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Attorney Student Loan Repayment Program Policy

The ASLRP Policy is quite detailed. Attorneys requesting participation must certify that they have read and understand its provisions. Select the link below to read the entire policy, or, if you are looking for specific information, select a direct link to that portion of the Policy. Individuals with questions or concerns should review the information posted in the FAQ at the Quick Link on the left prior to contacting OARM for assistance.

Entire ASLRP Policy
Overview
Attorney Eligibility

  • Permanent Employees
  • Incoming Honors Program Attorneys
  • Ineligible Attorneys
  • Disqualifying Conditions

Loan Eligibility
Service Obligations and Agreements

  • Impact of Uniformed Service (Military LWOP)

Annual Payments and Related Information

  • Maximum Benefits
  • Tax Consequences
  • Payment Dates

Procedures to Request Consideration
Renewal of Benefits for Current Recipients

  • Renewal in the Second or Third Year of a Three-Year Service Obligation
  • Beyond the Expiration of A Service Obligation

Lateral Moves Within the Department
Reimbursing the Department / Waiver of Indebtedness
Relationship of ASLRP to Other Recruitment/Retention Incentives
Responsibility of Attorneys selected for the ASLRP
Department Responsibilities
Appendix A (Component Specific Factors)
Appendix B (Factors of Recruitment / Retention Difficulty)
Appendix C (Guidelines for Requesting Consideration)
 

A. Overview 

1. The Department of Justice implemented the ASLRP in 2003. Based on the provisions of 5 U.S. Code, 5 U.S.C. § 5379, as implemented by 5 CFR Part 537, the ASLRP is an incentive program designed to recruit and retain highly qualified attorneys for hard-to-fill positions. Any Department of Justice employee serving in or hired to serve in an attorney position may request consideration for the ASLRP.

2. The ASLRP is a discretionary agency incentive program, not an entitlement. Annual funding does not permit selection of all qualifying attorneys for participation in the ASLRP. The Department anticipates selecting new attorneys each year for participation on a competitive basis and renewing current beneficiaries during existing service obligations, subject to availability of funds. Selection or non-selection for participation, or the determination of the amount of a loan repayment under 5 U.S.C. 5379 (5 CFR Part 537) is not grievable under the Department's grievance procedures. ASLRP benefits are subject to taxes and other withholdings, which are deducted from the amount approved prior to issuance of payment to the loan holders. ASLRP benefits are paid directly to the loan holder, not to the individual attorney.

3. Initial acceptance of ASLRP funding triggers a three-year service obligation to the Department. To receive ASLRP benefits, the attorney must qualify, the attorney’s student loans must qualify, and all statutory requirements must be met. Attorneys who do not complete their service obligation must repay the Department for all funds received through the ASLRP at the “before taxes” amount.

4. Federal agencies have a large degree of discretion in structuring student loan repayment programs. The Department's policy requires a minimum aggregate loan balance of $10,000 to initially qualify. The Department awards $6000 annually, up to a lifetime maximum of $60,000.  

B. Attorney Eligibility

1. Department of Justice employees serving in or hired to serve in an attorney position may be eligible for ASLRP subject to the provisions below.

  • Incoming Honors Program (HP) Attorneys hired for 3-year term and permanent appointments are eligible but, if selected, are subject to repayment provisions if found unsuitable during the background investigation/adjudication process or if they entered on duty prior to bar admission and are separated for failure to become bar admitted with 14 months (e.g., fail to qualify for an attorney appointment). Incoming Honors Program attorneys must be able to meet the statutory three-year service obligation (which commences upon initial entry on duty for incoming HPs); those hired for 1- to 2-year appointments do not qualify.

Ineligible individuals include:

  • Non-permanent attorneys, including those on Schedule B appointments or other term appointments with less than three years remaining before the appointments expire;
    • The service obligation starts when the individual is approved for the ASLRP; retroactive service does not qualify.
  • Political appointees, or employees occupying a position which is excepted from the competitive service because of its confidential, policy-determining, policy-making, or policy advocating character (i.e., employees serving under Schedule C appointments);
  • Those serving on detail from other agencies (e.g., Special Assistant U.S. Attorneys or those on temporary or time limited appointments).
  • Individuals with a J.D. (or equivalent) who are not in an attorney appointment.

2. ASLRP benefits are not automatic: there is a competitive selection process. The Attorney Student Loan Repayment Program (ASLRP) is an agency recruitment and retention incentive, not an entitlement.

3. ASLRP benefits cannot be used to recruit an employee from another Federal agency. Incoming Honors Program attorneys serving as federal judicial law clerks or in a federal fellowship at the time of their application to the Department are not deemed "recruited from another Federal agency."

4. Attorneys approved for ASLRP must be in good standing on their qualifying federal student loans.

5. The attorney must have a minimum aggregate qualifying federal student loan debt balance of $10,000 to initially qualify for ASLRP (not applicable to renewal requests).

6. Disqualifying Conditions:

a. An attorney must not be in default on repayment of any federal student loans. 

b. The attorney must have a minimum aggregate qualifying federal student loan debt balance of $10,000 to initially qualify for ASLRP (not applicable to renewal requests or recompetition requests from prior recipients).

c. An attorney who received less than a "fully successful" rating on the most recent performance evaluation report (or equivalent level of performance under the applicable performance management system) is not eligible to request consideration for the ASLRP. If already selected for the ASLRP, repayment benefits will terminate if an attorney fails to maintain a "fully successful" level of performance under Part 430 of Title 5, CFR, or a similar level of performance under another applicable performance management system. 

d. An attorney who is the subject of an ongoing investigation or disciplinary action for alleged misconduct is not eligible to receive loan repayments while the matter is pending. An attorney who has been disciplined for misconduct (whether formally or informally, including oral counseling) is not eligible to receive loan repayments until two years after the date the discipline was imposed.

e. Attorneys who are the subject of a performance or conduct based action, or under a "Performance Improvement Plan", "Last Chance or Abeyance Agreement" or a "Memorandum of Understanding" (between management and a union with bargaining rights over conditions of employment) are rendered ineligible during the enforcement period.

f. Attorneys currently participating in the ASLRP may be disqualified from receiving further benefits if they fail to comply with ASLRP policies.  It is each recipient's individual responsibility to monitor his or her loan accounts to ensure awards are timely issued, properly credited, and applied only to qualifying loans. 

C. Loan Eligibility
 

1. To be eligible for repayments on his or her behalf, the attorney must have an existing loan that qualifies under the "definition of student loan" in 5 CFR Part 537. The loan must have been taken out by the attorney and must have been used to pay costs incurred by the attorney. The Department will not approve loan repayments for third-party loans (e.g., loans taken out by parents on behalf of dependent children, or by one spouse for the other, etc.).

The term “student loan”, for purposes of the ASLRP, means—

  • a loan made, insured, or guaranteed under part B of title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1071 et seq.);
  • a loan made under part D or E of title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1087a et seq., 1087aa et seq.); and
  • a health education assistance loan made or insured under part A of title VII of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. 292 et seq.) or under part E of title VIII of such Act (42 U.S.C. 297a et seq.).

Qualifying loans can include:

  • Direct Subsidized Loans
  • Direct Unsubsidized Loans
  • Direct PLUS Loans made to graduate or professional students
  • Direct Consolidation Loans
  • Subsidized Federal Stafford Loans (from the FFEL Program)
  • Unsubsidized Federal Stafford Loans (from the FFEL Program)
  • FFEL PLUS Loans made to graduate or professional students
  • FFEL Consolidation Loans
  • Federal Perkins Loans

Note: The Department will not provide ASLRP for Plus Loans issued to parents on behalf of dependent students.

2. The Department may not reimburse an employee for student loan payments made prior to entering into a valid service agreement with the Department of Justice.

3. The Department can only agree to repay qualifying student loans in existence prior to the execution of a loan repayment agreement.

4. The level of academic degree for which a student loan was obtained will not be considered in determining eligibility for the ASLRP, however, the degree must relate to a qualification relevant to the attorney's position at the Department.

D. Service Obligations and Agreements

1. All participants in the Attorney Student Loan Repayment Program (ASLRP) must sign valid three-year service agreements with the Department of Justice before repayments can begin. A standard Service Agreement is included as part of each Initial Request form.  Acceptance of benefits beyond the original three-year period requires the execution of a new three-year service agreement or, should the Panel offer an extension, a separate extension agreement.  If the attorney is not selected, the service agreement submitted with an initial request is null and void.

a. The effective date of the initial service agreement will begin when approved for the first repayment (generally in July). 

b. The effective date of an extension to a service agreement is the day following the expiration of the prior service obligation.  

c.  The effective date of the service agreement associated with a current recipient's successful reapplication and reselection is (a) the day immediately following the expiration of the current service agreement (if there is no lapse in participation) or (b) the date re-selection is approved (if lapse occurs). 

2. Attorneys who fail to complete their service obligation may be indebted to the Department (not federal service in general) for all student loan repayments received (before taxes and not a prorated amount) under the ASLRP. See paragraph I, "Reimbursing the Department / Waiver of Indebtedness."

3. Periods of leave without pay, or other periods during which an ASLRP recipient is not in a pay status do not count toward the completion of the required service period upon reemployment. The service completion date must be extended by the total time spent in non-pay status. However, absence because of uniformed service or compensable injury is considered creditable toward the required service period upon reemployment.

 a. An attorney who is absent from the Department because of uniformed service (military service) is generally entitled upon reemployment to be treated as though he or she had never left. This includes ASLRP recipients who are reemployed by the Department following a period of uniformed service. Periods of military leave without pay (LWOP) are creditable toward the completion of a student loan repayment service period, and scheduled student loan payments specified in the service agreement will continue during the period of military LWOP, subject to availability of funds.

 b. The Department may initiate appropriate recoupment action should the attorney not return to the Department following uniformed service/military LWOP.

E. Annual Payments and Related Information

1. All ASLRP payments are subject to the availability of funds as determined solely in the discretion of the Department.

2. The Department of Justice limits annual ASLRP benefits to a maximum of $6,000 per attorney per calendar year (notwithstanding the provisions of P.L. 108-123 (November 11, 2003). Depending on resources, the Department may determine a lower amount, down to $0. The total lifetime maximum per attorney is $60,000.

3. Due to the modification of 26 U.S.C. § 127 (i.e., the IRS code) stemming from the CARES Act and Section 120 of the Taxpayer Certainty and Disaster Relief Act of 2020 (part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 enacted in December 2020), up to $5250 in qualifying loan repayment benefits issued between March 27, 2020 and January 1, 2026 are excluded from an employee’s gross income. Any taxable balance of an approved ASLRP award (i.e., the remaining $750 of a $6000 ASLRP award) will be included in the attorney's gross income and subjected to taxes and withholdings before the remaining balance is issued to the loan holder. Non-taxable and taxable student loan payments will be processed as two separate payments.  

The Department of Justice is required to report the amount of any loan repayment made under this program, as well as any FICA-related taxes or income taxes that have been withheld, on a Form W-2. Tax withholdings may not be amortized or assessed at a date later than when the loan repayment is made. The amount the Department awards an attorney is the pre-tax amount. 

4. In future years, the Department may review and adjust the maximum annual ASLRP payment amount, which may range from $0 to the authorized statutory maximum, if budgetary considerations warrant such a review.  The Department also periodically reviews the "matching funds" threshold.  See Appendices D (Impact on Initial Requests) and E (Impact on Renewal Requests) for further information. 

5. Payments made by the Department on behalf of approved beneficiaries will not exceed the total qualifying federal loan balance.

6. The Department will distribute ASLRP incentive payments once annually (generally in June/July for renewal of existing benefits and in August/September for new beneficiaries). Payments for new beneficiaries who have not entered on duty (EOD) at the time the general payments are issued must be made between the date they become official DOJ employees and December 31st. If an incoming ASLRP beneficiary delays his or her EOD (or a renewing attorney defers payment) beyond the pay period where a payment can be issued prior to December 31st, he or she may forfeit a portion of the renewal award that could have been issued during the next calendar year due to the statutory maximum payment per calendar year, which is capped at $10,000.

7. The Department issues payments directly to educational or lending institutions in the order designated by the attorney in the request forms. ASLRP awards may not be issued directly to the attorney. The attorney remains responsible for any remaining loan payments or balances. The Department is not responsible for late fees assessed by the educational or lending institution.

8. Attorneys remain liable for their loan debts.

F. Procedures to Request Consideration for the ASLRP

An attorney who wishes to be considered for the Department's Attorney Student Loan Repayment Program incentive must take the following steps: (Current recipients seeking renewal payments should follow guidance in paragraph G, "Renewal of Benefits for Current ASLRP Incentive Recipients.")

1. Complete the online Eligibility Worksheet to determine whether minimum qualifications are met.

2. Complete the Initial Request for Consideration form (links are available on the ASLRP main page under How to Apply & Forms). 

3. Attach all required documentation to the Request for Consideration (e.g., loan data, statements from lenders, Service Agreements, justifications, etc.). Handwritten, inaccurate, or incomplete submissions will not be considered. Applicants must provide accurate and complete contact information regarding each loan holder and must prioritize the loans in order of desired repayment. 

4. Submit the request package no later than the deadline set by the Program Administration Panel. (Key dates will be posted on the OARM web page at www.usdoj.gov/oarm/aslrp/keydates.htm.)

G. Renewal of Benefits for Current ASLRP Recipients

Renewal requests during the second and third year of an existing service obligation are not subject to the $10,000 minimum qualifying loan balance that applies to initial requests for consideration.

1. Renewal in the Second or Third Year of a Three-Year Service Obligation.

a. Once an attorney is approved for ASLRP benefits, there is a rebuttable presumption that the attorney will continue to receive funding during the second and third years of the three-year service agreement subject to continued eligibility and availability of funds as determined solely in the discretion of the Department.

b. Continued receipt of ASLRP benefits during an existing service obligation (e.g., the second and third years of a three-year service obligation) will not trigger an extension of the service agreement.

c. Renewal in the ASLRP is not automatic. Attorneys must submit a "Renewal Request" annually while serving an existing service obligation (e.g., years 2 and 3 of the initial Service Agreement). The renewal request is used to establish continuing eligibility, verify distribution of prior payments to qualifying federal student loans, and determine the payment amount for that fiscal year (e.g., cannot exceed the qualifying loan balance).

d. Renewal request forms are different from initial requests for consideration. Links to renewal forms are posted on a link from How to Apply & Forms from the ASLRP main webpage. 

2. Renewal Beyond the Expiration of A Service Obligation.

a. Upon the expiration of a prior service obligation (e.g., FY 2023 ASLRP for attorneys initially selected in FY 2020), renewing participants have two options.

Option 1: The attorney may recompete for selection for the ASLRP with all new requesters and, if selected, would enter into a new three-year service obligation.  There is no guarantee of further selection for the ASLRP.  These attorneys should submit the same "Initial Request" as new requesters. 

Option 2:  The attorney may opt out of further ASLRP participation and, upon the expiration of an existing service agreement, have no further obligation to the Department. 

b. The Department reserves the right to permit the Program Administration Panel and the attorney to mutually agree to modify an existing service agreement, subject to the limitations at 5 C.F.R. § 537.106(c)(2), to provide additional student loan repayment benefits for additional service (i.e., execute an extension to the original 3-year service agreement) without the need for a new service agreement (which would require a new 3-year minimum service period). However, the Panel will determine whether this option will be offered to specific year groups on an annual basis; it may not be individually requested.

H. Lateral Moves Within the Department

Moving from one position to another within the Department after selection for the ASLRP does not affect renewal eligibility during an existing service obligation.

I. Reimbursing the Department / Waiver of Indebtedness

1. An attorney is indebted to the Department of Justice for all student loan repayments received (the total gross amount before taxes and withholdings) under the Attorney Student Loan Repayment Program, and must reimburse the Department if he or she:

  • is separated from the Department involuntarily on account of misconduct or performance;
  • leaves the Department voluntarily before completing the service obligation period (including extensions, if applicable). This includes departures based on retirement or to enter service in another Federal agency.

2. Amounts owed to the Department due to an employee's failure to complete the terms of a service agreement will be recovered pursuant to DOJ Order 2120.3C, "Collection of Debts by the Department of Justice."

3. The Department may waive, in whole or in part, recovery of the loan repayment amount if it is determined to be against equity and good conscience or contrary to the public interest.

a. Attorneys must submit a written request for waiver of indebtedness, along with the bill generated by the National Finance Center, through OARM to the Program Administration Panel, for appropriate review and recommendations. OARM will forward the submissions and Panel recommendations to the JMD Finance Staff or Bureau Head (as appropriate) for action.

b. The waiver request should contain a copy of the Service Agreement, the bill prepared by JMD or other appropriate payroll office to the current or former employee or verification of the exact amount of debt where a bill has not been generated, and a narrative explaining why recovery by the Department would be against equity and good conscience or against the public interest.


J. Relationship to Other Recruitment/Retention Incentives

The Department may pay a student loan repayment incentive in addition to a retention incentive/allowance, or recruitment and/or relocation bonus. The period of service required by a Recruitment Bonus Service Agreement or a Relocation Bonus Service Agreement is exclusive from the period of service required under a Student Loan Repayment Service Agreement. However, the specified period of service in a Student Loan Repayment Service Agreement may run concurrently with other service agreements.

K. Responsibilities of Attorneys Selected for the ASLRP

1. Attorneys who are notified of selection for the program and the funding level who then decide not to participate must submit written notice of withdrawal from the program to the Program Administrators prior to payment being processed in order to permit reallocation of funds. Failure to timely decline the payment or withdraw will result in the processing of the loan repayment, and may result in an obligation being established which the attorney would then be liable to repay in the event of voluntary departure or dismissal for cause.

2. Attorneys who accept participation in the ASLRP are responsible for reading the policy in its entirety.

3. Attorneys notified of selection for the ASLRP who wish clarification of any policy provisions must contact OARM to resolve any questions prior to acceptance.

4. Attorneys must notify the Office of Attorney Recruitment and Management (OARM) of:

  • changes in contact information, especially e-mail addresses;
  • plans to voluntarily resign, retire, or separate from the Department before completing the service agreement period.

5. Attorneys must monitor their student loan accounts to ensure that payments issued through the ASLRP are distributed only to qualifying federal student loans.  

6. Attorneys should confirm that ASLRP payments are issued on their behalf prior to December 31st each year a payment is approved. Payment information is reported on employee Earning and Leave Statements during the pay period it is issued. If not issued or not credited to the attorney's loan account by early December, the attorney should immediately contact OARM for assistance so that the payment can be issued prior to December 31st.  If action is not timely initiated, and the payment cannot be issued prior to December 31st, the attorney may forfeit a portion of the renewal award that could have been issued during the next calendar year due to the statutory maximum payment per calendar year, which is capped at $10,000.

L. Department Responsibilities

1. The Role of the Deputy Attorney General: The Deputy Attorney General (DAG) retains final approval authority over all aspects of the ASLRP. The DAG or his delegate will:

a. Appoint a panel to establish and to oversee the administration of the ASLRP. Membership on the panel will include the Director, EOUSA (or delegate); the AAG of one of the Department components (or delegate) (rotated every two years); the Director, OARM (or delegate); the DAAG (Human Resources/Administration), JMD (or delegate); and the DAAG (Office of the Controller), JMD (or delegate), and other individuals as appointed by the Deputy Attorney General. 

b. Ensure appropriate agency determinations are made pursuant to 5 CFR § 537.105.

The Role of the Associate Attorney General

The Associate Attorney General chairs the Program Administration Panel.

3. The Role of the Program Administration Panel. The Program Administration Panel (Panel) is responsible for program oversight. The Panel's responsibilities include but are not limited to:

a. Initially establishing, then annually updating Appendix A (Component-Specific Criteria), and publishing recruitment and retention criteria for eligibility in the ASLRP.

b. Reviewing and making final decisions on all requests for consideration for the ASLRP, including appropriate regulatory determinations (5 CFR § 537.105).

c. As appropriate, making determinations, pursuant to 5 CFR § 537.105, that in the absence of offering student loan repayment benefits, the Department would encounter difficulty in filling the positions held by attorneys selected for the ASLRP with highly qualified employees or in retaining highly qualified employees in such positions.

d. As appropriate, making determinations, pursuant to 5 CFR § 537.105, that the high or unique qualifications of employees in positions identified in Appendix A and/or the special needs of the Department for the services of such employees make it essential to retain those employees and that, in the absence of offering student loan repayment benefits, such individuals would be likely to leave for employment outside the federal service.

e. Adjudicating requests for exceptions from applicants who are assigned to qualifying posts or positions with an expected arrival date after the end of the fiscal year

 f. Determining if it is against equity and good conscience or contrary to the public interest to require a Department employee to repay some or all of the amount the Department has repaid on the employee's student loan when requests for waiver of repayment obligations are made.

g. Ensuring that a complete copy of the application, endorsements, and the completed service agreement is filed in each approved employee's Official Personnel File.

h. Making routine policy decisions affecting administration of the program.

i. Coordinating all efforts to support automation of the program.

4. The Role of the Office of Attorney Recruitment and Management (OARM)

OARM is responsible for administration of the Program subject to the oversight of the Program Administration Panel.

5. The Role of Justice Management Division (JMD) or Designated Executive / Administrative Offices

a. JMD or other designated executive/administrative offices will process all approved requests to obligate funds on a timely basis but not later than September 30. JMD or other designated executive/administrative offices will forward all approved requests to the National Finance Center (or other appropriate finance center) for payment using Form AD-343, Payroll Action Request (or equivalent), pursuant to the procedures specified in the JMD/HRSAG Systems Notice #2001-13 (or equivalent). The FBI will process repayments pursuant to its own internal procedure until realigned under the National Finance Center. 

b. JMD (or other appropriate personnel office) will file a copy of the service agreement for each participant in the individual's official personnel file.

c. JMD (or other appropriate office) will manage processing of the repayment amounts by electronic funds transfer, whenever possible, or by check by a date to be established by the Program Administration Panel, but not later than September 30 for current DOJ employees and not later than December 31st for incoming hires, and will provide the Program Administration Panel and the appropriate personnel or human resources offices with a report indicating the date payments were made to the lenders of each qualified employee. At this time, all loan repayments are subject to tax and FICA/Medicare withholdings. Payments made by payroll offices to the respective lenders will reflect the net amount of the incentive payment with appropriate deductions withheld for taxes and FICA/Medicare. The gross amount of the lump sum repayment will be reported as taxable income on the W2. 

 d. In the event that an attorney has to repay student loan incentive payments already paid on their behalf, JMD will ensure that the appropriate offices send a memorandum to the servicing personnel office (or other appropriate office) requesting that the employee be billed for the indebtedness. The memorandum will contain the employee's name, Social Security Number, total amount of the indebtedness, period covered by the indebtedness and reason for the indebtedness. The servicing personnel office will then prepare a letter of indebtedness and mail it to the employee. The report generated by JMD (or other appropriate office) (subparagraph 1, above) will allow the appropriate Personnel or Human Resources Office to record the date of the payment on the employee's service agreement, thus triggering the effective date of the agreement and establishing when repayment will be required should an employee in the program leave the Department before expiration of the service agreement.

6. The Role of Heads of Offices, Boards, Bureaus, and Divisions

a. Determine whether any employee being recommended for separation based on performance is a participant in the ASLRP in order to determine whether repayment of the ASLRP payments is required. 

b. Assist the Program Administration Panel evaluate high or unique qualifications relevant to DOJ employment or special needs of the Department by identifying specific component-desired qualifications, skills, or abilities (or any posts or positions that are difficult to fill with highly qualified employees) and submitting them to the Program Administration Panel for approval and inclusion in Appendix A. (See Appendix B for recruitment or retention difficulty factors). Component-identified criteria may include, but are not limited to: professional qualifications, admission to specialty bars, undergraduate or advanced degrees in fields relevant to the component's practice, foreign language proficiency, assignment to hard-to-fill geographic locations, judicial clerkship experience (if relevant to the component's practice), and skills that contribute directly to the accomplishment of the Department's Strategic Goals. 

c. Review requests for consideration and provide comments or recommendations, as desired. Comments may address whether the applicant possesses high or unique qualifications, or the component has special needs that make it essential to retain the employee, and whether, in the absence of student loan repayment incentives, the employee is likely to leave Federal service. If the attorney is requesting consideration for ASLRP as a retention incentive (as opposed to a recruitment incentive), these comments may include a description of the extent to which the employee's departure would affect the agency's ability to carry out an activity or perform a function deemed essential to the agency's mission. Components will forward all requests for consideration through OARM to the Program Administration Panel for action (approval or disapproval). 

d. Each Component (or EOUSA for U.S. Attorney's Offices) will prepare an annual report to be submitted to the AAG, Administration, no later than the deadline established by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), covering the preceding FY. The report will include:

· For each employee who received repayment benefits during the FY, the following information:
o Whether the repayment was for purposes of recruitment or retention;
o Amount repaid during the FY (before withholding)
o Amounts to be repaid in future FYs, subject to availability of funds (before withholding). (Projected based on length of current service agreement).
o Employee's position title, job series, pay plan, grade, and geographical area (city and state); and
o Length of the service agreement (including start date and end date).
· A narrative analysis of the situations for which repayments were made, the effectiveness of the repayment program, and any recommendations for improving the use of the authority in terms of both regulatory change and Department requirements and flexibilities.

7. The Role of Component Executive Officers (or equivalent) and HR Specialists

a. The role of the Component Executive Directors (or equivalent) or delegate, and HR specialists will be:
· Providing scoring recommendations to the Panel on portions of the attorney's justification (submitted as part of the Request for Consideration). 

· Providing routine information or directing employees to OARM for non-routine information, 

· Validating that employees requesting consideration have not been the subject of performance or disciplinary actions that would make them ineligible,

· Processing requests for consideration submitted by applicants,

· Serving as liaison when necessary, at the request of OARM on behalf of the Program Administrative Panel, and 

· Maintaining a file of the names of those employees in the component who are ASLRP recipients, a copy of the service agreement, and recording the date of the payment approval on the employee's service agreement, thus triggering the effective date of the agreement and determining when repayment will be required should an employee in the program leave the Department before expiration of the service agreement.
b. Component employees with HR responsibilities must inform OARM if a participant employee moves to a different position, separates, or retires from the Department of Justice before completing the service obligation and assist with recoupment efforts.


APPENDIX A 
Component-Specific Factors
(Including Associated Recruitment and Retention Factors)

5 CFR § 537.105 requires a determination that DOJ attorneys receiving student loan repayment incentives be identified as highly or uniquely qualified, or meet a special department need. 

Any DOJ employee assigned to an attorney position may request consideration for the ASLRP by submitting a justification packet sufficient for the Department to find that the attorney is highly or uniquely qualified or meets a special Department need (see Initial Request for Consideration form and Justification Form on the ASLRP main page). 

DOJ components may, at their discretion, identify certain factors and associated factors of recruitment/retention difficulty to serve as guidelines for their attorneys in crafting their justification.  The attorney’s justification may, but is not required to, address component-specific factors listed below, if applicable.

ASSISTANT U.S. ATTORNEYS – Please note -
EOUSA is your ASLRP contact for information and assistance, and for submission of requests for consideration. Items 1- 23 do not apply to attorneys serving in U.S. Attorneys Offices. The factors applicable to AUSAs are listed at item 24, below. Please do not attempt to justify consideration using the factors posted for the Civil Division or the Criminal Division (items 4 and 6 below), contact these Divisions for assistance, or submit your request for consideration through them for evaluation.

 

#

Component, Basis, and Position Description Component Factors

Factors of Recruitment/Retention Difficulty
(Appendix B)

1

Access to Justice

Recruitment and Retention

(Incoming experienced hires and current attorneys)

(Entry-level Honors Program hires)

  • Demonstrated specialized legal experience in a subject matter directly relevant to position and pertinent Access to Justice portfolio (i.e., civil, immigration, language access)

In addition to the above, the below factors may be considered for entry level attorneys:

  • Graduated in the top 10% of law school class or with academic honors (or equivalent) 
  • Published articles or served as an editor of a school law review or journal
1,3

2a

Antitrust Division

Recruitment

(Entry-level Honors Program hires)

 

  • Law degree with demonstrated antitrust interest, and
  • Economics background (e.g., course work, employment, etc), and
  • Demonstrated skill in using sophisticated automated litigation supports tools.
3

2b

Antitrust Division

Recruitment and retention

(Incoming experienced hires and current employees)

 

  • Law degree with demonstrated antitrust interest, and
  • Economics background (e.g., course work, employment, etc), and
  • Experience in civil or criminal antitrust enforcement with demonstrated results in support of Antitrust Division strategic goals, and
  • Demonstrated skill in using sophisticated automated litigation support tools to handle an ever-increasing volume of incoming data that must be reviewed quickly
3
3 Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives

Demonstrated expertise in one or more of the following areas:

  • Information Sharing/Privacy Law
  • Asset Forfeiture Law
  • Employment Law
  • Regulatory Law, particularly in the area of firearms and explosives
  • Contract Law
  • Complex litigation/defense of regulatory and enforcement programs
  • Administrative litigation
  • Criminal law
  • Ethics/Professional Responsibility
  • Applicant is assigned to a hard-to-fill geographic area (e.g., high cost)
  • Applicant demonstrates commitment to the agency mission (be specific and provide examples)
1,3,4,5
4A

Civil Division
All Branches
Incoming Hires

In considering the below factors, no one factor should outweigh the others and the totality of the attorney’s skills and experiences should be considered.

  • State or Federal court experience, including trial and grand jury litigation; or
  • Specialized training or experience in a subject matter directly relevant to position (e.g., immigration/asylum issues, bankruptcy law, commercial litigation, aviation law, environmental or mass tort issues); or
  • Policy experience in Civil Division matters
  • Experience providing training relevant to civil litigation matters

In addition to the above, the below factors may be considered for entry-level attorneys:

  • Judicial clerkship at the federal level (all courts), or state appellate court level; or
  • Editor of law review or other law journal or published articles; or
  • Graduated in the top 10% of law school class (or cumulative GPA of 3.45/4.0 or higher), or graduated from law school with academic honors;
  • Litigation clinic experience; or
  • Moot court/mock trial experience or awards; or
  • Past DOJ experience or other comparable litigation and provided familiarity with DOJ standards and practices.
2, 3, 6
4B Civil Division
Commercial Litigation Branch, Corporate Financial Litigation Section
Experienced attorneys only:  Representation of debtors or creditors in chapter 11 bankruptcy cases or Judicial clerkship in a bankruptcy court. 1,3,6
4C

Civil Division
Commercial Litigation Branch, Intellectual Property Section

 

For both entry-level and experienced attorneys:

  • An academic degree in a STEM discipline (Science, including physical or biological sciences, Technology, Engineering, or Mathematics, or related disciplines, such as computer science); or
  • Membership in the Patent Bar or demonstrated eligibility for Patent Bar Examination; or
  • Demonstrated interest in intellectual property law, whether academic or through experience.

Experienced Attorneys only:   

  • Experience addressing intellectual property issues in Federal district or appellate courts; or
  • Experience handling complex or sophisticated litigation involving multiple issues. 
1,3,6
4D

Civil Division

Torts Branch - Environmental Torts Litigation

  • Environmental Issues background; or
  • Scientific or Technical background; or
  • State or Federal court experience, including trial and jury litigation of environmental matters
  • Experience drafting and submitting well-written, persuasive briefs, supporting and responsive memoranda, analytical documents, and similar litigation-related writing projects beyond pro-forma procedural filings
  • Past DOJ experience that included engagement in environmental issues litigation or other comparable litigation and provided familiarity with DOJ standards and practices.
1, 3, 6
4E

Civil Division

Torts Branch - Constitutional and Specialized Torts Litigation (ConTorts/Bivens)

  • Experience handling statutory damages claims, including under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, the Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organizations Act and the Electronic Communications Privacy Act; or
  • Experience with state criminal cases or professional licensing cases.
1, 3, 6
4F

Civil Division

Torts Branch - Constitutional and Specialized Torts Litigation (CSTL/Vaccine LItigation)

  • Experience handling statutory damages claims, including under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, the Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organizations Act and the Electronic Communications Privacy Act; or
  • Experience with state criminal cases or professional licensing cases.
1, 3, 6
4G

Civil Division 

September 11th Victim Compensation Fund

  • Experience resolving and managing factual and legal claims relating to a federal compensation program, a mass tort settlement, or an alternative to litigation policy.
1, 3, 6
4H

Civil Division

Office of Immigration Litigation - Appellate Section

  • Experienced Attorneys:  Outstanding legal research, analytical, and writing skills or demonstrated experience in appellate advocacy.
1, 3, 6
5A

Civil Rights Division

(Incoming Entry-level Honors Program Hires)

  • Law degree with demonstrated civil rights interest, and
  • Civil Rights background (e.g. course work, employment, etc); or
  •  Graduated in top 10% of law school class (or equivalent); or
  • Served as judicial law clerk at federal level (district court, appellate court, or U.S. Supreme Court) or highest state court level; or
  • Served as editor of a school law review or journal
3
5B

Civil Rights Division

(Incoming experienced hires and current attorneys)

  • Outstanding research, analytical, and legal writing skills, especially the publication of an article on the law or another related topic;
  • Litigation or prosecution expertise in civil rights;
  • The ability to handle multiple complex projects at the same time;
  • Specialized experience in a subject matter directly related to the position
 
6

Criminal Division

 

In considering the below factors, no one factor should outweigh the others and the totality of the attorney’s skills and experiences should be considered.

  • State or Federal court experience, including trial and grand jury litigation of criminal matters; or
  • Experience working with foreign government officials and international law enforcement policy; or
  • Policy experience on criminal justice matters; or
  • Experience providing training relevant to Criminal Division matters; or
  • Professional qualifications such as admission to specialty bars; or
  • Undergraduate or advanced degrees in fields relevant to the component’s practice (Ex: Computer Science or Cyber Security degree for Attorney working on Cyber issues); or
  • Proficiency in a foreign language related to Criminal Division’s needs.

In addition to the above, the below factors may be considered for entry level attorneys:

  • Published articles or served as an editor of a school law review or journal; or
  • Moot court experience.
3
7 Drug Enforcement Administration

In considering the below factors, no one factor should outweigh the others and the totality of the attorney’s skills and experiences should be considered.

  • State or Federal court experience, including trial and grand jury litigation; or
  • Demonstrated superior oral and written communication skills; or
  • Policy experience on criminal justice or national security matters; or
  • Experience working with foreign government officials and international law enforcement policy; or
  • Specialized training or experience in a subject matter directly relevant to position (e.g., intelligence law, technology law, information sharing/privacy law, class action employment litigation, financial investigations, regulatory law); or
  • Specialized experience in the application of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA); or
  • Demonstrated expertise in FOIA litigation including the preparation of agency declarations; or
  • Demonstrated expertise in the Privacy Act of 1974 and other federal privacy laws and policies.
1,3,4,5
8 Environment and Natural Resources Division

 
  • Law degree with demonstrated interest in environmental issues; or
  • State or Federal court experience, including trial or grand litigation of criminal or enforcement matters; or
  • Experience working with government officials in environmental defense or enforcement related issues; or
  • Professional qualifications such as admission to specialty bars; or
  • Moot Court/Mock Trial Experience; or
  • Past DOJ/Government Experience; or
  • Judicial clerkship at the federal or state level; or
  • Published articles; or
  • Specialized training or experience in subject matter directly relevant to the position; or

In addition to the above, the below factors may be considered for entry level attorneys:

  • Graduated in the top 10% or law school class, with academic honors, or with a cumulative GPA of 3.45 or higher; or
  • Served as editor or member of a law review or journal
2, 3, 5, 6
9

Executive Office for Immigration Review 

  • Specialized training or experience in subject matter directly relevant to the position (e.g., immigration issues, employment law), or
  • Outstanding research, analytical, and legal writing skills; or
  • Assignment to a hard-to-fill location; or
  • Demonstrated commitment to the agency mission (be specific and provide examples); or
  • Outstanding overall rating in the most recent performance appraisal.  

 

1,2,3,4

10 Federal Bureau of Investigations
 

Incoming entry-level Honors Program hires:

  • Graduated in top 10% of law school class or cumulative 3.45/4.0 or higher; or
  • Graduated from law school with academic Honors; or
  • Any of the factors applicable to experienced attorneys

Experienced attorneys:

  • Has at least 3 to 5 years of specialized training, knowledge or experience in subject matter directly relevant to the position
  • Demonstrated superior oral and written communication skills; or
  • Demonstrated expertise in the following areas: technical competence; professional delivery of client service; professionalism and teamwork; problem solving abilities; case/project management; litigation; and correctional law; or
  • Specialized training and experience (e.g., on the job training in a specialized area, curriculum development and presentation); or
  • Demonstrated leadership skills (e.g., volunteered to serve on or lead a workgroup; volunteer to serve as a mentor or coach); or
  • Skills or experience that contributes directly to the accomplishment of the Department's Strategic Goals and Objectives.
3
11

Federal Bureau of Prisons
 

(Current attorneys)

  • Demonstrated expertise in the following areas: technical competence; professional delivery of client service; professionalism and teamwork; problem solving abilities; case/project management; litigation; and correctional law.
  • Specialized training and experience (e.g., on the job training in a specialized area, curriculum development and presentation).
  • Demonstrated leadership skills (e.g., volunteered to serve on or lead a workgroup; volunteer to serve as a mentor or coach).
  • Skills or experience that contributes directly to the accomplishment of the Department's Strategic Goals of preventing terrorism and promoting the Nation's security.
3,4,5,6
12 National Security Division

Meets one or more of the following:

  • Specialized training or experience in subject matter directly relevant to the position; or    
  • Skills or experience that contributes directly to the accomplishment of the Department's Strategic Goals of preventing terrorism and promoting the Nation's security; or
  • Policy experience on National Security matters; or
  • Maintain an Exceptional level of Performance; or
  • Published articles relating to National Security; or      

In addition to the above, the below factors may be considered for entry level Honors Program attorneys:

  • Judicial clerkship at the federal level (all courts), or State court level; or  
  • Graduated in the top 10% of law school class (or cumulative 3.45 GPA of 3.45/4.0 or higher, or graduated from law school with academic honors; or
  • Published articles or served as an editor of a school law review or journal.
3
13a Office of Community
Oriented Policing
Services (COPS Office)



(Incoming experienced attorney hires)

Meets one of the following:

  • graduated in top 10% of  law school class or with academic honors (or equivalent); or
  • served as editor of school’s law review;

      AND

  • demonstrated specialized legal experience of at least five years in a subject matter directly relevant to position (i.e., federal grant law or federal employment law)
1,2,3
13b

Office of Community Oriented Policing Services  (COPS Office)


(Current attorneys)

A minimum of five years of experience as an attorney in the COPS Office Legal Division who demonstrates, as reflected by receiving the highest level performance ratings (Outstanding prior to 2004; Excellent as of 2004):

  • outstanding research, analytical, and writing skills; and
  • persuasive written and oral communication skills; and
  • effective workload management skills; and
  • the ability to handle multiple complex projects at one time; and
  • appropriate professional judgment; and
  • expertise in applying relevant legal standards to COPS Office policies and practices
2,3
14

Office of the Federal Detention Trustee (OFDT)

OFDT seeks to recruit and retain attorneys with the following high/unique qualifications:

  • Advanced degrees and training in the fields of law, government, public policy, management, procurement, government contracts, and constitutional law
  • Teaching and published writing experience in relevant fields including law and policy
  • Experience and skills related to the strategic goals and initiatives of the Department and OFDT, including diversity management and recruiting, promoting alternatives to detention, and interagency working groups in the areas of Federal detention
  • Experience and skills related to requests for information under the Freedom of Information Act
1, 5 and the difficulty in recruiting/retaining highly
qualified candidates for attorney positions, including salary disparity when compared to the private market for attorneys with similar skills and experience and the relative scarcity of attorneys with skills, training, background, and knowledge of Federal Detention management.
15

Office of Information
Policy

 

  • Specialized experience in the application of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).
  • Demonstrated expertise in FOIA litigation including the preparation of agency declarations.
  • Outstanding written and verbal communications skills.
1,2,3
16 Office of the Inspector General
  • Editor of law review or other law journal or published articles editor of a school law review or journal; or
  • Judicial clerkship at the federal level (all courts), or state appellate court level, U.S. Supreme Court, or State Supreme Court; or
  • Specialized training or experience in subject matter directly relevant to the position; or
  • Graduated in the top 10% of law school class (or cumulative 3.45 GPA of 3.45/4.0 or higher, or graduated from law school with academic honors); or
  • Outstanding overall rating in the most recent performance appraisal.

 

3, 6

17a Office of Justice Programs (Office of the General Counsel)
  • Has specialized training, knowledge or experience in subject matter directly relevant to the position (e.g., litigation experience; federal grant programs; federal procurement; federal employment law; FOIA/Privacy Act; civil rights); or
  • Demonstrated superior oral and written communication skills.

In addition to the above, the below factor may be considered for entry level attorneys:

  • Demonstrated academic achievement
6
17b

Office of Justice Programs (Office for Civil Rights)

 

Meets one or more or the following (describe how you meet any relied upon the factor in your justification):

  • Outstanding research, analytical, and legal writing skills, especially the publication of an article on the law or another related topic; or
  • Strong oral communication skills, especially in providing legal training programs, speaking to large audiences, and presiding at ethnically diverse community meetings; or
  • Experience in conducting independently complex, wide-ranging civil rights investigations of large organizations, especially law enforcement agencies; or
  • The ability to handle multiple complex projects at the same time; or
  • Experience in applying highly specialized civil rights laws pertaining to federally assisted programs, particularly in regard to employment practices and the delivery of services or benefits; or
  • Extensive knowledge of the operations of law enforcement agencies,

  In addition to the above, the below factors may be considered for entry-level attorneys:

  • Judicial clerkship at the federal or state level; or
  • Demonstrated academic achievement (e.g., moot court, member or editor of a legal journal, academic prizes or awards, or graduation from law school with honors).
1,3,5
18

Office of Legal Counsel

  • Recent judicial clerkship at a Federal Circuit Court or the U.S. Supreme Court
  • Specialized experience in a subject matter directly relevant to the position (e.g., national security)
3
19 Office of the Pardon Attorney
  • Demonstrated expertise in sentencing law

  • Receipt of the highest performance rating

  • Demonstration of the following workplace skills:

    • Outstanding research, analytical, and writing skills

    • Effective management of a complex and demanding workload

    • Special initiative in meeting component priorities and mission

 

3, 5

20

Office of Privacy and Civil Liberties

 

  • Demonstrated expertise in the Privacy Act of 1974 and other federal privacy laws and policies; or
  • Specialized experience in a subject matter directly relevant to the position (e.g. information sharing issues); and,
  • Outstanding research, analytical, writing, and verbal communication skills.
1,3,5
21 Office of the Solicitor General
  • A relevant judicial clerkship at the Federal Circuit Court or Supreme Court level; and
  • Demonstrated expertise and experience in appellate advocacy
  • Outstanding legal writing skills
3
22

Tax Division
Trial Attorney
 

(Current attorneys)

  • Three or more years’ experience as a trial attorney in the Tax Division performing at the excellent level (or higher) as documented by the most recent performance appraisal; and
  • Experience as the lead counsel or second chair when trying cases, briefing, or arguing cases involving complex financial transactions; and
  • Ability to distill and explain, using nontechnical terms and/or visual representations, complex financial transactions and their consequences; and
  • Outstanding legal writing ability as documented by an outstanding rating in the written performance element of the most recent performance appraisal; and
  • Contributions to and/or participation in activities and initiatives to further the Division and its mission (e.g., serving as a formal or informal mentor; leading a workgroup or committee; serving as a resource for fellow attorneys in a particular area of expertise).
2,3,6
23

U.S. Trustee Program

 

For incoming entry-level Honors Program attorney hires, the following factors apply:

  • Law degree with demonstrated bankruptcy interest, and

At least one of the following:

  • Graduated in the top 10% of a law school class or with a cumulative GPA of 3.45 or higher (4.0 scale); or
  • Judicial clerkship at the Supreme Court, Federal Court or State Court level; or
  • Published articles or served as an editor of a school law review or journal.

 For experienced attorneys, the following factors apply:

  • Three or more years experience as a trial attorney and performing at least at the excellent level as documented by the most recent performance appraisal, and

At least one of the following:

  • Assigned to a documented hard to fill location; or
  • Litigation or prosecution expertise in bankruptcy; or
  • Specialized experience in a subject matter directly related to the position
3,5,6
24 U.S. Attorneys’ Offices

Due to the variety of mission needs in USAOs nationwide, AUSAs should justify selection based on the needs of their individual district and the guidance provided in the Request for Consideration Justification form. In past years, some USAOs have used criteria such as those listed below. These criteria are reproduced here as examples only and may or may not be applicable to a specific USAO. AUSAs may consider these examples but should ensure that any criteria they select for their justification are relevant for their particular office. USAOs may have critical needs not reflected in these examples.

  • Professional proficiency in a spoken and written foreign language sufficient to conduct legal business and litigate issues.
  • For AUSAs involved in computer crime or related specialized litigation:  Three or more years of experience in computer technology as it relates to computer crime demonstrating the ability to litigate such issues as encryption, electronic privacy laws, search and seizure of computers, e-commerce, hacker investigations, infrastructure protection, emerging technologies, online investigations, online forensic techniques, and similar matters; or a Degree in Computer Science.
  • For AUSAs assigned to financial crime or related specialized litigation:  Three or more years of experience prosecuting finance-related crime; or a Degree in Accounting, Auditing, or Finance.
  • For AUSAs assigned to counter-terrorism duties: Three or more years of experience in intelligence analysis, counter-terrorism investigation; or demonstrated ability to litigate issues involving terrorism. 
  • Assignment to Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, or the Virgin Islands.
To be
determined based on justification

 

APPENDIX B
FACTORS OF RECRUITMENT OR RETENTION DIFFICULTY

Listed below are common factors of recruitment or retention difficulty.  In crafting a justification to support ASLRP funding, attorneys may use common factors appropriate to their situation or may articulate other relevant factors not listed below.  

1. The lack of success of recent efforts to recruit or retain qualified candidates for such positions (including indicators such as offer/acceptance rates, the proportion of such positions filled, and the length of time required to fill similar positions).

2. Recent high turnover in such positions.

3. Labor market factors that negatively affect the ability of the U.S. Department of Justice to recruit or retain highly qualified internal or external candidates for such positions, now or in the future (may include such factors as salary ranges, or comparable positions, scarcity of skills, emerging technology, etc.).  For entry-level attorneys, this may include the need to recruit candidates with unique skills, abilities, training, background, knowledge, or an exceptionally high degree of demonstrated potential based on objective academic achievements.

4. Lack of attractiveness of the position or location due to the nature of the work required, remoteness, cost of living, quality of public schools, levels of crime or harassment, conditions of housing, access to medical and hospital facilities, support services for special needs dependents, community amenities, etc.

5. The lack of availability in the labor market of candidates for employment who, with minimal training or disruption of services to the public, could perform the full range of duties and responsibilities assigned to the positions.

6. The number of employees in comparable positions who are likely to retire within the next five years would result in shortages in critical skills if employees who are further from possible retirement were not retained.

APPENDIX C
GUIDELINES FOR REQUESTING CONSIDERATION (New Requesters)

Attorneys requesting approval of ASLRP incentive payments must submit a Request for Consideration and justification along with other appropriate documentation (e.g., proof of qualifying student loans, signed service agreement) through their component to the Program Administration Panel for action. The submission deadlines are listed under “Key Dates.”  The Request for Consideration and Justification forms are form-fillable and accessible on the ASLRP main page under “How to Apply & Forms.” Handwritten responses are not acceptable, but if you need an accommodation, please contact OARM, Attention: Deana Willis, for assistance.

Any DOJ employee assigned to an attorney position may request consideration for the ASLRP by submitting a justification that is sufficient for the Department to determine that they are highly or uniquely qualified or meet a special Department need. The justification form provides instructions and guidance relating to the information that attorneys must address in order for the Department to make the appropriate regulatory determinations. In crafting their justification, attorneys may, at their discretion, incorporate component factors provided as guidelines in Appendix A (if applicable), but are not required to do so.  Appendix B lists common factors of recruitment or retention difficulty: attorneys may use any of those factors that are appropriate to their situation, but also may also articulate other relevant factors not listed.

All justifications must establish at least one of the following:

  • The basis for a determination of high or unique qualifications, or
  • The special need of the Department for the attorney's services.

Further, if the attorney is already on duty with the Department, the justification also must include a written description of the extent to which the attorney’s departure would affect the Department’s ability to carry out an activity or perform a function that is deemed essential to its mission.


Still have questions? Contact us at aslrp@usdoj.gov. (OARM monitors this email address from March through September. Please check the FAQ as most questions are addressed there. If you still have questions, contact OARM at (202) 514-8900 or at AskOARM@usdoj.gov

Updated April 19, 2023