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Legal Careers

Deputy Branch Director, Constitutional and Specialized Tort Litigation

Hiring Organization
Civil Division (CIV)
Hiring Office
Torts Branch, Civil Division
Job ID
Washington, DC 20530 - United States
Application Deadline:
About the Office

The Civil Division, with more than 1,000 attorneys and 14 litigating components, represents the United States, its departments and agencies, Members of Congress, Cabinet officers, and other Federal employees, in litigation in courts of the United States. The Deputy Director of Constitutional and Specialized Tort Litigation (CSTL), Torts Branch, Civil Division, is a Senior Executive Service position within the U.S. Department of Justice. CSTL is one of the four sections in the Torts Branch.

The incumbent serves as a Deputy Director, reports to the Director of CSTL and operates under the general direction of the Deputy Assistant Attorney General for the Torts Branch. The incumbent directly oversees the litigative and administrative responsibilities related to the implementation of the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986, which created the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP). For more information about CSTL, please visit:

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

In conjunction with the Director and the Assistant Directors in Vaccine Litigation, supervise and direct all aspects of the work of attorneys and legal support staff to include assignment and distribution of work among the attorneys and support staff, and reviewing and approving pleadings, briefs, and other papers filed with the courts.  Supervise the review and analysis of facts pertaining to cases or claims brought under the Vaccine Act and the development of evidence necessary to support the Government’s position.  Handle all related administrative matters that are involved in running a specialized compensation program and litigation group in an office with an extensive caseload.

The VICP Deputy Branch Director, CSTL, will:

  • Represent the interests of the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services in all cases filed in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims under the Vaccine Act.
  • Communicate and negotiate with other Department components, government agencies, other attorneys, expert witnesses, the Office of Special Masters of the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, and the Court, regarding the proper development of the VICP and the procedures under which it operates.
  • Determine the Department’s strategy in cases, claims, or groups of cases or claims, including with respect to defensive posture, settlement, and appellate prospects.
  • Ensure that the Vaccine Injury Compensation Trust Fund, from which awards are paid, is protected and, where eligibility criteria are met, that fair compensation is distributed to those whom Congress has intended.
  • Advise and consult with staff on new VICP orientations or directives and ensure that adequate resources will be available for implementation within the Branch.  Evaluate organizational structure and make necessary changes based on new directions or caseload requirements.  Maintain data relative to the administration of the VICP.
  • Advise the Director, the Deputy Assistant Attorney General, and as necessary, the Assistant Attorney General, on significant cases and their impact on the Branch and the Division.  Prepare analysis and policy papers, as needed, given the policy and VICP concerns of the Director and the Deputy Assistant Attorney General.
  • Consult with the Director, the Deputy Assistant Attorney General, and Assistant Attorney General on matters concerning the Torts Branch and the VICP.  Participate in the formulation of and plan for implementation of new policies, legislation, or organizational changes having an impact on the Branch and the Division.
  • Provide input to the Office of Management Programs for inclusion in annual budget requests to ensure the Office of Vaccine Litigation has sufficient resources to meet its litigative and administrative responsibilities.
  • Serve as a resource to attorneys throughout the Division in the planning, briefing, and tactical approaches to the handling of specialized tort compensation programs. Oversee and implement other nationwide tort reform programs as assigned.
  • Analyze and review proposed and pending legislation which may affect the work of the Office of Vaccine Litigation.  Comment on and make recommendations to revise, support, or oppose such legislation, and assist in formulating the Department’s position. 
  • Personally prepare and argue difficult and precedent-setting cases of unusual complexity.
  • Represent the Department of Justice on the Advisory Commission on Childhood Vaccines, interagency task forces, in study groups, or at conferences dealing with the Vaccine Act. 
  • Provide advice and assistance to client agencies.
  • Ensure compliance with Departmental policies, regulations, and applicable law.


Position Requirements:

  • One year probationary period may be required.
  • You must be a U.S. citizen to qualify for this position.
  • Relocation expenses will not be paid.
  • Veteran’s preference is not applicable to the Senior Executive Service.
  • Only experience obtained by the closing date of this announcement will be considered.
  • A negative drug test reading is required before you may be appointed to this position.
  • You must be able to obtain and maintain a Top Secret security clearance with eligibility for Sensitive Compartmented Information (SCI) access depending on organizational assignment/duty location.
  • You must successfully complete a background security investigation before you can be appointed to this position.
  • Before entering on duty, you will be required to complete a Financial Disclosure Report, SF-278. This information must be reported annually.

Applicant 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.

We recommend that your résumé emphasize your level of responsibilities, the scope and complexity of the tort compensation programs managed, and your program accomplishments, including the results of your actions. You will be evaluated to determine if you meet the minimum qualifications required of the position and on the extent your application demonstrates that you possess the knowledge, skills, and abilities required of the VICP Deputy Branch Director, CSTL. Please be sure to give concrete examples of your experience and demonstrate the complexity of the knowledge you possess.

YOU WILL BE EVALUATED ON ALL OF THE FOLLOWING MANDATORY TECHNICAL QUALIFICATIONS (MTQ): Your responses to the MTQs should be submitted in one document that includes separate narrative statements addressing each of the 3 Mandatory Technical Qualifications.

MTQ 1. Demonstrated expertise in litigation under a unique statutory mechanism designed for compensating allegedly injured persons and tort compensation schemes that are alternatives to traditional products liability and medical malpractice litigation.

MTQ 2. Demonstrated experience supervising attorneys and attorney work product. 

MTQ 3. Demonstrated ability to communicate persuasively on behalf of the United States and one’s organization.


ECQ 1 - 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.

ECQ 2 - 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.

ECQ 3 - RESULTS DRIVEN. This core qualification involves the ability to meet organizational goals. Inherent to this ECQ is the ability to make decisions that produce high-quality results by applying technical knowledge, analyzing problems, and calculating risks.

ECQ 4 - BUSINESS ACUMEN. This core qualification involves the ability to manage human, financial, and information resources strategically.

ECQ 5 - 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.

Fundamental Competencies: These competencies are the foundation for success in each of the Executive Core Qualifications: Interpersonal Skills, Oral Communication, Continual Learning, Written Communication, Integrity/Honesty, and Public Service Motivation. The Fundamental Competencies are crosscutting; and should be addressed over the course of each ECQ narratives. It is not necessary for you to address the Fundamental Competencies directly as long as the narrative, in its totality, shows mastery of these competencies on the whole.

Qualifications include both general management skills and characteristics that are applicable to all SES positions and technical or program responsibilities specific to this position. Applicants must have a substantive general experience which provides a good basic or general knowledge of the principles of organization, management, and administration; and substantive specialized (operating, administrative or managerial) experience in a type of work or a combination of functions directly related to this position.

Application Process


  • Résumé
  • Separate narrative statements addressing the three (3) Mandatory Technical Qualifications and the five (5) Executive Core Qualifications.


Your application must be submitted by Email.


Please use Announcement # SES-10971495-21-STM as your Subject Line. 

If you are unable to submit via email, you must request an alternative application procedure by contacting the agency POC – Shelley Moeller  202-598-3874

You must ensure that your application is received no later than 11:59 p.m. (EDT) on the closing date of the vacancy announcement.

Please note that sending your application other than by email may result in a delay in your package being received in Civil/HR prior to the deadline; therefore, you would not receive consideration. Please note that application materials mailed in franked government envelopes will not be considered for this position.

How you will be evaluated:

You will be evaluated to determine if you meet the qualifications required of the position and on the extent your total submission package demonstrates that you possess the knowledge, skills, and abilities required of the position. Please be sure to give concrete examples of your experience and demonstrate the complexity of the knowledge you possess. 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, applicants must show evidence of experience related to the five (5) Executive Core Qualifications (ECQs). Applicants must address the Executive Core Qualifications (ECQs) and Mandatory Technical Qualifications (MTQs).  In addition to your resume, this additional documentation should demonstrate the necessary level of management skills, characteristics, qualities, specialized knowledge, and technical competence that would indicate successful performance in the SES. This evidence must include clear and concise examples that emphasize the applicant's level of responsibilities, scope, and complexity of programs managed, program accomplishments, policy initiatives, and level of contact. Copies of the OPM’s "Guide to Senior Executive Service Qualifications" may be obtained via the Internet at

Applicants must address the Executive Core Qualifications (ECQs) and Mandatory Technical Qualifications (MTQs).

Please see Application Procedures for specific instructions. The resume should demonstrate the necessary level of management skills, characteristics, qualities, specialized knowledge, and technical competence that would indicate successful performance in the SES. This evidence must include clear and concise examples that emphasize the applicant's level of responsibilities, scope, and complexity of programs managed, program accomplishments, policy initiatives, and level of contacts.

Required Documents:

Applicants who fail to submit all information and documents (i.e., resume, and documents addressing the MTQs and ECQs) will not receive consideration for this position. You must send this information to CIVIL/OHR prior to the closing date of this announcement.

ECQ responses are not required for current or former career members of the SES. Indicate in your resume that you are a current or former member of the SES. You must submit responses to the MTQs, and submit a copy of the most recent SF-50 documenting your SES career appointment.

Applicants who have completed the Candidate Development Program (CDP) and have had their ECQs certified by OPM must provide a copy of their certificate as part of their application. SES CDP graduates must also submit responses to the MTQs. Responses to the ECQs are not required for current SES or CDP graduates.


$131,239.00 to $197,300.00/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 December 4, 2020