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Legal Careers

FOIA Litigation General Attorney

Hiring Organization
Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
Hiring Office
Office of the General Counsel
Job ID
OGC_MH_FLU_2020
Location:
935 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20535 - United States
Application Deadline:
About the Office

Freedom of Information Act Litigation Unit:

Attorneys working in the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Litigation Unit (FLU) apply their expertise, skills, and education to serve as agency counsel in defending the FBI in FOIA lawsuits brought by private parties and public interest groups seeking records of FBI's operations and activities, to include its efforts to fight terrorism, conduct counter-intelligence activities, combat public corruption, protect civil liberties, and prosecute cyber, high technology, white-collar and violent crimes.

FLU's FOIA practice is cutting edge. Attorneys in the unit regularly handle litigation seeking the most sensitive records within the agency's possession and address complex legal issues of first impression or about which there is very little case law. Effectively defending the FBI's interests in these cases requires close coordination with the FBI's Record/Information Dissemination Section (RIDS), which is responsible for processing FBI FOIA and Privacy Act requests, as well as officials at all levels within FBI Field Offices, Headquarters Divisions, and Legats; the United States Intelligence Community; and other government agencies.

Attorneys in FLU also serve as subject matter experts, and provide legal and policy guidance to officials at all levels within the FBI, about areas of vulnerability and liability with regard to its FOIA program and other issues of public access to the FBI's information and records.

Mission:

The FBI's mission is to protect the American People and uphold the Constitution of the United States.

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

· Serve as legal counsel to the FBI in FOIA lawsuits brought in Federal court; state open records lawsuits brought in state courts; affirmative injunction litigation brought in Federal courts to prevent disclosure of FBI information and records by state and local agencies; and Privacy Act litigation regarding access or amendment requests.

· Work closely with the Civil Division of the Department of Justice and U.S. Attorney's Offices to represent the FBI's interests in litigation against the FBI, as well as other litigation in which the FBI has equities.

· Prepare declarations and/or review declarations prepared by RIDS in support of motions; oversee FOIA productions in on-going litigation; review motions and legal briefs to provide valuable input on legal arguments and strategy; and provide assistance to DOJ/USAO during hearings and oral arguments.

· Provide legal and policy guidance on an array of information access issues.

· Develop professional relationships and partnerships with OGC coworkers, other FBI personnel and officials, and representatives of other Federal, state, and local agencies, in support of the FBI's legal interests and equities.

· Defend the FBI in the most complex FOIA lawsuits (e.g., cases with a nexus to the most high-visibility activities of the FBI, national security matters, and other sensitive matters) with minimal supervision.

· Provide expert legal advice and opinions to the highest levels of FBI management on all aspects of information access issues.

Specialized Experience:

· Litigation experience preferred.

· Experience working with the FOIA preferred.

· Experience prioritizing, planning, organizing, and scheduling projects and assignments to accomplish objectives, particularly under tight deadlines and in light of competing priorities.

· Experience reviewing others' written work products in order to ensure clarity of message, particularly in legal filings.

· Experience conducting legal research and researching internal agency policy, procedures, and methods.

· Experience writing analytical work products, declarations, or legal documents/pleadings.

Qualifications

Key Requirements:

· Must be a U.S. citizen

· Must be able to obtain a Top-Secret/SCI clearance

· Selectee will be required to complete form FD-887, Request for Access to Sensitive Compartmented Information (SCI)

· Selectee will be required to complete a Confidential Financial Disclosure Report, OGE-450 annually.

Please be advised that candidates that are selected for this position must be approved by the Department of Justice.

Please make sure your experience/requirement(s) can be identified in your resume. Your resume and supporting documentation will be used to determine whether you meet the job qualifications listed in this announcement. Applicants must meet the qualification requirements at the time of application.

Candidates deemed most competitive will be sent to the hiring official for employment consideration.

All applicants will be rated on the following Competencies:

· Governance and Legal Jurisprudence

· Analytical Thinking

· Communication

BASIC REQUIREMENT: All applicants must possess a law degree from a law school accredited by the American Bar Association and be an active member of the bar (any US jurisdiction).

Positive Education Requirement: This position has a specific education requirement; all applicants must verify completion of this basic requirement by submitting both proof of JD degree and proof of good standing with a bar within US jurisdiction. Please see the “Required Documents” section of this announcement for additional information.

Education: Applicant must possess a J.D. degree from a law school accredited by the American Bar Association (or have an LL.M. degree or other graduate law school degree in addition to J.D.) and be an active member of a bar (any US jurisdiction).

Application Process

How to Apply

To apply for this position, you must provide a complete application package which includes the following REQUIRED documents:

1. Your resume and cover letter

2. A writing sample, not to exceed 10 pages;

3. Proof of current and active bar association membership

4. Photocopy of Law School Transcripts

5. Current SF-50 (if external government employee)

Please Note: FBI employees currently assigned to a General Attorney position do not need to provide Law School Transcripts or Proof of Bar Association Membership.

Step 1 - Create a new email and attach all required electronic documents. Include contact information (phone number) and a brief introduction (2-3 sentences) in the body of the email.

Step 2 - Title the subject of the email using the following format, indicating whether you are an internal or external candidate. Example: OGC_MH_2020_FLU_External/Internal

Step 3 - Submit the completed application email to OGC-JOBS@fbi.gov.

What to Expect Next

Once your complete application is received, we will conduct an evaluation of your qualifications. The Most Competitive candidates will be referred to the hiring manager for further consideration and possible interview. Interviews will be conducted on a rolling basis. You will be notified of your status throughout the process.

Internal Applicants Additional Information

· Management may select at any grade for which this position is announced.

· Identification of promotion potential in this announcement does not constitute a commitment or an obligation on the part of management to promote the employee selected at some future date. Promotion will depend upon administrative approval and the continuing need for an actual assignment and performance of higher-level duties.

· Probationary employees are precluded from being considered for all job opportunities until 12-months of their 24-month probationary period has concluded. Probationary employees may be considered for competitive vacancies that are advertised within their respective division or field office after serving 90 days within the FBI.

· Candidates will not be considered if currently on a Performance Improvement Plan (PIP); a Letter of Requirement (LOR); or have failed a PIP or LOR and are currently awaiting the final action by HRD.

1. A Performance Improvement Plan (PIP) is a 90-day written developmental plan for an employee whose performance on one or more critical elements is rated “Unacceptable.”

2. A Letter of Requirement (LOR) is issued when a supervisor identified leave abuse and/or when frequent absences negatively impact operations of the office.

· Limited Movement: Policy has been implemented wherein support employees entering a position through competitive OR non-competitive action may be precluded from moving to another position within the Bureau by means of reassignment or change to lower grade for a minimum of 12 months.

· Relocation expenses will be borne by the selectee, except FBI employees returning from LEGAT assignment. Employees returning from LEGAT assignments must advise the Staffing Unit, Administrative Unit, and the International Operations Unit of their application to apply.

· On December 22, 2017, the President signed into law the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. This law may impact your transfer.

o This legislation made previously non-taxed moving expenses reimbursements taxable as of January 1, 2018. Please see HR Link for the list of FBI's current understanding of the applicable tax changes. However, this may change upon receipt of official guidance from GSA and DOJ.

o Current law provides the FBI with the authority to compensate employees for much of the tax burden caused by a transfer through the Relocation Income Tax Allowance (RITA) process, in an effort to identify way to minimize the additional tax burden on transferring employees.

· Candidates receiving a transfer of physical location, whether at the expense of the FBI or not, will be required to complete a one-year commitment to the assignment, prior to moving to a new position at the FBI. The 12-month waiting period begins the day an employee reports for duty at the new location.

· Employees selected for positions at the GS-14 level or higher, as well as employees selected for positions where a transfer of location is required, will be processed through the name check program prior to being notified of their selection.

· Memorandum of Understanding: Work performed outside assigned duties (that would not normally be documented on a SF-50, ie back-up duties), has to be documented in detail by an immediate supervisor in order to receive full credit for amount of time worked in that position. If no documentation is furnished, no credit will be given for the time worked in that position. The following notations must be specified in the documentation (Memorandum of Understanding):

o Percent of time worked in the particular position (cannot conflict with main duties)

o The month/year work began

o Frequency worked (ie. daily, monthly, etc.)

o Specific duties performed

Attach the Memorandum of Understanding to your application in the “Cover Letters and Attachments” section of My Career Tools on the Careers Home page. Please upload the attachment as type “Other.”

External Applicants Additional Information

· The FBI is in the Executive Branch if the federal government. It is one of the components of the Department of Justice (DOJ). The FBI is the principle investigative arm of the DOJ. All FBI positions are in the excepted service.

· Applicants must be a U.S. citizen and consent to a complete background investigation, urinalysis, and polygraph. You must be suitable for Federal employment; as determined by a background investigation.

· Failure to provide necessary and relevant information required by this vacancy announcement may disqualify you from consideration. Additional information will not be requested if your application is incomplete. Your application will be evaluated solely on the basis of information you have submitted.

· Management may select any grade for which this position is announced.

· Identification of promotion potential in this announcement does not constitute a commitment or an obligation on the part of management to promote the employee selected at some future date. Promotion will depend upon administrative approval and the continuing need for an actual assignment and performance of higher-level duties.

· If you are hired, you will be required to serve a two-year probationary period. Probationary employees are precluded from being considered for all job opportunities until 12-months of their 24-month probationary period has concluded. Probationary Employees may be considered for competitive vacancies that are advertised within their respective division or field office after serving 90 days within the FBI. The probationary periods will be served concurrently.

· Memorandum of Understanding: Work performed outside assigned duties (that would not normally be documented on a SF-50, ie back-up duties), has to be documented in detail by an immediate supervisor in order to receive full credit for amount of time worked in that position. If no documentation is furnished, no credit will be given for the time worked in that position. The following notations must be specified in the documentation (Memorandum of Understanding):

o Percent of time worked in the particular position (cannot conflict with main duties)

o The month/year work began

o Frequency worked (ie. daily, monthly, etc.)

o Specific duties performed

Veterans Preference

If you are entitled to Veterans' Preference, you should indicate the type of veterans' preference you are claiming on your resume and application. Your veterans' preference entitlement will be verified by the employing agency.

Nepotism

Nepotism is the act of favoring relatives in the hiring process and is prohibited by law. Public officials are prohibited from hiring or promoting relatives or relatives of officials in their chain of command, as well as actively or indirectly endorse a relative's appointment of promotion.

Reasonable Accommodation Request

The FBI provides reasonable accommodations to qualified applicants with disabilities. If you need a reasonable accommodation for any part of your application and/or hiring process, please notify the Office of Equal Employment Opportunity Affairs (OEEOA) Reasonable Accommodation (RA) Program by either email at REASONABLE_ACCOMMODATION@fbi.gov, telephone at (202) 324-4128, or FAX at (202) 324-3976. Your request will receive an individualized assessment.

Benefits

The FBI offers a comprehensive benefits package that includes, in part, paid vacation; sick leave; holidays; telework; life insurance; health benefits; and participation in the Federal Employees Retirement System.

This link provides an overview of the benefits currently offered to Federal employees: http://www.opm.gov/insure/new_employ/index.asp

Salary

GS-14: $121,316 - $157,709; GS-15: $142,701 - $170,800

Number of Positions
Multiple

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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 26, 2020