Trial Attorney

Environmental Defense Section
601 D Street, NW
Washington, DC 20004
United States
About the Office: 

The Environmental Defense Section (“EDS” or “Section”) represents the United States in complex civil litigation arising under a broad range of environmental statutes, including the Clean Air Act; Clean Water Act; Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act; Toxic Substances Control Act; Safe Drinking Water Act; Resource Conservation and Recovery Act; and Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act. EDS is the only section in the Environment Division that routinely handles cases in both federal circuit and district courts. EDS defends rules and permits issued by the Environmental Protection Agency and other agencies under the pollution control laws, and defends the United States against claims of liability for costs of response actions at Superfund sites, federally‑owned facilities and private sites. Although most of the Section’s docket involves defensive cases, the Section also brings enforcement actions against those who fill wetlands and other regulated waters in violation of the Clean Water Act.

Job Description: 

The Environment and Natural Resources Division of the U.S. Department of Justice is seeking experienced litigators for vacancies in its Environmental Defense Section in Washington, D.C.

Primary duties include defending regulatory actions by the Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and representing federal agencies in disputes under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act ("CERCLA") and other pollution control statutes. Work assignments will include handling all aspects of defensive litigation, including pre-trial and discovery tasks involving document reviews and document productions, preparation and filing of dispositive motions, drafting merits briefs, taking and defending expert and fact witness depositions, presenting oral argument in court, and negotiating settlements.

For more information about the Environmental Defense Section, visit /


The Section's docket is demanding and requires top caliber work product. Successful applicants will have a demonstrated record of complex case management, initiative and creativity, strong courtroom skills, outstanding legal writing, and a commitment to the highest ethical and professional standards.

Applicants must possess a J.D. degree, be an active member of the bar (any jurisdiction) and be a U.S. citizen or national.  Must also have relevant civil/environmental litigation experience.  The ideal candidate should possess an excellent academic record and strong analytical, writing, and advocacy skills.  The ideal candidate should also have a comprehensive understanding of environmental law and federal civil procedure, excellent interpersonal skills, and the ability to work effectively in a team environment. 

Specific grade level requirements:

  • At least 3 years of post J.D. civil/environmental litigation and/or judicial experience to qualify for the GS-13 grade level.
  • At least 4 years of post J.D. civil/environmental litigation and/or judicial experience to qualify for the GS-14 grade level.
  • At least 5 years of post J.D. civil/environmental litigation and/or judicial experience to qualify for the GS-15 grade level.

YOUR RESUME MUST provide specific details as to how your experience meets the specialized experience as described in the vacancy announcement if you are using experience to meet all or part of the qualification requirements. Please ensure that your resume includes the month and year that you began and ended each position held or that position will not be credited toward meeting the experience requirement. Part-time employment will be prorated in crediting experience. Failure to provide details will result in an ineligible rating.

Only experience and education obtained by the closing date of this announcement will be considered.

Current salary and years of experience will determine the appropriate salary level. The possible salary range is: GS-13 ($96,970 - $126,062), GS-14 ($114,590 - $148,967), GS-15 ($134,789 - $164,200).
You will be expected to travel for this position.
Application Process: 

Applicants must email the (1) resume; (2) short writing sample from an advocacy piece (5-10 pages); (3) law school transcript; (4) cover letter of not more than two pages highlighting relevant litigation, environmental law, and legal writing experience and any other factors that you believe would be a good fit for EDS' litigation practice; (5) OF-306 declaration for federal employment -; and (6) DD-214 (if applicable) to:

Subject Line: ENRD-18-021-EXC

No telephone calls, please. You must submit your application so that it will be received by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on the closing date.

This and selected other legal position announcements can be found on the Internet at:

Application Deadline: 
Friday, September 7, 2018
Relocation Expenses: 
Relocation expenses will not be paid.
Updated August 7, 2018

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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 who have lived outside the United States for two or more of the past five years will likely have difficulty being approved for appointments by the Department Security Staff. The two-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.

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.