Legal Careers

We recruit new and experienced attorneys to support our missions and protect national security and civil liberties.

NSA regularly seeks highly motivated, accomplished attorneys from diverse backgrounds to join our dynamic and challenging practice. NSA employs an elite team of lawyers who provide legal advice to the agency as we carry out our missions. Our attorneys analyze cutting-edge technical and intelligence issues and frequently provide legal advice that relates to high-profile current events affecting our national security. They apply their expertise, skills, and education to solve a variety of challenges not found in the private sector or at any other government agency. This critical work ensures that agency operations comply with the law while also protecting both our national security and our civil liberties.

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 NSA Attorney Experience & Responsibilities

NSA attorneys apply their skills and experience to provide legal advice to leadership and personnel who are engaged in or supporting the agency's foreign intelligence and cybersecurity missions. They also represent the agency's interests before federal and state courts and help guide policymakers on the significant and complex legal issues facing the NSA today and in the future. Given the novelty, complexity, and national importance of most of those issues, our attorneys feel they are working in one of the most professionally exciting and challenging legal offices, whether in the public or private sectors.

In discharging their responsibilities, NSA attorneys provide legal advice on a wide range of matters, encompassing not only those common to the general counsel's office of any large enterprise, but also those unique to NSA's national security mission. This diverse set of matters include but are not limited to: cybersecurity, acquisition and procurement, research and development, environmental law, patents, telecommunications, security, legislation, litigation, ethics, and employment and personnel issues.

NSA attorneys also regularly interact with their professional counterparts from across the Executive and Legislative branches, including the Department of Defense, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the Central Intelligence Agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Department of Justice.

Successful applicants will bring a depth of legal experience, a desire to work in a fast-paced demanding team environment, and a demonstrated commitment to public service. They also must be highly competent, trustworthy, and possess a shared dedication to continued professional growth and development. Please note that employment with NSA is conditioned upon an applicant's U.S. citizenship and ability to obtain and retain a Top Secret/Special Intelligence clearance.

 Experienced Attorneys

NSA OGC regularly has career opportunities available for experienced attorneys in all of our practice areas. We seek highly motivated and qualified attorneys with a minimum of three years of legal experience, excellent oral and written communications skills, and active State bar membership to work in a dynamic team environment. Vacancy announcements for experienced attorney positions are released on a rolling basis throughout the year.

 Legal Honors Program

Legal Honors Program Key Dates

  • June/July: Application period opens
  • July through September: Preliminary interviews conducted on a rolling basis
  • September: Application period closes
  • Late September through November: Final interviews conducted
  • November: Offers extended
  • August/September of Following Year: Cleared candidates enter on duty at NSA

The program is a three-year term appointment that includes rotations through two of OGC's legal practice groups, which include Operational Authorities; Operational Support; Administrative Law & Ethics; Acquisition, Research & Technology; Litigation; Legislation; and Law & Policy. Each Honors attorney will rotate through at least one practice group that directly advises on NSA mission activities. Attorneys selected for the Legal Honors Program will also have opportunities to attend high-level security briefings, meetings, and congressional hearings on national security issues, liaise directly with intelligence community partners and other federal agencies, and tour facilities throughout the intelligence community, all while working under the guidance and mentorship of a senior attorney assigned to them from among the leadership of OGC.

Honors attorneys will be poised at the close of their three-year term to apply successfully for a permanent attorney position within OGC or to utilize the skills acquired during the program to launch a career outside of the Agency in national security law or other legal disciplines. Indeed, some of our Honors attorneys have gone on to high-profile positions on Congressional committee staffs and to become full-time attorneys here at the Agency, providing cutting-edge legal advice on cybersecurity issues.

Eligibility. The NSA OGC recruits for the Legal Honors Program each fall through on-campus interviews and online applications. Eligibility is limited to:

  • Law students who will graduate at the end of the Fall or Spring semester that follows the release of the vacancy announcement with no prior legal experience (other than summer associate or intern positions); or

  • Recent law school graduates (within the last two years) who are seeking their first legal position following a judicial clerkship or graduate law program (e.g., L.L.M.) that commenced immediately after law school graduation.