Overview

The position is located in Washington, District of Columbia.

The incumbent serves as an attorney providing legal advice, research, analysis and interpretation of federal, state and local laws, as well as oral and written opinions, memoranda, pleadings, briefs and legal support of all USDA programs and litigation, and performs other legal services as assigned.

Bar Membership: Applicant must currently be a member in good standing of the bar of a state, territory of the United States, District of Columbia, or Commonwealth of Puerto Rico by the time you begin the position.

Foreign Education: If you are using education completed in foreign colleges or universities to meet the qualification requirements, you must show that the education credentials have been evaluated by a private organization that specializes in interpretation of foreign education programs and such education has been deemed equivalent to that gained in an accredited U.S. education program; or full credit has been given for the courses at a U.S. accredited college or university.

Narrative: You must submit a written statement, in your cover letter or in a separate document, explaining your interest in working for USDA’s Office of the General Counsel, and noting any relevant course work, training, or prior experience that you believe should be considered in evaluating your application.

It is your responsibility to provide adequate proof that you meet the above requirements (education and bar membership). Inadequate or illegible information could result in non-qualification and loss of consideration.

If you are relying on your education to meet qualification requirements: You MUST submit a copy of your transcript if you want to substitute your education for experience. If you claim qualifications based on education, and do not submit a transcript, your education will not be used in making a qualification determination and you may be found “not qualified“.

Education must be accredited by an accrediting institution recognized by the U.S. Department of Education in order for it to be credited towards qualifications. Therefore, provide only the attendance and/or degrees from schools accredited by accrediting institutions recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.

Failure to provide all of the required information as stated in this vacancy announcement may result in an ineligible rating or may affect the overall rating.

For consideration, applicants must meet the minimum qualifications for attorney positions:

  • Successful completion of a full course of study in a school of law accredited by the America Bar Association (ABA) and have the first professional law degree (LLB or JD) (Law School transcript required); and
  • Currently be a member in good standing of the bar of a state, territory of the United States, District of Columbia, or Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.

SPECIALIZED EXPERIENCE

Applicants should have demonstrated specialized experience in legal research, excellent writing and communication skills, and a strong academic record. This experience should be clearly documented in the cover letter and resume.

GS-11: Meet minimum qualifications, above, and demonstrate: Federal service or equivalent responsibility in the private sector/pay systems that has equipped you with the particular competencies to successfully perform as an Attorney Advisor. Examples of such experience include: Under direction providing legal advice, research, analysis and interpretation of federal, state, and local laws; Assisting in writing opinions, memoranda, pleadings, briefs, and legal support of agency/organization programs and litigation; Performing other legal services as assigned; Preparing various kinds of legal documents, both for specific case use and for general use under guidance; Ability to conduct legal research to handle cases involving the Department’s programs; Ability to apply legal analysis and make sound legal judgment to find appropriate precedent or distinguish applicable law or facts to support or justify legal positions with advice from senior attorneys.

The duties listed below are described at the FPL GS-14, the GS-11, GS-12, and GS-13 are developmental leading to such performance.

  • Mastery of statutes, regulations, and legal precedents related to major USDA program areas or relevant subject matter expertise to provide expert legal advice in regard to the assigned program area, develop or recommend litigation strategies and procedures, aid the Department of Justice in the trial of important or precedent-setting cases, and negotiate or participate in negotiating settlements on behalf of the Department
  • Mastery of a large and complex body of law in which precedents are frequently conflicting or non-existent to make determinations and reach conclusions which guide the Department or the Agency in resolving subsequent, similar problems; provide legal advice to
    heads of programs and Agencies on complex and difficult legal questions or factual issues; and write opinions and case assessment memoranda after conducting detailed factual and legal research
  • Mastery of the principles and techniques of legal analysis and practice in order to prepare pleadings, motions, briefs, litigation reports, and related documents in connection with suits by and against the Government and determine in each case the nature of action or defense, the legal issues involved, the most effective course of action, and optimal strategies and tactics to be employed.
  • Comprehensive knowledge and understanding of missions and functions of the USDA and its agencies or relevant subject matter expertise, as appropriate in order to provide legal services in support of USDA programs and activities that are consistent with the strategic goals of USDA and the priorities of the Secretary of Agriculture.
  • Mastery of the principles and techniques of written and oral communication to speak and write with clarity and tact to provide guidance on complex legal issues, secure acceptance of recommendations, prepare complex legal opinions, and effectively represent the Department in a variety of external interactions.

NOTE: This experience must be demonstrated on your resume/supporting documents.

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