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Legal Careers

Trial Attorney

Hiring Organization
Tax Division (TAX)
Hiring Office
Civil Trial Sections
Job ID
TAX-ATTCIV-23-SW-21
Location:
Washington, DC 20002 - 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 Department of Justice ranked 15th among large government agencies, and the Tax Division ranked as the #2 organization in the Department of Justice and the 25th highest out of 432 subcomponent agencies throughout the Government, according to Partnership for Public Service’s 2022 “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 looking for Trial Attorneys to join the Civil Trial Sections and represent the United States in litigation in federal and state courts across the country. Our attorneys have a passion for litigation; a deep interest in public service; and the ability to work both collaboratively and independently. Familiarity with tax law and the use of technology in organizing, developing, and presenting a case at trial is helpful, but not required. 

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.

For more information about the Tax Division, please see https://www.justice.gov/tax/about-division

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

Trial Attorneys in the Civil Trial Sections are the front-line litigators for the United States for tax disputes in federal district and bankruptcy courts and the Court of Federal Claims. These cases arise all over the United States, and, under normal conditions, significant travel is required of our attorneys for depositions, hearings, and trials. Most Trial Attorneys are responsible for a range of cases, including matters they handle alone and others where they work as a member of a litigation team. In either situation, our attorneys have front-line responsibility for taking and defending depositions, writing and arguing motions, working with fact and expert witnesses, and trying cases.

Because we handle most litigation outside of the Tax Court involving the internal revenue laws, our attorneys handle cases that touch all aspects of the American economy and involve litigants ranging from individuals and small businesses up to and including the largest corporations. Trial Attorneys bring affirmative suits to collect taxes and defend the United States in tax refund actions—cases that can involve complex commercial transactions or require proof that the taxpayer made a fraudulent transfer of property. Our attorneys defend suits testing the constitutional validity of aspects of the Internal Revenue Code and the validity of Treasury Regulations. They obtain injunctions against those who try to bilk the Treasury out of money by selling fraudulent tax shelter schemes or by preparing fraudulent tax returns for customers in order to fulfill a promise of a large refund. And they handle many other miscellaneous matters touching on tax, like enforcing civil penalties for failure to timely report foreign financial accounts; defending IRS employees in Bivens suits; enforcing IRS administrative summonses; or protecting the United States' immunity from local taxes.

Learn more about the job—The Tax Division will host information sessions to acquaint prospective applicants with the work of a Trial Attorney. Sessions will be held via WebEx on Tuesday, June 6 and Thursday, June 15 at 12PM and 5:30PM. Please email civildaag.counsel@usdoj.gov with your preferred date and time and to receive a WebEx link to join.

Qualifications

Our civil trial 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. Excellent communication skills, both oral and written, are essential.

Required Qualifications: Successful candidates will have:

  • Have at least four (4) years post-J.D. litigation experience, including taking (or defending) depositions or conducting internal investigations, drafting formal written discovery or discovery responses, drafting dispositive motions, completing document review, and trial or evidentiary hearing experience;
  • Excellent academic credentials;
  • Superior oral and written advocacy skills;
  • Outstanding legal research and writing skills;
  • Outstanding judgment demonstrated by the ability to weigh complex information and reach informed conclusions;
  • Outstanding organizational skills and the ability to manage competing deadlines across multiple cases;
  • A commitment to the highest ethical and professional standards; and
  • The ability to function with minimal guidance in a demanding legal environment.

Further, an applicant must have a Juris Doctorate degree from a law school accredited by the American Bar Association and be a member in good standing of the bar of a state or territory of the United States, the District of Columbia, or the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.

Preferred Qualifications: In addition to the required qualifications listed above, the ideal candidate will have:

  • Experience interpreting or applying provisions of the United States Internal Revenue Code, the United States Bankruptcy Code, the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, and/or the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure, and related laws, rules, and regulations that arise in tax and bankruptcy cases, or other complex legal statutes, rules, and regulations;
  • A demonstrated record of analyzing complex legal problems, developing litigation strategies, and superior trial practice skills;
  • Working with expert witnesses;
  • Managing or working as a member of a trial team;
  • The ability to identify, distill, and explain complex issues;
  • Experience working with document management software to review discovery productions (e.g., Relativity or Everlaw) and with trial organization and presentation software (e.g., CaseMap or Sanction); and
  • Experience working with or for federal agencies.

Attorneys selected for a position in the Tax Division must commit to working for the Tax Division for three years. Attorneys selected for these positions will be required to complete a Confidential Financial Disclosure Form within thirty (30) days of entering into the position. This information must be reported annually.

Application Process

To apply for this position, you must apply through USAJOBS. Please use the following link: USAJOBS - Job Announcement

Applications must include:

  • a cover letter;
  • resume;
  • law school and any advanced degree transcripts;
  • a list of three professional references; and
  • a completed assessment questionnaire.

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 a Trial Attorney. You should specifically provide a description of your prior litigation experience, including taking depositions, presenting oral argument, and roles and responsibilities at trial.

If you don’t include all of the documents we require, we may not be able to fully consider your application.

Applicants selected for further consideration will be required to submit a writing sample prior to an interview. The sample should 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 the 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.

Applicants who previously applied to the Tax Division must reapply in order to be considered under this job announcement.

Applicants who are eligible for veterans’ preference or consideration under a special hiring authority (such as programs for individuals with disabilities) must submit appropriate documentation demonstrating eligibility. In order to verify Veterans’ Preference entitlement, please submit the Member copy 4 of your DD-214, Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty; official statement of service from your command if you are currently on active duty; or other official documentation (e.g., documentation of receipt of a campaign badge or expeditionary medal) that shows your military service was performed under honorable conditions. In addition, if you are a disabled veteran, a Purple Heart recipient, or widow/widower of a veteran, the spouse of a disabled veteran or the natural mother of a disabled or deceased veteran, you must submit a signed and dated Standard Form (SF) 15, “Application for 10-Point Veteran Preference,” and the other required documentation identified on the reverse side of the SF-15 to support your preference claim.

Department of Justice attorneys eligible for priority consideration under the Department’s Reemployment Priority List Program must include notice to the Division of their eligibility in their application package.

The Tax Division also is advertising for trial attorneys for the Criminal Enforcement Sections in Washington D.C. Individuals interested in applying for the Criminal Enforcement Sections in Washington D.C. must submit an application to that announcement.

Salary

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

Number of Positions
The Tax Division anticipates hiring for one or more positions in the Civil Trial Sections, Washington, D.C.
Travel
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, https://www.usajobs.gov/Help/working-in-government/non-citizens/). 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, www.opm.gov/forms/pdf_fill/SF15.pdf 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 June 5, 2023