Explore a career in Law, Intelligence & National Security.
The legal and national security industries include those occupations involved in the practice, interpretation, and enforcement of law and can be broken up into two main career paths:
In addition to lawyers, the industry also includes paralegal and other support positions. Lawyers, paralegals, and others are employed not only in law offices, but in corporations, the government, the court system, and many other industries.
Some students may choose to take a few years off after graduation and work as a paralegal before committing to going to law school. No additional training is necessary.
Students in STEM fields also have the option to become patent examiners. Patent examiners may be employed at legal offices dealing with patent/intellectual property law, or by the US Patent and Trademark office.
For information on pursuing a law degree, please see the section of our website devoted to that topic.
General Desired Skills:
Sample Job Titles:
- US Department of Justice
- US Patent and Trademark
- American Bar Association
- NYS Division of Human Rights
- US Attorney General’s office
- Monroe County Public Defender/District Attorney
Most internships will become available on an ‘as needed’ basis. When you’re six months from your anticipated start date, research organizations and law firms. Many big law firms do not take undergrads as interns. That’s not to say that you should not try, but common practice is that they take law students for their summer internships. Some government agencies i.e., NYS Division of Human Rights, and the US Attorney General’s office, may begin accepting applications, for summer internships, after the beginning of the year. You may also find volunteer positions at legal clinics and some law firms.
Full-time—larger law firms, some organizations, and governmental agencies, such as the Department of Justice, typically accept applications after January 1 for a May start date. However, many paralegal positions are filled on an ‘as needed’ basis. In other words, someone needs to vacate a position for it to be available. So, the spring will be a more active phase of the application process. Keep in mind that others may have taken paralegal positions as a ‘gap year or two’ and may not be giving their notice until summer.
Intelligence and National Security
Positions in the intelligence community and national security deal with intelligence collection and analysis and protecting our country. While many positions are through the government, some contractors work in the private sector on government contracts.
If you’re interested in the federal government intelligence agencies, please be advised that the timelines for applying for those positions may be slightly longer than you’ll find in other areas. For those interested more in the investigative side, careers in criminal justice, including forensic psychology, may be options to consider.
General Desired Skills:
Many jobs within this sector may require a security clearance. Because of this, you should be cognizant of those activities or behaviors that could negatively impact your ability to receive clearance successfully. In most cases, US Citizenship or Permanent Residency is required.
- Analytical and critical thinking skills – reason and logic
- STEM backgrounds can be beneficial for some analyst positions, or those working in cybersecurity
- Responsive to change
Sample Job Titles:
- Special agent
- Intelligence analyst
- Information security analyst
- Police officer/detective
- Foreign service officer
- Central Intelligence Agency
- Defense Intelligence Agency
- Federal Bureau of Investigation
- Federal Emergency Management Agency
- Internal Revenue Service
- National Security Agency
- U.S. Department of Defense
- U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Federal government/security agencies—For full-time positions within the intelligence agencies, please note that the process will take approximately one year, or longer. For details on the application process and timeline, consult the U.S. Intelligence Careers website. For internships, visit the U.S. Intelligence Careers Students’ Programs page. Please note that many programs have application deadlines in the fall for internships the next summer.
Federal positions outside of federal security—For current students and new grads, the Pathways Program is an entry point into the federal government. Many federal internships will open their applications approximately six months before the start date. For information on the internship application process, see the OMP internships page. For full-time positions, see the OMP recent graduates page.
Government positions outside of the Pathways program—For a May start date, spend the fall researching potential positions and agencies, and creating your profile in USAJobs. Remember to update your profile as necessary and create a separate federal resume. Follow their instructions and cut and paste sections of your resume into their template. Once you apply for a position, it may take approximately two to four months for the hiring process to be complete.
The following websites provide an instructive and insightful look at the benefits of government positions and the application process.
- USA Jobs Application Process
- Working in our Federal Government – from the nonprofit Go Government website.
Contract positions outside of the federal government—Fall – research companies and determine individual timelines
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