TRENTON – Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal today announced a new program designed to provide recent law school graduates and newly-admitted lawyers the opportunity to launch their legal careers – and serve the public – by working in the Attorney General’s Office.
Through the Attorney General’s Honors Program, successful applicants will be able to earn a regular salary and gain valuable, hands-on legal experience by working as either a Deputy Attorney General or Law Assistant in one of four divisions within the Attorney General’s Office: the Division of Law, the Division of Criminal Justice, the Division on Civil Rights or the Division of Consumer Affairs.
The program is open to all third-year law students, students in the final year of other graduate law programs, and judicial clerks who will complete their clerkships by September 2019. Candidates hired through the program must undergo a background check before beginning their employment, and must commit to two years of service with the Attorney General’s Office. The program is modeled on similar two-year programs established in recent years by state Attorneys General in California and Massachusetts.
Applications for the Honors Program are due by October 26, 2018, and successful candidates are projected to begin their careers with the Attorney General’s Office in 2019. According to Attorney General Grewal, successful candidates must pass the New Jersey bar examination within six months of their employment start date, and will be required to establish residency in New Jersey within 12 months of starting their jobs.
In announcing the Honors Program, Attorney General Grewal said he’s seeking “the next generation of great lawyers” to help sue polluters, combat gun violence, protect consumers, preserve civil rights, and otherwise serve the residents of New Jersey.
“The Attorney General’s Office is home to some of the most gifted and dedicated lawyers in the state, and we have a special responsibility to ensure that the next generation of great lawyers continues that tradition of public service,” said Attorney General Grewal. “The Honors Program will help us recruit talented attorneys to state government while also giving young attorneys the opportunity to gain skills and experiences not always available to those just starting their careers.”
Applicants who meet the Honors Program criteria can apply for entry into the program through the new AG Honors Website at www.nj.gov/oag/honors.
According to Attorney General Grewal, Honors Program 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, program participants will attend workshops and trainings that will help develop their legal skills, and introduce them to the full range of work performed by the Attorney General’s Office.
The starting salary for Honors Program participants will depend on whether they are admitted to the New Jersey bar as of the start date of their employment. A successful candidate who is already admitted to the bar will start as a Deputy Attorney General at an annual salary between $62,000 and $65,900.
Honors Program applicants will be asked to submit a 1,000-word “statement of interest,” a writing sample, a resume, a current law school transcript and two letters of recommendation from individuals familiar with their legal work.
Applicants will also be asked to rank their preferred subject areas for work among six choices – civil rights, consumer financial protection, data privacy & cybersecurity, environment, gun safety and gun violence and public integrity. Applicants can select as many or as few subject areas as they wish, but if they select more than one, they should rank their preferences in the online application.
All applications will be reviewed by an Honors Program Selection Committee that consists of senior attorneys within the Attorney General’s Office. Candidates will be evaluated on the basis of multiple factors, including academic and intellectual ability, legal writing, research and advocacy skills, demonstrated interest in public service, and leadership in school and/or community activities.
Following the close of applications on October 26, 2018, applicants selected for interviews will be notified in November 2018. Offers of employment will be extended in December 2018 and January 2019, and Honors Program employment start dates will be scheduled for September 2019.
The assigned office location for individual Honors Program participants will depend on their chosen subject areas. Those who work on matters involving civil rights, consumer financial protection and data privacy will be based in Newark, while those who choose the environment, gun violence and public integrity will be based in Trenton.
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