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Legal Careers

Associate General Counsel, Litigation Branch

Hiring Organization
Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP)
Hiring Office
Central Office, Office of General Counsel, Litigation Branch, Washington, D.C.
320 First Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20534 - United States
Application Deadline:
About the Office

The Mission of the Litigation Branch is to provide the best legal advice and guidance on Bureau of Prisons policy and procedure in cases filed against Bureau’s staff in their personal or official capacities and against the Bureau of Prisons. The Litigation Branch provides support to attorneys in the Department of Justice (DOJ) components (e.g., Civil, Criminal, and the Solicitor General's Office) and in the U.S. Attorney's Offices on litigation filed in the District of Columbia and on cases having national impact on Bureau programs and policies.  The Litigation Branch staff works closely with DOJ appellate attorneys and attorneys in the Solicitor General's Office and reviews cases before the Supreme Court and advises attorneys in the Solicitor General's Office of the Bureau's position.  The Litigation Branch works with and advises the Assistant Director/General Counsel, Senior Deputy General Counsels, Assistant Directors, Regional Directors, and Wardens, and their management staff, as well as attorneys in the U.S. Attorney's Offices and the DOJ on issues related to Bureau litigation.  The Litigation Branch also oversees claims filed under the Federal Tort Claims Act and oversees the Bureau's Administrative Remedy Section. 

As the federal agency whose mission is to ensure the fair and impartial administration of justice for all Americans, the Department of Justice is committed to fostering a diverse and inclusive work environment. To build and retain a workforce that reflects the diverse experiences and perspectives of the American people, we welcome applicants from the many communities, identities, races, ethnicities, backgrounds, abilities, religions, and cultures of the United States who share our commitment to public service.

Job Description

As the Associate General Counsel, the incumbent will manage attorneys and support staff within the Litigation Branch.  The incumbent will work with Central Office, regional and institution management staff with respect to litigation affecting the Bureau of Prisons, as well as attorneys in the Solicitors General's Office and other attorneys in the DOJ and in the U.S. Attorney's Offices.  The incumbent's responsibilities include: analyzing adverse decisions against the BOP and drafting recommendations to DOJ for the Assistant Director/General Counsel's signature, this includes cases before the Supreme Court; analyzing adverse decisions against other correctional agencies and developing a position for the Bureau on amicus participation by the United States in the Supreme Court; developing an expertise in the Prisoner Litigation Reform Act, Religious Freedom Restoration Act, and constitutional issues affecting Bureau litigation; and participating in moot courts with assistant U.S. attorneys and DOJ attorneys. The incumbent will be responsive to internal and external stakeholders and may be expected to provide training in a variety of subject areas and settings.


Required qualifications:  Applicants must possess a J.D. degree, be an active member of the bar (any jurisdiction), and have at least three years of post-J.D. experience. 
Preferred qualifications:  Prior experience in correctional law, constitutional law, administrative law, or legislation is preferred, but not required.  Prior supervisory experience also is preferred, but not required.

Application Process

Applicants must submit a cover letter highlighting relevant experience, a resume, and a writing sample by October 10, 2023, to:
U.S. Department of Justice
Federal Bureau of Prisons
Office of General Counsel
Litigation Branch
320 First Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20534
Attention: Darrin Howard, Senior Deputy General Counsel
It is preferred that you submit your application packet via email to .
Please include in the subject line "LIT Associate General Counsel."  
No telephone calls, please.  This position is open until filled, but no later than October 10, 2023.


The possible salary range is GS-14 ($132,368 to $172,075); or GS-15 ($155,700 to $183,500).

Number of Positions
Occasional travel is required.
Relocation Expenses
Not authorized.

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Department Policies

Equal Employment Opportunity:  The U.S. Department of Justice is an Equal Opportunity/Reasonable Accommodation Employer.  Except where otherwise provided by law, there will be no discrimination because of race, color, religion, national origin, sex - including gender identity, sexual orientation, or pregnancy status - or because of age (over 40), physical or mental disability, protected genetic information, parental status, marital status, political affiliation, or any other non-merit based factor.  The Department of Justice welcomes and encourages applications from persons with physical and mental disabilities. The Department is firmly committed to satisfying its affirmative obligations under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, to ensure that persons with disabilities have every opportunity to be hired and advanced on the basis of merit within the Department of Justice. For more information, please review our full EEO Statement.

Reasonable Accommodations:  This agency provides reasonable accommodation to applicants with disabilities where appropriate. If you need a reasonable accommodation for any part of the application and hiring process, please notify the agency.  Determinations on requests for reasonable accommodation will be made on a case-by-case basis.

Outreach and Recruitment for Qualified Applicants with Disabilities:  The Department encourages qualified applicants with disabilities, including individuals with targeted/severe disabilities to apply in response to posted vacancy announcements.  Qualified applicants with targeted/severe disabilities may be eligible for direct hire, non-competitive appointment under Schedule A (5 C.F.R. § 213.3102(u)) hiring authority.  Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to contact one of the Department’s Disability Points of Contact (DPOC) to express an interest in being considered for a position. See list of DPOCs.   

Suitability and Citizenship:  It is the policy of the Department to achieve a drug-free workplace and persons selected for employment will be required to pass a drug test which screens for illegal drug use prior to final appointment.  Employment is also contingent upon the completion and satisfactory adjudication of a background investigation. Congress generally prohibits agencies from employing non-citizens within the United States, except for a few narrow exceptions as set forth in the annual Appropriations Act (see, Pursuant to DOJ component policies, only U.S. citizens are eligible for employment with the Executive Office for Immigration Review, U.S. Trustee’s Offices, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Unless otherwise indicated in a particular job advertisement, qualifying non-U.S. citizens meeting immigration and appropriations law criteria may apply for employment with other DOJ organizations. However, please be advised that the appointment of non-U.S. citizens is extremely rare; such appointments would be possible only if necessary to accomplish the Department's mission and would be subject to strict security requirements. Applicants who hold dual citizenship in the U.S. and another country will be considered on a case-by-case basis. All DOJ employees are subject to a residency requirement. Candidates must have lived in the United States for at least three of the past five years. The three-year period is cumulative, not necessarily consecutive. Federal or military employees, or dependents of federal or military employees serving overseas, are excepted from this requirement. This is a Department security requirement which is waived only for extreme circumstances and handled on a case-by-case basis.

Veterans:  There is no formal rating system for applying veterans' preference to attorney appointments in the excepted service; however, the Department of Justice considers veterans' preference eligibility as a positive factor in attorney hiring. Applicants eligible for veterans' preference must include that information in their cover letter or resume and attach supporting documentation (e.g., the DD 214, Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty and other supporting documentation) to their submissions. Although the "point" system is not used, per se, applicants eligible to claim 10-point preference must submit Standard Form (SF) 15, Application for 10-Point Veteran Preference, and submit the supporting documentation required for the specific type of preference claimed (visit the OPM website, for a copy of SF 15, which lists the types of 10-point preferences and the required supporting document(s). Applicants should note that SF 15 requires supporting documentation associated with service- connected disabilities or receipt of nonservice-connected disability pensions to be dated 1991 or later except in the case of service members submitting official statements or retirement orders from a branch of the Armed Forces showing that their retirement was due to a permanent service-connected disability or that they were transferred to the permanent disability retired list (the statement or retirement orders must indicate that the disability is 10% or more).

USAO Residency Requirement:  Assistant United States Attorneys must reside in the district to which appointed or within 25 miles thereof.  See 28 U.S.C. 545 for district specific information.

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This and other vacancy announcements can be found under Attorney Vacancies and Volunteer Legal Internships. The Department of Justice cannot control further dissemination and/or posting of information contained in this vacancy announcement. Such posting and/or dissemination is not an endorsement by the Department of the organization or group disseminating and/or posting the information.

Updated September 22, 2023