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OCC Honors Attorney Program

Honors Attorney Program

The OCC’s Honors Attorney Program is a developmental program, of one year followed by full-time employment. The one-year program provides attorneys with substantive legal assignments, exposing them to the breadth and depth of the practice groups within the OCC’s Law Department.

During their first year, Honors Attorneys rotate among different practice areas in the OCC’s Law Department, which include OCC District Offices in New York City, Denver, Dallas, or Chicago. Travel expenses associated with any District Office rotation are paid by the OCC in accordance with the Federal Travel Regulation.

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

  • 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 – Honors attorneys add to the breadth of backgrounds, experiences, and perspective within the Law Department. The Law Department values diversity in all forms.
  • Dedication – We support supervisors in managing and overseeing the work product 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 practice areas, we 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 designed for 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.)

Process for Expressions of Interest

You may express interest in the honors attorney program by submitting a resumé package by September 30 to HonorsProgramApplications@occ.treas.gov. A complete package 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

Interviews – Depending on staffing needs, the OCC generally extends invitations for interviews in September or October in each calendar year.

Offers – Our practice has been to make job offers late in the calendar year. Successful candidates would 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 emailed to the HonorsProgramQuestions@occ.treas.gov.

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.

Review our full salary and benefits package.

Recent Employment Data for Entry-Level Attorneys

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

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

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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