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Legal Careers

Attorney - Office of Foreign Litigation

Hiring Organization
Civil Division (CIV)
Hiring Office
Commercial Litigation Branch - Office of Foreign Litigation
Washington, DC 20530 - United States
Application Deadline:
About the Office

The Office of Foreign Litigation (OFL) is responsible for handling litigation in foreign courts in which the United States is a party or has an interest. OFL cases, which can be affirmative or defensive, civil or criminal in nature, are litigated in the courts of first instance, appellate courts, and supreme courts of foreign countries. Cases handled by the office include employment, property, contract or tort litigation; criminal actions against U.S. officials acting within the scope of their duties, and other lawsuits challenging U.S. activities abroad. OFL also conducts affirmative litigation, including litigation aimed at fighting cross-border fraud that targets American citizens, and affirmative criminal suits when the United States is a victim of a criminal act abroad. OFL has litigated in the courts of over 100 countries. In addition to its Washington, DC office, OFL has a field office in the U.S. Embassy in London, which is responsible for the handling of litigation in European countries. This announcement is limited to a position in the Washington, DC office only.

Because OFL attorneys are not licensed to practice law in foreign jurisdictions, they do not appear in foreign courts. Instead, OFL handles litigation through the retention of foreign counsel who represents the interests of the United States foreign proceedings. OFL attorneys closely supervise and instruct the foreign counsel with regard to litigation positions taken on behalf of the United States. The litigation handled by the office may involve issues of foreign law, as well as public and private international law, and covers the broad range of federal programs under which the United States operates abroad.

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

OFL is seeking one experienced attorney to work in the Washington, DC office. The incumbent will not litigate in court, but will work closely with foreign attorneys, providing them with detailed instructions and advice relating to the handing of assigned cases. An important aspect of the position is to maintain close overall supervision of assigned cases and to develop appropriate litigation strategies that are consistent with the policies of the United States, the Department of Justice, the client agencies, the local law of the forum, doctrines of public international law, and the overall foreign policy and programmatic interests of the United States. In addition, the incumbent will provide legal advice to other DOJ components, federal agencies, and U.S. embassies on a wide variety of issues involving current or potential foreign litigation, international law, and the impact of foreign and international law programs or activities undertaken abroad. Because foreign litigation impacts the foreign policy of the United States as well as other U.S.government policies and activities, the incumbent will closely coordinate with the Legal Advisor's Office of the Department of State, and attorneys with other agencies, regarding pending or potential foreign litigation. The incumbent may also participate in OFL's responsibilities as the Office of International Judicial Assistance (OIJA), the U.S. Central Authority for various treaties on international judicial assistance in civil and commercial matters.


Applicants must be a graduate from a full course of study in a School of Law accredited by the American Bar Association and be a member in good standing of the bar of a state, territory of the United States, the District of Columbia, or the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.

Applicants must possess a J.D. degree, be an active member of the bar (any jurisdiction), have at least two years of post J.D. experience to qualify at the GS-13 level; have at least three years of post J.D. experience to qualify at the GS-14 level; and four years of post J.D. experience to qualify at the GS-15 level. You must also be a U.S. citizen.

Applicants should have an exceptional academic background, experience in international law or foreign comparative law, and significant experience in complex litigation on behalf of the United States are desirable. Applicants should have a strong interest in litigation, as well as excellent interpersonal and negotiation skills. Excellent writing skills and good judgment are critical; foreign language skills are desirable. The incumbent must be comfortable in communicating with people, some of whom may have limited oral or written English skills or come from foreign cultures, and must be willing to adjust work schedules, as required, to accommodate international time zones and imminent deadlines. The successful applicant must be able to work independently.

Application Process

You must submit your application so that it will be RECEIVED by the closing date of the announcement, Eastern Standard Time. No telephone calls please.

Applications must be Emailed to

Please use Announcement '#TA-OFL-2015-01' as your SUBJECT LINE.


Cover Letter
Writing Sample (consisting of a legal brief authored by the applicant, no more than 20 pages)
Current performance appraisal
List of references
Veteran Preference document (if applicable)


$90,823.00 to $158,700.00 / Per Year

Number of Positions
Occasional travel. Although usually not extensive, travel, including foreign travel, is required.
Relocation Expenses
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, 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 April 7, 2016