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Legal Careers

Trial Attorney

Hiring Organization
Civil Rights Division (CRT)
Hiring Office
Special Litigation Section
Job ID
23-ANC-SPL-001(ATT)
Location:
Washington, DC 20002 - United States
Application Deadline:
About the Office

The Civil Rights Division (Division) of the Department of Justice, created by the enactment of the Civil Rights Act of 1957, works to uphold the civil and constitutional rights of all Americans, particularly some of the most vulnerable members of our society. The Division enforces federal statutes prohibiting discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex (including pregnancy, sexual orientation, and gender identity), disability, religion, familial status, national origin, and citizenship status.

The Special Litigation Section is one of several Sections in the Civil Rights Division. We work to protect civil rights in the following areas: 1) the rights of people in state or local institutions, including: jails, prisons, juvenile detention facilities, and health care facilities for persons with disabilities; 2) the rights of individuals with disabilities to receive services in their communities, rather than in institutions; 3) the rights of people who interact with state or local police or sheriffs' departments; 4) the rights of youth involved in the juvenile justice system; 5) the rights of people to have safe access to reproductive health care clinics; and 6) the rights of people to practice their religion while confined to state and local institutions. We can also act on behalf of people at risk of harm in these areas.

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

If selected as a Trial Attorney, you will work in one of the Special Litigation Section's three practice groups:

  1. Police Practice Group: works to protect people's constitutional and other federal rights during law enforcement interactions, including uses of force, and stops, searches, or arrests;
  2. Corrections and Juvenile Justice Practice Group: works to protect people's constitutional and other federal rights involving conditions and practices in jails and prisons and works to protect the rights of children and adolescents in the juvenile and criminal justice systems and those confined in juvenile detention and commitment facilities.
  3. Disability Practice Group: works to ensure that people with disabilities who are served in the public health system are not subjected to unnecessary institutionalization in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act and that their rights are protected in publicly run residential institutions.

You will perform duties such as, but not limited to: (1) personally handling and leading team members on sensitive and/or complex investigations, litigation, negotiations; monitoring/enforcement of systemic reform; (2) working with the Section's management team to develop and establish strategies and priorities for police misconduct, corrections, juvenile justice, or disability enforcement; (3) working with U.S. Attorney's Offices, DOJ components, and other federal agencies to implement strategies for effective information sharing and case development; and (4) conducting outreach to witnesses, victims, and those who are affected by the Section's work.

In addition, you will be responsible for screening and developing new matters; conducting comprehensive investigations involving onsite observation and inspection, interviews, and work with experts; analyzing data; drafting written recommendations including legal analyses; litigating all aspects of the Section's enforcement cases; and negotiating, monitoring, and enforcing settlement agreements. Litigation associated with these investigations is complex, involving extensive discovery, pretrial motions practice, preliminary injunction hearings, trials, and post judgment enforcement and contempt proceedings. Enforcement of agreements in these cases is also complex, involving extensive negotiation of policy and training, onsite inspections and interviews, and collaboration with a variety of external stakeholders.

Applicants are encouraged to review the Section's website, which contains additional information regarding each practice group.

Qualifications

Required Qualifications:

Applicants must possess a J.D. from an American Bar Association accredited law school, be an active member of the bar in good standing (any jurisdiction) and possess the minimum years of post-professional law degree experience commensurate to the grade level of eligibility, as shown below. Applicants also must have strong, demonstrated qualifications in the following areas: academic achievement; substantive knowledge and expertise in the laws, rules, and regulations applicable to the work of the section or substantially similar laws, rules, and regulations; written and oral communication skills; the ability to analyze complex issues; skill and experience working collaboratively and productively with others; organizational skills; professional judgment; initiative; and the ability to excel in a fast-paced, demanding environment. In addition, applicants must have outstanding professional references.

Possessing the minimum post law degree legal experience does not guarantee the applicant will be selected at that grade level.

  • GS-13 - minimum 1.5 years post-JD legal experience
  • GS-14 - minimum 2.5 years post-JD legal experience
  • GS-15 - minimum 4 years post-JD legal experience

Preferred Qualifications:

The following demonstrated qualifications are preferred but not required: substantive knowledge and expertise in Judicial clerkships (especially in federal court), law review, moot court, clinical experience, and skill and experience working cooperatively and productively with a range of people, such as charging parties, witnesses, respondents, disadvantaged or disenfranchised groups, opposing counsel, judicial or administrative officials, advocacy groups, law enforcement personnel, and the staff of other federal or state governmental agencies, are also preferred.

Application Process

The complete Application Package must be submitted by 11 :59 p.m. (Eastern Time Zone) on Friday, July 14, 2023. 
To apply for this position, you must provide a complete Application Package, which includes: 

1.    Cover Letter
2.    Resume
3.    A complete Occupational Questionnaire
4.    Writing sample of no more than ten pages (a brief or comparable analytic legal exposition that is your work product)
5.    Veterans' Preference Documentation, if applicable
6.    Sch A documentation, if applicable
To apply for this position, see page at: https://www.usajobs.gov/GetJob/ViewDetails/733272200 

Salary

$112,015.00 to $183,500.00 Per Year

Number of Positions
Few
Travel
50% or less - You may be expected to travel for this position.
Relocation Expenses
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 27, 2023