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OCC Honors Attorney Program

The OCC’s Honors Attorney Program is a developmental program of one year followed by full-time employment for recent law school graduates, law school graduates completing a course of study within the last two years, and individuals who are completing judicial clerkship programs. The one-year program provides attorneys with substantive legal assignments, exposing them to the breadth and depth of the diverse practice areas within the OCC’s Law Department. We seek Honors Attorney candidates with varied backgrounds and experiences who will add to the breadth of perspectives in the Law Department and the OCC.

Honors Attorneys are located in Washington and report to the Assistant Chief Counsel, who manages the program from the Chief Counsel’s front office and individually supports and coordinates with each Honors Attorney on their development throughout the one-year program. Honors Attorneys rotate among different practice areas and offices in the OCC’s Law Department, which include offices in Chicago, Dallas, Denver, and New York City. (Travel expenses associated with any rotation from Washington to another office are paid by the OCC in accordance with the Federal Travel Regulation.) Managers in the Honors Attorneys’ assigned practice areas oversee the Honors Attorneys’ work in coordination with the Assistant Chief Counsel. All Honors Attorneys are assigned mentors in each practice area.

Honors Attorneys learn about the diverse practice areas in the Law Department and gain a broader perspective of how such practices areas work together in serving the OCC’s mission. Throughout the program, Honors Attorneys also develop professional and mentoring relationships by engaging with fellow attorneys and other colleagues. Assignments vary with the practice area and may include:

  • providing legal counsel to OCC policymakers, managers, and bank examiners,
  • analyzing the impact of current legislation on the institutions the OCC supervises,
  • drafting proposed or final rules or other issuances,
  • taking a sworn statement or deposition,
  • drafting various documents for administrative or judicial proceedings (for example, enforcement actions or briefs for hearing), and
  • interpreting federal law or regulations.

At the end of the program, the Honors Attorneys are assigned to one practice area in the Law Department and will have the opportunity to provide input regarding their assignment. If the need exists, Honors Attorneys may have an opportunity to relocate to a district office.

Program Qualifications

The OCC's Honors Attorney Program is designed for law students expecting to graduate within one year, and recent law school graduates (typically, who have graduated within the last one or two years) who have been engaged in judicial clerkship programs or fellowships. The OCC considers the following factors in reviewing an application:

  • Law school and undergraduate academic record (course work in areas such as financial regulation, economics, consumer financial law, or administrative law may be helpful but is not required).
  • Top 25 percent class ranking (preferred, but not mandatory).
  • Any previous work experience (legal, business, not-for-profit, or government) or judicial clerkship.
  • Personal experiences that reflect a desire to excel and overcome challenges.
  • A genuine interest in learning, and working in, the field of financial services law and/or administrative law.

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

Expressions of Interest and Selection Process

You may express interest in the Honors Attorney Program by submitting a resumé package by September 20, to

Expressions of interest – A complete package includes the following:

  • Resumé.
  • Law school transcript (photocopy acceptable), with any non-standard 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 panel interviews in October or November.

Offers – The OCC typically makes job offers in the late fall. Successful candidates would ordinarily report the following fall as an Honors Attorney cohort.

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 expected to acquire bar membership within 14 months.

Any questions regarding the Honors Attorney Program should be emailed to the

Salary and Benefits

Starting salaries range from approximately $131,000 to $159,000, and reflect the Washington, DC locality differential (which is where the program is based), as well as any prior work experience as an attorney or judicial law clerk. Benefits include payment towards a bar preparation course, payment of annual bar membership dues, and may include a relocation allowance.

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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