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Legal Careers

Trial Attorney

Hiring Organization
Civil Division (CIV)
Hiring Office
Office of Immigration Litigation - Appellate
Job ID
Washington, DC 20530 - United States
Application Deadline:
About the Office

The Civil Division, with more than 1,000 attorneys and 14 litigating components, represents the United States, its departments and agencies, Members of Congress, Cabinet officers and other Federal employees.

The Civil Division, Office of Immigration Litigation - Appellate Section, is hiring Trial Attorneys who have a passion for litigation, a deep interest in public service, and the ability to work both collaboratively and independently.

The Civil Division, Office of Immigration Litigation, Appellate Section, “ranked as one of the best places to work,” is a fast-paced office responsible for immigration-related appellate litigation in the Federal Courts of Appeals. Trial attorneys in the Appellate Section represent the Executive Office for Immigration Review, the Department of Homeland Security, the State Department, and other administrative agencies that handle immigration-related issues. OIL’s attorneys personally manage removal cases in the Circuit Courts of Appeals, and support the Solicitor General’s immigration litigation efforts in the United States Supreme Court. Trial Attorneys develop significant litigation experience, and they acquire additional experience briefing and arguing appeals in all the circuits. The office currently employs about 230 attorneys, grouped into 18 litigating teams led by a Director, three Deputy Directors, Assistant Directors, and Senior Litigation Counsel.

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 Office of Immigration Litigation - Appellate Section, seeks to fill various Trial Attorney positions with promotion potential to GS-0905-15.

Trial Attorneys in the Office of Immigration Litigation - Appellate Section have a significant amount of responsibility and work in a collegial environment with experienced litigators. Our attorneys are charged with promoting immigration laws and the pursuit of justice. Trial Attorneys defend the decisions of the Executive Office for Immigration Review and other agencies. 


Applicants must possess a J.D. degree from a School of Law accredited by the American Bar Association and must be an active member in good standing of the bar of a state, territory of the United States, the District of Columbia, or the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.  Applicants must also be a U.S. citizen.

Specific grade level requirements:

  • At least one full year of post J.D. relevant litigation experience to qualify at the GS-12 grade level.
  • At least two years of post J.D. relevant litigation experience to qualify at the GS-13 level.
  • At least three years of post J.D. relevant litigation experience to qualify at the GS-14 level.
  • At least four years of post J.D. relevant litigation experience to qualify at the GS-15 level.  Absent exceptional circumstances, incoming attorneys generally will not enter service at the GS-15 level, but attorneys who enter at the GS-14 level who have been at that level for more than one year may be considered for promotion to GS-15 after six months.

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

Persuasiveness, reasoned judgment, strong writing skills, initiative and creativity, complex case management skills, a collaborative orientation, and a commitment to the highest ethical and professional standards are highly valued. Experience in immigration/appellate law is desired, but not required. Veterans and members of the Armed Forces are strongly encouraged to apply.

Application Process

Applicants must email a single PDF containing (1) a cover letter of not more than two pages highlighting any factors that the applicant believes are a good fit for the Office of Immigration Litigation – Appellate Section; (2) a resume; (3) a short writing sample consisting of a legal brief or comparable legal writing authored by the applicant (5-10 pages); (4) a list of three professional references; and (5) DD-214 (if applicable) to : 

Subject Line: OIL-Appellate Trial Attorney DE-10920151-20-JM

No telephone calls please. You must submit your application so that it will be RECEIVED by 11:59pm on September 28, 2020. Incomplete applications and applications that do not adhere to the submission requirements will not be considered.

Please Note:  Additional candidates may be selected if more positions become available within 120 days after the announcement closes.


Current salary and years of experience will determine the appropriate salary level. The possible grade and salary range is GS-12 to GS-15 ($86,335 - $170,800)

Number of Positions
Occasional travel is required as needed
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 September 23, 2020