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Legal Careers

Trial Attorney

Hiring Organization
Criminal Division (CRM)
Hiring Office
Office of Enforcement Operations
Job ID
Washington, DC 20004 - United States
Application Deadline:
About the Office

 The Office of Enforcement Operations (OEO), Special Operations Unit (SOU) is comprised of attorneys, case analysts, paralegals, and administrative and other support staff who provide legal and operational advice to U.S. Attorneys’ Offices, the Department’s litigating components and its federal law enforcement partners around the country.  SOU handles criminal matters requiring Department consultation or approval as mandated by applicable law or policy, including oversight of the Federal Witness Security Program (Program).  In addition to authorizing or denying entry of all applicants into the Program, and coordinating and administering matters relating to all aspects of the Program among all Program components, SOU approves or denies requests by federal agencies to use or target federal prisoners in covert investigations (FedPris); requests to conduct covert consensual recordings in sensitive circumstances (SCM); requests to implement Special Administrative Measures (SAM) conditions of confinement on high-risk federal inmates; and requests for the certification of "S" nonimmigrant visas (S visa) in cases involving foreign national cooperators. 

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 incumbent is responsible for working effectively and efficiently with other attorneys and staff to assist the Chief and Deputy Chief in carrying out assigned responsibilities in support of the programs of OEO SOU. The incumbent undertakes and completes assignments in accordance with the mission needs of the Unit and Office, and advises managers at various levels on legal and policy issues relating to the sophisticated techniques and sensitive operational matters utilized in carrying out OEO SOU work.

The incumbent reviews Special Administrative Measures (SAM) applications submitted by AUSAs and provides guidance to the field on the SAM process and coordinates the preparation of the SAM with the requesting USAO; the law enforcement or intelligence agency; and with the BOP and/or USMS. SAM are additional restrictions placed on high-risk federal prisoners in violent crime, espionage and terrorism cases, and are designed to limit the inmate’s ability to further disseminate classified information, commit acts of terrorism, or cause injury to persons or property. Decisional memos prepared by the Trial Attorney are presented to the Attorney General when the application involves an original SAM request; and decisional memos seeking annual renewal are prepared by the Trial Attorney for consideration by a Deputy Assistant Attorney General.

The incumbent may review S visa applications and Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) adjustment applications from AUSAs and law enforcement who need assistance ensuring that foreign national cooperators are available to testify and/or assist in significant investigations and/or prosecutions in the United States. The incumbent is expected to provide guidance to the field on the S visa process.

The incumbent provides legal advice to OEO SOU Case Analysts and Supervisory Case Analysts who administer the FedPris program. A FedPris request is an investigative tool used by law enforcement to develop evidence in support of federal prosecutions. FedPris coordinates the use of cooperating federal inmates or the targeting of federal inmates, in the physical or constructive custody of the Attorney General, in covert operations. 

The incumbent may process sensitive consensual monitoring (SCM) requests for senior leadership review. The incumbent drafts a decisional memo recommending whether to approve an agency’s request to engage in lawful, warrantless monitoring of oral communications involving certain public officials.


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 be an active member of the bar in good standing.

Grade Specific Qualifications:

  • 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, one of which was specialized experience at, or equivalent to, the GS-13 grade level. Examples of specialized experience include: performing legal analysis and formulating recommendations to senior managers; composing pleadings, briefs, and other court documents involving legal issues in civil or criminal litigation; and conducting civil or criminal litigation.
  • To qualify at the GS-15 grade level, applicants must have at least four (4) years 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; and leading paralegals and support staff.

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

  • Demonstrated experience with complex federal criminal investigations and prosecutions;
  • Demonstrated experience in the use of sensitive federal investigative and prosecutorial tools;
  • Excellent interpersonal skills and demonstrated ability to collaborate and coordinate on sensitive issues;
  • Experience exercising judgment and problem-solving skills in complex matters;
  • Policy experience on criminal justice matters;
  • Strong advocacy, legal writing, and presentation skills; and
  • Experience directing training and outreach efforts.
Application Process

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:

The salary range for this position is $121,316 – $170,800 per annum, which includes locality pay. See OPM’s Web page at….

Number of Positions
Travel may include trips to the National Advocacy Center for continuing legal education purposes or to handle occasional speaker opportunities at USAO.
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, 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 24, 2020