Legal Division Honors Program
2020 Program Application Dates
The application period for 2020 has closed. Please continue to visit this page for the opening of the 2021 application period.
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation's Honors Attorney Program provides valuable and challenging professional opportunities for outstanding law school graduates. Our goal is to provide our Honors Attorneys with a better understanding of the FDIC's role in our financial system and provide them with an opportunity for public service. Our Honors Attorneys are assigned to a wide variety of projects throughout the Legal Division that provide extensive legal experience as well as a substantial amount of individual responsibility. During the program all of our Honors Attorneys participate in three-month rotations through various Legal Division sections in our Headquarters office as well as a rotation to one of our field locations (Boston, New York, Atlanta, Chicago, Kansas City, Dallas, or San Francisco).
When you join the FDIC as an Honors Attorney, you will be hired as an Attorney if you are admitted to the bar. If you have not yet been admitted to practice, you will join our team as a Law Clerk, and you will receive the designation "Attorney" upon admission to the bar. FDIC Honors Attorney appointments are for a term not-to-exceed 24 months. Although the Honors Attorney appointment is time-limited, and there is no guarantee of employment beyond 24 months, successful completion of the Honors Program may lead to a permanent appointment in the Legal Division.
Why Join the FDIC?
The FDIC has always stood strong to fulfill its longstanding mission of maintaining stability and public confidence in the nation's financial system. The FDIC insures deposits, examines and supervises financial institutions for safety and soundness and consumer protection, makes large and complex financial institutions resolvable, and manages failed institution receiverships.
The FDIC was born of the Great Depression of the late 1920s and early 1930s. More than 9,000 banks closed between the stock market crash of October 1929 and March of 1933, when President Franklin Delano Roosevelt took office. For all practical purposes, the nation's banking system had shut down completely even before President Roosevelt - less than 48 hours after his inauguration - declared a "banking holiday," suspending all banking activities until stability could be restored. Among the actions taken by Congress to bring order to the system was the creation of the FDIC in June 1933. The intent was to provide a Federal guarantee of deposits so that customers' funds, within certain limits, would be safe and available to them 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.
As an Honors Attorney, you will contribute to maintaining stability and public confidence in our nation's financial system and learn financial institutions regulatory law from the inside out. In addition, you will be exposed to areas of law atypical to most government practice that will serve you well wherever your career takes you.
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 practice before virtually all courts. FDIC attorneys, as a result, develop case strategy, write the briefs, and appear in court for arguments. The FDIC's Legal Division is a full-service corporate practice, providing not only litigation but transactional, regulatory, and administrative legal services to the Corporation. As an FDIC Honors Attorney, you will have the opportunity to work in a number of exciting areas including:
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, assessments of insured depository institutions, and consumer laws;
- Providing advice to foreign countries that are developing deposit insurance programs;
- Working closely with bank and review examiners to ensure compliance with banking and consumer protection laws and regulations, and the continued safety and soundness of insured depository institutions; and,
- Preparing and litigating enforcement cases before administrative law judges and in federal courts.
Litigation and bank receivership matters
- Litigating multimillion dollar actions against directors and officers, attorneys, and accountants when negligence and 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;
- Developing resolution, receivership, and marketing strategies for failed banks involving hundreds of millions of dollars in deposits and loans;
- 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.
- 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.
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In order to qualify for the 2020 Program, you must:
be in your final year of law school graduating from an American Bar Association accredited law school between December 2019 and June 2020, 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 September 1, 2020, and
- be admitted to practice before the highest court of any state, territory or the District of Columbia or be taking a bar examination following graduation and available to start work no later than September 1, 2020, and
- have, at minimum, a B average or equivalent or be in the top 33 percent of your law school class, and
- 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.
When deciding which candidates are qualified for an interview, we look to your total application package including undergraduate record (including GPA), law school courses, law school grades (including GPA), any law review or law journal participation (including service as an editor), judicial clerkship, if any, national or regional moot court competition participation, and other special qualifications (such as another advanced degree, foreign language skills) or life experience. You must submit a writing sample (unedited by anyone other than you) that will be evaluated for legal research, analytical, and writing skills (i.e., organization, grammar, spelling, and persuasiveness).
Selected candidates will be assigned to our headquarters offices in Washington, DC and Arlington, VA.
The Honors 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 the 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 Program may lead to a permanent appointment in the Legal Division.
The FDIC is an independent agency of the federal government. Go to Frequently Asked Questions for further information.
The FDIC is an equal opportunity employer.
Applications will be considered without regard to race, color, religion, gender, national origin, age, marital status, disability, political affiliation, sexual orientation, or any other non-merit factor.
FDIC provides reasonable accommodation to applicants with disabilities where appropriate.
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