Skip Header
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Careers

Legal Division Honors Attorney Program

Last Updated: August 14, 2020

2021 Honors Attorney Program Application Dates

Submissions for the 2021 Honors Attorney Program will be accepted from August 1, 2020 through September 30, 2020, 11:59 pm EDT. Applications must be submitted directly to the FDIC as instructed below. Applications submitted through OneStop by Symplicity or any other platform will not be accepted.

The Honors Attorney Program

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation's Honors Attorney Program is a highly competitive 2-year entry-level program. It is a unique opportunity for outstanding law school graduates and recent law clerks to learn and work in support of the FDIC’s mission of maintaining stability and public confidence in the nation’s financial system. In addition, as innovative and transformative technologies are rapidly altering the ways banks serve their customers, participants will be exposed to valuable and stimulating areas of law atypical to most government practice.

Honors Attorneys will receive an in-depth understanding of the FDIC's role in our financial system and an opportunity for public service. Honors Attorneys are assigned to a wide variety of projects throughout the Legal Division that provide extensive and diverse legal experience in an inclusive work environment, which recognizes and appreciates all employees’ perspectives and talents. Additionally, there is a substantial amount of individual responsibility assigned to them throughout the program. The FDIC is committed to providing personal and professional growth opportunities. Honors Attorneys are provided with work assignments designed to expose them to different areas of FDIC legal practice. Honors Attorneys tackle important and interesting matters, including:

  • Participating in high profile rulemakings implementing the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act and the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act;
  • Preparing for and attending meetings with international banking regulators; and
  • Working with attorneys on consumer and risk enforcement matters, including taking sworn statements in preparation for administrative hearings.

Why Join the FDIC?

The FDIC is a cornerstone federal agency upholding, protecting, and maintaining stability and public confidence in the nation's financial system. As an independent federal agency that insures deposits, the FDIC is charged with examining and supervising financial institutions for safety, soundness and consumer protection; making large and complex financial institutions resolvable; and managing receiverships. Created in 1933 in response to the thousands of bank failures that occurred in the 1920s and early 1930s, the FDIC was established to maintain public confidence in the nation’s financial system and to provide a Federal guarantee of customers’ deposits, within certain limits, in the event of a financial institution failure.

Since the start of FDIC insurance on January 1, 1934, not one depositor has lost a cent of insured funds as a result of a failure of a financial institution. The FDIC sign - posted in insured financial institutions across the country - is a symbol of confidence.

During the recent financial crises, the FDIC played a critical leadership role in stemming the global crisis, including an unprecedented use of emergency authorities. FDIC attorneys made critical contributions to the FDIC’s actions in containing the systemic risk within the banking industry and restoring financial stability after the failure of almost 500 insured depository institutions. Further, FDIC attorneys have been leaders in creating regulatory changes in the wake of the Great Recession.

For many years, the FDIC has routinely been ranked as one the Best Places to Work in the Federal Government. We provide highly competitive pay and comprehensive benefits that include health, life, and dental insurance, paid vacation time, paid parental leave, flexible spending and 401(k) savings accounts, and enrollment in the Federal Employee Retirement System. Furthermore, employment with the FDIC may qualify you for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Program. The FDIC remains committed to helping employees maintain a work/life balance through reasonable work hours and flexible schedules.

Legal Practice at the FDIC

The practice of law at the FDIC reflects the broad nature of the FDIC's work as well as its unique statutory powers. Unlike many federal agencies, the FDIC has independent litigating authority and our attorneys are able to practice before all courts as well as administrative tribunals. FDIC attorneys develop case strategy, write briefs, and appear in court for arguments on behalf of the Corporation. FDIC attorneys maintain active practices in the following areas:

Bank regulatory matters

  • Developing, drafting, and providing legal opinions on legislation, regulations, and policy statements relating to insured depository institutions;
  • Providing advice on deposit insurance coverage, and assessments of insured depository institutions, and consumer protection laws;
  • Providing advice to foreign countries that are developing deposit insurance programs;
  • Working closely with examiners to ensure compliance with banking and consumer protection laws and regulations, while maintaining the continued safety and soundness of insured depository institutions;
  • Providing advice to bank innovators and fintechs in deploying new technology and innovative solutions;
  • Working on the development of new “reg-tech” strategies to meet the supervisory challenges of evolving technological advances in payment systems, digitalization, machine learning and artificial intelligence; and
  • Preparing and litigating enforcement cases before administrative law judges and in federal courts.

Litigation

  • Litigating multimillion dollar actions against financial institution directors, officers, attorneys, accountants and other parties when negligence and/or malpractice contributed to the failure of insured depository institutions;
  • Managing large, complex commercial litigation arising out of the business lines of failed institutions, as well as civil and other claims owned by receiverships;
  • Coordinating the FDIC's anti-fraud efforts with the Department of Justice, prosecutors, and FBI agents across the country in the investigation and prosecution of criminal conduct in insured depository institutions; and
  • Defending the FDIC against challenges to its statutory authority and appeals from its administrative determinations.

Complex Financial Institutions

  • Providing legal advice on the FDIC’s responsibilities under the Dodd Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Dodd-Frank Act) involving complex financial institutions;
  • Supporting the FDIC’s execution of policies and program initiatives concerning the development of resolution strategies and resolution planning for complex financial institutions;
  • Reviewing and assessing resolution plans developed by complex financial institutions under the Dodd-Frank Act; and
  • Participating in the FDIC’s international outreach and coordination efforts with regard to the resolution of complex financial institutions.

Resolution and Receivership Matters

  • Developing resolution, receivership, and marketing strategies for failed banks involving hundreds of millions of dollars in deposits and loans;
  • Providing legal advice on the FDIC’s responsibilities under the Dodd Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Dodd-Frank Act) involving complex financial institutions;
  • Supporting the FDIC’s execution of policies and program initiatives concerning the development of resolution strategies and resolution planning for complex financial institutions;
  • Reviewing and assessing resolution plans developed by complex financial institutions under the Dodd-Frank Act; and
  • Participating in the FDIC’s international outreach and coordination efforts with regard to the resolution of complex financial institutions.

Corporate practice

  • Providing legal opinions on a wide range of topics, including statutory powers of the FDIC, the role of the FDIC as a federal agency, and corporate governance;
  • Handling all labor and employment issues, including administrative hearings on employee-related matters and negotiations with the bargaining unit representative;
  • Handling FDIC contracting, including contracting for the services of outside counsel; and
  • Addressing Legal Division information technology needs and issues.

For more information, email your questions to HonorsAttorneyProgram@fdic.gov

Qualifications

In order to qualify for the 2021 Honors Attorney Program, you must:

  1. be in your final year of law school graduating from an American Bar Association accredited law school between December 2020 and June 2021, or

    be a full time graduate student in the final year of study which began immediately following law school, or

    be a recent law graduate leaving a judicial clerkship* no later than August 16, 2021, and

  2. be admitted to practice before the highest court of any state, territory or the District of Columbia or be scheduled to take the bar examination following graduation and available to start work no later than August 16, 2021, and
  3. have, at a minimum, a 3.0 grade point average (GPA) or equivalent or be in the top 33 percent of your law school class, and
  4. be a United States citizen.

*The clerkship must begin no later than nine months after law school graduation, be no longer than three (3) years in length, and be your first significant legal employment after law school.

When deciding which candidates are qualified for an interview, we look at the candidate’s total application package including undergraduate academic record, law school courses, law school academic record, any law review or law journal participation (including service as an editor), judicial clerkship, national or regional moot court competition participation, and other special qualifications (such as another advanced degree in a related area) or life experience and writing sample. An appropriate writing sample should demonstrate the candidate’s legal research, analytical problem solving, and writing skills, (i.e., organization, grammar, spelling, and persuasiveness). Applicants should not submit an edited work, such as a published law review article or opinion issued by a court; however, a draft that is totally your work (i.e., not edited by anyone other than you) is acceptable. Writing samples should not exceed 15 pages.

Appointment

Selected candidates will be assigned to our headquarters offices in Washington, D.C. and Arlington, Virginia.

The Honors Attorney Program appointment is for a period not to exceed 24 months. If you are not admitted to practice when you join the FDIC, you will be classified as a Law Clerk. Upon admission to a state bar you will be reclassified as an Attorney. Additionally, if you do not acquire bar membership within 14 months of appointment, the appointment terminates. While a permanent appointment beyond the temporary 24-month appointment cannot be guaranteed, successful completion of the Honors Attorney Program may lead to a permanent appointment in the FDIC’s Legal Division.

The FDIC is an independent agency of the federal government. Go to Frequently Asked Questions about the Honors Attorney Program.

The FDIC is an equal opportunity employer.

Applications will be considered without regard to race, color, religion, gender, national origin, age, marital status, disability, gender identity, political affiliation, sexual orientation, or any other non-merit factor.

FDIC provides reasonable accommodation to applicants with disabilities where appropriate.

For more information, email your questions to HonorsAttorneyProgram@fdic.gov