Skip to main content

Legal Careers

OCDETF Chief Counsel

Hiring Organization
Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF)
Hiring Office
441 G Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20548 - United States
Application Deadline:
About the Office

As the largest anti-crime task force in the country, the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) Program is led by the OCDETF Executive Office, which implements the nationwide OCDETF strategy of combining targeting, intelligence sharing, coordination, and directed resourcing to have the greatest impact disrupting and dismantling command and control elements of criminal organizations. The OCDETF Program is the keystone of the Attorney General’s strategy to reduce the availability of illicit narcotics in the United States by using a prosecutor-led, multi-agency approach to counter-drug and counter-transnational-crime enforcement. OCDETF leverages the resources and expertise of its component agencies from the Justice, Homeland Security, Treasury, Postal, and Labor Departments in concentrated, long-term investigations of major drug trafficking, money laundering, and other high priority transnational organized crime networks. OCDETF participating agencies include: the United States Attorneys’ Offices; the Criminal Division; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; the Drug Enforcement Administration; the Federal Bureau of Investigation; the U.S. Marshals Service; Homeland Security Investigations; the U.S. Coast Guard; the U.S. Secret Service; the Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigation Division; the U.S. Postal Inspection Service; the Office of the Inspector General of the Department of Labor; and over 700 state and local law enforcement agencies. OCDETF agents and prosecutors throughout the United States handle complex investigations and prosecutions of the highest-level drug traffickers, money launderers, and other priority transnational criminal organizations responsible for the flood of illegal drugs into the United States and the violence generated by the drug trade, as well as the transnational criminal threat to our national security interests, public safety, and economic stability. By their nature, most, if not all OCDETF investigations and prosecutions involve complex or sensitive investigative and prosecution tools and techniques, such as electronic surveillance, immunized or protected witnesses, subpoenas or search warrants requiring specialized approvals, extradition of fugitives from foreign countries, and production of foreign evidence.

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 Counsel is the senior advisor for general law for OCDETF, and functions as the legal counsel for the component on criminal, civil, administrative, and other general law matters. The responsibilities of the position have a component-wide affect and influence, which includes providing innovative and expert legal counsel in the oversight and management of comprehensive legal activities and matters involving litigation, in accordance with applicable laws, policies, procedures, and directives. Duties include the interpretation and application of statutes, case law, regulations, and other authorities related to OCDETF’s mission. Developing authoritative guidance and advising leadership on a broad spectrum of legal issues. Serving as the senior legal advisor for general law, including employment, labor, civil rights, fiscal and appropriations, ethics, information and privacy, administrative claims, and other general law matters. Assuring that expert legal counsel and advice is provided to OCDETF leadership and officials of partner agencies. Developing policy guidance for advising on all aspects of general law, and for representing OCDETF before administrative bodies, courts, the General Accounting Office, and with other governmental or private sector entities. Providing management oversight and direction concerning personnel, policies and programs (e.g., human resources, budget, information technology, facilities, equipment, procurement); and ensures the efficient and effective acquisition, use, distribution and disposal of OCDETF resources in compliance with applicable policies, procedures, laws, and directives. Reviews various legal documents for legal sufficiency, including program policies and procedures, proposed legislation, proposed revisions to regulations, and agreements affecting the interests of the Program to ensure compliance with relevant laws, regulations, and policies. Confers and negotiates with senior officials in the Departments of Justice, Treasury, Homeland Security, and Defense, the Intelligence Community, and other federal, state, local, tribal, and foreign agencies on important legal and policy questions concerning the OCDETF Program. Evaluates effects of pending legislation and proposed changes in existing legislation that may affect the operations of the OCDETF Program. Prepares detailed legal briefs evaluating legal issues and policy ramifications for leadership. Attends meetings with senior leaders and attorneys from other federal, state, local, tribal, and foreign agencies. During these sessions, provides expert advice on legal issues. Provides authoritative technical legal guidance on complex, controversial, high value, and precedent-setting cases. Personally handles complex legal matters. Provides advice on extremely sensitive and confidential criminal and investigatory matters.


Interested parties must possess a J.D., degree, be an active member of the bar (any jurisdiction), and have at least three years of post-J.D. experience. Applicants must have solid academic credentials as well as excellent writing and strong interpersonal skills. Applicants should possess strong speaking and presentation skills; experience in the training of, and development of, professional training for prosecutors and agents. A strong background in criminal prosecution including experience with long term, complex organized crime, drug, and money laundering investigations; as well as electronic surveillance and related legal issues; domestic and international financial investigations; and familiarity with federal investigative agencies is preferred. Experience in handling international extradition and mutual legal assistance cases, and proficiency in at least one foreign language, are also desirable. Applicants must be able to secure and maintain a Top Secret security clearance.

Application Process

Applicants should submit a cover letter, resume and brief writing sample via email to:


GS-15, $142,701-$170,800

Number of Positions
Periodic international and domestic travel, sometimes on short notice, is required
Relocation Expenses

*         *         *

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.

*         *         *

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 March 9, 2020