Skip to main content

Legal Careers

Attorney Advisor (Senior Counsel - Field Operations)

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

This position serves as a senior attorney in the Office of Chief Counsel, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), Department of the Justice. This position is located in Bureau Headquarters, Washington, DC. The incumbent serves as embedded counsel to the Assistant Director (Field Operations), and other management officials in the Field Operations Directorate, providing legal advice and recommendations in relation to the enforcement and administration of the laws within ATF’s law enforcement authority, including advice related to high risk law enforcement operations and novel law enforcement strategies and tactics.


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 provides legal advice and recommendations in relation to the enforcement and administration of Federal alcohol, tobacco, firearms, explosives and arson laws, as required to ensure that law enforcement operations are conducted in compliance with constitutional and legal requirements, as well as Department of Justice and ATF policy, and in a manner that promotes efficiency and public safety.

The attorney also provides legal counsel in connection with formal headquarters review of undercover and other high-risk operations, and with headquarters oversight of other law enforcement operations, in general; and coordinates with the Law and Policy Division to ensure that ATF law enforcement policies (such as orders and policy memoranda), strategies and tactics are thoroughly reviewed to ensure both compliance with constitutional and legal requirements, and promotion of efficiency and public safety. This responsibility includes providing counsel with respect to novel law enforcement techniques, strategies and tactics for which there may be little or no legal precedent.

In addition, the attorney coordinates personnel and resources within the Field Operations Directorate and the Office of Chief Counsel with respect to significant legal and policy issues, such as the collection, review and production of records related to major law enforcement operations or programs (e.g., in response to congressional inquiries, Freedom of Information Act demands, discovery in litigation involving ATF, requests for testimony in third-party litigation, and internal inspections), and implementing new programs and procedures in response to changes in the law or policy (e.g., new legislation, regulations or Department policy, significant opinions of the Supreme Court or United States Court of Appeals, corrective actions following an internal review).


Applicants must have at least six years of specialized experience as a practicing attorney (equivalent to the next lower grade level in the Federal service for which the candidates is applying).

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

Specialized experience for this position includes:

1. Demonstrated ability to provide legal and technical advice on matters related.

2. Broad knowledge of general law and legal procedures, both civil and criminal; a specialized knowledge of the laws relating to alcohol, tobacco, firearms, explosives, arson, interstate smuggling of cigarettes, and claims collections.

3. Demonstrated ability to deal tactfully and diplomatically with others; and the ability to approach the settlement of issues that will ensure fair and equitable consideration of the rights of taxpayers consistent with the protection of the interests of the Government.

4. Demonstrated ability to provide legal advice on the laws enforced by ATF, including the Gun Control Act, the National Firearms Act, and the Federal laws related to arson and explosives.

5. Demonstrated ability to provide legal guidance and advice on matters of general criminal law (e.g., laws governing search and seizure, electronic surveillance, custodial interrogations, undercover operations, use of force).

6. Superior analytical, written and communication skills.

Applicants must possess a J.D. degree from an ABA accredited law school.

Applicants must be an active member of the bar in good standing (any state or territory, or the District of Columbia).

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

Application Process

The how to apply instructions can be found in VA #15-EXC-316-EMH on USAJOBS.OPM.GOV.

All applications and resume must be submitted on-line through USAJOBS under vacancy announcement number 15-EXC-316-EMH.

All application must be received by July 14, 2015 midnight on the closing date of this announcement.

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


$126,245.00 to $158,700.00 / Per Year

Number of Positions
Travel may be required.
Relocation Expenses
Relocation expenses may be authorized.

*         *         *

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.

*         *         *

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 April 7, 2016