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Legal Careers

Pro Bono Program Counsel

Hiring Organization
Office for Access to Justice
Job ID
Washington, DC 20530 - United States
Application Deadline:
About the Office

The U.S. Department of Justice (Department) reestablished the Office for Access to Justice (ATJ) as a standalone office in October 2021 to address the access-to-justice crisis in the criminal and civil justice system. ATJ's mission is to make real the promise of equal justice for all. ATJ aims to achieve this core mission by promoting access to judicial systems through legal assistance and counsel; pursuing data-driven, stakeholder-informed and innovative approaches to judicial process; and by promoting accountability and reform of legal systems with the goal of creating a more holistic and equitable approach to justice. The three strategic pillars of ATJ are to: 1) promote justice system accessibility; 2) accelerate justice system innovation; and 3) safeguard justice system integrity. ATJ is seeking highly qualified attorneys to join this growing office to serve as Attorney Advisors to enhance and expand ATJ core activities to broaden the scope of programs and activities that improve equal justice outcomes.

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 Pro Bono Program Counsel will coordinate Department of Justice components and interagency efforts to promote pro bono engagement by federal government attorneys and legal staff nationwide. The Pro Bono Program Counsel will focus on three areas: 1) program development and expansion, 2) attorney and legal staff recruitment and support, and 3) policy initiatives. 
Major duties may include: 

  • Conducting research and outreach to legal services organizations to develop and maintain working relationships to support pro bono engagement by federal government attorneys and legal staff.
  • Organizing events and activities relevant to the Pro Bono Program, including to recruit federal government attorneys and legal staff to volunteer.
  • Conducting and/or organizing training on pro bono topics, such as statutory and regulatory rules governing outside activities and subject matter areas appropriate for federal government attorney and legal staff participation.
  • Providing support to federal government attorneys and legal staff engaged in pro bono work.
  • Conducting relevant legal analysis, including research and writing, to support policy initiatives related to federal government employees' pro bono engagement.
  • Providing expert-level advice directly to supervisors and ATJ leadership.
  • Maintaining a close liaison and a collaborative relationship with Department components, and other federal agencies. 
  • Drafting memos, policies, and other documents for ATJ and DOJ leadership, ensuring compliance with law, policy, regulation, executive orders, memoranda, and orders.
  • Developing, reviewing, and evaluating legislative, regulatory, and other policy proposals that implicate access to justice and pro bono issues.

While the Pro Bono Program Counsel will focus on the Pro Bono Program, they will have the opportunity to work collaboratively on cross-cutting initiatives within ATJ, the Department, and across federal agencies.


Required Qualifications: Applicants must have a J.D. degree, at least one and a half years of post-J.D. legal experience, be an active member of the bar (any jurisdiction) and be a U.S. citizen.
Grade Specific Qualifications:

  • To qualify at the GS-13 grade level, applicants must have at least one and a half (1.5) years post J.D. legal experience.
  • To qualify at the GS-14 grade level, applicants must have at least two and a half (2.5) years post J.D. legal experience.
  • To qualify at the GS-15 grade level, applicants must have at least four (4) years post J.D. legal experience.

Preferred Qualifications: 

  • Experience working with or for federal agencies.
  • Experience working with or for a non-profit, legal aid, and/or civil society organization, including through pro bono practice.
  • Demonstrated interest in pro bono activities.
  • Experience designing, enhancing, and implementing policies and/or programs that advance the principles of access to justice. 
  • A track record of identifying barriers to access systems and structures, and developing and implementing creative strategies to reduce or remove those barriers.
  • A commitment to equity and civil rights issues.
  • Demonstrated initiative and creativity. 
  • Excellent interpersonal skills with the ability to adeptly exercise diplomacy, discretion, and tact in all interactions.
  • A demonstrated ability to work independently in a highly demanding environment.
  • Outstanding organizational skills and the ability to address a broad array of tasks, responsibilities, and issues.
  • The ability to articulate critical issues accurately and precisely in a wide variety of cases and projects.
  • A demonstrated record of analyzing complex legal problems, interpreting statutory and regulatory provisions to develop policy, programmatic, and legislative recommendations.
  • The ability to set, manage, and balance diverse, evolving, and challenging projects and priorities. 
  • A commitment to the highest ethical and professional standards.


Telework/Remote Work: Employees may be eligible for flexible work options, including telework or remote work, subject to supervisor approval and consistent with the needs of the office and individual roles and responsibilities. (This statement was added 7/29/22)

Application Process

This vacancy announcement is open to all U.S. citizens.
We encourage applications from individuals who have been directly impacted by legal systems, or who otherwise have lived experience.

IMPORTANT NOTE TO APPLICANTS THAT PREVIOUSLY APPLIED: The application deadline has been extended to Monday, August 22, 2022, at 11:59 p.m. Eastern. If you previously submitted an application, your application remains under consideration and there is no need to resubmit an application. (Updated 8/16/22)
To apply, interested candidates must submit, preferably as one PDF document:

  • A cover letter that highlights the applicant's interest in the position, identifies the preferred portfolio area(s), and addresses in detail how qualifications are met.
  • A current resume that details months and years of education and employment and states the month and year of earliest bar admission.
  • Most recent SF-50 (for current or former federal employees only).
  • DD Form 214, Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty (Member 4 copy) (if applicable).
  • Career Transition Assistance Plan (CTAP) or Interagency Career Transition Assistance Plan (ICTAP) documentation (if applicable, for current or former federal employees only).
  • Schedule A (targeted disability hiring) proof of disability documentation (see 5 C.F.R. § 213.3102(u)(3)), (if applicable).

Email the document to: with the subject line Pro Bono Program Counsel Application.
Applications will be accepted until 11:59pm Eastern Daylight Time, Monday, August 22, 2022.


Salary is commensurate with qualifications and years of experience. The salary range for a GS-13 is $106,823 - $138,868, a GS-14 is $126,233 - $164,102, and a GS-15 is $148,484 - $176,300 per annum based on locality pay in Washington, DC.

Number of Positions
one or more
Domestic and international travel may be required.
Relocation Expenses
Relocation expenses will not be 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 August 16, 2022