The Office of General Counsel (OGC) is the chief legal advisor to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the federal agency with primary responsibility for implementing the nation’s environmental laws. OGC attorneys provide counsel to EPA policy makers on legal issues associated with implementing these environmental laws, as well as the laws governing the day-to-day operations of a federal agency. Approximately 160 attorneys work in the OGC headquarters office in downtown Washington, DC. OGC is organized by practice area into eight law offices. In addition, the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) National Program Office, the Ethics Office and the External Civil Rights Compliance Office also reside within OGC.

  • The Air and Radiation Law Office provides legal support for EPA to reduce threats to public health and the environment by cleaning up the nation’s air and dealing with radiation issues.
  • The Civil Rights and Finance Law Office provides legal counsel and legal services to EPA offices with respect to civil rights, equal employment opportunities, contracts, claims by and against the Agency, real and personal property, financial assistance awards, interagency agreements, and appropriations law.
  • The Cross-Cutting Issues Law Office provides legal advice under the numerous federal statutes, Executive Orders, and policies that affect all EPA programs, including the Administrative Procedure Act, Environmental Justice, the National Environmental Policy Act, he Endangered Species Act, Indian law and Children’s Health issues. The Office also provides a focal point for international environmental legal expertise and advice.
  • The Ethics Office oversees all aspects of the Agency’s ethics program, including the Standards of Ethical Conduct, conflicts of interest statutes, financial disclosure, ethics training and the Hatch Act.
  • The External Civil Rights Compliance Office ensures that any entity that receives EPA funds complies with federal non-discrimination laws.
  • The General Law Office functions as a boutique litigation group and provides advice and representation on issues relating to EPA operations in these areas: Information Law including Freedom of Information Act, Privacy Act, and the Federal Records Act; Labor and Employment Law, and Intellectual Property Law, including patent, trademark and copyright issues. Attorneys in this office litigate in administrative forums and in federal courts.
  • The National Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Office is the principal advisor to the Agency’s General Counsel in performing the functions of the Agency’s Chief FOIA Officer.  The NFO assists the General Counsel to implement Agency-wide responsibility for efficient and appropriate implementation and compliance with the FOIA.
  • The Pesticides and Toxic Substances Law Office provides legal counsel and handles legal issues for the EPA programs that address pollution prevention, pesticides and toxic chemicals, and inform citizens about toxic releases in their communities.
  • The Solid Waste and Emergency Response Law Office provides legal support for the Agency’s hazardous and solid waste programs and cleanup initiatives, including Superfund, the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, land revitalization (brownfields, federal facilities, oil spills, underground storage tanks), and the emergency response program.
  • The Water Law Office provides legal support for Agency programs that ensure drinking water is safe; that restore and maintain oceans, watersheds, and their aquatic ecosystems to protect human health; support economic and recreational activities; and provide healthy habitat for fish, plants, and wildlife.

2022 OGC Fall Extern Program

OGC, is accepting applications for the volunteer law student Extern Program. OGC is committed to attracting a talented and diverse applicant pool interested in a dynamic and challenging federal experience. Applications are being accepted for both full-time and part-time externships for Fall 2022.

EPA is an equal opportunity employer. Selection for this Extern Program appointment will be based solely on merit without regard to race, color, religion, age, gender including gender identity and expression, national origin, political affiliation, disability, sexual orientation, marital or family status or other differences. Externs must be U.S. citizens.

Externs will be asked to perform legal research and writing assignments in support of EPA’s environmental mission. Externs are usually assigned to a single law office but may be able to work on projects for other offices as well. Applications are accepted from students who will be in their second or third year of law school and are seeking academic credit. Externships may have flexible work schedules. Full-time Externs are expected to work 40 hours per week. Part-time Externs are expected to work 20 hours per week. Fall Externships will begin in August 2022.

To be considered, applicants must submit one pdf file containing these four documents in the following order: (1) a cover letter explaining why you are interested in the EPA OGC Extern Program; (2) a resume; (3) a transcript; (4) a writing sample. Applicants must submit one pdf file that contains all four (4) documents in the order indicated. Incomplete and improperly formatted applications will not be considered. We also ask students to complete a Voluntary Demographic Information form that is attached (OMB 3046-0046).

Please submit your one single file pdf application by email to: Rhonda Cardwell, OGC Extern Program Coordinator at All applications must be received no later than Friday, April 1, 2022, 11:59 pm Eastern time. OGC will not be conducting any on-campus interviews. Therefore, to be considered for the 2022 Fall Extern Program, all interested applicants must submit application materials as described above. Applicants must specify if they are seeking part-time or full-time positions in their email and cover letter. For more information about the Office of General Counsel, please visit our website at