THE CHIEF COUNSEL HONORS PROGRAM
- Highly competitive program available primarily to third-year students, graduating Tax LLM students, and judicial clerks.
- Open to individuals each year who have superior academic qualifications or experience relevant to the work of Chief Counsel
- Appointments are made at GS-11, Step 8 for JD applicants, and at GS-12, Step 4 for LLM applicants. If you are not a licensed attorney when you join our Honors Program, you will initially be brought on board as a Law Clerk. Upon admission to the bar, and demonstration of satisfactory employment during the interim period, you will be eligible for conversion to an Attorney position.
- Positions are available in our offices nationwide and are subject to a three-year commitment
Eligibility Requirements for the Honors Program
- Eligibility is limited to law students who will graduate from law school between October 1, 2020 and September 30, 2021 and recent law school graduates who began participating in eligibility preserving activities within 9 months of law school graduation. Eligibility preserving activities are full-time activities starting after law school graduation that can preserve a law school graduate’s eligibility for the Honors Program. The following are eligibility preserving activities: judicial clerkships, tax or accounting-related graduate programs (including Tax LL.M. programs) or qualifying legal fellowships. Qualifying legal fellowships must have a formal sponsor (e.g., a public service organization, a foundation, a bar association, a corporation, a law school, etc.), an established legal mission (e.g., purpose, type of work), and be publicly advertised as a fellowship at the time the candidate applied to the fellowship. Fellowships must also be of fixed duration ("bridge the gap" fellowships that require fellows to continue to seek other employment and terminate when the incumbent secures permanent legal employment do not qualify). Breaks between consecutive eligibility preserving activities cannot exceed 120 days. Participation in the eligibility preserving activity must be active through at least December 1 of the application year (may run later). Law school graduates who received their J.D. prior to October 1, 2017 are ineligible.
- For JDs: Top 25% class rank or minimum GPA of 3.35 is required (if the school does not provide class rank or GPA at the time a selection is made, a minimum LSAT of 160 is required)
- For Tax LLMs (including JD/Tax LLMs) who have completed any Tax LLM coursework: must satisfy the JD class rank requirement above or have a minimum GPA of 3.25 in the Tax LLM program (if the Tax LLM program does not provide GPA, a minimum LSAT of 160 is required);
- Must attend an ABA accredited law school; and
- Must be a U.S. citizen
Attributes of an Ideal Candidate
- Special high-level recognition for academic excellence in law school, such as selection to Order of the Coif or receipt of the American Jurisprudence Award in related courses; or top grades in tax or related course work (e.g., “A” grades in tax courses);
- Evidence of background or experience in the position to be filled, such as taking relevant law school classes (e.g., tax law, bankruptcy/debtor creditor law, administrative law) or relevant legal or tax experience (e.g., tax legal experience) or relevant tax volunteer experience (e.g., VITA, Tax Clinic);
- Work or achievement in the law school’s law review or other recognized law journal;
- Winning a moot court or mock trial competition or membership on a moot court or mock trial team
Three-Year Tenure Commitment
- As a newly appointed attorney, you will be expected to remain with the Office of Chief Counsel for a period of three years, unless released from your employment commitment. This is due in part to recognize the significant amount of time and money that the Office of Chief Counsel invests in training new attorneys to become proficient in the law. The first year of your three-year commitment is part of a trial period during which you may resign without requesting a release.
When Honors Program positions become available, they can be viewed here.
Additional information on applying for these positions is available here.