work directly with the Justices or on cases pending before the Court. Some administrative support duty, such as answering phones and responding to inquiries from members of the public, is required.

The Supreme Court Internship Program is unpaid. Interns are encouraged to pursue academic credit through their institutions of study and in consultation with the Supreme Court Internship Program.

Available Opportunities:

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.

Interns in the Counselor’s Office conduct background research for briefings provided to guests of the Supreme Court; draft correspondence; collect, track, and summarize relevant news articles; and assist in other projects as assigned. The Counselor’s Office accepts only students available to intern on a full-time basis, five days per week.

OFFICE OF THE CURATOR

The Curator’s Office was created by Chief Justice Warren E. Burger in 1973 to record and preserve the Court’s history. Its mission is to promote a greater public understanding and appreciation of the nation’s highest court. To this end, it collects the institution’s rich history, shares it with a diverse audience through a variety of programs, and preserves it for future generations.

Interns in the Curator’s Office develop a substantial working knowledge of the role and functions of the Supreme Court, its history, and the architecture of the building. Each intern is assigned to work with a staff member on curatorial projects, such as Visitor Programs, Collections Management, and Digital Assets Management. In addition to their individual projects, all interns gain valuable public speaking and interpersonal skills by conducting tours and Courtroom Lectures and staffing a visitor desk.

For more detailed descriptions of the curatorial internship positions, see the Curatorial Internship Information page. Cover letters for candidates interested in the Office of the Curator should specify one or more preferred project areas.

PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICE

The Public Information Office, established by the Court in 1935, serves as a contact for the press and public and as a liaison between the press and all other offices at the Court. The Public Information Officer acts as the official spokesperson for the Court. The Office’s mission is to facilitate accurate coverage of the Court by the media and further the public’s understanding of the history and function of the Court. The office issues the opinions and orders of the Court, credentials more than 1,000 reporters each Term, and operates a working pressroom provided for the use of a resident press corps and visiting journalists. The Public Information Office is open to the general public and provides assistance to the Court’s many visitors, as well as members of the public who contact the Court. The office also provides logistical support for approved filming and photography projects in the building, and it produces some internal employee communications.

Interns in the Public Information Office assist with responding to public inquiries in person, on the telephone, and in writing; help with the assembly of the Court’s orders and opinions for release to the public and to the press; assist with press seating for Court sessions as needed; draft correspondence; conduct background research for public and press inquiries; assemble materials provided to press and students in briefings; and provide general support to the office.

OFFICE OF THE CLERK

The Office of the Clerk was established on February 3, 1790, with the appointment of the first Clerk of Court. The primary role of the Clerk’s Office is to receive, docket, and retain control of all documents submitted for filing with the Court. The Office also prepares and issues orders, judgments and mandates of the Court; calendars cases for oral argument; notifies counsel and lower courts of actions taken by the Court; oversees the admission of attorneys to the Court’s Bar; develops and issues the Court’s rules; and provides procedural guidance to attorneys and litigants.

Interns in the Clerk’s Office provide assistance in responding to case-related inquiries from attorneys and litigants, both in-person and on the telephone. They also assist the full-time Clerk’s Office employees with a wide variety of tasks, including the processing and maintenance of Court filings and records.

Qualifications:

The Program is competitive and draws interns from a highly qualified applicant pool. In general, interns should possess: demonstrated academic achievement; ability and willingness to work closely with others; flexibility; self-sustaining motivation and initiative; and impeccable trustworthiness, discretion, and maturity. Good judgment is critical.

Eligibility Requirements:

  • Applicants must be U.S. Citizens.
  • Applicants must have completed two semesters of undergraduate study and meet one of the following criteria:
    • Actively enrolled in an academic program concurrent with the internship term;
    • Returning to a degree program immediately following the internship term; or
    • Participating in a federal fellowship program.
  • Law students are not eligible to participate in the Supreme Court Internship Program.

How to apply: 

A complete application includes the following:

  1. One-page cover letter
  2. Résumé
  3. College or graduate school transcript
    1. Images of official or unofficial (such as web-printed) transcripts are acceptable, with preference for a format that shows instructor names.
    2. Applicants who receive a provisional offer of an internship may be asked to provide an original official transcript.
  4. Short essay about a former Justice (please see detailed instructions on application page).
  5. Two letters of recommendation
    1. At least one letter must be submitted from an undergraduate or graduate course instructor.
    2. Letters of recommendation must be submitted directly by each recommender using the link below.

Please note: All documents must be submitted in Microsoft Word or PDF format.
Interviews will follow for select candidates. Incomplete applications will not be considered.
Internship offers are subject to successful completion of a security background check.

Please submit questions regarding the Supreme Court Internship Program via web form or by phone at 202-479-3415.

To apply online, please click here.

Recommenders: To submit a recommendation, please click here.

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