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The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Legal Honors Program allows a
small number of exceptionally qualified recent law school graduates to
obtain a broad exposure to the practice of national security law over
a three-year period. Honors Program Attorneys typically will be assigned
to two different Divisions within the CIAs Office of General Counsel
during the course of the program, although some may actually have three
different assignments. Factors considered in assigning Honors Program
attorneys will be the needs of the Office, the skill sets needed to succeed
in a career within the Office of General Counsel, and the background and
skills of the Honors attorney.
The Office of General Counsel has designated a senior attorney to serve
as the formal coordinator for the Honors Program. The coordinator will
ensure that all Honors Program Attorneys have mentors within the Office
of General Counsel who can assist them in acclimating to CIA and the practice
of law, and that all Honors Attorneys are afforded the opportunity to
participate in relevant training courses.
The CIA Office of General Counsel is responsible for advising the Director
of Central Intelligence (DCI) on all legal matters relating to his role
as head of the CIA, and his role as head of the US Intelligence Community
(which consists of CIA and all of the other intelligence agencies in the
US Government). Thus, the General Counsel, who heads the Office of General
Counsel, is the principal legal officer for the CIA and the DCIs
Community Management Staff (CMS). The Office of General Counsel also
provides advice and guidance to those officers and employees within the
CIA and CMS who have specific responsibility for the conduct of US intelligence
activities. It should be noted that the CIA is a foreign intelligence
agency, not a law enforcement agency, and is expressly prohibited by law
from having any police or law enforcement powers, or internal security
The CIA Office of General Counsel handles, among other things, legal
issues relating to foreign intelligence and counterintelligence activities,
international terrorism, international narcotics trafficking, nonproliferation,
personnel and security matters, clandestine movement of materials and
supplies, contracting, finance and budget matters, legislation, and both
civil and criminal litigation. The Office of General Counsel consists
of approximately 100 attorneys with a variety of backgrounds and experience.
A Top Secret security clearance is required for all persons who work
at the CIA, including Honors Program Attorneys. US citizenship is also
required. The CIA’s personnel screening process (which includes medical
and polygraph examinations and a background investigation) generally takes
between six to nine months to complete.
Subject to the successful completion of the personnel screening process,
Honors Program candidates will be brought into the Honors Program as CIA
staff employees. Honors Program Attorneys are allowed 14 months in which
to successfully complete the bar examination from any of the 50 states,
District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, or the US Virgin Islands. Honors Program
Attorneys who have just graduated from law school will be paid at the
rate of GS-11, Step 4.
The CIA is an equal opportunity employer, and all interested applicants
are encouraged to apply. Please send a resume, law school transcript,
legal writing sample, and legal references to:
Legal Honors Program
Office of General Counsel
Central Intelligence Agency
Washington, D.C. 20505