Thirty-three U.S. government agencies employ more than 1,700 Administrative Law Judges (ALJs). In addition, a number of agencies also employ Administrative Judges (AJs). Each year, some (but not all) ALJs and AJs hire Law Clerks and/or Attorney-Advisors to assist them in performing their duties. These positions, when they are available, are filled largely by entry-level attorneys who have recently graduated from law school.
There is no central repository of information about these opportunities. The National Association for Law Placement compiles a list of likely hiring agencies typically at the beginning of each calendar year. However, this list is subject to constant churn, sometimes dramatically, depending on factors such as Congress enacting a budget for the forthcoming fiscal year and appropriating funds for clerkship hiring. Such positions are also contingent on announced and unannounced agency hiring freezes.
The best indicator of agency ALJ clerkship hiring intentions is recent past practice. The following agencies have been the most consistent in hiring ALJ Clerks and/or Attorney-Advisors to support ALJs and AJs in recent years:
- Department of Agriculture—Office of Administrative Law Judges
- Department of Health & Human Services—Departmental Appeals Board
- Department of Health & Human Services—Office of Medicare Hearings & Appeals
- Department of Housing & Urban Development—Office of Administrative Law Judges
- Department of Housing & Urban Development—Office of Appeals
- Department of the Interior—Board of Land Appeals
- Department of the Interior—Probate Hearings Division
- Department of the Interior—Board of Indian Appeals
- Department of the Interior—Departmental Cases Hearings Division
- Department of Justice—Drug Enforcement Administration—Office of the Administrative Law Judges
- Department of Justice—Executive Office for Immigration Review—Office of the Chief Administrative Hearings Officer
- Department of Labor—Office of Administrative Law Judges
- Department of Labor—Administrative Review Board
- Department of Labor—Employee Compensation Appeals Board
- Department of Labor—Benefits Review Board
- Department of Transportation—Office of the Secretary—Office of Hearings
- Environmental Protection Agency—Office of Administrative Law Judges
- Equal Employment Opportunity Commission—Office of Field Programs—15 District Offices—Office of Administrative Judges
- Federal Communications Commission—Office of Administrative Law Judges
- Federal Energy Regulatory Commission—Office of Administrative Law Judges and Dispute Resolution
- Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission—Administrative Law Judges (Washington, Denver & Pittsburgh)
- Nuclear Regulatory Commission—Atomic Safety and Licensing Board Panel
- Securities and Exchange Commission—Office of Administrative Law Judges
- Small Business Administration—Office of Hearings and Appeals
- Social Security Administration—Office of Hearings Operations (1,600 ALJs work in 174 Hearings Offices nationwide)
- U.S. International Trade Commission—Office of Administrative Law Judges
Law Clerk positions are generally 1-year or 2-year term appointments. Attorney-Advisor positions may also be term-limited, but most are permanent.
ALJ and AJ Law Clerk and Attorney-Advisor hiring can change dramatically from year-to-year. For up-to-date information, it is important to check with the agencies and offices in which you are interested.