Externship, Summer Law Clerk, Post-Graduate Fellowship, and Volunteer Programs

Law students, law graduates, and lawyers have many opportunities for meaningful involvement in the important work of the Department of Law as legal externs, law clerks, summer program participants, post-graduate fellows, and lawyers.  Participants gain invaluable hands-on legal experience by working on complex and diverse projects with Law Department attorneys.  They participate in negotiations and Client advising meetings, conduct research and analysis to draft dispositive motions on constitutional or procedural issues of law, and - utilizing an Illinois Supreme Court Rule 711 license - appear on behalf of the City in Court or before Administrative Tribunals.

All volunteer law clerk programs are designed to provide law students, law graduates, and lawyers with a challenging clerkship that reflects the demands and rewards of public service, as well as a realistic picture of what it is like to practice law for one of the largest law firms in the country.  (*Give yourself plenty of time to apply, as the City requires fingerprinting and background checks of employees and volunteers.)

The City of Chicago Law Department seeks talented, promising individuals from a wide variety of backgrounds.  The Law Department is committed to increasing opportunities for minorities in the legal profession, and it is proud that its staff reflects the racial, cultural, and ethnic diversity of Chicago.  The Law Department is an Equal Employment Opportunity and Military Friendly Employer.

Pre-Law Volunteer Program

  • The Department of Law is interested in highly qualified high school or college students or graduates to participate in our Pre-Law Volunteer Program. This program is designed to provide participants with a challenging, un-paid externship that reflects the demands and rewards of public service.
  • The Law Department will select well-rounded applicants who have exhibited academic excellence and an interest in public service.

Externship Program

  • Law students volunteer in exchange for course credit in accordance with their law school's externship requirements
  • Year-round program with positions based on availability*

Volunteer Law Clerk Program

  • Geared toward law students, law graduates, and lawyers who are not eligible to receive externship credit and/or have not secured fellowship funding
  • Year-round program with positions based on availability* 

Post-Graduate Fellowship Program

  • Recent law graduates who have secured fellowship funding through their law school or elsewhere gain public sector experience on a volunteer basis
  • Year-round program with positions based on availability*


  • Utilize Illinois Supreme Court Rule 711 License, if applicable
  • Application by e-mail to DOL.Application@cityofchicago.org
  • Save and send all attachments in one pdf document in this order:
    • Cover Letter;
      • in addition to identifying three ranked Division preferences, please indicate for which program you are applying. For law students, or unlicensed post-graduates, please indicate if you have or are eligible for the IL. Supreme Court Rule 711 license;  
    • Resume;
    • Transcript; (Official or unofficial)
    • Writing Sample; and
    • ARDC printout if applicable.
  • Please note that applications will not be forwarded to Divisions for consideration until all application materials, including law school transcripts, are received.
  • Late or incomplete applications, or applications with extra materials, will not be considered. 
  • For Division descriptions, and examples of the type of work you'd perform for each Division, see the City of Chicago Department of Law Employer ViewBook, here. (please refer to this webpage for the most accurate information for all paid and volunteer law clerk, externship and fellow programs with the Law Department)
  • City residency is not required for volunteers.

Summer Law Clerk Program

The program provides law students with the opportunity to work on intellectually challenging legal matters, expand knowledge of the legal field, participate in networking events, and engage with the legal community at behind-the-scenes tours of City Departments, meet and greets with City Officials and members of the State and Federal Judiciary.

  • Law students clerk full time during the summer months
  • Division Selection: Law Clerk's may indicate preference of DOL Practice Area Divisions by ranking first and second choice
  • Flexible Learning Benefit: Following the first 5 weeks, Law Clerk's may elect to stay within their Division, or clerk with a new Division for the remainder of the program
  • Applicants must be able to provide proof of Chicago residency at the start of program

Join us for our Open House to learn more about the program! Click to view the flyer for more information.


The application period for 2024 is now closed. Please check back for updates regarding the 2025 application cycle. 


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