The office consists of approximately 200 permanent lawyers and approximately 100 ancillary staff, including specialist paralegals, contract analysts, secretaries and general administrative staff. While all are based in Washington, D.C., the firm`s lawyers also hold positions as legal counsel and associate counsel at the U.S. missions in Geneva and The Hague, as well as legal counsel positions at U.S. missions to the European Union in Brussels and the United Nations in New York. Occasionally, the office provides lawyers for other positions abroad. The Office of the Legal Counsel advises on all legal issues at home and abroad in the context of the work of the Department. This includes assisting heads of the Department and policymakers in formulating and implementing U.S. foreign policy, as well as promoting respect for and development of international law and its institutions as a fundamental element of that policy. Regional office lawyers assist these offices and handle issues such as the protection of U.S. citizens and investments, diplomatic and consular relations, treaty interpretation and negotiation, military base rights, and matters relating to the status of the armed forces, the peaceful settlement of disputes, and trade matters.
Hiring decisions (with the exception of lateral entrants and spring semester externs) are usually made in the fall based on job availability and office needs. The Office of the Legal Counsel also offers unpaid legal internships at the U.S. Embassy in The Hague, the Netherlands, and the U.S. Mission in Geneva, Switzerland. Law students who wish to apply for these positions must complete the internal application found at careers.state.gov and clearly indicate their interest in the U.S. Embassy in The Hague or U.S. Mission in Geneva in the application form. The Legal Counsel is equivalent to that of Assistant Secretary of State and reports directly to the Secretary of State. Four Assistant Legal Counsel jointly supervise the Associate Legal Counsel who manage each regional and functional office.
Office of United Nations Affairs (L/UNA): Provides legal advice on issues related to U.S. participation in the United Nations, its specialized agencies, and other international organizations; international criminal tribunals; the consideration by the United Nations of specific situations; international peacekeeping; multilateral sanctions; use of force; the peaceful settlement of international disputes; Matters relating to the International Court of Justice and problems arising from the presence of the United Nations and other international organizations in the United States The Department`s regional offices oversee U.S. embassies and consulates and coordinate U.S. foreign relations in their respective geographic areas. Associate General Counsel oversee the attorneys who support these offices and handle issues such as the protection of U.S. citizens and investments, matters relating to diplomatic and consular relations, treaty interpretation and negotiation, the rights of military bases, and matters relating to the status of the armed forces, the peaceful settlement of disputes, and trade matters. Themes and activities used by legal staff in offices in different regions include: Office of Western Hemisphere Affairs (L/WHA): relations with the governments of Canada, Latin America, Central America and the Caribbean; issues relating to U.S. participation in the Organization of American States; Cuba, including asset control, United States rights in Guantánamo, Helms-Burton law issues; illegal migration and refugee issues; Haiti, particularly foreign aid issues; and domestic and international litigation related to U.S. operations in the region. Office of Management (L/M): Provides legal advice on matters affecting the fiscal, administrative and operational activities of the department, including: funds, permits and other relevant legislation; budgetary, budgetary and financial matters; personnel, diplomatic and information security and related investigations; e-government and IT security; Administrative law and ministerial regulations and directives; Federal Act on the Administration of Records and Information, including Terrorism and Other Exchange of Information with National and Foreign Governments and Individuals, Classified Information, Data Protection Act and Freedom of Information Act; travel expenses and allowances; crisis and contingency planning; and the Head of Mission and other relevant authorities of the Ministry. The Office of the Legal Counsel also supports the Department`s various specialized offices, which are responsible for specific areas of activity worldwide. The following is a representative description of the functional offices: Office of Non-Proliferation and Arms Control (L/NPA): Provides legal advice and support to the Bureau of International Security and Non-Proliferation (ISN) and the Office of Verification, Compliance and Implementation (VCI).
addresses legal issues arising from the negotiation, implementation and verification of compliance with a wide range of bilateral and multilateral agreements, including: strategic arms reduction treaties (START 1 and II); the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons; the biological and chemical weapons conventions; and the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE).