According to the Wall Street Journal, law students are starting to look more closely at working for the federal government. Thousands of current employees are nearing retirement and since the government uses a lot of lawyers, some agencies are now recruiting law students.
Part of the problem for agencies is lack of knowledge among students about the possibility of a career with the government. While law students know about the possibility of a career with the Department of Justice, many don’t know other agencies hire lawyers as well. One new pitch used by some: paying back a portion of their student loans.
A job as an intern with the government is very hard to get. For example, the Office of Personnel Management received about 5000 applications last year for the 400 available positions in its intern program. Despite the difficulty of getting into this program, OPM is starting to advertise the program in law schools as well.
A job as a federal lawyer offers some advantages over working for a private law firm. According to one law student quoted in the Journal, “you get more experience at a younger age and a chance to become a competent attorney more quickly” and comments that “You are not just a hired gun.”