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Legal Careers

Supervisory Attorney Advisor (Privacy)

Hiring Organization
Office of Privacy and Civil Liberties (OPCL)
Job ID
Supervisory Attorney Advisor (Privacy)
Location:
Two Constitution Square
145 N. Street NE, Suite 8W.300
Washington, DC 20530 - United States
Application Deadline:
About the Office

INTRODUCTION:  The Office of Privacy and Civil Liberties (OPCL) supports the duties and responsibilities of the Department’s Chief Privacy and Civil Liberties Officer (CPCLO), who is a member of the Office of the Deputy Attorney General and the principal advisor to the Attorney General, Department Leadership, and components on issues involving privacy and civil liberties policy and compliance. Under the CPCLO’s leadership, OPCL has two general functions: (1) it plays a central policy-making role in the Department’s development and evaluation of legislative, regulatory, and other policy proposals affecting privacy, both domestically and internationally; and (2) it is responsible for helping to ensure the compliance of the Department’s components with existing laws, regulations and policies protecting privacy.

OPCL is responsible for ensuring the Department’s compliance with privacy and civil liberties-related laws and policies, and appropriately minimizing related risks, including under the Privacy Act of 1974, Judicial Redress Act of 2015, and privacy provisions of the E-Government Act of 2002 and Federal Information Security Modernization Act of 2014.  OPCL develops and provides Departmental privacy training; oversees the Department’s responses to data breaches; ensures the Department has adequate procedures to receive, investigate, respond to, and redress complaints from individuals who allege the Department has violated their privacy or civil liberties; prepares privacy-related reporting to Congress and other bodies; and ensures that information handling practices are consistent with the protection of privacy and civil liberties.  Finally, OPCL is responsible for advising Department leadership and components concerning international data protection and privacy laws and policies, including representing the Department in international negotiations designed to harmonize privacy-related laws, policies and practices related to the Department’s law enforcement and national security missions.

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

This is an excepted service position that serves as a Supervisory Attorney Advisor (General) in the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), Office of Privacy and Civil Liberties (OPCL) in Washington, DC.

The primary purpose of this position is to serve as an advisor to the CPCLO, Director, and Deputy Director by providing expert counsel and critical supervisory support for a variety of functions related to policy, legal, procedural, and operational subject matters. This position will provide legal advice and guidance to Department leadership and components on privacy and civil liberties matters, provide policy advice concerning proposed legislative, regulatory, or policy proposals that impact privacy and civil liberties, and ensure the Department’s compliance with privacy and civil liberties laws, regulations, and policies, and appropriately mitigate related risks. This position will also lead the OPCL Law Enforcement/National Security Unit and supervise its attorneys and analysts.  The Unit will be the focus for OPCL efforts to provide advice and guidance on national security and law enforcement matters.

Duties and Responsibilities

The incumbent performs difficult and varied legal work involving the interpretation and proper application of laws, executive orders, regulations, precedents, and agency practices relating to Federal privacy laws.  In particular, the incumbent:

Serves as Supervisory Attorney Advisor and oversees, provides legal advice, and supports privacy teams in Department components to ensure the Department’s compliance with applicable law and policy and avoiding violations of law and litigation, assessing privacy and civil liberties risks in classified and unclassified systems, including in law enforcement and national security data collection and use; developing and ensuring implementation of administrative, physical, and technical controls to mitigate such risks; drafting and revising privacy compliance documentation and authorization packages; drafting information sharing agreements or arrangements; and ensuring a comprehensive response to breaches of personally identifiable information (PII).  

  • Performs legal research on assigned questions of law or policy, including those related to national security and law enforcement, and provides legal counsel and assistance through the analysis of, and familiarity with, applicable laws, regulations, and government-wide policies and guidance, as well as relevant case law.  Supports OPCL’s drafting, review, and publication of the Privacy Act Overview. 
  • Reviews and provides legal advice on proposed legislation, executive orders, regulations, guidelines, or policies, and proposes comments to such documents concerning privacy and civil liberties.
  • Leads Department attorneys in handling Privacy Act and other privacy-related administrative procedures, administrative appeals, and litigation.
  • Leads and implements Department-wide privacy-related plans, policies, procedures, and training.
  • Actively participates in, and supports the CPCLO in, intra-agency and inter-agency working groups on a variety of matters, such as artificial intelligence and machine learning, “watchlisting,” and vetting.  Supports CPCLO and OPCL in ensuring compliance with privacy and civil liberties laws and policies, and that privacy and civil liberties concerns have been appropriately addressed in Department operations.  Collaborates with other privacy and civil liberties experts in developing and implementing policies and procedures.
  • Advises CPCLO and OPCL in providing legal advice concerning laws, regulations of federal agencies, opinions of courts, administrative law judges or equivalent, common law, and administrative law.  Independently develops plans to accomplish work, sets and adjusts short-term priorities, and balances work to ensure accomplishing requirements.
  • Performs other duties, as assigned.

Supervisory Responsibilities

Supervises a team consisting of at least three subordinates performing work in the field of privacy and civil liberties, including GS 12-15 Attorney Advisor(s) and GS 12-15 Program Analyst(s).  Provides administrative supervision necessary for accomplishing the work.

Performs the administrative and human resource management functions relative to the staff supervised. Establishes guidelines and performance expectations for staff members, which are clearly communicated through the formal employee performance management system. Provides informal feedback and periodically evaluates employee performance.  Resolves informal complaints and grievances.  Develops work improvement plans, recommending personnel actions as necessary.  Provides advice and counsel to workers related to work and administrative matters.  Effects disciplinary measures as appropriate and within authority.  Reviews and approves or disapproves leave requests.  Assures that subordinates are trained and fully comply with the provisions of the safety regulations.  Furnishes employee assignments and a place of employment which is free from recognized hazards that are likely to cause death or serious physical harm.  Ensures a continuing affirmative application of DOJ policies concerning equal opportunity.  Ensures that personnel management within the organizational entity under supervision is accomplished without regard to race, color, religion, sex, age, handicap, or national origin.  Promotes and assures compliance with the Department’s EEO program and affirmative action policies and directives.  

Supervision

The incumbent reports directly to the Deputy Director for the Office of Privacy and Civil Liberties who sets the overall program objectives and resources available. Attorneys at this level are expected to carry out any assignments within their area of responsibility without preliminary instruction.  At the time an assignment is made the supervisor may discuss the significance of the problem and give any background information received.  The incumbent is appraised of any unusual circumstances surrounding the case or the problem, any background information which must be considered, and any important policy considerations that will govern development of the case or the solution.  Beyond this, the incumbent normally works independently in investigating the facts, searching legal precedents, defining the legal and factual issues, drafting the necessary legal documents, and developing conclusions and recommendations. Completed work is expected to be accurate with respect to legal citations, treatment of facts, and other aspects of technical treatment. Where OPCL is providing advice and a hearing or trial is involved, the supervisor may be briefed on the overall approach to be taken and the line of argument to be pursued, especially where an important precedent effect is anticipated or there is widespread public interest in the outcome.  Completed work in the advisory or legislative and regulatory areas is reviewed before it is signed out for consistency with agency policy, for possible precedent effect, and for overall effectiveness.

Position Sensitivity

This is a sensitive position. Applicants must have, or be able to obtain and maintain, Top Secret/SCI and Secret security clearances.

Telework
This position will be eligible for certain telework (work-at-home) options in accordance with OPCL policy. At its discretion, OPCL may require the incumbent to work in the office for a set period of time before beginning telework.

Qualifications

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION FOR JOB ANNOUNCEMENT

Required Qualifications 

The incumbent must have or be able to obtain and maintain a Top Secret/SCI security clearance, file a confidential financial disclosure form (OGE Form 450), possess a J.D. degree from an accredited law school, and be an active member in good standing of a bar of any U.S. jurisdiction.  The incumbent must also possess at least (6) years of post J.D. legal experience addressing privacy issues, for example, advising clients or an organization’s leadership and staff on privacy laws.

Applicants are responsible for citing J.D. and bar membership information (institution name, state(s) of admission and date(s)) on their resumes.

The successful applicant should also possess: 

  • exceptional writing and oral communication skills;
  • strong speaking and presentation skills;
  • working knowledge of privacy laws, regulations, and policies that apply to the U.S. Government or knowledge of U.S. privacy laws that apply to the private sector along with knowledge on national security and law enforcement matters and related regulations, guidelines and policies;
  • excellent interpersonal skills, and the demonstrated ability to lead a team and also collaborate with others to achieve a common goal;
  • creative problem-solving skills to resolve unusually complicated legal matters, often with little legal authority, with the goal of supporting a client’s mission while minimizing privacy-related risks; and
  • demonstrated ability to adapt, quickly shift priorities, and meet deadlines in a fast-paced environment.

Preferred Qualifications

Because the incumbent is the primary OPCL advisor on law enforcement and national security matters, at least three (3) years of the applicant’s post J.D. legal experience should be in handling legal issues in law enforcement and national security matters.

Relevant certification in a privacy-related field, for example, the International Association of Privacy Professionals Certified Information Privacy Professional (CIPP) certification.

It is the policy of the Office of Privacy and Civil Liberties to request a three-year commitment for all attorney positions.

 

Application Process

Applicants must submit via mail, email, or fax a:

  • Cover letter addressing the qualifications listed above;
  • Resume showing relevant experience, including the dates the experience was obtained;
  • Unofficial law school transcript (note: If you are selected for this position, official transcript(s) will be required prior to your first day.);
  • Two writing samples of varying length: one demonstrating general writing skills (e.g., correspondence, published material, memorandum, talking points, policies, procedures, blog, or material written for the web); and one sample of formal legal analysis, demonstrating ability to analyze and expound on complicated, nuanced legal issues (e.g., a legal brief or formal opinion, or other similar memo); and
  • Copy of your most recent performance appraisal or rating, if applicable.
  • Writing samples and performance appraisal may be redacted, as appropriate, to protect sensitive information.
  • Provide the above materials in time for their receipt by OPCL by midnight the date the announcement closes to:
    • Privacy.employment@usdoj.gov             
      U.S. Department of Justice
      Office of Privacy and Civil Liberties
      Two Constitution Square Building
      145 N Street, NE, Suite 8W.300
      Washington DC 20530
      Fax: 202-307-0693
Salary

The grade for this position is GS-15. Salary and grade level determinations are made based on the number of years of qualifying experience and current salary level. The salary range for this position is: GS-15 Step 1 to Step 10.

Number of Positions
One candidate will be selected for this position.
Travel
Minimal travel required.
Relocation Expenses
Relocation expenses are 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, 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 November 4, 2021