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

Each year, NSA OGC seeks superior entry-level attorneys to join its Legal Honors Program. Honors attorneys have opportunities to analyze cutting-edge technical and intelligence issues and will frequently provide legal advice that relates to high-profile current events affecting our national security.

About the Legal Honors Program

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.


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.

Who We Hire

Since 2014, applicants from the following schools have been offered positions in the Legal Honors Program:

  • Charlotte School of Law
  • College of William and Mary, Marshall-Wythe School of Law
  • Duke University Law School
  • Elon University School of Law
  • Emory University School of Law
  • Georgetown University Law Center
  • Harvard University Law School
  • Pennsylvania State University, Dickinson School of Law
  • Pepperdine University School of Law
  • The George Washington University Law School
  • University of Tulsa College of Law
  • University of Baltimore School of Law
  • University of Texas School of Law
  • University of Virginia School of Law