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OCC Honors Attorney Program

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Honors Attorney Program

The OCC’s Honors Attorney Program is a one-year program, followed by full-time employment, which provides substantive assignments while exposing the attorney to the breadth and depth of the practice areas within the OCC’s Law Department.

The OCC’s Honors Attorney Program assigns each attorney to a permanent position within the Law Department in the OCC’s Washington, D.C. headquarters office. During the first year, Honors Attorneys will rotate among different practice areas in the OCC’s Law Department, including one OCC District Office in New York City, Denver, Dallas, or Chicago. Travel expenses associated with the District Office rotation will be paid by the OCC in accordance with the Federal Travel Regulation.

During the one-year program, Honors Attorneys will learn about the diverse practice areas in the Law Department. Assignments will vary with practice area and may include taking a sworn statement, drafting an enforcement action, interpreting federal law or regulations, providing legal counsel to examiners, and analyzing the impact of current legislation on the institutions the OCC supervises. At the end of the first year, the Honors Attorney will have the opportunity to provide input into the attorney’s assignment within one of the headquarters’ practice areas. If the need exists, Honors Attorneys may have an opportunity to relocate to a District Office.

4D Guiding Principles

The Honors Attorney Program is guided by the following 4D principles:

  • Development – We are committed to developing attorneys with cross-functional experience and identifying a placement that both fits the Honors Attorney’s interests and strengths and the Law Department’s needs.
  • Diversity – We actively recruit attorneys who add to the breadth of backgrounds, experiences, and perspective within the Law Department. The Law Department values diversity in all forms including gender, race, sexual orientation, political affiliation, experience, and perspective.
  • Dedication – We will support supervisors in managing and overseeing the workproduct of Honors Attorneys as well as support Honors Attorneys in achieving their work-related goals.
  • One Law Department – Through open communication, respect, and collaboration across divisions, we will enhance our ability to provide excellent, timely, and consistent advice and products, and function as a cohesive Law Department.

Program Qualifications

The OCC's Honors Attorney Program is open to law students expecting to graduate within one year, law school graduates completing a course of study within the last two years, and recent law school graduates completing judicial clerkship programs. Competition for available entry-level positions is keen. OCC considers the following factors in reviewing an application:

  • Law school and undergraduate academic record, with relevant course work in financial services, securities, commercial, consumer financial law, and/or administrative law
  • Top 25 percent class ranking (preferred, but not mandatory)
  • Financial services-related work experience (legal or business) or Judicial Clerkship
  • Personal experiences that reflect a desire to excel and overcome challenges
  • A genuine interest in the field of financial services law

(Experienced attorneys can find OCC Law Department current openings through our Current Openings page.)

Application Process

Submit your application to  A complete application includes the following:

  • Resumé
  • Law school transcript (photocopy acceptable), with any unusual grading systems explained, and class rank, if available
  • Legal writing sample that demonstrates analytical and writing skills
  • DD Form 214, Certificate of Separation or Discharge From Active Duty, or other proof of eligibility for those claiming veterans' preference
  • A one-page cover letter explaining your interest in the OCC Honors Attorney Program  

Deadline Date – Applications are due September 18. We cannot guarantee that any application filed after that date will be considered.

Interviews – The OCC generally extends invitations for interviews in September or October.

Offers – Most job offers are expected to be made late in the calendar year. Successful candidates will ordinarily report the following fall.

Character Investigation – All appointments are subject to a character and background investigation.

Successful candidates who have not yet passed the bar exam serve as law clerks pending bar membership. Upon admission to the bar, clerks are reclassified as attorneys. Candidates are generally expected to acquire bar membership within 14 months.

Any questions regarding the Honors Program should be e-mailed to the

Salary and Benefits

Salaries for recently hired entry-level attorneys were approximately $115,000 for Washington headquarters positions. Attorneys with judicial clerkship experience or attorneys who have already passed the bar exam may be offered a higher starting salary, taking into consideration prior experience as an attorney. The OCC also offers incoming attorneys up to $2,500 for a bar review course and $2,500 for relocation expenses when an applicant is required to move 50 miles or more for their work location. Additional salary information is available upon request.

The OCC provides one of the best benefits programs in government. Although part of the federal government, the OCC has a more flexible salary and benefits program than most other government offices. Many benefits are paid for by the agency, at no cost to employees, while others are generously subsidized. Employment with the OCC may qualify for federal student loan repayment programs.

Recent Employment Data for Entry-Level Attorneys

The OCC hired from the following law schools in recent years:

Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law University of Iowa College of Law
Boston College Law School University of Maryland School of Law
Boston University School of Law University of Michigan Law School
UC Berkeley School of Law New York University School of Law
California Western School of Law University of North Carolina School of Law
University of Chicago Law School Northwestern University Law School
Columbia University Law School University of Southern California School of Law
Cornell Law School Southern Methodist University School of Law
University of Denver Law School Stanford University Law School
Duke University School of Law University of Texas School of Law
Fordham University School of Law UCLA School of Law
George Washington University Law School University of Virginia School of Law
Georgetown University Law Center University of Washington School of Law
Harvard Law School Washington University School of Law
Howard University School of Law William & Mary Law School
IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law Yale Law School

The OCC hired a number of entry-level attorneys in recent years with the following clerkship experiences:

U.S. Court of Appeals
U.S. District Court
U.S. Bankruptcy Court
State Supreme Court

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