Skip to main content

Legal Careers

Trial Attorney-Torts Branch Environmental Torts Litigation

Hiring Organization
Civil Division (CIV)
Hiring Office
Torts Branch-Environmental Torts Litigation
Job ID
DE-11818717-23-CM
Location:
175 N Street NE
Washington, DC 20002 - United States
Application Deadline:
About the Office

The Torts Branch is responsible for the defense of the United States and its employees in tort litigation seeking monetary judgments for damages resulting from negligent or wrongful acts. The Branch also prosecutes a significant number of affirmative tort claims to recover for damages to government property. Other responsibilities include participating in administrative claims procedures mandated by the Federal Tort Claims Act, and administering other federally-mandated compensation programs.

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 Environmental Torts Section, Civil Division, U.S. Department of Justice is responsible for the defense of matters brought under the recently-enacted PACT Act Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022. This office defends the United States in complex, high stakes civil litigation in federal courts nationwide. Its attorneys directly handle all aspects of wrongful death, personal injury, and property damage cases that often involve hundreds, even thousands, of plaintiffs. The cases typically stem from alleged exposure to environmental contaminants, such as biological agents, chemicals, and other substances. They also involve complex issues of causation, novel issues of federal and state law, and numerous expert witnesses. Given its unique expertise, the section has primary litigation responsibility for all suits brought against the United States under the Federal Tort Claims Act where the alleged injuries/damages are attributed to some form of an environmental contaminant. Many of the section's cases are litigated as mass torts or multidistrict litigation matters. Mass tort cases being litigated by the section relate to: alleged damage to water systems and personal injury claims due to the military's use of per-fluorinated compounds in firefighting; personal injury claims stemming from EPA's oversight of state and local entities involved in the Flint water crisis; natural resource damage and personal injury claims related to an alleged heavy metals release during an EPA investigation at Gold King Mine in Colorado;  damages alleged to be caused by a jet fuel leak from the Navy’s underground Red Hill Bulk Storage Facility near Pearl Harbor, HI; and damages from alleged contamination and remediation at Hunters Point Naval Shipyard. Handling complex jurisdictional questions, devising creative case-management solutions, and analyzing overlapping issues of history, law, and science are often the norm. We are recruiting attorneys primarily for the PACT Act Camp Lejeune Justice Act litigation, but there may be opportunities to assist our other litigation teams. The section is comprised of approximately thirty attorneys and ten members of support staff.

Qualifications

Applicants must be a graduate 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 possess a J.D. degree, be an active member of the bar (any jurisdiction), have at least one year of post J.D. experience to qualify at the GS-12 level, have at least two years of post J.D. experience to qualify at the GS-13 level, have at least three years of post J.D. experience to qualify at the GS-14 level, and four years of post J.D. experience to qualify at the GS-15 level. You must also be a U.S. citizen.

Applicants should also have excellent academic credentials and outstanding advocacy and legal writing skills. Experience arguing motions, handling discovery, developing expert witness testimony, trying cases, and a federal judicial clerkship are highly desirable. 

Current AUSAs and DOJ attorneys are invited to apply.

Application Process

To apply for this position, you must provide a complete Application Package, including the required documents indicated below. The Application Package must be received by 11:59 PM, Eastern Daylight Time, on the listed closing date of this announcement. A complete application package must include:
1. Cover Letter (highlighting month and year of relevant experience).
2. Résumé - Applicants are encouraged to ensure that work experiences clearly show the possession of knowledge of the subject matter pertinent to the position and the technical skills to successfully perform the duties of the position.
3. Writing Sample (12 pages or less).
4. If you are claiming veterans preference, you must also submit your DD-214 (Member-4 Copy), and/or other documentation that you may have.

Applicants are encouraged to submit their materials by email to:attorneyhire.ETL@usdoj.gov or Patti.king@usdoj.gov or Bridget.lipscomb@usdoj.gov.
No telephone calls, please.

Salary

$94,199.00 to $183,500.00 Annually

Number of Positions
22
Travel
Occasional travel - You may be expected to travel for this position.
Relocation Expenses
Relocation expenses are not authorized for this position.

*         *         *

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.

*         *         *

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 31, 2023