Unique two-year program offers recent law school graduates and newly admitted lawyers the opportunity to start their legal careers in public service
For Immediate Release: September 13, 2023
Office of the Attorney General
– Matthew J. Platkin, Attorney General
TRENTON – Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin has announced that the application period is open for the 2024 New Jersey Attorney General’s Honors Program, a two-year program that offers recent law school graduates and newly admitted lawyers the opportunity to start their legal careers in public service in the Department of Law and Public Safety.
Thanks to the support of Governor Murphy, the program’s fifth and largest class will join the Office this month and will have opportunities to help formulate policy and legal strategy, investigate cases, draft legal pleadings, negotiate with opposing counsel, and argue in court. In addition, program participants attend workshops and trainings that help develop their legal skills and introduce them to the full range of work performed by a state attorney general’s office.
“The Honors Program provides attorneys at the start of their legal careers with an unmatched opportunity to gain valuable experience and engage in public service,” said Attorney General Platkin. “We are grateful to Governor Murphy for the support to expand our Honors Program, which allows participants to immediately engage in our Office’s work to keep New Jerseyans safe, stand up for their rights, and hold wrongdoers accountable.”
The program is open to all third-year law students, students in the final year of other graduate law programs (e.g., LLM programs), judicial clerks who will complete their clerkships by September 2024, and individuals completing post-graduation fellowships by September 2024. Positions are available in Newark and Trenton.
Applicants who meet the Honors Program criteria can apply for entry into the program through the AG Honors Program website, at https://www.njoag.gov/careers/ag-honors-program/. Applications are due by October 13, 2023.
The program allows participants to rotate through one or more of the following subject matter areas:
- Civil Rights
- Reproductive Health Rights
- Firearms Civil Enforcement and Accountability
- Social Media Accountability and Data Privacy/Cybersecurity
- Environmental Justice and Enforcement
- Workers’ Rights and Labor Enforcement
- Solicitor General Fellow
- Public Integrity, Conviction Review, and Police Policy*
- Violence Intervention and Victim Assistance
- Youth Justice
- Sexual and Domestic Violence Policy, Prevention, and Enforcement
- Violence Suppression and Organized Crime*
- Cyber Crimes*
- Human Trafficking*
*indicates new or modified subject matter for 2024.
Applicants must submit a writing sample, statement of interest, resume, law school transcript, and two references. Those selected for the Honors Program will begin work in September 2024.
Among the highlights cited by current Honors Program members include:
Amy Eng, Division of Law, Data Privacy and Cybersecurity/Government and Healthcare Fraud: “I’ve been very fortunate to explore many different areas of the law and work on matters of particular interest to me at the onset of my career—virtually nowhere else would I be able to work on False Claims Act litigation while simultaneously partaking in multi-state investigations concerning online privacy. This freedom has given me the confidence to exist in many different spaces, and the program has provided a great foundation for the rest of my career.”
Viviana Hanley, Office of the Solicitor General: “A highlight for me has been litigating the defense of New Jersey’s gun laws, which have been under constitutional attack since Bruen was decided in the summer of 2022. It has been very meaningful to defend the State’s public safety gun regulations along with an inspiring team working to make sense of the newly hyperactive Second Amendment.”
Max G. Lesser, Office of Public Integrity and Accountability: “The Honors Program has provided an invaluable opportunity to gain practical and substantive legal experience in public service right out of law school. I have been able to do hands-on investigative work for the Conviction Review Unit regarding claims of actual innocence, argue in court in complex public corruption cases, and refine my legal writing through motion practice with defense counsel. This kind of meaningful legal experience is often rare for new attorneys, and I am grateful that the Honors Program has afforded me the opportunity to develop my craft and serve my state on a variety of cases that make a real difference for confidence in government and the rule of law.”
Nathaniel Levy, Office of the Solicitor General: “I’ve worked on brief-writing and oral argument prep for cases at every level of the New Jersey and federal court systems, including the U.S. Supreme Court, on cases spanning the gamut of constitutional and federal-courts issues. And I had the fantastic opportunity to deliver oral argument myself three times, twice in state court and once in federal district court.”
Rachel Manning, Division of Law, Environmental Enforcement & Environmental Justice: “A highlight from my two years in this program was working on Platkin v. Exxon, the climate change case our office filed in October 2022, and attending the press conference at which General Platkin announced the filing.”
Samuel L. Rubenstein, Division of Law, Special Litigation: “I am involved in some of the most consequential litigation occurring in the United States. I focus on our robust Second Amendment docket, defending New Jersey’s efforts to combat gun violence under the complex new Bruen historical standard. New Jersey is also party to the case defending the DACA program for “Dreamers,” and I am on our DACA litigation team. Further, Special Litigation handles multi-state amicus briefs and comment letters, and I often take on multi-state initiatives regarding LGBTQ+ rights. I’m grateful for the opportunity the Honors Program has given me to participate in such interesting and meaningful work so early in my career.”
Sherrod Smith, Office of Public Integrity and Accountability: “I’ve had an invaluable opportunity to substantively contribute to complex public corruption and fatal police encounter criminal investigations and cases. Moreover, I’ve been able to work in team-oriented settings to investigate claims of actual innocence by individuals convicted of felonies in New Jersey State courts and to develop statewide policing policies that bolster trust and transparency in New Jersey’s law enforcement agencies.”