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The Government Lawyer: U.S. Attorney 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, witness preparation, working with evidence, and attending hearings.  U.S. citizenship is required to participate in the clinic. The Office of Clinical and Pro Bono Programs provides MBTA Charlie Cards to students traveling on public transportation to the placement in downtown Boston.

All students must complete a lengthy security clearance process by the Department of Justice, which involves numerous forms and fingerprinting. This process may take up to eight weeks for final clearance, which is then valid for only six months.

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 Force 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.

How to Apply

The clinic is offered in the Fall and Spring semesters. You can learn about the required clinical course component, clinical credits and the clinical application process by reading the course catalog description and exploring the links in this section.

Application Deadline: April 17, 2023

Fall 2023 Early Drop Deadline: May 19, 2023
Spring 2024 Early Drop Deadline: September 1, 2023

Meet the Instructor

headshot of Alex Whiting

Alex Whiting

Director; Visiting Professor of Law

Alex Whiting is a Visiting Professor at Harvard Law School where he teaches, writes and consults on domestic and international criminal prosecution issues. He is presently the Deputy Specialist Prosecutor at the Kosovo Specialist Prosecutor’s office in The Hague. Before assuming this role, he was a Professor of Practice at Harvard Law School. From 2010 until 2013, he was in the Office of the Prosecutor at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague where he served first as the Investigations Coordinator, overseeing all of the investigations in the office, and then as Prosecutions Coordinator, overseeing all of the office’s ongoing prosecutions. Before going to the ICC, Whiting taught for more than three years as an Assistant Clinical Professor of Law at Harvard Law School, again with a focus on prosecution subjects. From 2002-2007, he was a Trial Attorney and then a Senior Trial Attorney with the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague. He was lead prosecution counsel in Prosecutor v. Fatmir LimajIsak Musliu, and Haradin BalaProsecutor v. Milan Martic; and Prosecutor v. Dragomir Miloševic. Before going to the ICTY, he was a U.S. federal prosecutor for ten years, first with the Criminal Section of the Civil Rights Division in Washington, D.C., and then with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Boston where he focused on organized crime and corruption cases. Whiting attended Yale College and Yale Law School, and clerked for Judge Eugene H. Nickerson of the Eastern District of New York.

In the News

  • Anoush Baghdassarian ’22 receives the 2022 Andrew L. Kaufman Pro Bono Award

    By Olivia Klein Anoush Baghdassarian ’22 is the recipient of the 2022 Andrew L. Kaufman Pro Bono Award. Graduating with an unprecedented 4,000 pro bono hours during her time at Harvard Law School, Baghdassarian is a stand-out student in the clinical and pro bono community. Having participated in a variety of clinics spanning international human

    May 19, 2022

  • A “Perfect Capstone” with the U.S. Attorney Clinic

    By Laurel Zigerelli, J.D. ’22 Participating in the Government Lawyer clinic was the perfect capstone to my time at HLS. As part of the United States Attorney’s Office in Boston, I had a front row seat to all stages of the federal criminal justice system, from the earliest stages of an investigation to post-conviction appeals.

    April 28, 2022

  • Pro Bono Week 2019 Recap

    Every year, the Office of Clinical and Pro Bono Programs (OCP) at Harvard Law School (HLS) participates in the American Bar Association’s National Celebration of Pro Bono. Held from October 21st – 25th, 2019, Pro Bono Week serves as a time where HLS celebrates and reflects on the pro bono work that staff, faculty, and

    November 5, 2019