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Attorney Advisor (Staff Attorney)

Office of Chief Counsel
99 New York Ave, NE
Washington, DC 20226
United States
About the Office: 

The Chief Counsel is responsible for performing all of the legal services related to alcohol, tobacco, firearms, explosives, arson, and administrative law. The Office of the Chief Counsel (CC) prepares, reviews, or assists in the preparation of proposed legislation, regulations, and executive orders relating to the laws affecting and enforced by the Bureau. The CC makes recommendations to the Department of Justice (DOJ) concerning litigation involving the Bureau; represents the Bureau in administrative proceedings; and provides legal advice and assistance to other Federal, State, and local agencies including U.S. Attorneys and DOJ officials in the prosecution of ATF firearms and explosives cases and cases involving alcohol and tobacco diversion.

Job Description: 

The incumbent provides legal advice and recommendations both orally and in writing to Bureau officials on a wide variety of matters affecting the Bureau relating to recruitment, employment, fiscal law, contract law, and ethics. Specifically, the incumbent reviews and drafts memoranda of understanding and memoranda of agreement; reviews federal government financial disclosure forms; provides advice on ATF and federal government ethics standards including deliveringmandatory annual ethics training to ATF employees; reviews and drafts disciplinary documents; provides legal advice to agency's Professional Review Board, Bureau Deciding Official, Merit Promotion Board, and Hardship Board; and performs other duties as assigned including serving as agency representative before administrative boards and alternate dispute resolution forums; provides training on employment law to agency managers; and represents the Office of Chief Counsel at meetings at DOJ relating to employment law, represents the agency at EEO mediations, advises on appropriations law issues, and other issues assigned to the Management Division.

There are two vacancies under this announcement. One will serve as an attorney with primary job responsibilities focused on supporting the Professional Review Board. The Professional Review Board reviews reports of investigation and proposes discipline based on employee misconduct. The incumbent attorney would review reports, summarize reports, advise the Professional Review Board and draft proposal notices. The second vacancy hired under this announcement will serve as an attorney with primary job responsibilities focused on supporting the Bureau Deciding Official. The Bureau Deciding Official reviews the proposal notices, hears oral replies to misconduct charges, reviews written replies to misconduct charges and drafts letters of decision based on employee misconduct. The incumbent must be able to advise the Bureau Deciding Official on due process rights and appeal rights to the Merit Systems Protection Board. Familiarity with the “Douglas Factors” would be beneficial in this position but not required.


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

All applicants must have the following specialized experience as a practicing attorney equivalent to each of the next lower grades level.

GS-12: all applicants must have one year as a practicing attorney; knowledge of laws relating to employee relations and personnel matters; and skills in legal writing and oral advocacy.

GS-13: In addition to the requirements for the GS-12, all applicants must have three years as a practicing attorney; extensive understanding and knowledge of Federal laws, including laws relating to recruitment, employment, fiscal law, contract law, and ethics, both substantive and procedural; and the ability to apply this knowledge to conducting research and preparing case-related matters; and superior analytical and writing skills.

GS-14: In addition to the requirements for the GS-13, applicants must have five years as a practicing attorney; experience as the principal attorney assigned cases with a high degree of difficulty and importance, including independently exercising responsibility for the development and presentation of cases.

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 is:

1. Knowledge of Title 5 of the Code of Federal Regulations, laws administered and enforced by the Bureau, and with laws relating to employee relations and personnel matters.

2. Experience serving as a legal advisor on a wide variety of matters related to ATF’s Ethics Program; Federal Fiscal and Appropriations Law; Procurement (Contracts) Law; Employee Relations; Human Resources; and EEOC complaints.

3. Superior analytical and writing skills.

All Attorneys must possess a professional law degree (J.D. or LL.B).

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.

Must provide a writing sample (no more than 15 pages).

$75,621.00 to $138,136.00 / Per Year
Occasional travel may be required.
Application Process: 

All applications and resume must be submitted on-line through USAJOBS, announcement number 15-EXC-245-EMH.

Application must be received by May 26, 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: http://www.atf.gov/careers/professionaltechnical (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 http://www.justice.gov/careers/legal/attvacancies.html.

Application Deadline: 
Tuesday, May 26, 2015
Relocation Expenses: 
Relocation expenses may be authorized.
Number of Positions: 
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. 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 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.