Liberal Arts Career Services
Liberal Arts Career Services

Texas Office of the Attorney General

Spring 2018

Position: Intern in the Appeals and Legal Counsel Section
Student: IRG Senior

This semester, I interned for the Office of the Attorney General of Texas, Crime Victim Services Division. I was specifically working in the Crime Victims Compensation (CVC) Program, Legal Section. The CVC Program allows victims of violent crime to apply for monetary compensation accrued in the process of a violent crime. Common forms of violent crime include assault, homicide, sexual assault, family violence, elder abuse, child abuse and sexual harassment of a minor. The CVC Program is divided into sections including Intake, Legal and Awards. The Intake Section reviews every application that is sent to the CVC Program and decides if the applicant truly is a victim of crime and can be compensated for the costs accumulated as a result of the crime. If they decide to approve the application, it is then sent to the Awards Section, where reviewers determine how the applicants can be compensated. This can include hospital bills, counseling bills, funeral expenses, relocation costs, loss of earnings, damage to property, and more. The Intake Section can also deny applications, and if this occurs, applicants are allowed to appeal the decision. If an appeal is made, the application is sent to the Legal Section, where I interned. The Legal Section is responsible for reviewing applications at a more extensive level, contacting detectives, hospitals, district attorney offices and victims to gain a complete understanding of the incident and to see if further law enforcement investigation has taken place.

My role as an intern in the Legal Section was reviewing sexual assault, aggravated assault and homicide applications that were appealed by the applicants. My day-to-day responsibilities included reading through victim applications, police reports, hospital bills, etc., and making calls to detectives and district attorney offices to determine if applicants were truly victims of crime. I worked closely with the investigator at the office, and she helped me grow in my critical analysis skills. I also drafted the legal documents that were sent to the victims once a decision was made, drawing from the Code of Criminal Procedure and Penal Code to adequately explain why they did or did not qualify as victims of crime. I sincerely enjoyed this internship as it grew my analysis, decision-making and writing skills, helped me develop a more cohesive understanding of where I want to go next, and deeply benefitted true victims of crime.

Fall 2016  

Position: Economic Analysis Intern, Consumer Protection Division, Antitrust Section
Student: Economics Senior

There really is no official title for the undergraduate intern position at the Office of the Attorney General (OAG). The official name of the office that houses the position is the Office of the Texas Attorney General, Consumer Protection Division, Antitrust Section. The antitrust aspect of it is what makes economics majors uniquely fit and qualified for it. Antitrust law and enforcement draws on all aspects of what students learn as economics majors. This is why all of the experts and expert witnesses in the field are Ph.D. economists. Below are some classes I strongly recommend having completed before pursuing the internship, ranked from most important to more optional:

Introduction to Econometrics (ECO 341K) (and Microeconomic Theory (ECO 420K))

Antitrust Law and Economics (ECO 353K)

Industrial Organization (ECO 328)

Advanced Econometrics (ECO 348K)

The skills developed in these courses form the core of antitrust enforcement. Economics is so important to antitrust law that many firms (including the Texas OAG) have their own PhD economist on staff. This is the person with whom the economics intern interacts most, although interaction with everyone on staff is still quite frequent. The entire team at OAG is very friendly, and ready to meet new people. Indeed, they are very amicable and also great professionals, and are charged with the responsibility of ensuring the well-being of consumers across the State of Texas and suing companies who engage in anti-competitive behavior harmful to said consumers.

A typical day at OAG will include meeting with the staff economist to give and receive an update on work projects, looking for research papers on a pertinent topic, reading articles, and a lot of data work and analysis. Typically there will be a project meeting every week or two where all people working on a project will get together to discuss their progress. The position is not dry and secluded, though. There is much interaction to be had and relationships to be built. All-in-all it is a great position and opportunity for any economics major, and especially for those looking to go to law school or graduate school in economics with the intent to specialize in applied microeconomics.

Spring 2013 

Position: Department of Consumer Protection Intern
Student: Economics Senior

A day in the life of a law clerk at the Attorney General’s office is pretty similar across all divisions of state agency. Job descriptions could vary slightly depending on the experience of the clerk and who hired them directly. I was assigned at the beginning of the summer to the Consumer Protection Division along with 6 other law clerks that started at the same time. I was the only law clerk who was not already in law school. Don’t be intimidated if you’re an undergraduate looking for experience in law or state government. They were very understanding of my background and welcomed me with open arms. My internship was unpaid but there are many fellowships offered to students who apply for them, giving them a salary for the duration of their stay at the AG office. As an intern, you are allowed to set your own hours and duration of your job stint for the Attorney General. My job description basically was to take on any project that an employee of the AG office (whether that be an investigator or an attorney) gave me. You are simply there to learn about what it is involved in making a case and the legal processes that everyone goes through before that case is closed.  Gain whatever knowledge is at your disposal to write memos, do research about plaintiffs and/or defendants, and in some cases analyze financial records, which was a task given to me due to my background in economics. You are given access to records that are private from the public so you can get involved in some pretty interesting cases. Each division in the Attorney General’s office is different, so tasks might vary, but everyone is on the same page systematically so your involvement with the agency will be level with almost all of the law clerks in the building.

Summer 2011 

Position: Child Support Division - Field Unit Intern
Student: Government Junior

The Office of The Attorney General Child Support Division has a unique internship program in that no two internships are the same, and that from day to day, one’s tasks can vary a great deal. Each day interns can find themselves working with a different team. The three teams at the office, establishment, enforcement, and legal, offer very different experiences. The establishment team deals with creating child support cases and establishing paternity, the enforcement team deals with active child support cases, and the legal team deals with filing cases, creating court dockets, and spends much of their time at the court house.

A typical day interning at Child Support Division offices always starts out with checking email to find out what the day’s tasks might entail, but aside from that, not much stays the same on a daily basis, which makes for an internship where there is never a dull moment. On one day an intern can find themself doing typical OAG office work, starting out by making appointment reminder calls to parents, followed by using OAG resources to locate potential non-custodial parents, conducting reviews of cases, and updating the cases in the OAG database with current information. On another day an intern can find themself assisting the legal team with getting court orders signed by the judge and observing the attorneys help parents reach agreements.

The Child Support Division Office is a very busy place, so much of the work must be completed before deadlines, such as court hearings and appointment dates, but even though deadlines are important, the office staff does an excellent job of making sure interns know what they are doing and are always willing to help out. Whether one is looking for experience in the social work, legal, or political fields, this office provides an excellent internship experience. Every day at my internship, I learned something new and was able to improve my interpersonal, computer, and time efficiency skills, and see the relationships between my major, government, and the real world experiences a career in public services has to offer.

Summer 2009 

Student: Middle Eastern Studies/Government Junior
Position: Consumer Protection Intern

Working at the Office of the Attorney General can mean to you whatever you choose. The program is geared towards students who want to try out different aspects of law, and thus gives you the option of choosing in which division you want to work. Division options range from the coveted ‘solicitor general’ division to ‘environmental regulation enforcement’, to ‘consumer protection.’ There are many different departments, which handle very different aspects of the law. The OAG also offers a short description of each department on their website so an intern can more learnedly make their choice. Once you are in your selected department, there are many attorneys which you can shadow or complete assignments for. These assignments can range from filing documents at the Supreme Court, to writing a legal brief on the jurisdiction of a certain case. The assignments are specific to one’s skill level and don’t usually have deadlines, although time management is very important. A typical day might include coming into the office, turning on your computer and checking your office email to see if your supervisor or another attorney have emailed you an assignment. Once you have an assignment the attorneys let you work pretty hands on, always leaving their door open in case you have questions. Because the Office of the Attorney General is always so busy and the attorneys have so many cases on their plate, this internship makes for great first-hand experience. I have noticed that compared to private firms, the attorneys trust you more with big assignments and don’t assign trivial tasks like getting coffee or answering mail. All in all, the internship is invaluable for a wide range of exposure on legal matters. I learned how to write more professionally, how to manage my time efficiently, and how to pay close attention to details in completing a task.

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    University of Texas at Austin
    FAC 18
    2304 Whitis Ave. Stop G6200
    Austin, Texas 78712-1508