9 Students, Alumni Selected for Attorney General’s Honors Program

Department of Justice building

The Attorney General’s Honors Program at the U.S. Department of Justice attracts candidates from hundreds of law schools across the country. Photo by Wikimedia user CoolCaesar.

February 4, 2021

Nine University of Virginia School of Law students and alumni will join the Department of Justice as attorneys in the fall through the Attorney General’s Honors Program.

The new hires for the selective program are Elizabeth Bagwell ’21, Katie Carpenter ’21, Astrid Cevallos ’20, Dominick Giovanniello ’21, Genevieve Khuong ’19, Spencer Ryan ’19, Will Slusher ’20, Amanda Swanson ’20 and Alec Ward ’21.

Ryan will be a trial attorney with the Criminal Division and could focus on federal crimes as varied as public integrity, organized crime or cybercrime. 

“My experiences with the Innocence Project, the Criminal Defense Clinic and summer internships at the DOJ have helped prepare me for this next step,” he said.

Bagwell will be an asset forfeiture fellow in the Criminal Division, prosecuting white-collar criminals while at the department, specifically those who engage in money laundering. Additionally, she will be involved in recovering illegally gained assets or those used for illegal purposes.

“I hope to establish and grow my skills as a white-collar prosecutor and to develop expertise in the money-laundering and asset recovery fields,” she said.

Ward will be working at the Civil Rights Division, and he hopes to be assigned to the Criminal Section, which prosecutes police misconduct, federal hate crimes and other criminal offenses involving interference with constitutional rights.

“With police violence, hate groups and other civil rights issues all in the national spotlight right now, it’s an incredibly exciting time to be joining the division,” he said. “Defending the individual rights of all Americans, whether it be from abuse at the hands of state agents or violence at the hands of domestic extremists, is one of the federal government’s most important roles, and I’m looking forward to the chance to join those efforts.”

Carpenter will work at the Executive Office of Immigration Appeals and will be clerking for members of the appellate judge panel.

“I worked in Consular Affairs at the State Department before law school, so immigration and nationality law is something I’ve always been passionate about," she said.

During her 1L summer, Carpenter interned with the Department of Homeland Security and this year participated in UVA’s Immigration Law Clinic. “I’m looking forward to getting more appellate review experience at the board and building on my work in immigration so far.”

Giovanniello will work in the Tax Division, investigating and prosecuting federal tax crimes alongside other Tax Division attorneys, assistant U.S. attorneys and IRS agents.

“Holding individuals accountable for tax evasion ensures that vital government institutions and social services have the funds they need to function effectively,” he said. “I am very excited to help further this work, develop my white-collar prosecution skills, and to learn from the DOJ’s subject matter experts on tax crimes.”

Annie Kim ’99, assistant dean for public service, said the Honors Program is one of the most competitive in the country and has been a springboard for alumni with notable DOJ careers.

“Our students have always been extremely successful in landing internships and externships at DOJ Main Justice and in U.S. Attorneys’ offices,” Kim said. “They do excellent jobs in these positions and make important connections with attorneys who, later on, can provide strong references for them.”

The Honors Program attracts candidates from hundreds of law schools across the country representing a broad cross-section of experiences and interests, according to the DOJ website. Selections are made based on many elements of a candidate’s background, including a demonstrated commitment to government service; academic achievement; leadership, journal, moot court and mock trial experience; clinical experience; past employment; and extracurricular activities that relate to the work of the Justice Department and the relevant component.

Honors Attorneys

  • Elizabeth Bagwell ’21, Criminal Division, Asset Forfeiture Fellowship
  • Katie Carpenter ’21, Executive Office of Immigration Appeals, Board of Immigration Appeals
  • Astrid Cevallos ’20, Environment and Natural Resources Division
  • Dominick Giovanniello ’21, Tax Division, Criminal Enforcement
  • Genevieve Khuong ’19 (Honors Clerk), Executive Office of Immigration Review, Board of Immigration Appeals
  • Spencer Ryan ’19, Criminal Division, Trial Attorney
  • Will Slusher ’20, Executive Office of Immigration Review, Office of the Chief Immigration Judge, Atlanta
  • Amanda Swanson ’20, Criminal Division, Trial Attorney
  • Alec Ward ’21, Civil Rights Division

Founded in 1819, the University of Virginia School of Law is the second-oldest continuously operating law school in the nation. Consistently ranked among the top law schools, Virginia is a world-renowned training ground for distinguished lawyers and public servants, instilling in them a commitment to leadership, integrity and community service.

Media Contact

Mike Fox
Director of Media Relations
mfox@law.virginia.edu / (434) 982-6832

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