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Legal Careers

Trial Attorney

Hiring Organization
Criminal Division (CRM)
Hiring Office
Capital Case Section
Job ID
Washington, DC 20005 - United States
Application Deadline:
About the Office

Capital Case Section (CCS) attorneys work with United States Attorneys' Offices in relation to all aspects of capital prosecutions including acting as co-counsel in federal capital trials, assisting with the preparation of submissions of capital-eligible cases for Department review, providing guidance on death penalty related aspects of the pre-trial and trial process, and periodically assisting on direct appeals and collateral review under 18 U.S.C. § 2255. CCS attorneys assist the Attorney General's Review Committee on Capital Cases in reaching its recommendation to the Attorney General in deciding whether the death penalty should be sought in each capital-eligible case submitted pursuant to the DOJ death penalty protocol. CCS also provides training and resource materials to federal prosecutors for handling capital cases; provides advice and staff support to senior department officials on policy matters related to handling capital cases; drafts and/or reviews proposed legislation, amendments, regulations, testimony, briefing materials, public statements, and correspondence on capital punishment issues; and collects and maintains current information and materials for a brief bank and resource center for capital prosecutors.

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 Criminal Division, U.S. Department of Justice is seeking qualified, experienced trial attorneys in the Capital Case Section (CCS) located in Washington, DC.

As a Trial Attorney for the Criminal Division's Capital Case Section (CCS), the incumbent:

· Conducts analysis of new cases received from the United States Attorneys' Offices and Department components charging a crime punishable by death. Section attorneys advise the Attorney General's Capital Case Review Committee in its factual and legal evaluation of cases submitted to the Department for review regarding whether the death penalty should be sought in each capital-eligible case.

· Litigates all phases of federal capital cases, including pre-trial litigation, guidance in selecting death qualified juries, and helps construct penalty phase evidentiary presentations. Section attorneys act as co-counsel in federal capital trials, assisting with the preparation of capital-eligible cases for Department review, providing guidance on death penalty related aspects of the pre-trial and trial process.

· Provides training on the Department's capital case litigation. Section attorneys provide legal, procedural, and policy guidance to United States Attorneys' Offices and Department components handling capital investigations and prosecutions.

· In collaboration with USAOs, Section attorneys advise in the preparation of legal memoranda, such as proposed legislation, amendments, regulations, testimony, briefing materials, public statements, and correspondence on capital punishment issues.

· Collects and maintains trial and appellate materials related to federal capital prosecutions. Section attorneys partner with USAOs in the development and management of current information and materials which act as a resources center for capital prosecutors.

· Assists in the development of Department policies and procedures related to federal capital prosecutions.


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 four (4) years post J.D. legal experience. Applicants must be an active member of the bar in good standing.

Grade Specific Qualifications:

· To qualify at the GS-15 level, applicants must have four (4) 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; and leading paralegals and support staff.

Preferred Qualifications: Your qualifications will be further evaluated based upon the following competencies. You are required to respond to each competency in the occupational questionnaire portion of this announcement. Failure to respond to these questions may result in your being deemed not highly qualified for the position.

· Experience in supporting, litigating, and supervising criminal cases in federal or state courts.
· Experience handling violent crime cases.
· Experience handling federal criminal prosecutions on behalf of the U. S. Department of Justice.
· Experience in preparing and submitting cases pursuant to the U.S. Department of Justice's death penalty protocol.
· Experience trying capital cases.

Application Process

Due to the high volume of applicant interest, 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. The announcement may be closed at any time once all selections are made. If you are interested in applying, it is recommended that you do so early.

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.

Once you have an account, apply to the USAjobs vacancy:



Current salary and years of litigation experience will determine the appropriate salary at the time of appointment. Compensation will be at the General Schedule (GS)-15 level, $126,245.00 - $158,700.00 per annum, which includes locality pay.

Number of Positions
Occasional domestic travel with periods of significant travel often 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, 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 April 7, 2016