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Legal Careers

Attorney (Employment & Defensive Litigation Section)

Hiring Organization
Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)
Hiring Office
Office of Chief Counsel
600 Army Navy Drive
Arlington, VA 22202 - United States
About the Office

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), U.S. Department of Justice, is seeking an attorney to work in the Employment and Defensive Litigation Section, Office of Chief Counsel, DEA Headquarters, located in Arlington, Virginia.


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 attorney will be responsible for providing litigation support in Bivens, Title VII, Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA), and other civil matters in the Federal Courts involving DEA and its employees.  The attorney will also be responsible for representing DEA before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB), and for providing legal counsel to DEA management in a variety of personnel/employment law and other civil matters.  Not to exceed one year. 


  • Defend the DEA in administrative cases before the MSPB and EEOC. Attorneys represent the Agency in administrative hearings serving as first or second-chair litigators before administrative judges. Conducting discovery; taking and defending depositions; writing and filing motions and briefs; and engaging in settlement negotiations and mediations.
  • Attorneys work closely with Department of Justice Trial Attorneys and Assistant U.S. Attorneys across the country defending DEA in federal court litigation, including Federal Tort Claim Act, Bivens, and Title VII Discrimination cases. Attorneys provide litigation reports, assist with production of discovery and drafting responses to answers and interrogatories, as well as deposition preparation for witnesses.
  • Provide legal advice to all levels of management on a variety of personnel and employment law issues, including reasonable accommodation issues, suitability and pay questions, and other regulatory and statutory requirements pertaining to employment law issues. Attorneys will also review and assist in development of DEA employment related policies, as well as review personnel actions, including disciplinary and security clearance matters, for legal sufficiency.


Applicants must possess a J.D. degree, be an active member of a bar in good standing (any jurisdiction), and have at least 3 years of post-J.D. legal experience or at least 1 year of post-law school judicial clerkship experience. Applicants must also have: 1) excellent academic credentials; 2) strong oral and written communication and advocacy skills; 3) superior legal research and analytical skills; and 4) a demonstrated ability to function with minimal guidance in a highly demanding environment. Applicants must also meet eligibility requirements for a Top Secret security clearance.

Preferred Qualifications:  Preferred applicants will also possess prior experience in employment/personnel law and/or prior federal judicial clerkship experience.

    Application Process

    While this vacancy announcement expires Friday, August 30, 2024, the announcement may be closed at any time if a selection is made.

    Interested attorneys meeting the above qualifications should submit a resume and writing sample via email to: with the Subject line: DEA EDL Detail Opportunity – Last name, First name.


    Reimbursable Detail; Selectee will maintain current rate of pay.  Telework eligible as determined by the agency policy; not a remote job-eligible position.

    Number of Positions
    Occasional travel may be required
    Relocation Expenses

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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 June 6, 2024