Careers

AG Honors Program

AG Honors Program

The two-year program allows participants to rotate through one of more of eight subject areas: civil rights; consumer financial protection; conviction review & innocence claims; data privacy & cybersecurity; environment; gun safety & gun violence; public integrity & corruption; and worker rights & labor enforcement.

Applicants also have the option of applying for the Solicitor Fellow, which was launched for the 2021 Honors Program.

Depending on their interests, the participants will be assigned to one or more of five divisions within the Office: the Division of Law (DOL), which brings civil enforcement actions and advises state agencies; the Division of Criminal Justice (DCJ), which prosecutes criminal cases; the Division on Civil Rights (DCR), which enforces state civil rights laws; the Division of Consumer Affairs (DCA), which protects consumers and investors from fraud; and the Office of Public Integrity & Accountability (OPIA), which investigates corruption and works to strengthen confidence in our criminal justice system. The Solicitor Fellow assignment will be within the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) and working directly with the State Solicitor.

Honors Programs attorneys will have opportunities to help formulate policy and legal strategy, investigate cases, draft legal pleadings, negotiate with opposing counsel, and argue in court or before administrative bodies. In addition, the Honors Program class will attend workshops and trainings that will help develop their legal skills and introduce them to the full range of work performed by the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office.

Applications for the 2021 Honors Program class are due Friday, October 16, 2020.

To learn more, click on the tabs above. To complete the online application, click here.

Subject Areas

Applicants must select which of the eight subject areas they wish to be considered for: civil rights; consumer financial protection; conviction review & innocence claims; data privacy & cybersecurity; environment; gun safety & gun violence; public integrity & corruption; and worker rights & labor enforcement. Applicants also have the option of applying for the Solicitor Fellow, which was launched for the 2021 Honors Program. Applicants may select as many or as few issue areas as they like; if they select more than one, they should rank their preferences in the online application. Applicants interested in the Solicitor Fellow may add that to their ranked choices or may choose to apply only for that position.

If admitted to the Honors Program, the participants decide whether they wish to specialize in a particular issue area or “rotate” through one or more other topics. In addition, Honors Program participants will have the opportunity to do a “rotation” working directly for the Attorney General’s Executive Leadership Team on priority projects and policy development.

The office location of the Honors Program participant will depend on their selected issue area. Civil rights, consumer financial protection, data privacy & cybersecurity, and worker’s right & labor enforcement will be based in Newark. Environment and gun safety & gun violence will be based in Trenton. Conviction review and public integrity & corruption will be located in either Trenton or a location in northern New Jersey. The Solicitor Fellow will be based in either Newark or Trenton. (If a participant decides to “rotate” through more than one issue area, he or she may need to work in more than one location during the two-year program.)

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, participants may be required to telework rather than report to work in an office environment.

  • Civil rights. (Newark) Honors Program participants will develop legal, regulatory, and policy strategies to protect the civil rights of New Jersey’s residents. They will enforce the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination, one of the strongest civil rights laws in the country, and will also work on immigration, workers’ rights, and reproductive rights matters, some involving the federal government.
  • Consumer financial protection. (Newark) Program participants will help develop and implement innovative enforcement and regulatory strategies to protect consumers and investors, particularly in light of rollbacks in protections previously provided by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and other federal agencies. Attorneys will enforce and work on options to better utilize New Jersey’s Consumer Fraud Act, one of the strongest consumer protection statutes in the country.

  • Conviction review & innocence claims. (Trenton or northern New Jersey). Program participants will assist with the development and management of a newly created statewide “Conviction Review Unit.” Participants will review claims of actual innocence, investigate those deemed meritorious, and draft findings for review and decision by the Attorney General.

  • Data privacy & cybersecurity. (Newark) Program participants will oversee investigations and enforcement actions involving data breaches and the unauthorized collection, use, and dissemination of participants’ personal information.
  • Environment. (Trenton) Program participants will enforce a wide range of federal and state environmental laws, including against major environmental polluters across the state. Participants can also expect to work on multistate legal challenges to efforts to rescind existing federal environmental protections.
  • Gun safety & gun violence. (Newark and Trenton) Program participants will have the choice of pursuing one of two options to advance gun safety and combat gun violence: criminally prosecuting members of violent criminal organizations, or investigating and filing civil enforcement actions against those who contribute to gun violence in New Jersey, including firearms manufacturers and distributers.
  • Public integrity & corruption. (Trenton or northern New Jersey) Program participants will investigate and prosecute criminal abuses of the public trust, including political corruption matters, allegations of civil rights violations involving law enforcement officers, and internal affairs investigations.
  • Workers’ rights & labor enforcement. (Newark) Program participants will oversee investigations and enforcement actions involving New Jersey’s laws protecting workers, including laws regarding wage theft, misclassification, prevailing wage, and other issues that affect worker mobility and economic opportunity.

  • Solicitor Fellow. (Newark or Trenton) The Solicitor Fellow will work with the State Solicitor in developing strategy for high-priority cases, drafting briefs in appeals and dispositive motions, and participating in argument preparation and moot courts. The Solicitor Fellow will have the opportunity to deliver oral argument. The Solicitor Fellow will be involved with multiple appeals in a dynamic and fast-paced environment. The Solicitor Fellow will be exposed to all subject areas within the Honors Program, among others, across their appellate portfolio.

Eligibility Criteria

The Attorney General Honors Program seeks a diverse pool of highly qualified applicants and is open to all:

  • Third-year law students;

  • Students in the final year of other graduate law programs (e.g., LLM program); and

  • Judicial clerks who will complete their clerkship by September 2021.

Attorneys who do not meet these criteria but are nonetheless interested in working for the Attorney General’s Office are welcome to apply through the regular employment application process. For more information, click here.

Application Process

To apply for the Honors Program, applicants must submit an online application by October 16, 2020. As part of the application, applicants will need to upload the following documents:

  • Writing sample. The writing sample should be no more than 5,000 words and should contain your own legal analysis. You may use a document drafted during law school or a summer internship so long as it does not contain material that is privileged or otherwise confidential or contains the necessary redactions.
  • Statement of interest. Applicants must submit a “statement of interest,” explaining in no more than 1,000 words why they are interested in participating in the Honors Program. The Honors Program seeks candidates of diverse backgrounds and experiences, and candidates are encouraged to use the statement of interest to explain how their life experiences inform their interest in public service.
  • Resume. Applicants should attach a current version of their resume.
  • Scanned copy of law school transcript. Applicants may upload an official or unofficial copy of their transcript.

Applicants are not required to submit letters of recommendation; however, they must identify at least two professional references (including at least one law professor or other legal academic) who can vouch for the applicant’s qualifications.

In completing the online application, applicants must select which of eight issue areas they wish to be considered for: civil rights; consumer financial protection; conviction review & innocence claims; data privacy & cybersecurity; environment; gun safety & gun violence; public integrity & corruption; and worker rights & labor enforcement. Applicants also have the option of applying for the Solicitor Fellow, which was launched for the 2021 Honors Program. Applicants may select as many or as few issue areas as they like; if they select more than one, they should rank their preferences in the online application. Applicants interested in the Solicitor Fellow may add that to their ranked choices or may choose to apply only for that position. Applicants are also asked to indicate their level of interest in litigation, investigations, and regulatory policy, as well as their preference for civil or criminal law.

We will gladly assist applicants who are unable to complete an application online or who are in need of an accommodation during the application process. If you need assistance, please email honors.program@njoag.gov

Selection Process

All applications will be reviewed by an Honors Program selection committee, which consists of senior attorneys in the Attorney General’s Office. Candidates will be selected on the basis of several factors, including:

  • Academic and intellectual ability;
  • Legal writing, research, and advocacy skills;
  • Demonstrated interest in, and commitment to, public service; and
  • Leadership in school and/or community activities.

Based on a review of the application, selected candidates will be invited to an in-person interview in Newark or Trenton in late fall 2020. (Telephone or video interviews are available for those where an in-person interview would present a significant hardship.)

Offers will be extended in February 2021. All offers are subject to successful completion of the candidate’s background investigation. Honors Program participants will begin work on September 2021. 

Those selected for the Honors Program must:

  • Commit to two years of service with the Attorney General’s Office;

  • Undergo a background check before beginning employment;
  • Within 6 months of starting the program become a member of the New Jersey Bar, which may require you to pass the New Jersey bar exam;

  • Within 12 months of starting the program, establish residency in New Jersey or obtain an exemption from the residency requirement.  

The Attorney General’s Office is an Equal Opportunity Employer and is committed to inclusive hiring and dedicated to diversity in our staff. State law prohibits discrimination in hiring or employment on the basis of race, creed, color, national origin, nationality, ancestry, age, sex, marital status, pregnancy status, affectional or sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, atypical hereditary cellular or blood trait, or mental or physical disability. For more information about diversity and inclusion initiatives within the Attorney General’s Office, click here: www.nj.gov/oag/diversity-inclusion/reports.html

Salary & Benefits

The starting salary for Honors Program participants depends on whether they are admitted to the New Jersey bar at the start date for employment.

  • If admitted to the New Jersey bar at the time of employment, an Honors Program attorney begins work as a Deputy Attorney General, at an annual salary of $82,527.
  • If not yet admitted to the bar, an Honors Program participant will be hired into a limited term position as a “Law Clerk” at an annual salary of $59,494. Once admitted to the New Jersey bar, the participant will be promoted to Deputy Attorney General at an annual salary of $82,527.

All Honors Program participants, whether Deputy Attorneys General or Law Assistants, are entitled to employment benefits, including health and dental insurance. For more information on employment benefits, visit www.state.nj.us/treasury/pensions.

Please note that certain Deputy Attorneys General in the Division of Law are unionized. Honors Program attorneys assigned to the Division of Law would be entitled to the full privileges of union membership.

Timeline & Checklist

    • September 9, 2020: Application period opens

    • October 16, 2020: Deadline for submitting online application

    • December 2020: Applicants notified if they are selected for interviews

    • December 2020 – January 2021: Applicants interview in Newark or Trenton*

      *Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, applicants may be required to conduct virtual or teleconference rather than in-person interviews.

    • February 2021 : Offers extended

    • September 2021 : Start date for employment

    By Friday, October 16, 2020, candidates must complete an online application, which includes:

    • Writing sample (no more than 5,000 words)

    • Statement of interest (no more than 1,000 words)
    • Resume

    • Law school transcript

    • Ranked preferences for practice areas

    • At least two references, including one law professor or other legal academic

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the starting salary?

The starting salary for Honors Program participants depends on whether you are admitted to the New Jersey bar at the start date for employment. If you already admitted on your state date, you will start as a Deputy Attorney General at an annual salary of $82,527. If not yet admitted to the bar, you will be hired into a limited term position as a Law Clerk at an annual salary of $59,484. Once admitted to the bar, you will be promoted to DAG at an annual salary of $82,527.

May I continue working at the Attorney General’s Office at the conclusion of the two-year program?

Honors Programs participants must commit to two years with the Attorney General’s Office, but are encouraged to continue their public service at the conclusion of the program.

What city will I be working in?*

Your office location will depend on your practice area. The office locations are as follows:

  • Civil rights, Newark
  • Consumer financial protection, Newark
  • Conviction review, Trenton or northern New Jersey
  • Data privacy & cybersecurity, Newark         
  • Environment, Trenton
  • Gun safety & gun violence, Newark and Trenton
  • Public integrity & public corruption, Trenton or northern New Jersey
  • Workers’ rights & labor enforcement, Newark
  • Solicitor Fellow, Newark or Trenton

*Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, individuals may be required to telework rather than report to work in an office environment.

Can I rotate between practice areas?

Yes. We expect that participants will devote most of their two-year commitment to a specific practice area, but upon request, participants will have the opportunity to do a rotation in another practice area or work with the Attorney General’s executive leadership team.

I am only interested in being considered for positions in some of the listed subject areas (e.g., civil rights, environmental). Is that okay?

Yes. On the online application, applicants are asked to rank their preferences for the eight subject areas: civil rights; consumer financial protection; conviction review & innocence claims; data privacy & cybersecurity; environment; gun safety & gun violence; public integrity & corruption; and workers’ rights & labor enforcement. Applicants also have the option of applying for the Solicitor Fellow, which was launched for the 2021 Honors Program. Applicants may select as many or as few subject areas as they like; if they select more than one, they should rank their preferences in the online application. Applicants interested in the Solicitor Fellow may add that to their ranked choices or may choose to apply only for that position. Applicants will only be considered for the subject areas that they rank.

How do I submit my application package?

Submit your online application here

We will gladly assist applicants who are unable to complete an application online or who are in need of an accommodation during the application process. If you need assistance, please email honors.program@njoag.gov.

How will I know that my application was received?

You will receive an email confirming receipt. If you do not receive a confirmation email, please contact honors.program@njoag.gov.

Is there a GPA requirement?

No, although the selection committee will consider academic and intellectual ability in reviewing applications. 

How and when will interviews be conducted?* Will I be reimbursed for travel expenses?

If you are selected for an interview, you will be invited to an in-person interview in Newark or Trenton. Although the office is unable pay for travel expenses, telephonic or video conference interviews are available in cases where travel poses a particular hardship.

*Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, applicants may be required to conduct virtual or teleconference rather than in-person interviews.

What if I accept a judicial clerkship after I have submitted my application?

Please email honors.program@njoag.gov to withdraw your application. We hope you consider re-applying when the clerkship ends.

What if I accept another position or change my mind about applying?

Please email honors.program@njoag.gov to withdraw your application.

Why will I be given a conditional offer of employment if I am selected?

If you are selected for the Honors Program, you will receive a conditional offer of employment. Your acceptance into the Honors Program is contingent upon successfully completing a background investigation.

If I am selected, can I defer for a year?

No. If you are still eligible in the next hiring cycle, we encourage you to apply again.

Do I need to live in New Jersey?

Under the New Jersey First Act, new public employees must establish residency in the State of New Jersey within one year of starting employment or obtain an exception. N.J.S.A. 52:14-7. Exemptions to the residency requirement may be granted based on a proven “critical need or hardship.” To learn more about the Act and the exemption process, visit www.nj.gov/labor/lwdhome/njfirst/NJFirst.html

Do I have to take the New Jersey bar exam?

Applicants must be members of the New Jersey bar or sit for the 2021 Bar exam. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, information about the 2021 Bar exam is not yet available, and will be provided as soon as it is available. Please note that New Jersey has adopted the Uniform Bar Examination (UBE), which is also used by 21 other jurisdictions. Applicants who take the UBE earn a portable score that can be transferred to other UBE jurisdictions, including New York and Washington, D.C., for a set period of time for the purpose of applying for admission in those other jurisdictions.

I’m taking the July 2021 bar exam and won’t get my results until November. Will I still be able to do legal work in the first few months of the program?

You will be able to work on substantive legal projects under the supervision of another attorney while you are awaiting your results. You will not be able to sign briefs or appear in court until you are admitted and promoted to Deputy Attorney General. Participants who do not pass the Bar exam may be terminated from the program.

Will I be reimbursed for bar exam fees?

No. The program does not cover bar exam fees or the cost of any bar exam preparation courses.

Do I need to be a U.S. citizen to apply?

No, although applicants must be eligible to work in the United States.

Do veterans preferences or any other hiring preferences apply?

Please visit: www.nj.gov/military/veterans/civil-service-preference

I still have questions. Whom should I contact?

First, please check with your career services office. If they are not able to resolve your question, please email honors.program@njoag.gov.

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