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Legal Careers

Trial Attorney (Civil Defensive)

Hiring Organization
Civil Division (CIV)
Hiring Office
Consumer Protection Branch
Job ID
450 5th Street NW
Washington, DC 20530 - United States
Application Deadline:
About the Office

The Consumer Protection Branch (CPB) defends the Food and Drug Administration, the Consumer Product Safety Commission, and other consumer protection agencies in civil litigation throughout the country. The Branch’s litigation regularly involves defending against high-profile challenges to agency actions, policies, and programs related to food, drugs, medical devices, tobacco, and other products. The Branch also enforces federal consumer protection laws throughout the United States, bringing both criminal prosecutions and civil enforcement actions related to matters of national importance.

For more information about the Consumer Protection Branch visit:

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 Consumer Protection Branch is seeking a Trial Attorney to specialize in representing the United States in a range of civil defensive litigation. Advancing the Branch’s mission to safeguard Americans’ health, safety, economic security, and identity integrity, the selected Trial Attorney will defend the Food and Drug Administration, Consumer Product Safety Commission, and other consumer protection agencies in district courts throughout the country. This work includes cases challenging, under the Administrative Procedure Act and U.S. Constitution, agency actions related to food, drugs, medical devices, tobacco, and other consumer products, as well as significant agency policies and programs. These cases typically involve complex legal questions regarding the Federal Food, Drug, & Cosmetic Act, the Public Health Service Act, the Tobacco Control Act, and the Consumer Product Safety Act. Recent examples include the defense of: emergency use authorizations related to COVID-19 vaccines; determinations regarding menthol as a characterizing flavor in cigarettes; the approval of genetically engineered salmon; and a rule regarding the importation of prescription drugs. The Trial Attorney will engage in all phases of litigation, representing the United States in court and in negotiations with opposing counsel, and working closely with agency partners.

In addition, the Trial Attorney hired under this announcement will have the opportunity to engage in the Branch’s affirmative civil litigation. Working with U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and federal law enforcement partners, the Trial Attorney will advance investigations using civil investigative tools, prepare pleadings, and litigate motions and trials. Areas of enforcement emphasis for the Branch include: the prescription opioid crisis, adulterated and misbranded food, drugs, and medical devices; fraud schemes affecting vulnerable individuals; deceptive trade practices and privacy violations; and hazardous consumer products.

The Trial Attorney also will be able to review and opine on policy matters and legislative proposals related to public health and safety; advise U.S. Attorneys’ Offices on potential actions under the Federal Food, Drug, & Cosmetic Act and other federal laws; engage with Department leadership; and participate in training offerings and events. 


Applicants must have a J.D. degree earned through graduation from a full course of study in a School of Law accredited by the American Bar Association and be a 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 have at least four years of post J.D. experience to qualify at the GS-15 level. You must also be a U.S. citizen.

Applicants must have excellent writing and advocacy skills, as well as superior negotiation and interpersonal skills. Successful applicants will be highly motivated, exhibit sound judgment and creativity, and have active litigation experience. Prior APA litigation experience and judicial clerkship experience is strongly preferred.

Application Process

Applicants must submit a cover letter, resume, and writing sample (not more than 10 pages in length) by email to:

On the subject line, please put “CPB – Trial Attorney Application.”  No telephone calls, please. 

Applicants may also send their materials by commercial courier service (FedEx or UPS) to:

Mr. Vincent Shuler
U.S. Department of Justice
Consumer Protection Branch
450 5th St., NW, Ste. 6400
Washington, D.C. 20530

You must submit your application so that it will be RECEIVED no later than 11:59 pm Eastern Daylight Time on the closing date of this announcement.


The salary for the position is at the GS-15 level ($144,128.00 to $172,500.00 per year).

Number of Positions
The position requires occasional travel.
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 August 20, 2021