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Legal Careers

Attorney Advisor

Hiring Organization
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF)
Hiring Office
Office of Chief Counsel
Job ID
Multiple Locations - United States
Application Deadline:
About the Office

ATF is a law enforcement agency in the U.S. Department of Justice that protects our communities from violent criminals/criminal organizations, illegal use/trafficking of firearms, illegal use/storage of explosives, acts of arson/bombings, acts of terrorism, and illegal diversion of alcohol/tobacco products. We partner with communities, industries, law enforcement, and public safety agencies to safeguard the public through information sharing, training, research, & technology. Visit

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

Duty location for these positions is based on the applicant's willingness to live in the local commuting area of the Division offices.

*Applicants who are not currently located in one of the areas identified above must relocate to one of the offices listed in the region. The selected applicant is responsible for all associated travel and relocation expenses.

The positions are located in the following ATF Field Division Offices:
Central: St. Paul, MN
West: Los Angeles (Glendale) and San Francisco (Dublin), CA

PLEASE DESIGNATE YOUR PREFERRED LOCATION ON YOUR RESUME. *Applicants who are not currently located in one of the areas identified above must relocate to one of the offices listed in the region. The selected applicant is responsible for all associated travel and relocation expenses.

Serves as the Division Counsel of an ATF Field Division in a Field Region (Central or West) and reports to the Deputy Associate Chief Counsel of that region. The attorney prepares advisory opinions on a variety of issues and questions presented by the Field Division's Special Agent in Charge, the Director of Industry Operations, and the Associate or Deputy Associate Chief Counsel. This requires the research and analysis of legal matters such as the seizure and forfeiture of property; offers in compromise; the issuance, suspension, and revocation of permits; and violations and prosecution of criminal provisions of Federal law relating to alcohol, tobacco, firearms and explosives and disclosure and testimony requests These assignments usually involve complicated facts and require the review and analysis of inspection reports and/or criminal investigation reports and other documents submitted with the request for a legal opinion. Provides instruction and training on ATF related legal issues.
The attorney serves as lead and/or assists the US Attorney with alcohol, tobacco, explosives and firearms related litigation. In permit or license matters that are adjudicated before administrative law judges or the Director of Industry Operations, , the incumbent represents the Bureau at the hearing. In litigation cases, incumbent assists with preparation and is responsible for analyzing the issues, assisting with preparation of Memorandums, Motions and Briefs, providing counsel and advice throughout.



To qualify at the GS-15 level, applicants must have at least six years of specialized experience as a practicing attorney.

This is a non-bargaining unit position.

GS-15: Applicants must have six years' experience as a practicing attorney commensurate with the duties and responsibilities of the position. The attorney also serves as lead attorney on extremely complex legal issues where there is little or no precedent. This includes cases referred to the office on alcohol, tobacco, firearms, explosives and arson matters, including litigation, as required. The specialized experience must be providing legal advice in connection to extensive understanding of Federal firearms and explosive laws; as well as other federal regulations used by ATF.

Specialized Experience is experience which is in or directly related to the line of work of this position and which has equipped the applicant with particular knowledge, skills and abilities to successfully perform the duties of the position:

  1. Demonstration of original thinking, mature judgment, and sound reasoning are continually required as new problems of law, policy and procedures are presented for solution.
  2. Demonstrated ability to provide legal advice on the laws enforced by ATF, including Federal laws related to alcohol, tobacco, firearms, explosives and arson.
  3. Demonstrated ability to provide legal guidance and advice on matters of Federal criminal law a such as, tax violations, fraud, money laundering, and forfeiture.
  4. Knowledge and demonstrated ability to provide legal and technical advice on criminal and regulatory investigations, including providing technical advice on investigative plans.
  5. Superior analytical, written and communication skills.

All applicants must meet all qualification requirements described in this announcement by the closing date.

MOBILITY PLAN: New employees hired pursuant to this vacancy announcement must sign a mobility agreement. The purpose of ATF's mobility policy is to enhance career development and progression, and achieve mission and business effectiveness. To accomplish these objectives, the mobility plan will facilitate the movement of employees through special short-term assignments or permanent reassignments throughout the Bureau. Applicants who decline to sign a mobility agreement, as required, will be removed from the hiring process.

Key Requirements:
  1. Must be a U.S. Citizen or National
  2. Pass drug screening and subject to random drug test
  3. Must successfully complete a background security investigation
  4. A Financial Disclosure Form may be required
  5. Must provide a legal writing sample (no more than 15 pages)
  6. May be required to serve a one year probationary period
Application Process

You will be evaluated for this job based on how well you meet the qualifications.

Applicants will be rated on the extent and quality of their experience, education and training relative to the duties of the position.

Paid or unpaid experience will be considered.

Please read the entire announcement and all instructions before you begin an application. To apply for this position, you must complete the initial online application, to include the initial online assessment and submission of the required documentation specified in the Required Documents section. You must submit a complete application package by 11:59 PM (ET) on 07/05/2023 to be considered. The application process is as follows:

  1. To begin the application process, click the Apply Online button.
  2. Answer the questions presented in the application and attach all necessary supporting documentation.
  3. Click the Submit Application button prior to 11:59 PM (ET) on the announcement closing date.
  4. After submitting an online application, you will be notified whether or not you are required to take additional online assessments through the USA Hire Competency Based Assessment system. This message will be delivered to you via email notification. The email may be routed to your "Spam" or "Junk" folder.
  5. If you are asked to take the USA Hire Competency Based Assessments, you will be presented with a unique URL to access the USA Hire system. Access to USA Hire is granted through your USAJOBS login credentials. Be sure to review all instructions prior to beginning your USA Hire Assessments. Click here for Computer System Requirements
  6. Note, set aside at least 3 hours to take these assessments; however, most applicants complete the assessments in less time. If you need to stop the assessments and continue at a later time, you can re-use the URL sent to you via email and also found in your USAJOBS account under the Track this application link for the corresponding application.

To update your application, including supporting documentation, at any time during the announcement open period return to your USAJOBS account. There you will find a record of your application, the application status, and an option to Edit My Application. This option will no longer be available once the announcement is closed.

To verify the status of your application both during and after the announcement open period, log into your USAJOBS account. Your applications will appear on the Welcome page. Navigate to the job application and click Track this application to view your application status. The link will take you to the hiring agency application system, which has the most up-to-date status of your application. There you can review any notifications sent to you related to this application, including the invitation to take the USA Hire assessment. The Application Status will appear along with the date your application was last updated. 

  • Resume showing relevant work/volunteer experience, education, and training. Include the start and end dates (from month/date/year to month/date/year) and the number of hours per week worked/volunteered. Your resume serves as the basis for qualification determinations and must support your answers to the completed online assessment questions.
  • Veterans' preference documentation (Member Copy 4 of DD-214, Revised October 2013 SF-15 and VA letter, if applicable. NOTE: The revised October 2013 SF-15 is the latest copy and all others are not usable.
  • Must provide a legal writing sample (no more than 15 pages)
  • CTAP/ICTAP documentation, if applicable.
  • Law school transcript (Note: If you're selected for this position, official transcript(s) will be required prior to your first day.)

$117,518 - $152,771 per year (does not include locality pay)

Number of Positions
Occasional travel - You may be expected to travel for this position.
Relocation Expenses
Relocation expenses are not authorized for these positions

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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 June 23, 2023