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Legal Careers

ATTORNEY ADVISOR (PRIVACY)

Hiring Organization
Office of Privacy and Civil Liberties (OPCL)
Location:
WASHINGTON, DC 20530 - United States
Application Deadline:
About the Office

INTRODUCTION: This is an excepted service position that serves as an Attorney-Adviser, located in the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), Office of Privacy and Civil Liberties (OPCL) in Washington, DC.

The Office of Privacy and Civil Liberties (OPCL) supports the duties and responsibilities of the Department’s Chief Privacy and Civil Liberties Officer (CPCLO), who is a member of the Office of the Deputy Attorney General and the principal advisor to the Attorney General, Department Leadership, and components on issues involving privacy and civil liberties policy and compliance. Under the CPCLO’s leadership, OPCL has two general functions: (1) it plays a central policy-making role in the Department’s development and evaluation of legislative, regulatory, and other policy proposals affecting privacy, both domestically and internationally; and (2) it is responsible for helping to ensure the compliance of the Department’s components with existing laws, regulations and policies protecting privacy. OPCL is responsible for ensuring the Department’s compliance with privacy and civil liberties-related laws and policies, and appropriately minimizing related risks, including under the Privacy Act of 1974, Judicial Redress Act of 2015, and privacy provisions of the E­-Government Act of 2002 and Federal Information Security Modernization Act of 2014. OPCL develops and provides Departmental privacy training; oversees the Department’s responses to data breaches; ensures the Department has adequate procedures to receive, investigate, respond to, and redress complaints from individuals who allege the Department has violated their privacy or civil liberties; prepares privacy-related reporting to Congress, the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, and other appropriate entities; and reviews the information handling practices of the Department to ensure that such practices are consistent with the protection of privacy and civil liberties. Moreover, OPCL is responsible for advising Department leadership and components concerning international data protection and privacy laws and policies, including representing the Department in international negotiations designed to strengthen international cooperation based on a shared commitment to privacy, data protection, and the rule of law.  

The primary purpose of the position is to provide legal advice and guidance to Department leadership and components on privacy and civil liberties matters, provide policy advice concerning proposed legislative, regulatory, or policy proposals that impact privacy and civil liberties, and ensure the Department’s compliance with privacy and civil liberties laws, regulations, and policies, and appropriately mitigate related risks.

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

Duties and Responsibilities

The incumbent, as a staff attorney, performs difficult and varied legal work involving the interpretation and proper application of laws, executive orders, regulations, precedents and agency practices relating to Federal privacy laws, assists components in complying with their legal responsibilities, makes recommendations regarding important policy questions to the CPCLO, and represents the CPCLO in intra- and interagency policy deliberations. In particular, the incumbent:

  • Serve as Attorney-Advisor (General) and oversees, provides legal advice, and supports privacy teams in Department components to ensure the Department’s compliance with applicable law and policy, including assessing privacy and civil liberties risks in classified and unclassified systems, including in law enforcement and national security data collection and use; developing and ensuring implementation of controls to mitigate risks; drafting and revising privacy compliance documentation, such as Privacy Act system of records notices and rulemakings related to exemptions, and privacy impact assessments; reviewing privacy and security authorization packages for systems to provide input on whether to authorize system operation; drafting information sharing agreements or arrangements; and comprehensively responding to breaches of personally identifiable information (PII).
  • Performs legal research, reviews and provides legal advice on policy proposals, e.g., proposed legislation, regulations, or policies, and proposes comments to such proposals.
  • Leads the Department’s development of the privacy portions of various reports, including the annual Senior Agency Official for Privacy report pursuant to FISMA, report pursuant to Executive Order 13636, “Improving Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity,” and annual report pursuant to Section 1174 of the Violence Against Women and Department of Justice Reauthorization Act of 2005; supports OPCL publication of the Privacy Act Overview.
  • Leads Department attorneys in handling Privacy Act and other privacy-related administrative procedures, administrative appeals, and litigation, e.g., by conducting research and drafting legal memoranda and litigation documentation.
  • Leads and implements Department-wide privacy-related plans, policies, procedures, and training. Actively participates in intra-agency and inter-agency working groups on a variety of matters, such as artificial intelligence/machine learning.
  • Supports CPCLO and OPCL in providing legal advice concerning key international privacy and civil liberties related principles, laws, and guidance, and reviews and advises on proposed treaties, executive agreements, and statements by international organizations such as the United Nations.
  • Independently develops plans to accomplish work, sets and adjusts short-term priorities, and balances work to ensure accomplishing requirements. 
  • Performs other duties, as assigned.

Supervision

The supervisor provides administrative direction for assignments in terms of broadly defined missions or functions.  The attorney-advisor is responsible for independently planning, designing, and carrying out programs, projects, studies, or other work.  At the GS-14 and 15 level, work results should be technically authoritative and usually accepted without significant changes.  When the attorney-advisor’s supervisor reviews his or her work, that review should concern the fulfillment of program objectives, effects of advice and influence on the overall program, or contributions to the advancement of policy or procedures.  Recommendations for new projects and alterations of objectives usually are evaluated for such considerations as availability of funds and other resources, broad program goals, or national priorities.

Position Sensitivity

This is a sensitive position. Applicants must have, or be eligible for, a Top Secret security clearance at the time of appointment.

Qualifications

Required Qualifications 

To qualify for this position, applicants must possess ALL of the requirements below:

  1. A J.D. degree from an accredited law school, be duly licensed and authorized to practice as an attorney under the laws of any State, territory of the United States, or the District of Columbia, and be an active member of the bar in good standing. 
  2. Specific grade level requirements:
    1. GS-15:  At least six (6) years of post J.D. legal experience addressing privacy issues, for example, advising clients or an organization’s leadership and staff on privacy laws.
    2. GS-14:  At least four (4) years of post J.D. legal experience addressing privacy issues, for example, advising clients or an organization’s leadership and staff on privacy laws.
    3. GS-13:  At least two (2) years of post J.D. legal experience addressing privacy issues, for example, advising clients or an organization’s leadership and staff on privacy laws.

Applicants are responsible for citing J.D. and bar membership information (institution name, state(s) of admission and date(s)) on their resumes.

The successful applicant should also possess: 

  • exceptional writing and oral communication skills;
  • strong speaking and presentation skills;
  • working knowledge of privacy laws, regulations, and policies that apply to the U.S. Government or knowledge of U.S. privacy laws that apply to the private sector along with knowledge the European Union General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and related regulations, guidelines and policies, which contain many requirements similar to those applicable to the U.S. Government;
  • excellent interpersonal skills, and the demonstrated ability to lead a team and also collaborate with others to achieve a common goal;
  • creative problem-solving skills to resolve unusually complicated legal matters, often with little legal authority, with the goal of supporting a client’s mission while minimizing privacy-related risks; and
  • demonstrated ability to adapt, quickly shift priorities, and meet deadlines in a fast-paced environment.

Preferred Qualifications

Relevant certification in a privacy-related field, for example, the International Association of Privacy Professionals Certified Information Privacy Professional (CIPP) certification.

It is the policy of the Office of Privacy and Civil Liberties to request a three-year commitment for all attorney positions.

Application Process
  • Applicants must submit via mail, email, or fax:
    • Cover letter addressing the qualifications listed above;
    • Resume showing relevant experience, including the dates the experience was obtained;
    • Unofficial law school transcript (note: If you are selected for this position, official transcript(s) will be required prior to your first day);
    • Two writing samples of varying length: one demonstrating general writing skills (e.g., correspondence, published material, memorandum, talking points, policies, procedures, blog, or material written for the web); and one sample of formal legal analysis, demonstrating ability to analyze and expound on complicated, nuanced legal issues (e.g., a legal brief or formal opinion, or other similar memo); and
    • Copy of your most recent performance appraisal or rating, if applicable.
      Writing samples and performance appraisal may be redacted, as appropriate, to protect sensitive information.
      Provide the above materials in time for their receipt by OPCL by midnight the date the announcement closes to:
      Privacy.employment@usdoj.gov             
      U.S. Department of Justice
      Office of Privacy and Civil Liberties
      Two Constitution Square Building
      145 N Street, NE, Suite 8W.300
      Washington DC 20530
      Fax: 202-307-0693
Salary

Salary and grade level determinations are made based on the number of years of qualifying experience and current salary level. The salary range for this position is: GS-13 to GS-15, $103,690 - $172,500 (salary as listed includes locality pay).

Number of Positions
More than one candidate may be selected for this position.
Travel
Minimal travel required.
Relocation Expenses
Relocation expenses are 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, https://www.usajobs.gov/Help/working-in-government/non-citizens/). 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, 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 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 25, 2021