Get Started
Why Join

As a law student or licensed attorney, you can become a champion for the public good by representing the U.S. Coast Guard in its missions to Protect, Defend, and Save American lives. Every day, the Coast Guard protects the environment, rescues those in peril, and disrupts attempts to subvert U.S. law. A skilled and passionate legal corps is necessary to ensure Coast Guard missions prevail both inside and outside the courtroom. Do you have what it takes?

What Is Coast Guard Law?

The U.S. Coast Guard is a uniquely positioned federal agency. It’s both a military service and a federal law enforcement agency with some of the broadest criminal and regulatory authorities and jurisdiction of any federal agency. 

The Coast Guard’s interests touch on a wide variety of legal practice areas, including military justice, environmental law, international activities, criminal prosecution, and many more. The Coast Guard requires the same legal services as any large military organization, as well as mission areas specific to the Coast Guard.

Who Are Coast Guard Lawyers?

The Coast Guard employs a mixture of civilian attorneys and uniformed Judge Advocates General (CGJAG) who are commissioned Coast Guard officers. The CGJAG corps includes existing USCG officers who are educated in law and civilian attorneys and law students who have been direct-commissioned by the Coast Guard. Applicants for direct commissioning (DCL or DCL-SELRES) must hold a bar license or be 3L students. Additional eligibility requirements apply, as well. 

Internship/Externship Opportunities

If you’re a 2L or 1L, a CGJAG internship or externship offers firsthand experience in law alongside Active-Duty CGJAGs and civilian attorneys while getting academic credit through the internship/externship program. 

Available locations include:

  • Alameda, CA
  • Boston, MA
  • Cape May, NJ
  • Charleston, SC
  • Cleveland, OH
  • Honolulu, HI
  • Juneau, AK.
  • Miami, FL
  • New London, CT
  • New Orleans, LA
  • Norfolk, VA
  • Portsmouth, VA
  • Seattle, WA
  • Washington, DC

Interns must be currently enrolled in an ABA-accredited JD program and familiar with Westlaw/LexisNexis. 1Ls must be permitted by their program to work during the academic semester.


In addition to the opportunities to make an impact by advancing Coast Guard missions, there are several other attractive aspects of service as a CGJAG attorney, including:

  • Opportunities to experience many diverse areas of legal practice.
  • Strong work–life balance, with no billable hours.
  • Assignments typically in major coastal cities with available opportunities for travel.
  • Licensing perks of federal practice, with bar fees covered.
  • Up to $40,000 signing bonus.

Apply Today

DCL & DCL-SELRES: To apply for the Direct Commission Law (DCL) or Direct Commission Law–Selected Reserve (DCL-SELRES) program, review the page on officer applications and contact a USCG recruiter near you to begin building a package. 

Deadlines to apply: 

  • DCL: 12 Feb 2024
  • DCL-SELRES: 5 Jun 2024

Civilian Attorneys: For civilian attorney positions, consult for current position availabilities.  

Internship/Externship Program: For internship/externship applications, attach and email your application (as one document) to our Coast Guard Judge Advocate email distribution list, Please use “Coast Guard Legal Internship Application” as the subject line. The application must include the following:

  • Cover letter: The cover letter must include your preferred legal office location. If you are interested in several locations, please list them in rank order. If applying to intern at Coast Guard Headquarters in Washington, DC, please specify your first, second, and third choice of practice area.
  • Resume.
  • Unofficial transcript: If you are a 1L, you may send this separately after 1L fall semester grades are released.
  • Letter of recommendation from a law professor.
  • A legal writing sample not to exceed 10 pages.

Deadline to apply: 

  • For Spring: 15 Oct
  • For Summer: 15 Feb
  • For Fall: 15 May