Government Lawyer: United States Attorney Clinic

Government Lawyer: United States Attorney Clinic

Professor Alex Whiting
Fall 2017 clinic
5 clinical credits

Students who enroll in this clinic may count the credits towards the JD experiential learning requirement.

Enrollment in this clinic will fulfill the HLS JD pro bono requirement.

Required Class Component: Government Lawyer (3 fall classroom credits). Some seats are reserved for clinical students. Students who are accepted into this clinic will be enrolled in the required course by the Office of Clinical and Pro Bono Programs. If a student drops the clinic, they will also lose their seat in the required course.

Additional Co-/Pre-Requisites: None.

By Permission: Yes - applications are due March 27, 2017.

Add/Drop Deadline: May 11, 2017.

LLM Students: LLM students are not eligible to enroll.

Placement Site: Various externship placements at the U.S. Attorney's office in Boston.

This clinic must be taken for 5 clinical credits (20 hours per week).

Students must attend a mandatory training session during the first week of classes.

The Government Lawyer clinic allows students to examine firsthand the roles and responsibilities of a federal prosecutor. Students are placed at the United States Attorney's Office in Boston. Work may include research, writing, trial and witness preparation, and attending depositions, hearings, and trials. The U.S. Attorney's Office offers placements in the following criminal divisions:


  • Appeals Unit: The Appeals Unit is responsible for reviewing and approving all appellate briefs before they are filed.
  • Anti-Terrorism and National Security Unit: The Anti-Terrorism and National Security Unit handles anti-terrorism investigations, those involving breaches of national security.
  • Computer Crimes Unit: Investigates and prosecutes computer related crimes, including hacking, identity theft and other forms of computer fraud.
  • Economic Crimes Unit: The Economic Crimes Unit handles complex economic crimes expected to require grand jury or other investigative effort.
  • Health Care Fraud Unit: The Health Care Fraud Unit investigates and prosecutes complex health care fraud committed by corporate and individual defendants.
  • Major Crimes Unit: The Major Crimes Unit handles violent crime, property crimes, fraud, theft, civil rights violations, and other matters of primary federal interest.
  • Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force: Drug Unit cases range from "buy/bust" prosecution to sophisticated money laundering prosecution.
  • Organized Crime Strike Force: The organized crime unit handles complex long term matters, utilizing extensive grand jury and electronic surveillance, often using statutes such as RICO.
  • Public Corruption and Special Prosecution Unit: The Public Corruption Unit handles sensitive cases involving allegations of corruption against elected and appointed federal, state, and local officials.

Important: All students must be U.S. citizens and complete a lengthy security clearance process by the Department of Justice, which involves numerous forms and fingerprinting. This process takes between 8-10 weeks for final clearance, which is then valid for only six months. This clearance process is not just a formality, and in some instances clearance has been delayed or denied. This process is coordinated between the Office of Clinical and Pro Bono Programs and the Human Resources department of the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Students should have at least one full day available in their schedules for clinical work, and the additional hours worked must be for at least 5 hours at a time (20 hours per week is required). Most offices are open Monday-Friday from 9am-5pm.

Applications are due March 27, 2017 to Maureen Worth (mworth@law.harvard.edu). Applications should include a resume and a statement of interest no longer than 250 words. Students will be notified of their application results by April 7. Accepted students will be enrolled in the clinic and the required fall course component by the Office of Clinical and Pro Bono Programs.

Subject Areas: Criminal Law & Procedure, Government Structure & Function, Legal Profession, Legal Ethics & Professional Responsibility, Procedure & Practice