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Summer Clerkship Program

Dates:  First session:  May 23-July 1, 2022; second session:  July 5-August 12, 2022

Assignments:  Law clerks will be assigned to one or two divisions.  Assignments will include research; drafting of memoranda, motions, and briefs; preparing for depositions; etc.  Each clerk will have a supervising attorney who will be in charge of assigning work to the clerk and who, along with the other attorneys and staff in a division, will be available for feedback.

Divisions:  We ask clerks for their division preferences when they accept an offer of employment, but no one will be guaranteed a spot in a particular division.  Every clerk will have the opportunity to attend moot courts, oral arguments, and other events that are listed on our clerk’s calendar, both for their assigned division(s) and other divisions in the office.

Calendar:  The clerk’s calendar is updated regularly during the summer to inform clerks about various opportunities available to them.  For example, clerks will be able to attend oral arguments at the Tennessee Court of Appeals or Tennessee Supreme Court.  In the past, we have offered tours of the Tennessee Capitol and of a state prison.  There will also be opportunities to meet with other clerks and attorneys in other divisions within the office.

Benefits:  Our program offers an opportunity for law students to learn about the law in a varied practice.  Law students who have completed at least four semesters of law school at the start of the program will be paid $16 an hour.  No monetary compensation is available for law students who have completed fewer than four semesters.  We encourage those interested to seek public service stipends or school credit.

Contact:  If you have questions, contact Pete Sullivan at 615-741-2820 or


Applications:  Interested applicants should submit a resume, cover letter, transcript, and writing sample by email to in Word, WordPerfect, or PDF format and put “Summer Clerkship Program” in the subject line.  Interviews will start in January 2022.

Equal Opportunity Employer


General Description of Legal Practice and Organization

As the State’s Chief Legal Officer, the Tennessee Attorney General and Reporter represents all state executives, officials, departments, boards, agencies and commissions in matters arising from their public duties.  Such representation includes participation in litigation and transactional matters, issuing formal written opinions, and giving day-to-day legal advice.  The state constitution gives the Tennessee Supreme Court the authority to appoint the Attorney General and Reporter to an eight-year term.  This method of appointment is unique among the fifty states.  Attorney General Herbert H. Slatery III began his term on October 1, 2014.

Assisting in the supervisory duties are the Chief Deputy, who is responsible for the day-to-day legal matters of the Office; the Solicitor General, whose primary duties involve supervision of the Office's appellate work and opinion writing; and the Chief of Staff, who oversees the operations of the Office.


Civil Justice Section

  • Civil Law Division:   The Civil Law Division defends the State and its employees in federal civil rights actions and tort claims brought in all federal courts, state courts, and the Tennessee Claims Commission.  The division also handles a wide variety of civil matters representing a number of state departments, boards, and agencies including the Departments of Children’s Services, Human Services, Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, Labor and Workforce Development, Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, Tourist Development, Veterans Services, and Military.
  • Education and Employment Division:  The Education and Employment Division represents the state’s various educational agencies and institutions and deals with state purchasing and personnel matters. It represents the state in employment and construction litigation along with reviewing state contracts.

Criminal Justice Section

  • Criminal Appeals Division:  The Criminal Appeals Division handles all appellate matters involved in procuring and then defending criminal judgments in the State’s appellate courts.  Division attorneys are responsible for interlocutory, extraordinary, direct, and post-conviction appeals, and for defending state criminal judgments in state habeas corpus proceedings in both the trial and appellate courts.  The division has a team of attorneys who work with the Governor’s legal counsel and Department of Correction attorneys in dealing with extradition and detainer matters.  Division attorneys also spend a great deal of time advising District Attorneys General and their assistants and helping them work through complex legal issues.
  • Federal Habeas Corpus Division:  The Federal Habeas Corpus Division defends Tennessee criminal judgments against collateral attacks in federal court. Specifically, the division represents state respondents in habeas corpus petitions filed under 28 U.S.C. § 2254 asserting constitutional claims against state-court convictions. This is the last stage in the three-tier review process for state criminal cases. The division also defends state officials in habeas corpus petitions filed under 28 U.S.C. § 2241 relative to sentencing calculation decisions and to the denial or revocation of parole.
  • Law Enforcement and Special Prosecutions Division:  The Law Enforcement and Special Prosecutions Division handles criminal prosecutions over which this Office has original jurisdiction, such as in matters involving criminal acts by elected state judicial officials, Securities Act violations, and violations of the State’s Clean Water Act.  Division attorneys also assist District Attorneys General, through cross-designation, in some complex financial or environmental prosecutions and other criminal prosecutions with the exception of cases involving crimes against the person.  The division represents the State’s interests in administrative appeals of civil forfeiture proceedings and represents several State agencies, including the Department of Safety and Homeland Security, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, and the Alcoholic Beverage Commission, in suits for declaratory and injunctive relief as well as in the appeals of these cases.  Additionally, the division represents these agencies and district attorneys general in matters where subpoenas are served seeking official records.

Economic & Regulatory Section

  • Environmental Division:  The Environmental Division enforces civil environmental protection laws regarding clean air, clean water, hazardous waste, and other areas.  The division gives advice to and reviews regulations for the Department of Environment and Conservation and represents the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency.
  • Financial Division:  The Financial Division provides legal services for much of the State’s business-related activities such as investments of the State Treasury and the Tennessee Consolidated Retirement System.  The division represents a number of agencies handling issues of government financing, banking, and insurance regulation.  The Consumer Advocate Unit represents the interests of Tennessee consumers of public utilities services.
  • Health Care Division:  The Health Care Division provides legal advice and representation to the Bureau of TennCare and the Department of Health and its health-related boards such as the Board of Dentistry, the Board of Medical Examiners, the Board of Nursing, and the Board of Optometry along with the Health Services Development Agency.
  • Real Property and Transportation Division:  The Real Property and Transportation Division represents the state in land acquisition for all purposes.  Most of the work performed by the division involves the Tennessee Department of Transportation.  In addition to Nashville, the Real Property Division has regional offices in Knoxville, Chattanooga, and Jackson.

Public Protection Section 

  • Consumer Protection Division:  The Consumer Protection Division protects consumers and businesses from unfair and deceptive trade practices, enforces state and federal antitrust laws, and enforces the Unauthorized Practice of Law statutes. 
  • Medicaid Fraud and Integrity Division:  The Medicaid Fraud and Integrity Division works with TennCare, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, and the Office of Inspector General in combating medical provider fraud in the TennCare/Medicaid program.
  • Public Interest Division:  The Public Interest Division carries out the office’s statutory duty to oversee the operation of nonprofit entities on behalf of Tennesseans.  The division handles charitable oversight and charitable solicitations as well as issues involving open meetings, public records, and campaigns and elections.  The False Claims team handles non-Medicaid false claims matters.

Revenue Section

  • Bankruptcy Division:  The Bankruptcy Division represents state agencies in bankruptcy courts across the country. Specifically, it represents the state’s interest by filing proofs of claims and administrative claims in bankruptcy cases where a state entity is owed a debt.  The division also collects penalties and other debts owed to state departments and agencies.
  • Tax Division:  The Tax Division defends the Department of Revenue in suits challenging tax assessments or seeking refunds.  It also represents the State Board of Equalization in its role in administering property taxes.  In addition to these tax matters, the division represents most of the regulatory boards in the Department of Commerce and Insurance, the Supreme Court boards governing the legal profession, the Tennessee Regulatory Authority, and the business functions of the Secretary of State.
  • Tobacco Enforcement Division:  The Tobacco Enforcement Division enforces the provisions of the 1998 Master Settlement Agreement and handles other tobacco-related matters.