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 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.
The job announcements for the 2022 Honors class have closed. The next postings will be in the fall of 2022 for the 2023 Honors class.
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 Offices. 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 the staff of one of the Board Members 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 analytic, research, and writing skills. They also offer a rewarding opportunity to sharpen oral and written communications skills, and to assist the Board in interpreting its statute 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. Assignments will include rotations in the Division of Enforcement Litigation (Office of Appeals and the Appellate and Supreme Court Litigation Branch), the Division of Advice, and the Contempt, Compliance, and Special Litigation Branch of the Division of Legal Counsel.
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.
3. General Counsel–Field (Regional Offices). Assignments are made in the NLRB’s Regional Offices. 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.
Positions & General Schedule (GS) Pay Grades
Typically, 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 Honors Law Clerk, GS–11 pay grade. Please note that 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 the same pay grade.
- Applicants who have recently graduated from law school AND are not currently barred AND are either currently in at least a one-year long judicial clerkship, honors program, legal fellowship, or are currently in their final year of a graduate law program (e.g., LLM or JSD), should apply for the Honors Law Clerk, GS–12 pay grade. Please note that 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 the same pay grade.
- Applicants who have recently graduated from law school AND are currently barred AND are either currently in at least a one-year long judicial clerkship, honors program, legal fellowship, or are currently in their final year of a graduate law program (e.g., LLM or JSD), should apply for the Honors Attorney, GS–12 pay grade.
If you wish to apply to more than one program area, please submit an application via the appropriate USAJOBS announcement to each program of interest.
The annual salary for each GS pay grade may be reviewed at the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) website. This website provides salary tables for all NLRB duty locations.
GPA/Class Rank Requirement
Those applicants attending law schools that assign grades and/or class rank must have a 3.20 (out of 4.00) or greater cumulative law school grade point average or be in the top 25% of their graduating law school class.
Applicants must submit a resume, transcript, a writing sample, and a personal statement.
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.