This position is located in the Department of Labor, Office of the Solicitor, Mine Safety and Health Division. The Division is responsible for providing all legal services to officials of the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA), other Department of Labor (DOL) and government officials, and the general public in matters relating to enforcement, interpretation, and application of the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977 (Mine Act), as amended.

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The Counsel for Appellate Litigation is responsible for the review and direction of the work of various Division attorneys and support staff in providing legal services relating to: (1) the review and analysis for possible appeal of decisions rendered by the Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission (Commission); (2) the preparation and presentation of DOL's case, either as petitioner or respondent, including motions, the preparation of appellate briefs, and the presentation of oral arguments before the various U.S. Courts of Appeals; (3) handling appeals of ALJ decisions to the Commission; (4) handling appeals to the MSHA Assistant Secretary of modification decisions; and (5) responding to operator appeals under Federal Rule of Appellate Procedure 60(b).

The incumbent guides, reviews, and directs attorneys assigned to the counsel area in: (1) the process whereby adverse decisions rendered by the Commission are analyzed with a view toward appeal in the appropriate U.S. Court of Appeals; and (2) the process by which ALJ decisions are appealed to the Commission. The incumbent is personally responsible for overseeing the preparation of pleadings, briefs, and other legal documents, preparation of pleadings, briefs, and other legal documents, taking into consideration such factors as the strength of the record made at the administrative hearing, the impact of the ALJ's decision if allowed to stand, the likelihood of success at the Commission and similar and related considerations. Incumbent is also responsible for recommending to the Associate or Deputy Associate Solicitor whether there should be a petition for certiorari in the Supreme Court to review any unfavorable decisions by the court of appeals.

Incumbent ensures the quality and uniformity of work through the assigning, supervising, and review of all briefs, records, and related legal documents.The incumbent provides guidance to attorneys in the assigned area on litigation matters and cases that present novel issues, involve especially difficult questions of fact and law, pertain to large mining corporations that span DOL regional boundaries or otherwise involve questions of litigation policy of broad significance to the mine safety and health enforcement program. In especially significant and complex cases, the incumbent reviews the investigative and legal files and directs the efforts of subordinate Division attorneys engaged in the preparation of complaints, pleadings, briefs, and other legal documents.

The incumbent is responsible for the direction of MSHA-related appellate litigation from the Washington, D.C. and Arlington, Virginia headquarters. During the course of brief preparation, the incumbent advises SOL attorneys on such matters as developing stronger factual records for MSHA cases and developing test cases to strengthen and extend the law in MSHA cases.

The incumbent is responsible for making assignments for any oral arguments before the various courts and the Commission. A major responsibility is the pacing of the development of the various cases so as to distribute the workload evenly, afford less-experienced attorneys appropriate training, and meet court filing deadlines in a timely manner. In especially important cases, the incumbent may be called upon to prepare the petition, briefs, and any other type of document necessary for the presentation of the Department's case and for argument of the case.

The incumbent is responsible for the review and direction of all work in the assigned area and for passing on the adequacy of petitions and briefs. The incumbent is also responsible for the day-to-day supervision of subordinate attorneys and staff, including tasks typically associated with supervisory positions, such as writing performance appraisals, etc.

In addition to the appellate litigation duties, the incumbent provides advice and assistance, when needed and as appropriate, to the other sections of the MSH Division and to Regional Solicitors' Offices.


The incumbent is under the administrative direction of the Associate Solicitor and Deputy Associate Solicitor, which for the most part is given in general terms, leaving wide latitude for the exercise of independent judgment in all except the most unusual, difficult, or important policy matters. Review by the Associate or Deputy Associate Solicitor is on the broadest considerations of overall performance and is usually limited to conformance with DOL and SOL policy. The incumbent is responsible for keeping the Associate and Deputy Associate informed on a timely basis of all sensitive matters pertaining to the work assigned and for coordinating related work assignments with other Counsels.

Travel Required

Occasional travel – Some travel will be required

Supervisory status

Promotion Potential
15 – There is no obligation to provide future promotions to you if you are selected. Promotions are dependent on your ability to perform the duties at a higher level, the need for an employee promoted to the higher level, and supervisory approval.


Conditions of Employment

  • Appointment to this position may require a background investigation.
  • Requires a probationary period if the requirement has not been met.
  • U.S. Citizenship.
  • Relocation expenses will not be covered
  • This position is not inside the bargaining unit

Applicants must meet all legal and regulatory requirements. Reference the "Required Documents" section for additional requirements.


To qualify for an attorney position, applicants must possess a professional law degree (LL.B. or J.D.); be a member in good standing of the bar of a court of general jurisdiction of a state, territory or possession of the U.S.; and have acquired the amount of experience indicated below for each grade level.

Applicants must possess at least 5 years of progressively responsible legal experience, which demonstrates a thorough and broad knowledge of the basic principles in the legal profession and outstanding technical competence in the solution of unusual, complex, and difficult problems. Applicants must have litigation experience which includes analyzing and conducting legal research on complex questions regarding statutory and regulatory interpretation, preparation of legal pleadings, memoranda and briefs in factually, technical and/or legal complex cases, participation in oral arguments before appellate tribunals, and application of rules of appellate procedure and principles of appellate strategy. Applicants must exhibit the ability to work in a supportive and professional manner with staff, attorney supervisors, client agency representatives at a high level, and Commission and court personnel.

Applicants must be a graduate from a law school accredited by the American Bar Association and be a member in good standing of a standing of the bar of a state or territory of the United States, the District of Columbia, or the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. An L.L.M. may be substituted for one year of progressively responsible legal experience.


Any applicant falsely claiming an academic degree from an accredited school will be subject to actions ranging from disqualification from federal employment to removal from federal service.

If your education was completed at a foreign college or university, you must show comparability to education received in accredited educational institutions in the United States and comparability to applicable minimum course work requirements for this position. Click Evaluation of Foreign Education for more information.

Additional information

The United States Government does not discriminate in employment on the basis of race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy and gender identity), national origin, political affiliation, sexual orientation, marital status, disability, genetic information, age, membership in an employee organization, retaliation, parental status, military service, or other non-merit factor.

The Department of Labor does not make unfavorable hiring decisions on the basis of an applicant's previous or current unemployment, or the fact that an applicant has experienced financial difficulty through no fault of his/her own and has undertaken good faith efforts to meet his/her financial obligations. Consideration is given to financial status in relation to appointments only where required by law, regulation, or Executive Order.


The incumbent may be prohibited from having any interest in a mine or mining company affected by their duties. The incumbent will be required to file a confidential financial disclosure report with the Office of Government Ethics.

How You Will Be Evaluated

You will be evaluated for this job based on how well you meet the qualifications above.

All applications will be reviewed to ensure qualifications are met. Applicants meeting the minimum qualification requirements for this position will be further evaluated against the evaluation factors. Current and/or past supervisors may be contacted unless specified otherwise. A panel and/or the selecting official or his/her designee may interview applicants. The following evaluation factors must be addressed in your application:

  • Knowledge of the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977, as amended.
  • Ability to independently plan, organize, and supervise complex appellate litigation related to the Department's enforcement of safety and health or other laws. Appellate litigation experience is required.
  • Knowledge and ability to serve as a senior legal advisor on highly complex appellate issues, independently making programmatic and administrative recommendations consistent with policies and priorities.
  • Ability to make effective oral presentations in a clear and concise manner.
  • Ability to edit and prepare well-written, organized and persuasive legal documents factually, legally, and/or technically complex issues.
  • Ability to establish and maintain effective liaison with high-level officials, program heads, and supervisors, with personnel in the MSH Division, other SOL Divisions and Regional Solicitor's Office, SOL's Front Office, and the general public.
  • Please respond to these evaluation factors in three pages or fewer.

    It is the responsibility of the applicant to supply sufficient information to provide a basis for rating each of the evaluation factors listed above.

    Individuals who meet eligibility requirements for special priority selection under ICTAP/CTAP must be well-qualified for the position to receive consideration for special priority selection. Be sure to review DOL Account Eligibility/Core Questions #24 and 27 to reflect that you are applying as an ICTAP/CTAP eligible and submit supporting documentation.

    The information you provide may be verified by a review of your work experience and/or education, by checking references and through other means (ex. interview).

    To preview questions please click here .

    Background checks and security clearance

    Security clearance
    Not Required

    Drug test required

    Position sensitivity and risk
    Non-sensitive (NS)/Low Risk

    Trust determination process

    Required Documents

    The following documents must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. (ET) on the vacancy closing date. Follow the instructions: click How To Submit Supplemental Documentation Document . Warning: If you submit a document using the same document title, the 2nd submission will OVERWRITE the 1st submission.
    You are not required to submit a document if it does not apply to you.

    Bar Certification: Should you be selected for this position, you will be required to submit documentation verifying that you are an active member of the Bar in Good Standing of any State, District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, or any Territorial Court under the U.S. Constitution. This letter and/or certificate should be dated within the last six months of the closing date of this job announcement.

    Transcripts: Should you be selected for this position, you will be required to submit documentation verifying that you have completed your first professional law degree. Applicants who claim substitution of education for experience with an LL.M must submit a copy of their transcripts for verification.

    Veterans Documents (if applicable):
    Attorney appointments within the Department of Labor are positions in the excepted service, not the competitive service. There is no formal rating system for applying veterans' preference in attorney appointments; however, the Department of Labor considers veterans' preference eligibility as a positive factor in attorney hiring. In order to receive positive consideration, you must indicate your eligibility, in response to the appropriate item on the vacancy questionnaire. Additionally, you must submit a copy of your Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty, DD214 showing the type of discharge and dates of active duty and, if applicable, a VA letter certifying the present existence of the service-connected disability which indicates the percentage of your disability. (For active duty service members expecting to be honorably discharged or released within 120 days, click Active Duty ) Without this documentation, you will not receive veteran's consideration. Additional information is available in the Vet's Guide .

    You may also find more information on positive consideration for attorney hiring .

    Displaced Employee Placement Documents: These documents are only required if you are requesting priority consideration under ICTAP/CTAP Eligibility. Applicants with disabilities (SCHEDULE A) applying under the area of consideration must submit proof of certification by counselors, State vocational rehabilitation agencies or the Veterans Administration.

    Cover Letters are not mandatory and will not be used to verify experience, but may be submitted.

    Applicants selected for employment that are not current DOL employees will be required to provide proof of citizenship, or non-citizenship as allowable in Excepted Service hiring through P.L. 112-10, and the E-Verify system will be used to confirm the employment eligibility of all new hires.

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