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Legal Division Honors Program

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Frequently Asked Questions

2010 Program Application Dates
We will accept applications to the program from June 1, 2009, through September 30, 2009.

The Program

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation's Honors Attorney Program provides valuable and challenging professional opportunities for outstanding law school graduates. Our goal is to provide our Honors Attorneys with a better understanding of the FDIC's role in our financial system while providing new attorneys with an opportunity for public service. Our Honors Attorneys are assigned to a wide variety of projects throughout the Legal Division that provide extensive legal experience as well as a substantial amount of individual responsibility. To that end, during the first year of the program all of our Honors Attorneys participate in three-month rotations through various Legal Division sections in our Headquarters office as well as one rotation to one of our field locations (Boston, New York, Atlanta, Chicago, Kansas City, Dallas or San Francisco). During their second year, our Honors Attorneys devote their time to longer term assignments with one or more of our sections.

When you join the FDIC as an Honors Attorney you will be hired as an Attorney. (If you have not yet been admitted to practice, you will join our team as a Law Clerk. You will receive the designation "Attorney" once you have been admitted to the Bar.) FDIC Honors Attorney appointments are for a term not-to-exceed 24 months. Although an Honors Attorney appointment does not last beyond 24 months and there is no guarantee of employment beyond then, it is customary during the second year for Honors Attorneys to apply for available permanent vacancies in the Legal Division.

Why Join the FDIC?

Throughout the past year’s turmoil in the financial markets the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation has stood strong and has continued to fulfill its 75 year old mission of standing behind the insured deposits of its member banks and supporting confidence in the nation’s financial system.

The FDIC was born of the Great Depression of the late 1920s and early 1930s. More than 9,000 banks closed between the stock market crash of October 1929 and March of 1933, when President Franklin Delano Roosevelt took office. For all practical purposes, the FDIC Symbol of Confidencenation's banking system had shut down completely even before President Roosevelt - less than 48 hours after his inauguration - declared a "banking holiday" suspending all banking activities until stability could be restored. Among the actions taken by Congress to bring order to the system was the creation of the FDIC in June 1933. The intent was to provide a federal government guarantee of deposits so that customers' funds, within certain limits, would be safe and available to them on demand. Since the start of FDIC insurance on January 1, 1934, not one depositor has lost a cent of insured funds as a result of a failure. The FDIC sign - posted in insured financial institutions across the country - has become a symbol of confidence.

As an Honors Attorney you will contribute to maintaining confidence in our nation's financial system and learn financial institutions regulatory law from the inside out. In addition, you will be exposed to areas of law atypical to most government practice that will serve you well wherever your career takes you.

Legal Practice at the FDIC

The practice of law at the FDIC reflects the broad nature of the FDIC's work as well as its unique statutory powers. For example, because the FDIC has independent litigating authority our attorneys practice before virtually all courts. FDIC attorneys develop case strategy, write the briefs and appear in court for arguments. The FDIC's Legal Division is a full service corporate practice providing not only litigation but transactional, regulatory and administrative legal services to the Corporation. As an FDIC Honors Attorney you will have the opportunity to work in a number of exciting areas including:

Bank regulatory matters

  • Developing, drafting and providing legal opinions on legislation, regulations and policy statements relating to insured depository institutions.
  • Providing guidance on deposit insurance coverage, assessments of insured depository institutions, Federal securities laws, and consumer laws.
  • Providing guidance and advice to foreign countries that are developing deposit insurance programs.
  • Working closely with bank and review examiners to ensure bank compliance with banking and consumer protection laws and regulations and the continued safety and soundness of insured depository institutions.
  • Preparing and litigating enforcement cases before administrative law judges and in federal courts.

Litigation and bank receivership matters

  • Litigating multimillion dollar actions against directors and officers, attorneys and accountants when negligence and malpractice contributed to the downfall of banks.
  • Managing large, complex commercial litigation arising out of the business lines of failed institutions, as well as civil and other claims owned by receiverships.
  • Developing resolution, receivership and marketing strategies for failed banks involving hundreds of millions of dollars in deposits and loans.
  • Coordinating the FDIC's anti-fraud efforts with the Department of Justice, prosecutors and FBI agents across the country in the investigation and prosecution of criminal conduct in the banking and savings and loan industries.
  • Defending the FDIC against challenges to its statutory authority and appeals from its administrative determinations.

Corporate practice

  • Providing legal opinions on a wide range of topics including statutory powers of the FDIC, the role of the FDIC as a federal agency, and corporate governance.
  • Handling all labor and employment issues including administrative hearings on employee-related matters and negotiations with the bargaining unit representative.
  • Handling FDIC contracting, including contracting for the services of outside counsel.
  • Managing Legal Division technology.

For more information, email your questions to attorneyhonorsprogram@fdic.gov


In order to qualify for the 2010 Program, you must:

1. be in your final year of law school graduating from an American Bar Association accredited law school between December 2009 and June 2010, or

    be a full time graduate student in the final year of study which began immediately following law school, or

    be a recent law graduate leaving a judicial clerkship* no later than September 1, 2010, and

2.  be admitted to practice before the highest court of any state, territory or the District of Columbia or be taking a bar examination following graduation and available to start work no later than September 1, 2010, and

3.  have, at minimum, a B average or equivalent or be in the top 33 percent of your law school class, and

4.  be a United States citizen.

*The clerkship must begin no later than nine months after law school graduation, be no longer than three (3) years in length, and be your first significant legal employment.

When deciding which candidates are qualified for an interview, we look to your total application package including undergraduate record (including GPA), law school courses and grades (including GPA), any law review or law journal participation (including service as an editor), judicial clerkship if any, national or regional moot court competition participation, and other special qualifications (such as another advanced degree, foreign language skills) or life experience. You must submit a writing sample (unedited other than by you) which will be evaluated for legal research, analytical and writing skills (i.e., organization, grammar, spelling, and persuasiveness).


We expect to select up to six (6) candidates for assignment to our headquarters offices in Washington, DC and Arlington, VA.

The Honors Program appointment is for a period not to exceed 24 months. If you do not acquire Bar membership within 14 months of appointment, the appointment terminates. Upon admission to the Bar you will be reclassified as an Attorney. While a permanent appointment beyond the temporary 24-month appointment cannot be guaranteed, you would be eligible in your second year to apply for vacancies in the Legal Division.

FDIC is an independent agency of the federal government. Go to Frequently Asked Questions for further information.

FDIC is an equal opportunity employer.

Applications will be considered without regard to race, color, religion, gender, national origin, age, marital status, disability, political affiliation, sexual orientation, or any other non-merit factor.

FDIC provides reasonable accommodation to applicants with disabilities where appropriate.

For more information, email your questions to attorneyhonorsprogram@fdic.gov

Last Updated 2/03/2009 attorneyhonorsprogram@fdic.gov

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