Due August 31: U.S. Dept of Transportation Honors Program

U.S. Department of Transportation Honors Attorney Program (Washington, D.C.)

Deadline: August 31, 2020

Applicants should submit a cover letter, resume, and law school transcript by the August 31, 2020 deadline. It is OPTIONAL to also submit a writing sample (one will eventually be required if you are selected for an interview). Send materials to mark.montgomery@dot.gov.

U.S. Department of Transportation Honors Attorney Program

The Department’s Honors Attorney Program offers new law graduates and recent law graduates completing judicial clerkships or fellowships a unique opportunity to gain an in-depth understanding of the Department’s diverse law practice.

During the two-year program, honors attorneys complete one rotation in the Department’s Office of the General Counsel and five rotations in the operating administrations’ Offices of Chief Counsel.  Rotations provide each honors attorney with substantive and challenging assignments across a wide spectrum of legal fields.  Honors attorneys find themselves working in practice areas such as administrative, aviation, environmental, constitutional, torts, labor and employment, and contract and procurement law.  Honors attorneys may assist with litigation, draft legislation, enforcement, and participate in the rulemaking process.

In addition to legal work, honors attorneys meet for lunch weekly to discuss current work assignments and program matters.  The lunches also provide time for in-house training opportunities in such wide-ranging issues as the Freedom of Information Act, DOT’s crisis management procedures, and regulation drafting, as well as many other topics relevant to the practice of law at a cabinet level agency.

Honors attorneys also make site visits to gain exposure to the transportation community.  In the past few years, honors attorneys have visited a major air carrier’s ground operations at Washington Reagan-National Airport, Washington METRO’s command center and railcar maintenance facility, the automobile crash test facility at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, participated in an on-site inspection of semi-trailer trucks, and rode on the Federal Rail Administration’s track-test train.

Rotation Process

The Honors Attorney Program consists of multiple four-month rotations. Prior to the start of each rotation period, the coordinators of the Honors Attorney Program provide the honors attorneys with a list of available offices where the honors attorneys may rotate.  After receiving the list, the honors attorneys meet and negotiate as a group to decide where each honors attorney will work.  The process repeats itself, with different options, every four months.

Examples of Rotation Assignments

  • Negotiating with railroad counsel to settle violations of railroad safety regulations
  • Attending Congressional hearings and briefing senior Department officials
  • Drafting proposed legislation requested by Congressional committees
  • Drafting a Motion for Summary Judgment in an employment discrimination case
  • Drafting final orders and regulatory guidance memoranda stating an agency’s official decision or policy
  • Drafting a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking or Final Rule to be published in the Federal Register
  • Evaluating a request from a major airline for an exemption from the Department’s requirement that aircraft be accessible to persons with disabilities
  • Briefing Leadership on legal and policy issues associated with new and innovative technology


Application Requirements


Please submit the following materials to apply:

  • Cover Letter
  • Resume
  • Law School Transcript
  • OPTIONAL: Writing Sample (no more than 12 double-spaced pages). A writing sample may be submitted at this stage but will not be required until the second round of interviews.


Application Deadline


The application period for the 2021 Honors Attorney Program closes August 31, 2020.


Under COVID-19, we will conduct interviews by phone or video, and we need to have all round one interviews completed by September 15th


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By Elise Logemann
Elise Logemann Elise Logemann