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Legal Careers

Chief Counsel

Hiring Organization
Civil Rights Division (CRT)
Hiring Office
Office of Assistant Attorney General
Job ID
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.

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

As Chief Counsel, the successful candidate:

  • Proactively ensures that all Division personnel programs, policies and practices comply with applicable laws, rules and regulations, including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the merit system principles and prohibited personnel practices set forth in 5 U.S.C. §§ 2301-2302, including reviewing personnel policies and practices for compliance with applicable federal law and recommending necessary change.
  • Provides legal advice, counsel and expertise to the OAAG, Division management and HR staff regarding a variety of sensitive employment-related matters, including, but not limited to, hiring and other personnel policies, disciplinary and other adverse personnel actions, formal and informal EEO related complaints, grievances, requests for reasonable accommodations for individuals with disabilities, requests for religious accommodations, and suitability and/or background investigation matters issues.
  • Prepares responses on behalf of the Division to requests for information from the Department and/or audits regarding legal representation and/or potential legal liabilities.
  • Provides legal advice and/or comments on Department-wide and/or federal government-wide employment policies and practices, as well as proposed laws, rules and regulations impacting Division, Department and/or federal government employees, and conferring and/or working with others inside the Department and at other federal agencies, including the Department's EEO staff, the EEOC and OPM, on such policies, practices, laws, rules and/or regulations.
  • Responds to various requests for assistance and/or information from the OAAG, including coordination of the Division's response to audits and investigations by the DOJ OIG and the GAO, and assistance responding to Congressional oversight inquiries.
  • Works proactively with managers and employees to resolve employment ­related disputes informally.
  • Represents the Division/Department in administrative and federal court proceedings in connection with complaints involving Division employees, alone or in conjunction with the U.S. Attorney's Office, including developing litigation strategy, drafting or overseeing the drafting of motions and other filings, and arguing motions and other matters; representing the Division in mediation of employment-related disputes, including identifying matters appropriate for negotiation and settlement; and negotiating and drafting settlement agreements, including developing negotiation/settlement strategy, negotiating with all parties to achieve compliance with federal law and Division/ Department policy without further litigation, and coordinating with finance staff regarding the payment of any funds.
  • Serves as the Division's representative or point of contact on matters pending before the Department's EEO Office, the EEOC, the OPR, the OIG, the MSPB and other federal agency components on matters involving complaints by or the conduct of current or former Division employees, or applicants for employment with the Division.
  • Manages, organizes and prioritizes workload of OCC, including identifying new policies, practices and matters for review/consultation, setting priorities for projects, cases and other matters, managing all internal and external deadlines, and ensuring that cases and other projects are properly staffed.
  • Regularly monitors and reviews the work of OCC staff, ensuring that all human capital decisions, including hiring, promotions, assignments and training, are made in a nondiscriminatory manner and consistent with Division policy and merit systems principles.
  • Prepares materials for and works with the Professional Development Office and Office of Human Resources and Security to coordinate training of Division managers and employees regarding their rights and responsibilities under applicable laws, rules, and regulations.
  • Overseeing the FOI/PA Officer/Chief of the FOI/PA Unit in the handling of all FOI/PA matters and cases, including provision of:
    • litigation support to the Civil Division, United States Attorneys' Offices, and the Office of Information Policy in defensive litigation arising from CRT denials of access; and on occasion, the FOI/PA Unit may be assigned to provide litigation support to the Civil Division and the United States Attorneys in non-FOI/PA lawsuits filed against the United States;
    • legal advice provided to CRT on matters pertaining to the implementation of FOIA (5 U.S.C. § 552) and the PA (5 U.S.C. § 552a), and developments in the FOIA and the PA case law, proposed changes in regulations or the PA case law, as well as proposed changes in regulations or legislation and advises appropriate action to comply with changing requirements; and
    • expert legal and written analyses of developments in the law and preparation of official policy statements for the Division.
  • Performs other duties as assigned by the OAAG.

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) and three (3) Mandatory Technical Qualifications (MTQs) listed below.

Failure to address both the ECQs (as applicable) and MTQs separately as set forth below will remove you from consideration for this position

If 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 are not required to submit the ECQ narratives; however, you must submit the appropriate SF50 (showing SES status) or an OPM Qualifications Review Board certificate.

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.

The 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 - Knowledge and experience in a wide range of general law areas, including federal employment law, audits and investigations, delegations of authority, Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) (5 U.S.C. § 552) / Privacy Act (PA)(5 U.S.C. § 552a), third party subpoenas; and various government-wide administrative mandates such as the Federal Records Act, as well as knowledge and experience in the practice of litigation before administrative forums, and in the negotiation and execution of settlement agreements.
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 applyfor 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:  USAJOBS - Job Announcement 

$141,022 - $212,100 per year

Number of Positions
Not 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, 2023