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BCP Summer Law Clerk Program

Interested in Consumer Protection?
Clerkships Available with the FTC

For an overview on the Bureau of Consumer Protection
Summer Law Clerk Program, take our Virtual Tour [Powerpoint].

For information about opportunities with the FTC outside
of Washington, DC, see our Regional Offices page.

The Federal Trade Commission's Bureau of Consumer Protection is accepting applications for full-time law clerk positions from highly motivated first-year and second-year law students interested in litigation, investigation, and public policy in the areas of consumer protection, fraud, and privacy. Law clerks work directly with attorneys and investigators in conducting investigations, assisting with ongoing litigation, interviewing potential witnesses, performing legal research, and drafting legal memoranda. Law clerks are also afforded the opportunity to observe the judicial, administrative, and legislative process in action. The internships require a commitment of approximately 10 weeks.

Have you ever financed a car? Shopped online? Applied for a credit card? You are more familiar with the work of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection than you may think!

The Bureau of Consumer Protection's mandate is to protect consumers against unfair, deceptive, or fraudulent practices. The Bureau enforces a variety of consumer protection laws enacted by Congress, as well as trade regulation rules issued by the Commission. Its actions include individual company and industry-wide investigations, administrative and federal court litigation, rulemaking proceedings, and consumer and business education. In addition, the Bureau contributes to the Commission's on-going efforts to inform Congress and other government entities of the impact that proposed actions could have on consumers.

Applicants should send a:

  • Cover letter
  • Resume
  • Writing Sample
  • and Transcript

BCP Summer Law Clerk Committee
Bureau of Consumer Protection
Federal Trade Commission
600 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20580
202-326-3392 (fax)

The Bureau of Consumer Protection is divided into six divisions, each with its own areas of expertise:

The Division of Advertising Practices

The Division of Advertising Practices protects consumers from deceptive and unsubstantiated advertising. Its law enforcement activities focus on:

  • General advertising at the national and regional level, particularly advertising making objective claims that are difficult for consumers to evaluate;
  • Internet advertising, including both traditional and novel advertising techniques;
  • Advertising and marketing directed toward children, in traditional media and online;
  • Privacy concerns, especially privacy considerations related to enforcing the Children’s Online Privacy Act;
  • Advertising claims for food and over-the-counter drugs, particularly those relating to nutritional or health benefits of foods and safety and effectiveness of drugs or medical devices;
  • Tobacco and alcohol advertising, including monitoring for unfair practices or deceptive claims, and reporting to Congress on cigarette and smokeless tobacco labeling, advertising, and promotion;
  • Infomercials-- long-form (30-minute) broadcast advertising-- to ensure that both the format and content of programs are non-deceptive; and
  • Working with industry to establish self-regulatory procedures to prevent deceptive advertising before it appears.

This Division’s work presents novel constitutional issues balancing the First Amendment rights of advertisers and the Commission’s mandate to protect consumers from deceptive practices.

The Division of Enforcement

The Division of Enforcement conducts a wide variety of law enforcement activities to protect consumers, including (1) ensuring compliance with administrative and federal court orders entered in consumer protection cases; (2) conducting investigations and prosecuting civil actions to stop fraudulent, unfair or deceptive marketing and advertising practices; and (3) enforcing consumer protection laws, rules, and guidelines.

  • Monitoring compliance with Commission cease and desist orders and federal court injunctive orders includes:
    • Investigating compliance of parties subject to agency and federal court orders;
    • Initiating federal court actions for substantial civil penalties for violation of agency orders; and
    • Enforcing federal court injunctive orders through civil and criminal contempt actions.
  • Past investigations of violations of consumer protection laws and litigation before the Commission’s administrative law judges or the U.S. District Courts include:
    • E-Commerce and the Internet, including online shopping and unfulfilled holiday delivery promises;
    • Employment Opportunities Fraud, such as false promises about the availability of jobs with the U.S. Postal Service, federal government, or modeling agencies;
    • Office Supply Fraud, including "toner-phoner" scams where small businesses are billed for unordered copier and printer toner; and
    • Automobile Engine Treatment Advertising, which includes deceptive, unsubstantiated claims that the products reduce engine wear, prolong engine life, and provide other performance benefits.
  • Trade laws, rules and guides enforced by the division include:
    • The Mail or Telephone Merchandise Rule, which requires companies to ship purchases when promised;
    • The "Made in USA" Enforcement Policy Statement, outlining when goods can bear this label
    • The Green Guides, which govern claims that consumer products are environmentally safe, recycled, recyclable, ozone-friendly, or biodegradable; and
    • Textile, Wool, Fur, and Care Labeling Rules, requiring proper origin and fiber content labeling of products and care label instructions attached to clothing and fabrics.

The Division of Financial Practices

The Division of Financial Practices is on the cutting edge of issues of online and financial privacy and e-commerce. In recent years, the Division has issued reports to Congress, held public workshops, and brought enforcement actions on a variety of online privacy issues. It has also lead the Commission’s rulemaking proceedings to implement the privacy protections of the Financial Services Modernization Act and the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act. In addition, the Division investigates subprime and predatory lending practices and enforces many of the nation's consumer credit statutes, including:

  • The Equal Credit Opportunity Act, which prohibits credit discrimination on the basis of sex, race, marital status, religion, national origin, age, or receipt of public assistance;
  • The Fair Credit Reporting Act, which ensures the accuracy and privacy of information kept by credit bureaus and consumer reporting agencies. It gives consumers the right to know what information credit bureaus and consumer reporting agencies are distributing about them to creditors, insurance companies, and employers;
  • The Truth in Lending Act, which requires creditors to disclose in writing certain cost information, such as the annual percentage rate ("APR"), before consumers enter into credit transactions;
  • The Fair Credit Billing Act and The Electronic Fund Transfer Act, which establish procedures for resolving mistakes on credit card and electronic fund transfer accounts;
  • The Consumer Leasing Act, which requires lessors to give consumers information on lease costs and terms;
  • The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, which prohibits debt collectors from engaging in unfair, deceptive, or abusive practices, including over-charging, harassment, and disclosing consumers' debt to third parties.

In the last few years, the Division has launched initiatives to fight deception in car leasing advertisement, and to combat home equity fraud against low income consumers.

The Division of Marketing Practices

The Division of Marketing Practices leads the Commission’s response to fraud, whether it is packaged as high-tech Internet and telecommunications scams, or old-fashioned telemarketing fraud, direct mail fraud or fraudulent business opportunities. Through a state-of-the-art Internet lab, attorneys and investigators unravel sophisticated “technology fraud”and find wrongdoers who are deceiving unsuspecting consumers. Its enforcement activities focus on:

  • Internet fraud, including Internet auction fraud and “phishing” schemes;
  • “Spam” or unsolicited commercial email, including enforcement of the CAN-SPAM Act;
  • Fraudulent telemarketing schemes, where consumers are promised great buys on vacations, magazines, and vitamins, among other things, as well as enforcement of the Telemarketing Sales Rule, including the regulations governing the National Do Not Call Registry;
  • “900” number telephone programs;
  • Fraudulent “work at home” schemes;
  • The Franchise and Business Opportunities Rule, which requires sellers of franchises and business opportunities to give prospective buyers a disclosure document containing specific information about the franchise and any earnings claims that are made;
  • The Funeral Rule, which requires funeral directors to disclose price and other information about funeral goods and services; and
  • The Magnuson-Moss Act, which requires warranty information to be made available to consumers before making a purchase.

The Division of Planning and Information

The Division of Planning and Information is home to the Bureau’s Consumer Response Center and the Identity Theft and Consumer Sentinel Programs. DPI’s Bankruptcy and Redress Counsel works with staff on cases or investigations involving bankruptcy and consumer redress issues, and the Internet Lab facilitates state-of-the-art cyber-investigations.

The division’s mission is to collect and analyze information to assist law enforcement, and promote consumer outreach and education efforts. The Consumer Sentinel Network is an on-line resource that gives law enforcement across the nation access to multiple consumer complaint databases through an innovative fraud-fighting tool to enhance cross-jurisdictional fraud and id theft investigations. In addition, the division leads the Commission’s response to the growing crime of identity theft, including:

  • housing the federal government’s centralized repository for consumer identity theft complaints;
  • analyzing id theft trends and identifying targets for referral to criminal law enforcement;
  • analyzing the impact of current and potential legislative initiatives; and
  • promoting the development and efficacy of identity fraud prevention strategies in the financial services industry.