Attorney Advisor

Office of the Pardon Attorney (OPA)
Attorney
145 N Street N.E., Suite 5E.508
Washington, DC 20530
United States
OPA 16-003 (NOTE: those who applied to OPA 15-006 or 16-002 who wish to be considered need not re-apply)
About the Office: 

The Office of the Pardon Attorney (OPA), United States Department of Justice, is seeking additional Attorney Advisors to work in Washington, DC. The Office of the Pardon Attorney, in consultation with the Attorney General or her designee, assists the President in the exercise of executive clemency as authorized under Article II, Section 2, of the United States Constitution.  OPA receives petitions for executive clemency, initiates the necessary investigations, and prepares the recommendations to the Deputy Attorney General and the President in connection with the consideration of all forms of executive clemency, including commutation (reduction) of sentence, pardon, remission of fine and reprieve.  The two primary forms of clemency relief are commutations of sentence and pardons.  A commutation of sentence reduces the period of a petitioner's incarceration and does not imply forgiveness of the underlying offense.  A pardon is an expression of forgiveness for past crimes, and is generally granted based on a petitioner's demonstrated good conduct for a substantial period of time after conviction and service of the sentence.  
In 2014, the Justice Department announced a new clemency initiative to encourage appropriate candidates to petition for executive clemency in order to have their sentences commuted by the President.  The Initiative invites petitions for commutation of sentence from non-violent inmates who are serving a federal sentence, who by operation of law, likely would have received a substantially lower sentence if convicted of the same offense today, and who would not pose a threat to public safety if released.  Thousands of inmates have already filed petitions for commutation of sentence, and more are likely to do so.  Evaluating these petitions for recommendations to the President is a high priority for the Justice Department.

Job Description: 

The Attorney Advisor will become familiar with all aspects of executive clemency, including both clemency initiative and non-clemency initiative commutation cases as well as pardons.  Knowledge of and/or experience with federal or state criminal law (from either the prosecution or defense perspective, or both), sentencing policy and guidelines, re-entry, and related issues are all helpful for this position.  Applicants must demonstrate exceptional legal, analytical, policy, and writing skills, objectivity, and a high level of discernment.  In addition, applicants must possess the ability to manage and prioritize a sizable and growing workload and to meet deadlines under pressure.  Applicants should also demonstrate compassion and the ability to make fair and balanced evaluations of written applications submitted by petitioners.  Attorney Advisor responsibilities include the performance of challenging and varied legal assignments in the interpretation and proper application of executive orders, federal regulations, precedents, and agency practices related to executive clemency.  Among other responsibilities, the Attorney Advisor will be assigned to review and evaluate petitions submitted by applicants for executive clemency, to confer with officials of the Department of Justice and external agencies regarding the performance of investigations related to clemency petitions, to secure information related to the clemency petition and investigation, and to advise the Pardon Attorney and Deputy Pardon Attorney on the results of the investigative process and appropriate disposition of petitions.  Attorney advisors assigned to review pardon applications will be expected to interact with pardon applicants and their representation and to demonstrate a high level of commitment to professionalism and courtesy in these interactions.

Qualifications: 

This advertisement is open to ALL SOURCES.
Applicants must possess a J.D. degree, be licensed to practice law and an active member of the bar of a state jurisdiction or the District of Columbia, and have a minimum of 3 years post-J.D. experience.  Familiarity with or experience in criminal law, from either the prosecutorial or defender perspective or both, as well as a thorough understanding and experience with sentencing law, are a plus, but not required.  Applicants must demonstrate exceptional legal, analytical, policy, and writing skills, as well as the ability to manage and prioritize a sizable and growing workload, to meet deadlines under pressure, and to respond promptly to members of the public, applicants, and applicants' counsels.

Salary: 
Vacancies will be filled at the GS-13/14 level. Current salary and years of experience will determine the appropriate salary level. The salary range for this position is GS-13 ($92,145 - $119,794) to GS-14 ($108,887 - $141,555).
Travel: 
Limited travel may be required occasionally.
Application Process: 

Applications received after the deadline or without following each of the below instructions will not be considered.
Applicants must submit a cover letter (highlighting relevant experience) and a resume.  Please reference announcement OPA 16-003 in the subject line of your email as well as the subject line of your cover letter.  Please also indicate in both your email and cover letter what GS grade you would like to be considered for and clearly indicate any veterans preference.  Please be sure to indicate the scale, grade and salary for each federal position listed on your resume.  Applications must be received by no later than 11:59PM EST on Wednesday, January 13, 2016.  
Applicants are encouraged to email applications to Will.Taylor2@usdoj.gov or fax them to 202-616-6069 rather than postal mail.  No telephone calls please.
U.S. Department of Justice
Office of the Pardon Attorney (Attn: Will Taylor, Executive Officer)
145 N Street N.E., Suite 5E.508
Washington, D.C. 20530
For more information about OPA, please visit our web page at: http://www.usdoj.gov/pardon . This and selected other legal position announcements may be found on the Internet at: http://www.justice.gov/oarm and http://dojnet.doj.gov/oarm/attvacancies.php

Application Deadline: 
Wednesday, January 13, 2016
Relocation Expenses: 
Relocation expenses will not be authorized.
Number of Positions: 
16
Updated April 7, 2016

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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 color, race, religion, national origin, political affiliation, marital status, disability (physical or mental), age, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, genetic information, status as a parent, membership or non-membership in an employee organization, on the basis of personal favoritism, or any other non-merit 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.

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 targeted/severe disabilities are encouraged to register for the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Shared List of People with Disabilities (the Bender Disability Employment Registry) by submitting their resume to resume@benderconsult.com and referencing "Federal Career Opportunities" in the subject line.  Additional information about the Bender Registry is available at www.benderconsult.com.  Individuals with disabilities may also contact one of the Department’s Disability Points of Contact (DPOC).  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. Only U.S. citizens are eligible for employment with the Executive Office for Immigration Review and the United States Attorneys' Offices. Unless otherwise indicated in a particular job advertisement, non-U.S. Citizens may apply for employment with other organizations, but should be advised that appointments of non-U.S. Citizens are 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.

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, www.opm.gov/forms/pdf_fill/SF15.pdf 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 his  or her retirement was due to a permanent service-connected disability or that he/she was transferred to the permanent disability retired list (the statement or retirement orders must indicate that the disability is 10% or more).

 

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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.