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Legal Careers

Attorney Advisor (Litigation), GS-0905-14

Hiring Organization
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF)
Hiring Office
Office of Chief Counsel
Job ID
Washington, DC, DC 20226 - United States
Application Deadline:
About the Office

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

This position is located in the Office of the Chief Counsel, Litigation Division, Washington, D.C. The incumbent functions as an advocate and legal advisor on a wide variety of matters involving litigation on behalf of the Bureau.

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

The incumbent is primarily responsible for serving as the agency representative in litigation before the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and acts as second chair in MSPB and EEOC litigation reaching the Federal district and appellate courts. As needed, the attorney may also serve as agency counsel in litigation involving the Federal Tort Claims Act, Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents of Federal Bureau of Narcotics, the Freedom of Information Act, the Privacy Act, or the Administrative Procedure Act.

Conducts extensive research and analysis, applying the pertinent laws, regulations, judicial decisions, administrative opinions, and Department and Bureau rulings, to defend actions brought against the Bureau, its employees and the laws it is charged with administering and enforcing. This includes providing thorough and comprehensive litigation reports, motions, memoranda and briefs to the Department of Justice; filing pleadings with the MSPB and EEOC, attending hearings, settlement conferences, mediations, and other forms of alternative dispute resolution; gathering, organizing, and providing responses to discovery requests, and seeking discovery.

Reviews decisions by the courts and other tribunals that were unfavorable to the Government to determine whether to recommend seeking appellate review, which includes considering the effect of the decision as precedent if allowed to stand, the need for consistent application of the law in all jurisdictions, the sufficiency of evidence, and the amount of damages at issue. If an appeal is recommended and approved, may assist in the preparation of the Government’s case before the appellate court.

Provides advice on questions of law or policy involved in the Bureau’s operations, conducts briefings on case status, gives guidance as to litigation risk to ATF officials, and confers with other Department and Government attorneys to defend lawsuits.                                        


Applicants must possess a J.D. degree from an American Bar Association (ABA) accredited law school.

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.

Specialized experience for this position includes:

1. Knowledge of the Federal firearms and explosives laws and the Administrative Procedure Act

2. Extensive experience with the MSPB and EEOC processes and procedures

3. Experience with the resolution of administrative claims under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA); and the Military Personnel and Civilian Employees Claims Act; and, litigation involving the FTCA, Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents of Federal Bureau of Narcotics, the Freedom of Information Act, the Privacy Act.

4. Superior analytical and writing skills Applicants must possess a J.D. degree from an American Bar Association (ABA) accredited law school. In addition, all applicants, must be active members in good standing of the bar of any state or territory, or the District of Columbia.

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

All applicants must have five (5) years of experience as a practicing attorney in litigation; and experience with the Merit System Protection Board and Equal Employment Occupation Commission processes and procedures.

Application Process


The how to apply instructions can be found in VA #16-EXC-297-EMH on USAJOBS.OPM.GOV.

 All applications and resume must be submitted on-line through USAJOBS under vacancy announcement number 16-EXC-297-EMH and received by the closing date.

 If you have questions or are unable to submit your application through USAJOBS, please contact  Ella Hathaway, Human Resources Specialist, at (202) 648-8835.

 Internet sites: (use this internet site to access the on-line application in USAJOBS).  This and other attorney vacancy announcements with the Department of Justice can be found at


$107,325.00 to $139,523.00 / Per Year

Number of Positions
Occasional travel may be required
Relocation Expenses
Relocation and travel expenses may be authorized for this position.

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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 May 13, 2016