The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Honors Program is a comprehensive program designed to introduce highly motivated individuals to the field of labor law. The NLRB Honors Program allows select candidates an opportunity to work directly beside practicing labor lawyers and technical professionals in its Washington, D.C. Headquarters and Regional Offices. Honors Attorneys will gain valuable experience and benefit from a wide variety of learning experiences.
Candidates applying to this highly competitive Program are selected on the basis of merit. Factors considered include academic achievement; relevant labor relations experience and/or labor law courses; law journal and other relevant writing experience; moot court competition, legal aid, and legal clinic experience; and summer and/or part-time employment, particularly experiences dealing with labor matters. Applications should be submitted via USAJobs.com.
Summary of Honors Program
The Honors Program supports three separate program areas: Board-side, General Counsel–Headquarters, and General Counsel–Field (Regional Offices). These program areas are independent of each other but work in a coordinated fashion.
1. Board-side, Washington, DC. During this two-year program, Honors Attorneys will rotate through the offices of the five Board Members, the Office of Representation Appeals, and the Office of the Solicitor. Upon successful completion of the Honors Program, candidates will be permanently assigned, based on operational need, to a Board Member’s staff or to the Office of Representation Appeals.
Honors Attorneys can look forward to participating in the review of unfair labor practice decisions issued by administrative law judges and representation election rulings issued by NLRB hearing officers and regional directors, which are on appeal to the Board Members in Washington, D.C. Honors Attorneys may also participate in administrative rule making. The tasks are intellectually challenging and require strong analytical, research, and writing skills. They also offer a rewarding opportunity to sharpen oral and written communications skills, and to assist the Board in interpreting the National Labor Relations Act and resolving policy differences. Honors Attorneys will obtain valuable experience that will benefit them throughout their careers in labor law and will derive the satisfaction of making an important contribution to public service.
2. General Counsel–Headquarters, Washington, DC. Honors Attorneys will complete four six-month rotations in four offices in the Division of Enforcement Litigation (Office of Appeals and Appellate and Supreme Court Litigation Branch), the Division of Advice (Regional Advice Branch), and the Division of Legal Counsel (Contempt, Compliance, and Special Litigation Branch). The Office of the General Counsel–Headquarters’ Honors Program is designed for attorneys with exemplary records who are completing law school, judicial clerkships, or legal fellowships and are interested in joining the preeminent legal office involved in the development and implementation of Federal labor law and policy.
Honors Attorneys can look forward to drafting district court and appellate court briefs, and presenting oral argument; drafting motions and other pleadings in district and appellate litigation and engaging in settlement and mediation efforts; drafting memoranda recommending whether to issue complaint in complex cases and presenting recommendations to the General Counsel; assisting attorneys with investigations, preparing for and litigating trials involving all aspects civil and criminal contempt proceedings and litigation in aid of enforcing court judgments; performing in-depth legal research in all aspects of labor law.
3. General Counsel–Field. Assignments will be made in the NLRB field offices listed below. Attorneys in the Field act on behalf of the General Counsel by investigating charges of unfair labor practices, resolving, or litigating cases, conducting elections to determine union representation preferences, and acting as hearing officers in contested representation matters.
To be eligible to apply, applicants must: 1) have a 3.00 (out of 4.00) or higher cumulative law school grade point average or be in the top 25% of their law school class, if attending a law school that assign grades/rankings; 2) have previously interned for or worked at the NLRB or other labor agency; OR 3) have other specialized labor law or labor relations experience.
Applicants must submit a resume, transcript, writing sample, and personal statement.
Position Postings & Starting Salaries
This year, each Program Area is open to three different applicant pools.
- Applicants who are currently in law school AND are not currently barred should apply for the Law Clerk Trainee (Honors Law Clerk), General Schedule (GS)–11, position. These applicants will have to show proof of bar admission within 14 months of their start date. Once proof of bar admission is provided, the applicant will be converted to an Honors Attorney position at their current GS level.
- Applicants who have graduated from law school AND are either currently serving at least a one-year judicial clerkship or legal fellowship or in an honors program that began no more than 6 months after graduating law school or are in their final year of a graduate law program (e.g., LLM or JSD) AND are not currently barred, should apply for the Law Clerk Trainee (Honors Law Clerk), GS–12 position. These applicants will have to show proof of bar admission within 14 months of their start date. Once proof of bar admission is provided, the applicant will be converted to an Honors Attorney position at their current GS level.
- Applicants who have graduated from law school AND are either currently serving at least a one-year long judicial clerkship or legal fellowship or in an honors program that began no more than six months after graduating law school or are in their final year of a graduate law program (e.g., LLM or JSD), AND are currently barred, should apply for the General Attorney (Labor) (Honors Attorney), GS–12 position.
If you wish to apply to more than one program area, please apply via the appropriate USAJOBS announcement to each area.
The annual starting salary for a General Schedule (GS) grade and step may be reviewed at the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) website. This website provides salary tables for all NLRB duty locations.
Candidates may be subject to a two-year probationary period.
For questions and to obtain more information about the program, please email OHRHonors@nlrb.gov.