State & Local Government Careers (incl. CA)

Just like the federal government, state and local government attorneys handle a broad range of legal issues and are housed in the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of government.  Think of any area of our everyday lives that is subject to government regulation – government attorneys are at work to craft policy, draft laws and rules, advise elected and appointed officials, and represent the interests of citizens in court.  Because each state and local government organization abide by individual jurisdictions and separate hiring practices, it is best to research each entity for details on different types of organizations, hiring policies, etc. 


General Resources

State & Local GOV Employment Resources By State
NALP has created a state-by-state list of useful ways to begin research on internships and jobs in state and local governments.

State and Local Government on the Net
A helpful resource that provides access to thousands of websites for state agencies and city and county governments. is an excellent source for links to State, Local, and Tribal government organizations.

ABA Section of State and Local Government Law is an association for lawyers involved in urban, state, and local government law and policy.  Lawyers representing government agencies nationwide utilize the ABA Section of State and Local Government Law to access information on issues that relate to their practice.


Looking for Internship & Post-Graduate Job Opportunities with State & Local Government Agencies?

Government Internship and Honors Handbook

This is the resource 1L and 2L students should be using to research summer and academic-year internships with federal, state and local government agencies.  3L students can use this guide to identify which agencies have “honors” programs through which they hire graduating law students (and graduates who are immediately coming out of post-graduate clerkships and public interest fellowships). 

The password is “BlueandGold4ever”

1L & 2L State & Local Government Internships


CA State and Local Government Job Search Resources

Overview.  Many California state agencies hire entry-level and lateral attorneys (many of these opportunities are located in Sacramento).  The state’s largest legal employer is the California Attorney General’s Office.  At the state and local level, internship opportunities exist within city attorney offices, county counsel offices and city-level agencies responsible for providing key city services (utilities, public safety, etc.).  Unfortunately and with a few exceptions, many if not all of the above state and local agencies do not hire entry-level attorneys coming right out of law school.  (This is particularly true for the San Francisco City Attorney’s Office and the California Attorney General’s Office).  Notable exceptions include the California Energy Commission (which often recruits 3L students through Fall OCIP) and some of the other state-level environmental agencies.  All of that being said, California’s state and local government agencies provide some of the best summer and academic-year government internship opportunities.

California-Specific List of Government Agencies by Practice Area
This resource (which is not comprehensive and is a work in progress) may be useful to students who are interested in CA state and local government generally and want explore opportunities within government by practice area.

Field Placement List of Bay Area Public Interest & Public Service Internships
This resource, assembled by the Berkeley Law Field Placement Office, contains a comprehensive list of federal, state and local agencies where Berkeley law students have done academic-year internships.  It is a great resource for students who are looking for summer internship opportunities with federal, state & local government agencies in the Bay Area.

Legal Internships with the CA Attorney General’s Office
Every year, many 1L and 2L students do summer and academic-year internships with various offices within the CA Attorney General’s Office (whether in Oakland, San Francisco, Los Angeles or in one of its other offices throughout the state).

Post-Graduate Jobs with the CA Attorney General’s Office
Entry-level positions are now available through the CA AG Honors Program.

CDO Resource: 2021 CA DOJ Honors Program Memo, including alumni contact info and survey results about the Honors Program application process.

The AG office also hires new Deputy Attorney Generals laterally and successful candidates for these jobs tend to have at least 3 years of post-graduate professional experience. 

Santa Clara County Counsel Post-Graduate Fellowship

The 2021-2023 Social Justice and Impact Litigation Fellowship of the Santa Clara County Counsel’s Office application deadline is August 21, 2020. Many Berkeley Law alumni have begun their careers in this fellowship! The CDO can provide alumni contacts for interested students.  The Impact Section litigates high-impact cases, drafts innovative local ordinances, and develops new policies and programs to advance the County’s goal of achieving social and economic justice for all its residents and to promote local, state, and national public policy reform.  The 2021-2023 Fellow will contribute to a growing movement to use the power and perspective of local government to drive long-lasting social change.

The two-year fellowship is open to recent law school graduates, judicial law clerks, and current third-year law students (J.D. expected in spring 2021), and begins in September 2021.  Click here for more info.

Legal Internships with the San Francisco City Attorney’s Office
Every summer, the SF City Attorney’s office hires between 25-35 legal interns.

Legal Internships with the California Franchise Tax Board

WEBCASTYoung Alums in State & Local Government (Spring 2011) – featuring 3 members of the class of 2011 who are currently working in the Santa Clara County Counsel’s Office, the Alameda County Counsel’s Office and the California Capital Fellows Program.

WEBCAST:  State & Local Government Careers Panel (MP3)–featuring alums from the SF City Attorney’s Office and the Santa Clara Counsel County’s Office and some candid advice on how to position yourself long-term for attorney jobs in city government.

Association of Bay Area Governments
This website features information about the cities and counties within the Bay Area.  This site also features a list of links to Bay Area counties and cities – and on individual websites you will often find job postings.

How to Get a CA State Job
This is a good resource for exploring post-graduate opportunities with CA state government agencies.