Careers

AG Honors Program

AG Honors Program

Honors Program Summary

The two-year program allows participants to rotate through one of 12 subject matter areas:

  • Civil Rights
  • Reproductive Health Rights
  • Firearms Civil Enforcement and Accountability
  • Conviction Review and Innocence Claims
  • Social Media Accountability and Data Privacy/Cybersecurity
  • Environmental Justice
  • Public Integrity and Police Licensing
  • Workers’ Rights and Labor Enforcement
  • Violence Intervention and Victim Advocacy
  • Youth Justice
  • Sexual and Domestic Violence Policy, Prevention, and Enforcement
  • Solicitor General Fellow

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 General Fellow assignment will be within the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) and working directly with the Solicitor General.

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 2022 Honors Program class are due by 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, October 9, 2022.

To learn more, please continue to read below. To complete the online application, click here

To learn more about the 2021 and 2022 Honors Program members, click here.

Subject Matter Areas

Applicants must select which of the 12 subject matter areas they wish to be considered for:

  • Civil Rights
  • Reproductive Health Rights
  • Firearms Civil Enforcement and Accountability
  • Conviction Review and Innocence Claims
  • Social Media Accountability and Data Privacy/Cybersecurity
  • Environmental Justice
  • Public Integrity and Police Licensing
  • Workers’ Rights and Labor Enforcement
  • Violence Intervention and Victim Advocacy
  • Youth Justice
  • Sexual and Domestic Violence Policy, Prevention, and Enforcement
  • Solicitor General Fellow

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 General 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.

  • Newark – Civil rights, Reproductive Health Rights, Firearms Civil Enforcement and Accountability, and Social Media Accountability and Data Privacy/Cybersecurity, and Worker Rights & Labor Enforcement will be based in Newark.
  • Trenton – Environmental Justice, Youth Justice and Violence Intervention and Victim Advocacy
  • Trenton or Northern NJ – Conviction Review, Sexual and Domestic Violence Policy, Prevention, and Enforcement, and Public Integrity & Police Licensing.
  • Newark or Trenton: Solicitor General Fellow

 Please note that as of July 1, 2022, State employees are on a hybrid schedule of three days of in-office work, and two days of telework.  This policy is expected to continue into 2023, but is subject to change.

Subject Matter Area Descriptions 

  • Civil rights. 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.
  • Reproductive Health Rights. Program participants will help enforce the statutory protections put in place following the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs for all individuals seeking and providing reproductive health care in New Jersey. Participants will also be able to participate in the work of the AG’s Reproductive Rights Strike Force bringing together civil and criminal enforcement and security resources to further protect reproductive health in New Jersey.
  • Firearms Civil Enforcement and Accountability. Program participants will have an opportunity to work with the newly created Statewide Affirmative Firearms Enforcement (SAFE) Office created by Acting Attorney General Platkin to enforce newly enacted public nuisance legislation intended to hold gun manufacturers and dealer accountable for violations of the law that harm the health and safety of New Jersey residents. Attorneys will also 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 and Innocence Claims. 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.
  • Social Media Accountability and Data Privacy/Cybersecurity. Program participants will develop legal, regulatory, and policy strategies to hold social media platforms accountable for failure to adequately safeguard users from social media that negatively impacts users’ mental health, facilitates violence, and promotes harmful content such as bias/hate.  Participants also will have the opportunity to work on investigations and enforcement actions involving data breaches and the unauthorized collection, use, and dissemination of participants’ personal information.
  • Environmental Justice. 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.
  • Violence Intervention and Victim Advocacy. New Jersey has recognized that public safety solutions cannot rely on prevention and enforcement, but must also incorporate trauma-informed interventions. In recent years tens of millions of dollars have been dedicated to supporting the work of hospital and community-based violence intervention work.  Program participants will have the opportunity to support that work through policy and process creation, training and implementation. Attorneys will also get to build out department-wide victim access procedures.
  • Public Integrity and Police Licensing. 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.  Program Participants will also be part of a team working to create a regulatory system for, and the implementation of, newly legislated police licensing.  The professional licensing of policing became law in the summer of 2022 with an 18-month runway for implementation.
  • Youth Justice. Program participants will work directly with the Juvenile Justice Commission and other state agencies to implement recent recommendations from the statewide Youth Justice Taskforce Report, issued pursuant to Governor Murphy’s Executive Order No. 42 (2018), to continue the transformation of New Jersey’s Youth Justice system into a more just and equitable system. Participants will also work with the Office of Justice Data and the Division of Criminal Justice on alternative diversionary programs for youth.
  • Sexual and Domestic Violence Policy, Prevention, and Enforcement. Program participants will work under the direction of an Assistant Attorney General within the Division of Criminal Justice, a position created by Acting Attorney General Platkin to exclusively focus on the eradication of sexual and domestic violence.  This will include, among other things, the development of trauma-informed policy and trainings, implementation of victim-driven diversionary programs for certain domestic violence offenses, and the investigation and prosecution of human trafficking crimes.
  • Workers’ Rights and Labor Enforcement. 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 General Fellow. The Solicitor General Fellow will work with the Solicitor General in developing strategy for high-priority cases, drafting briefs in appeals and dispositive motions, and participating in argument preparation and moot courts. The Solicitor General Fellow will have the opportunity to deliver oral argument. The Solicitor General Fellow will be involved with multiple appeals in a dynamic and fast-paced environment. The Solicitor General Fellow will be exposed to all subject matter 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 2023,and who began the clerkship immediately following graduation from law school or a fellowship program.
  • Individuals who will complete a fellowship by September 2023,and which began immediately following graduation from law school or clerkship.

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 11:59 p.m. on October 9, 2022. 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 12 subject matter areas

  • Civil Rights
  • Reproductive Health Rights
  • Firearms Civil Enforcement and Accountability
  • Conviction Review and Innocence Claims
  • Social Media Accountability and Data Privacy/Cybersecurity
  • Environmental Justice
  • Public Integrity and Police Licensing
  • Workers’ Rights and Labor Enforcement
  • Violence Intervention and Victim Advocacy
  • Youth Justice
  • Sexual and Domestic Violence Policy, Prevention, and Enforcement
  • Solicitor General Fellow

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 Civil Rights and Reproductive Health Rights subject matter areas may choose to split their two-year commitment between the two, and focus one year in each area.  Applicants interested in the Solicitor General 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 achievement and scholarship;
  • 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 a virtual or in-person interview in Newark or Trenton in October – November 2022.

Offers will be extended in December 2022 or January 2023. All offers are subject to successful completion of the candidate’s background investigation. Honors Program participants will begin work in September 2023.

 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 $87,578.62.
  • 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 $87,578.62.

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

  • August 24, 2022: Application period opens
  • October 9, 2022: Deadline for submitting online application
  • October/November 2022: Applicants notified if they are selected for interviews
  • November 2022 – December 2022: Interviews
  • December 2022 – January 2023: Offers extended
  • September 2023: Start date for employment
  • By 11:59 p.m. on October 9, 2021, 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 $87,578.62. 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 $59,494. Once admitted to the bar, you will be promoted to DAG at an annual salary of $87,578.62.

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:

  • Newark – Civil rights, Reproductive Health Rights, Firearms Civil Enforcement and Accountability, and Social Media Accountability and Data Privacy/Cybersecurity, and Worker Rights & Labor Enforcement will be based in Newark.
  • Trenton – Environmental Justice, Youth Justice and Violence Intervention and Victim Advocacy
  • Trenton or Northern NJ – Conviction Review, Sexual and Domestic Violence Policy, Prevention, and Enforcement, and Public Integrity & Police Licensing.
  • Newark or Trenton: Solicitor General Fellow

Please note that as of July 1, 2022, State employees are on a hybrid schedule of three days of in-office work, and two days of telework.  This policy is expected to continue into 2023, but is subject to change.

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 justice). Is that okay?
Yes. On the online application, applicants are asked to rank their preferences for the twelve subject areas:

  • Civil Rights
  • Reproductive Health Rights
  • Firearms Civil Enforcement and Accountability
  • Conviction Review and Innocence Claims
  • Social Media Accountability and Data Privacy/Cybersecurity
  • Environmental Justice
  • Public Integrity and Police Licensing
  • Workers’ Rights and Labor Enforcement
  • Violence Intervention and Victim Advocacy
  • Youth Justice


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. Selections will be made based on academic achievement and scholarship, and other activities including leadership; journal, moot court, and mock trial experience; clinical experience; interest in government or public service; and other extracurricular justice-related activities.

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 a virtual or in-person interview in Newark or Trenton. The office is unable pay for travel expenses

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 2023 Bar exam. 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 2023 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.

 

 

 

 

 

Downloads

AG’s Honors Program Flyer – click image to download

Solicitor General Fellow Flyer – click image to download

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