Director of the General Litigation Division Kathleen M. Pacious
For the Fall and Spring semesters, the Georgia Attorney General's Office sponsors students participating in externship programs supported by an accredited law school.
The primary goal of our externship program is to provide a legal apprentice opportunity, matching the students' needs and desires with business needs of the section and division. Along with research projects, externs will be encouraged to actively participate in matters being handled by the division to which they are assigned; including opportunities to participate in client meetings, mediation sessions, depositions and court proceedings.
Externs typically work between 8 and 20 hours a week, depending on the requirements of their extern program. Students will be assigned a mentor who will insure that the student receives training in the practical application of the law, will provide and document frequent feedback about their job performance, will provide insight into the professional obligations of being an attorney and will report to the school's Extern program coordinator, as required by the specific school.
The Divisions/Sections/Units available to externs are as follows:
Regulated Industries and Professions Division
This Division includes the following Sections: State Licensing Boards, Consumer Interests and Environmental and Natural Resources. Externs will work for a diverse collection of client agencies, including professional licensing boards, the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Division, the Public Service Commission, the Department of Insurance and others. Work in the division consists of working directly with clients and providing advice and representation in litigation. The litigation work in the division is primarily administrative in nature, but includes judicial reviews, proceedings for injunctive relief and other non-jury judicial proceedings. Externs may have the opportunity to attend investigative interviews; research legal issues and prepare memoranda of advice; prepare pleadings and briefs at the trial and appellate levels; assist attorneys in case preparation; attend strategy conferences and other meetings with clients; attend board meetings; and, attend administrative hearings and court proceedings.
Commercial Transactions and Litigation Division
This Division includes the following Sections: Business and Finance, Real Property, Construction, Transportation and Authorities and Tax. Externs will be given substantive work in a wide range of areas, some of which have been the subject of media coverage because of their significance. Externs may have the opportunity to help the assigned attorney prepare for and attend discovery proceedings such as depositions, draft pleadings or briefs and observe proceedings in state and federal trial courts, attend hearings at the Office of State Administrative Hearings and arguments before the Georgia appellate courts. Since there is such a variety of matters handled in the division, students may be attending a routine garnishment hearing one day and a Georgia Supreme Court argument on a multi-million dollar tax dispute the next. In addition to litigation, the division offers the unique opportunity to be exposed to transactional practice, which may include contract drafting or review and the opportunity to be exposed to cutting-edge financing issues such as public private initiatives. Externs will gain an understanding of how the State acquires real property and be exposed to other real property management issues. Students may accompany attorneys as they attend meetings with client agencies and work on advice in response to agency requests. Externs will be exposed to Georgia laws and statutory interpretation principles and gain an understanding of the unique constraints placed upon governmental agencies by the Georgia Constitution, such as the prohibitions against pledging the states credit or the granting of gratuities and will become familiar with governmental defenses such as sovereign immunity.
Criminal Justice Division
This Division includes the following Sections: Public Safety, Post Conviction Litigation and Capital Litigation. Externs assist in preparing pleadings in federal and state court in habeas corpus cases, direct appeal briefs in murder cases and civil litigation with respect to public safety/law enforcement clients as it arises. Externs also do research for cases or issues as they arise - whether in relation to legislation or litigation or general client advice. Externs also have the opportunity to attend board meetings and client meetings as well as various types of court proceedings.
General Litigation Division
This Division includes the following Sections: Civil Rights, Tort, and Workers' Compensation. In an active civil litigation practice, externs will draft discovery, motions, briefs and other pleadings in state and federal court as well as before the State Board of Workers' Compensation. Students will assist the attorneys in preparing for depositions, hearings, mediations and trials. Externs may also attend hearings, trials and appellate arguments.
Government Services and Employment Division
This Division includes the following Sections: Education, Elections, Local Government and Judiciary, Labor and Employment and Human Resources. Because the Government Operations Division offers a wide range of different substantive work, from administrative hearings to federal litigation to client advice and appellate litigation, externs are exposed to all of these areas as a part of their experience. Externs work with active, practicing attorneys in readying cases for hearings; preparing and answering discovery; drafting briefs, motions and other pleadings; researching and writing client advice letters or opinions of the Attorney General; and attending witness interviews, board meeting, discovery proceedings, hearings, trials and appellate arguments.
Special Prosecutions Section
This Section is primarily responsible for investigating and prosecuting government corruption cases. Externs in the Special Prosecutions Section are allowed to work under Georgia's third-year prosecutor practice rules. Accordingly, externs are assigned case files to review, prepare indictments, and present to grand juries. Externs may also make court appearances from time to time.
Georgia Medicaid Fraud Prosecution Unit
The MFCU investigates and prosecutes health care providers and conspirators who commit fraud and abuse of the Georgia Medicaid program. The Unit has criminal teams, which initiate criminal prosecutions based on health care fraud and abuse, and civil teams, which investigate and prosecute civil qui tam whistleblower cases filed all over the country. MFCU prosecutions are often complex and involve a combination of witness interviews and depositions, data analysis, and information gathering with state and federal partners. Externs will experience a wide variety of criminal and civil prosecutorial activities, including grand jury appearances and presentation of criminal indictments, drafting of civil complaints, review of medical records, legal briefing and analysis of the Georgia Medicaid Fraud False Claims Act, and settlement negotiations in multi-million dollar cases. Law students looking to gain experience in healthcare law, criminal practice, or civil procedure need look no further!
Consumer Protection Unit
The “CPU” of the Georgia Attorney General’s Office enforces the Fair Business Practices Act, as well as many of our State's other consumer protection laws. Under the Attorney General’s authority, we actively work to protect consumers and legitimate businesses from unfair or deceptive acts and practices in the marketplace. Externs will work closely with the Staff Attorneys in all aspects of the work of CPU’s Legal Division. Legal research and writing (briefs, memoranda), drafting legal documents (Subpoenas, Investigative Demands, Notices of Contemplated Legal Action), drafting settlement agreements, and consumer contact are just some of the daily tasks and responsibilities. There’s no typical day, and while our externs work hard, they’re never bored. Not only will you gain solid, real-world working experience, you’ll be a much more informed consumer at the conclusion of your externship with us!
Solicitor General's Office
The Solicitor General's Office oversees appellate litigation for the Office of the Attorney General and collaborates on all phases of significant litigation with other attorneys in the Department. Work in the Solicitor General's Office frequently involves constitutional issues, statutory interpretation, and other complex civil litigation. Externs will work with the Solicitor General and Deputy Solicitors General to perform legal research; draft research memos; draft motions, briefs, and other pleadings; and prepare for court hearings and oral arguments. Externs may also have the opportunity to attend court hearings.
Spring externship applications accepted April 1 through July 15. Applications should be post-marked by July 15.
Fall externship applications accepted November 1 through February 15. Applications should be post-marked by February 15.
Interested applicants should submit the following:
- Law school's externship criteria
- Department of Law Intern Application and GBI waiver (located below)
- Statement of interest
- Resume noting awards, activities and outstanding accomplishments
- Copy of your most recent transcript, and
- Writing sample.
Director of the General Litigation Division Kathleen M. Pacious