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Legal Careers

Trial Attorney-Torts Branch/Federal Tort Claims Act Section

Hiring Organization
Civil Division (CIV)
Hiring Office
Torts Branch/Federal Tort Claims Act Section
Location:
175 N Street, NE
Washington, DC 20044 - United States
Application Deadline:
About the Office

The Torts Branch's Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) Section handles a wide variety of complex, and often controversial, suits filed under the FTCA.  These suits arise most often from the provision of medical care at federal facilities or community health centers, regulatory activities, law enforcement, and management of federal lands.  Currently, the FTCA Section is defending the United States in three mass shooting cases, including the 2018 shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.  Another example of sensitive law enforcement litigation arose out of the defense of alleged FBI misconduct in handling informants in Boston, as well as suits brought by individuals who were detained on immigration charges following the 9-11 terrorist attacks.  In terms of medical malpractice, the FTCA Section handles some of the most complex medical malpractice suits filed against the United States.  These are often birth injury cases with complex medical causation issues in which high damages awards are sought.  On a day-to-day basis, the FTCA Section provides guidance on a broad range of legal issues that arise under the FTCA, assists in the development of strategy, and participates in settlement negotiations in claims handled by other federal agencies or in cases handled by United States Attorneys’ Offices (USAOs).  The FTCA Section has particular expertise in the evaluation and settlement of catastrophic injury cases.  In addition, the FTCA Section is responsible for making appeal recommendations on adverse FTCA judgments, including those cases handled by USAOs.  The FTCA Section also provides comments on legislation that may have an impact on taxpayer liability.  Often, when Congress is in session, numerous bills are reviewed on a weekly basis.  In addition, the FTCA Section is responsible for the adjudication of administrative claims filed as a result of the conduct of employees of the Department of Justice (DOJ) nationwide. 

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

This vacancy presents an opportunity for experienced trial attorneys who want to defend the United States in complex, often high dollar value cases.  Trial attorneys in the FTCA Section of the Torts Branch handle personal injury, wrongful death, and property damage suits arising from activities of federal employees acting within the scope of their federal employment.  FTCA Section attorneys frequently handle large or complex cases of national significance.  They also provide guidance and make recommendations on settlements proposed by federal agencies and United States Attorneys’ Offices and appeal recommendations on adverse judgments in FTCA cases. 

Qualifications

Applicants must possess a J.D. degree, be duly licensed and authorized to practice as an attorney under the laws of any state, territory of the United States, or the District of Columbia, and be an active member of the bar in good standing.  Applicants should have excellent writing, negotiation, and interpersonal skills, exhibit good judgment, and have a strong interest in litigation. 

Ideal candidates will have:

  • At least four years of post-JD litigation experience in federal courts.
  • Excellent research and writing skills, as well as experience presenting oral arguments. 
  • Substantial firsthand experience handling complex litigation.
  • Demonstrated ability to handle all phases of discovery, including working with expert witnesses.
  • Excellent analytical ability and the capacity to articulate critical issues in a wide variety of cases.
  • The ability to work well on individual projects and on team projects.
  • A demonstrated record of being able to balance a diverse and constantly changing workload and the ability to set priorities appropriately. 
Application Process

Applicants must submit a resume, a cover letter (highlighting relevant background), and a writing sample (no more than 15 pages in length).  Please submit applications via email to FTCA.Section@usdoj.gov.  On the subject line, please put “FTCA Section Trial Attorney Application.”  While email is the preferred method of submission, applications may also be submitted via USPS to:

                    

                                                            U.S. Department of Justice,

                                                            Civil Division, Torts Branch (FTCA Section)

                                                            P. O. Box 888

                                                            Benjamin Franklin Station

                                                            Washington, D.C. 20044

                                                            Attn:  James G. Touhey, Jr.

 

Applications must be postmarked by no later than September 16, 2019 (applications submitted by email must be received by that date).  No telephone calls please.

           

Salary

$99,172 - $166,500 per annum

Number of Positions
2
Travel
Occasional Travel - You will be required to travel for this position.
Relocation Expenses
No

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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 August 23, 2019