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Legal Careers

Trial Attorney

Hiring Organization
Tax Division (TAX)
Hiring Office
Appellate Section
Job ID
950 Pennsylvania Ave NW
Washington, DC 20530 - United States
Application Deadline:
About the Office

Join one of the best places to work in the federal government -- the Tax Division of the U.S. Department of Justice! The Tax Division ranked as the #1 organization in the Department of Justice -- and the 9th highest among 432 agency subcomponents throughout the Government -- in the Partnership for Public Service's 2021 "Best Places to Work". Tax Division employees consistently report feeling motivated, respected and listened to, a sense of personal accomplishment, and a belief that they use their talents at work. If you are looking for a place where you can develop and apply your skills to work with a significant purpose and mission, the Tax Division might be the right place for you.

The Tax Division is hiring civil appellate lawyers who have a passion for litigation, a deep interest in public service, and the ability to work both collaboratively and independently.

The mission of the Tax Division is to enforce the nation's internal revenue laws fully, fairly, and consistently, through both criminal and civil litigation, in order to promote voluntary compliance with the tax laws, maintain public confidence in the integrity of the tax system, and promote the sound development of the law. 

The Appellate Section's attorneys handle appeals involving a wide variety of legal areas, including federal tax law, administrative law, bank secrecy law, constitutional law, bankruptcy law, and state property law, as well as a panoply of evidentiary, procedural, and jurisdictional issues.

We seek to create a work environment and organizational culture that reflect the diversity of American society, and to foster the success of every employee by valuing and building upon the unique skills and experiences that each individual brings to the workplace.

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

Attorneys in the Appellate Section have a significant amount of responsibility and work in a collegial environment with experienced litigators. The work of the civil appellate attorney includes preparing briefs and presenting oral arguments in the United States Courts of Appeals nationwide and state appellate courts when an appeal is taken from a decision of a United States district court, the United States Tax Court, the Court of Federal Claims, or a state trial court. Civil appellate attorneys review adverse decisions from these courts and prepare recommendations to the Office of the Solicitor General about whether the government should appeal. Attorneys in the Appellate Section also assist the Office of the Solicitor General in preparing briefs in the United States Supreme Court.


Applicants should have a strong interest in federal appellate work, strong writing and oral-advocacy skills and an academic background that demonstrates a commitment to producing professional work of a consistently outstanding caliber. The work of the Appellate Section requires the application of analytical, legal research, and writing skills to complex and significant issues. Persuasiveness, judgment, and a collaborative orientation are also highly valued. A background in tax law is helpful, but not required. A judicial clerkship is a plus, but not required.

Our civil appellate attorneys must be able to work independently to develop their cases factually and legally. They must be willing to work collaboratively with the Internal Revenue Service, internal supervisors and peers to present those cases in the most effective manner. 

Applicants must have:

  • Substantial organizational skills and the ability to handle multiple matters concurrently;
  • A strong interest in developing their litigation skills, in learning about and applying new technologies, and in remaining current on developments in the law; and
  • An ability to adapt to changing circumstances.

We value persuasiveness, judgment, initiative and teamwork. Familiarity with the use of technology in organizing, developing, and presenting a case at trial is helpful, but not required.

Applicants must have at least three (3) years of full-time post-J.D. legal experience by the closing date of this announcement.

Salaries: Years and quality of experience will be considered in determining the appropriate salary level. Positions may be filled at the GS 13-14 levels. Positions may occasionally be filled at the GS-15 level.

Travel will be required. The location and frequency of travel varies, depending on the attorney's litigation schedule.

Application Process

Applicants should familiarize themselves and comply with the relevant rules of professional conduct regarding any possible conflicts of interest in connection with their applications. In particular, please notify the Tax Division if you currently represent clients or adjudicate matters in which the Tax Division is involved and/or you have a family member who is representing clients or adjudicating matters in which the Tax Division is involved so that we can evaluate any potential conflict of interest or disqualification issue that may need to be addressed under those circumstances.

To apply for this position, you must complete the online application within the USAJOBS announcement at the link below. Submit the documentation specified in the Required Documents section of the announcement.

To apply for this position, you must provide a completed application package which includes:

  1. A Cover Letter;
  2. Your Résume;
  3. Law School and any Advanced Degree Transcripts;
  4. A list of Three Professional References; and
  5. A Writing Sample


All documents should be provided in either PDF or MS Word format. The cover letter, which should not exceed two single-spaced pages, should describe how your background and qualifications make you well suited for the position as an Appellate Attorney, taking into account the Responsibilities and Qualifications described in the advertisement. Furthermore, you should specifically provide a description of prior appellate and/or litigation experience, your interest in public service, and your interest in the Tax Division in particular. Consider the cover letter an opportunity to inform hiring officials about something not reflected in your resume that you would like them to know about you.


The writing sample should reflect your best writing, and be an original piece that has not been extensively edited by a third party. Persuasive writing is preferred because most of the writing we do should persuade its audience. The sample should be no more than 10 pages, double spaced. Whether your sample is an entire document or part of a larger piece, a paragraph on a separate page providing background on the writing sample and enough context for the reader to understand the sample is very useful and will not count against the 10 page limit. Please include your full name at the top of the first page of the document.

REASONABLE ACCOMMODATIONS: If you are unable to apply online due to a disability or overseas deployment, you must request an alternative application, which is available from the Human Resources Office. Please contact at or to discuss your situation. Accommodations are reviewed on a case-by-case basis. You are encouraged to apply online. Applying online will allow you to review and track the status of your application. If you are unable to apply online, contact Ms. West by email at as soon as possible to arrange an alternative application process.

If you submit more than one application, the last application to be received will be the one considered.


$112,015.00 to $183,500.00 Per Year

Number of Positions
1 or more
The amount of travel can be significant. Travel frequency and location varies and is based on the attorney's litigation schedule.
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 March 16, 2023