Trial Attorney

Washington, DC 20530
United States
About the Office: 

The Criminal Division of the U.S. Department of Justice is seeking experienced attorneys for the Policy and Statutory Enforcement Unit (PSEU), within the Office of Enforcement Operations (OEO).  PSEU is one of the few units in Main Justice that does not require attorneys to travel.  PSEU analyzes requests from United States Attorney’s Offices and Department of Justice attorneys for Department authorization to use, or consultation about, numerous investigative tools or prosecutorial actions, including:


▪           obtaining information from or about members of the news media;

▪           closing judicial proceedings to the public in federal criminal cases;

▪           providing statutory use immunity for federal witnesses;

▪           issuing subpoenas to attorneys for information relating to their representation of clients;

▪           applying for search warrants to search the premises or electronic storage devices of attorneys; and

▪           initiating a federal prosecution following a state prosecution of an individual.


After analyzing a request to determine whether it comports with Department policies, regulations, and legal authority, PSEU prepares a memorandum advising the relevant Department decision maker, who may be the Attorney General but who is often a Deputy Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division, whether to authorize the request or deem the consultation requirement to be satisfied.


OEO permits eligible employees to telework on both a regular and situational basis.  However, new employees are not immediately eligible to telework on a regular basis.

Job Description: 

If you have a strong interest in criminal law and procedure, but you do not wish to litigate criminal cases, PSEU is an ideal unit for you.  Many PSEU attorneys are former federal prosecutors who have chosen to leave litigation for a variety of reasons.  PSEU attorneys interact with federal prosecutors on a daily basis and learn about ongoing federal investigations and prosecutions, of every type of federal crime, throughout the country as they perform their duties.  Interacting with other Department attorneys to assist them in advancing their investigations and cases is one of the most rewarding aspects of the position. 

The selected attorney will analyze requests from United States Attorney’s Offices and Department of Justice attorneys on the investigative tools and actions outlined above. In analyzing requests, PSEU attorneys apply the applicable policy and relevant law to the facts of the pending federal investigation or case. As a result, PSEU attorneys are in frequent contact with federal prosecutors and other Department attorneys in order to fully understand the facts, strategy, and posture of investigations and cases. For each request, PSEU attorneys prepare a memorandum that contains the pertinent facts, analysis of the policy and legal authorities as applied to the facts, and a recommendation as to whether the request meets applicable policy requirements and should be approved. PSEU attorneys use their knowledge of criminal procedure, grand jury practice, use of cooperating defendants, litigation strategies, etc. in conducting their work because the requests submitted to PSEU arise in connection with ongoing investigations or litigation. However, PSEU attorneys do not conduct investigations, litigate cases, or appear in court.


Required Qualifications:  Interested applicants 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, and have at least 5 years post J.D. experience.  Applicants must be an active member of the bar in good standing (in any jurisdiction).

  • To qualify at the GS-15 level, applicants must have five (5) or more years of post-J.D. legal experience, one of which was specialized experience at, or equivalent to, the GS-14 grade level. Examples of specialized experience include: independently performing legal analysis; composing pleadings, briefs and other court documents involving unique and/or difficult legal issues in civil or criminal litigation; conducting highly complex civil or criminal litigation; demonstrated experience working with sensitive investigative techniques and prosecutorial tools;

  • Superior legal writing skills and analytical skills;

  • Superior communication skills.

Preferred Qualifications:  Your qualifications will be further evaluated based upon the following competencies.

  • Experience conducting federal criminal investigations;

  • Criminal or civil trial experience;

  • Extensive writing experience;

  • Experience exercising judgment and problem-solving skills in complex matters.

The salary range for this position is GS-15, $128,082 - $160,300 per annum, which includes locality pay.
No travel required.
Application Process: 

Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis. A list of eligible candidates will be referred to the hiring managers every 2 weeks during the open period of the announcement. If you are interested in applying, it is recommended that you do so early, as the vacancy may close prior to the advertised date if a selection is made.

The Application Package must be received by 11:59 PM, Eastern Time, on the closing date of this announcement.

Please submit your application through USAJOBS.  The list of required documents can be found in the USAJobs announcement.

  1. If you do not already have an account, please create a USAJobs account before applying Create an Account. You will be able to upload your resume and supporting documents and complete your profile prior to applying.

  2. Once you have an account, apply to the USAJobs vacancy:

Application Deadline: 
Tuesday, October 4, 2016
Relocation Expenses: 
Relocation expenses are not authorized.
Number of Positions: 
Updated September 6, 2016

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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 color, race, religion, national origin, political affiliation, marital status, disability (physical or mental), age, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, genetic information, status as a parent, membership or non-membership in an employee organization, on the basis of personal favoritism, or any other non-merit 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.

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 targeted/severe disabilities are encouraged to register for the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Shared List of People with Disabilities (the Bender Disability Employment Registry) by submitting their resume to and referencing "Federal Career Opportunities" in the subject line.  Additional information about the Bender Registry is available at  Individuals with disabilities may also contact one of the Department’s Disability Points of Contact (DPOC).  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 his  or her retirement was due to a permanent service-connected disability or that he/she was transferred to the permanent disability retired list (the statement or retirement orders must indicate that the disability is 10% or more).


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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.