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Legal Careers

Chief, Appellate Section

Hiring Organization
Civil Rights Division (CRT)
Hiring Office
Appellate Section
Job ID
22-CRT-SES-001
Location:
Washington, DC 20530 - United States
Application Deadline:
About the Office

The Civil Rights Division ("CRT" or "Division") of the Department of Justice, created by the enactment of the Civil Rights Act of 1957, is primarily responsible for enforcing federal statutes and executive orders that prohibit, among other things, unlawful discrimination in education, employment, housing, police services, public accommodations and facilities, voting, and federally funded and conducted programs. The laws that the Division enforces also prohibit conduct by law enforcement agencies, as well as conditions of public residential institutions, such as health care and correctional facilities, that violate the constitution.

The Appellate Section was created in 1974 as a component of the Civil Rights Division. The Section works cooperatively with the trial sections in each of the Division's substantive enforcement areas in representing the United States in civil rights cases in the federal courts of appeals. Many of the Section's cases are appeals from district court judgments in cases originally handled by the Division's trial sections.

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 Chief of the Civil Rights Division's (CRT's) Appellate Section is responsible for handling the Division's cases in the United States Courts of Appeals and, in cooperation with the Solicitor General, in the Supreme Court. The Section also provides legal advice to the Office of the Assistant Attorney General for the Division and to trial sections, and on occasion to other components of the Department of Justice or other federal agencies regarding civil rights laws and appellate litigation.

As Chief, the successful candidate:

  • Plans and directs a nationwide program to enforce federal civil rights laws through handling Division cases in the United States Courts of Appeals and, in cooperation with the Office of the Solicitor General, in the Supreme Court.
  • Recommends, based on input from other chiefs, staff, litigating sections, and the general counsels of other agencies, whether appellate review in the Supreme Court or courts of appeals should be sought of adverse judicial decisions and whether the Division should seek to participate as amicus curiae in the Supreme Court, federal courts of appeals, or state appellate courts.
  • Assesses the quality and content of all appellate briefs and oral arguments handled by the Division, to ensure that they are persuasive, supported by the facts and law, and consistent with Department policy and priorities.
  • Personally handles particularly sensitive, high-profile, or difficult civil rights appeals. Such cases often involve the establishment of legal precedents of great significance.
  • Exercises management oversight of the Section, including setting enforcement priorities; supervises an office of approximately 25 fulltime positions, including managers, trial attorneys, and professional administrative support staff.
  • Is responsible for overall management of personnel, litigative program development, budget, and other matters, and participates in the decisional process relating to these subjects. The chief supervises - both directly and through subordinate managers - the Section's
    attorneys and support personnel.
  • Consults with and advises the Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights and the Deputy Assistant Attorneys General.
  • Coordinates with the Division's other Section Chiefs and Deputy Chiefs as appropriate.
  • Confers with the Office of the Solicitor General, as appropriate, regarding all important stages of appellate litigation.
  • Meets, coordinates, and fosters good working relationships with United States Attorneys' Offices, other Department of Justice components, and other federal departments and regulatory agencies.
  • Coordinates with counsel for private litigants in cases in which the Government intervenes or participates as amicus curiae.
  • Serves as the reviewing official for attorney evaluations.
Qualifications

The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) is required by law to review the executive qualifications of each new career appointee to the Senior Executive Service (SES) prior to appointment. To be considered for this position, you must submit a written statement addressing the five (5) Executive Core Qualifications (ECQs) listed below. Failure to address both the Mandatory Technical Qualifications (MTQs) and the ECQs as set forth below will adversely affect your chances for selection.

Current members of the career SES, former career SES members with reinstatement eligibility, and OPM/QRB certified candidates need not address the ECQs.

You must submit a separate narrative statement that addresses each of the Mandatory Technical Qualifications (MTQs) related to this position; limit your responses to no more than one page for each MTQ. Unless you are a current Senior Executive Service (SES) career appointee, a former SES member having reinstatement eligibility, or an OPM-certified graduate of an approved SES Candidate Development Program, you must also submit a separate narrative statement addressing each of the Executive Core Qualifications (ECQs) related to all positions in the SESThe ECQ narrative is limited to no more than two pages per ECQ (must not exceed 10 pages total).

You must address how you have demonstrated progressively responsible leadership experience that is indicative of senior executive level managerial capability and directly related to the skills and abilities outlined in this job announcement. Qualified candidates typically gain experience of this nature at or above the GS-15 grade level in the Federal service or its equivalent with state or local government, the private sector, or nongovernmental organizations. For examples and guidance on writing effective ECQ narrative statements, you are strongly encouraged to review the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Guide to Senior Executive Service QualificationsYou must use the Challenge - Context - Action - Result (CCAR) model when describing your accomplishments.

Mandatory Technical Qualifications:

MTQ 1 - Demonstrated significant experience and expertise in personally handling and managing appellate litigation in the federal courts of appeals.

MTQ 2 - Demonstrated experience managing a complex organization, a diverse workforce (including lawyers, non-lawyer professionals, and support staff), and challenging organizational issues while enforcing the law.

MTQ 3 - Demonstrated experience communicating effectively on complex legal and technical issues through oral and written communication, including the ability to advocate successfully with diverse stakeholders, external partners and individuals or groups having differing and often conflicting interests, on matters related to the successful execution of a large-scale organization's mission, programs and projects.

Executive Core Qualifications:

  • Leading Change: This core qualification involves the ability to bring about strategic change, both within and outside the organization, to meet organizational goals. Inherent to this ECQ is the ability to establish an organizational vision and to implement it in a continuously changing environment. Leadership Competencies for ECQ-1: creativity and innovation, external awareness, flexibility, resilience, strategic thinking, vision.
  • Leading People: This core qualification involves the ability to lead people toward meeting the organization's vision, mission, and goals. Inherent to this ECQ is the ability to provide an inclusive workplace that fosters the development of others, facilitates cooperation and teamwork, and supports constructive resolution of conflicts. Leadership Competencies for ECQ-2: conflict management, leveraging diversity, developing others, team building.
  • Results Driven: This core qualification involves the ability to meet organizational goals and customer expectations. Inherent to this ECQ is the ability to make decisions that produce high-quality results by applying technical knowledge, analyzing problems, and calculating risks. Leadership Competencies for ECQ-3: accountability, customer service, decisiveness, entrepreneurship, problem solving, technical credibility.
  • Business Acumen: This core qualification involves the ability to manage human, financial, and information resources strategically. Leadership Competencies for ECQ-4: financial management, human capital management, technology management.
  • Building Coalitions: This core qualification involves the ability to build coalitions internally and with other federal agencies, state and local governments, nonprofit and private sector organizations, foreign governments, or international organizations to achieve common goals. Leadership Competencies for ECQ-5: partnering, political savvy, influencing/negotiating.
Application Process

The Application Package must be received by 11:59 PM, Eastern Time, on the closing date of this announcement.

Please submit your application through USAJOBS. The list of required documents can be found in the USAJobs announcement. Please read the entire vacancy to ensure you submit all information and documents required to apply for this position.  If you fail to submit all required information and documents, you will not receive consideration for this position.

  1. If you do not already have an account, please create a USAJobs account before applying Create an Account. You will be able to upload your resume and supporting documents and complete your profile prior to applying.
  2. Once you have an account, apply to the USAJobs vacancy: https://www.usajobs.gov/GetJob/ViewDetails/618547100

Veterans' preference is not applicable to the Senior Executive Service.

Salary

$132,552 to $199,300 per year

Number of Positions
1
Travel
Occasional travel - You may be expected to travel for this position.
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 October 28, 2021