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Legal Careers

Senior Counsel for Appeals

Hiring Organization
Criminal Division (CRM)
Hiring Office
Appellate Section
Job ID
Washington, DC - United States
Application Deadline:
About the Office

The Appellate Section plays a crucial role in defending the integrity and constitutionality of DOJ's investigations and prosecutions. Appellate Section attorneys write briefs and argue cases in the courts of appeals; prepare draft briefs and certiorari petitions for the Solicitor General (SG); make recommendations to the SG regarding whether further review is warranted when adverse decisions have been rendered; and brief and argue motions in district courts in cases of national importance.

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 Senior Counsel for Appeals:

  • Provides expertise on appellate matters of statutory and constitutional importance within the jurisdiction of the Criminal Division.
  • Confers directly with the Section Chief on controversial and unusually difficult legal matters.
  • Advises and consults with the Solicitor General, Assistant Attorney General and, as necessary, the Deputy Attorney General and Attorney General on policy matters involving special appellate cases within the Division, sentencing law and policy, and issues related to the fair administration of justice.
  • Assures a uniform government appellate position on issues of national importance.
  • Provides expert guidance on, and review and revision of, rehearing petitions and briefs on the merits in the courts of appeals, and certiorari petitions, briefs opposing certiorari, merits briefs, and amicus briefs in the Supreme Court.
  • Personally supervises the preparation of briefs and the presentation of oral argument in cases involving important policies/programs before the Supreme Court and the Courts of Appeals that raise issues of national or international importance and are of unusual complexity or involve important legal precedents.
  • Formulates and recommends appropriate solutions to difficult legal problems or programs.
  • Produces memoranda, briefs, and other written materials that effectively analyze critical legal issues.
  • Represents the Division with other top officials of the Department of Justice as well as United States Attorneys and other government departments and commissions to resolve policy and program issues.
  • Represents the Division at intra-Departmental meetings on criminal matters.

Applicant must possess a J.D. degree, be duly licensed and authorized to practice as an attorney under the laws of any State, territory of the United States, or the District of Columbia; have at least five years of legal experience; be a current employee of the Department of Justice with extensive experience in handling appellate matters.

Application Process

All interested attorneys meeting these qualifications should submit their application via e-mail to  Applications must be received by 11:59PM EST of the closing date to receive consideration.  Any questions, please contact Jennifer Chapman at 202-616-0363 or

Application materials must include:
- Resume
- Writing Sample
- Most recent performance appraisal (if current federal employee)
- SF-50 (if current federal employee)


The salary range for this position is $131,239 – $197,300 per annum.

Number of Positions
Minimal travel may be required.
Relocation Expenses
Relocation expenses may be considered.

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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 June 1, 2020