Government, Law & Public Policy Interest Cluster

What are Government, Law & Public Policy Careers?

Government, Law & Public Policy careers offer the opportunity to significantly impact issues that affect people and the communities they live in. The range of opportunities is significant since there are so many private sector and public sector careers available. Careers are available in every state, county, and city government, as well as Washington, DC. The federal government employs approximately 21 million civilian workers and state and local governments employ close to 20 million people. Major careers include:

  1. Government - including Capitol Hill; volunteering in political races; government agencies at the federal, state or local level.
  2. Think tanks - performing research and developing reports on social, technological, business, or other problems; providing valuable information to lobbyists, members of the government, and government-related groups.
  3. Private sector - including lobbying organizations; federal consulting firms; political affairs or government offices of large organizations.
  4. Foreign service - ambassadors, foreign service officers, and others who serve in US embassies and consulates in countries around the world.
  5. Law - corporate or private practice specializing in estate planning; personal injury; bankruptcy; intellectual property; employment; corporate; immigration; criminal; tax; civil litigation.

Recent CMC graduates have typically begun their government career as a deputy digital director, district director, field organizer, legislative analyst, or staff assistant. Those who enter roles within think tanks and the private sector often hold positions such as associate, junior fellow, program assistant, or research assistant. Graduates embarking on a law career often begin as an assistant paralegal, capital markets paralegal, litigation paralegal, paralegal specialist, or research and program assistant. 

Would you Thrive as a Government Employee or Lawyer?

  • Do you want to make a difference by serving others?
  • Do you enjoy learning about and discussing complex issues affecting our world?
  • Are you passionate about solving individual, group, or societal problems through advocacy, policy work, or social service?
  • Do you enjoy reading, writing, and analyzing issues and creating solutions?
  • Do you enjoy learning about law-related topics and want to explore possible careers in the legal world?
  • Do you contribute to political and social causes?

How can you Learn More about Government, Law & Public Policy?

What should you know about Recruitment in Government, Law & Public Policy?

Recruitment in all these sectors is often unstructured and conducted off-campus. Most internships/jobs are found through a combination of formal opportunities and professional connections, particularly in Washington, DC. For networking tips in DC, this article is a highly recommended read. For details about opportunities in DC and California, a great resource to browse is Professor Pitney's employment and internships website and you should also ask to join his weekly mailing list.

Government internships and jobs are available year-round but summer jobs are typically only posted from January - May, while federal jobs get posted earlier, from September - October. Working on a campaign or supporting your local congressperson is a great way to gain valuable experience in government. Hiring managers are looking for individuals who have opinions on issues and a sense of passion for making a difference in the world. 

Recruitment in the law sector occurs throughout the year, with jobs that begin in summer typically posted from January - May. Working as a paralegal is a typical summer internship or entry level position, but by no means the only route. Completing law school is a prerequisite for most legal professions, and law schools are major-agnostic and look for students from all sorts of backgrounds and experiences. Most law school applications employ a rolling admissions process, and merit scholarships and spots begin to get awarded as soon as the law schools see good candidates. Many applications open in September, and you should aim to submit your applications, regardless of deadlines, by late November or early December.

Internships and entry level roles in the public policy sector, particularly think tanks, tend to be more formal opportunities and very competitive. Summer internships are typically posted from January - March. 

Who's your Government, Law & Public Policy Career Coach?

Freya Hurtado '09 -

Freya (Lee) Hurtado ’09

Freya works with students, employers, and alumni in Government, Law & Public Policy, Non-Profit & Social Enterprise, and Accounting & Financial Services. Prior to joining Career Services, she worked in data analytics and operational efficiency in the energy utility space. Freya graduated from Claremont McKenna College with a degree in Economics, Mathematics, and the Financial Economics Sequence, and she has her MBA from the Walter A. Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley.