Organizational Location: This attorney position is located in the Office of the Principal Legal Advisor (OPLA), Enforcement and Litigation, District Court Litigation Division, Washington, D.C.
Salary: General Schedule locality pay tables may be found under Salaries & Wages .
BUS: This is a non-bargaining position.
Learn more about this agency
The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Office of the Principal Legal Advisor (OPLA) is seeking an attorney to serve in its headquarters office in Washington, D.C., as Chief of the District Court Litigation Division (DCLD). DCLD defends ICE's operational prerogatives and activities, its people, and its budget by zealously representing agency interests in civil litigation and through the adjudication of administrative claims. DCLD's attorneys serve as agency counsel and manage federal civil litigation against ICE and cases that otherwise impact ICE equities. DCLD attorneys work closely with the Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) Headquarters Office of General Counsel (OGC HQ) and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ). DCLD assists ICE personnel and provides litigation support to DOJ in all aspects of civil federal litigation, including the development of legal strategy and arguments, motion practice, discovery, and settlement negotiations, in cases ranging from common-law tort suits, lawsuits under Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents , 403 U.S. 388 (1971), and claims seeking declaratory or injunctive relief. DCLD also provides oral and written advice to ICE leadership and employees regarding potential litigation risks, represents ICE's interests in litigation-related discussions with other agencies and DHS components, and adjudicates administrative claims for personal injuries and property damage pursuant to the Federal Tort Claims Act.
The DCLD Chief supervises a team of approximately 25 attorneys, including three deputy chiefs, and support personnel; manages the division's financial resources; and applies a Collective Bargaining Agreement in conformity with federal labor law. Within the broad DCLD portfolio, the DCLD Chief ensures that high-quality, timely, and accurate advice and communication are provided to the ICE Office of Director, OPLA Senior Leadership, OGC HQ, ICE program offices, OPLA field locations, and other agency partners, clients, and stakeholders. The DCLD Chief must also promptly and accurately identify and elevate significant cases and legal issues to OPLA Senior Leadership, the ICE Office of the Director, and OGC HQ; coordinate closely with other OPLA headquarters divisions, OPLA field locations, and ICE program offices on a variety of litigation matters; assess litigation risks associated with planned operations; and anticipate litigation trends and develops strategies to minimize legal exposure.
The DCLD Chief is also responsible for overseeing the successful and timely completion of formal DHS and ICE taskings assigned to the division, such as the drafting and review of congressional testimony, responses to congressional inquiries, and other executive correspondence; developing briefing materials for agency leadership; and reviewing memoranda, directives, and proposed legislation and regulations. The DCLD Chief also identifies, collects, and analyzes metrics on the division's performance and efficacy; develops internal standard operating procedures to make DCLD more effective; and ensures appropriate coordination across OPLA and DHS to ensure unified and consistent legal guidance.
Applicants must possess the following characteristics and competencies: leadership, integrity, organizational skills, communication skills, reliability, perseverance, decisiveness, initiative, professionalism, discretion, the ability to function independently and as part of a team, interpersonal relationship skills including managing conflict and fostering productive relationships with internal and external partners, and outstanding written and oral advocacy skills. A strong knowledge of immigration law, experience handling complex legal and policy issues, and litigation experience – including with regard to electronic discovery – are preferred.
Occasional travel – You may be expected to travel for this position.
Conditions of Employment
- You must be a U.S. citizen to apply for this position.
- You must successfully pass a background investigation and drug screen for federal employment.
- Males born after 12/31/59 must certify registration with Selective Service.
- Relevant Experience (see Qualifications and Evaluations Tab).
- Requirements by Closing Date: You must meet all requirements by the closing date of the announcement.
- Complete Application Package (see How to Apply Tab).
- You may be required to serve a two-year trial period, if the requirement has not been met.
- You may be required to serve a one-year supervisory probationary period, if the requirement has not been met.
You must meet all qualification and eligibility requirements by 11:59 P.M. Eastern Standard Time on the closing date of the announcement. Please note that qualification claims will be subject to verification.
Applicants must be a graduate of a school of law accredited by the American Bar Association and an active member in good standing of the bar of a state, territory of the United States, the District of Columbia, or the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.
E-Verify: DHS uses E-Verify to confirm the eligibility of all newly hired employees to work in the United States. Learn more about E-Verify including your rights and responsibilities.
Promotion Potential: GS-15.
Direct Deposit: All federal employees are required to have Federal salary payments made by direct deposit.
Notice to Veterans' Preference: There is no formal rating system for applying veterans' preference to attorney appointments in the Excepted Service; however, OPLA considers veterans' preference eligibility as a positive factor in attorney hiring.
Applicants eligible for veterans' preference must attach supporting documents (e.g., DD Form 214, Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty) to their submissions. Although the point-preference system is not used, applicants eligible to claim a 10-point preference must submit a Standard Form (SF) 15, Application for 10-Point Veterans' Preference, and supporting documentation required for the specific type of preference claimed. The SF-15, which lists the types of 10-point preference and the required supporting documents, is available at https: www.opm.gov/
Financial Disclosure: If you are hired, you may be required to complete a Confidential Financial Disclosure Report (OGE Form 450) within 30 days after appointment.
Suitability: If you receive a conditional offer of employment, you must complete an Optional Form 306, Declaration for Federal Employment , and sign and certify the accuracy of all information in your application, prior to entry on duty. False statements on any part of the application may result in withdrawal of offer of employment, dismissal after beginning work, fine, or imprisonment.
Certificate of Good Standing: Before you enter on duty you must submit a bar card, certificate of good standing, or other documentary evidence dated within six months of this application to prove that you are a member in good standing of the bar of a state, territory of the United States, the District of Columbia, or the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.
Background Investigation: DHS requires every employee to be reliable and trustworthy. To meet these standards, all selected applicants must undergo and successfully obtain and maintain a background investigation for Top Secret as a condition of placement into this position. This may include a credit check, a review of financial issues such as delinquency in the payment of debts, child support and/or tax obligations, as well as certain criminal offenses and illegal use or possession of drugs.
The Department of Homeland Security encourages persons with disabilities to apply, to include persons with intellectual, severe physical or psychiatric disabilities, as defined by 5 C.F.R. § 213.3102(u), and/or Disabled Veterans with a compensable service-connected disability of 30 percent or more as defined by 5 C.F.R. § 315.707. Veterans , Peace Corps / VISTA volunteers , and persons with disabilities possess a wealth of unique talents, experiences, and competencies that can be invaluable to the DHS mission. If you are a member of one of these groups, you may not have to compete with the public for federal jobs.
Pursuant to Executive Order 12564, and the DHS Drug-Free Workplace Plan, ICE is committed to maintaining a drug-free workplace. All applicants tentatively selected for employment are subject to pre-employment drug testing and a final offer of employment is contingent upon a negative result.
How You Will Be Evaluated
You will be evaluated for this job based on how well you meet the qualifications above.
You will be evaluated for this job based on how well you meet the qualifications above.
All information and documents submitted as set forth in the Required Documents Tab will be reviewed to ensure you meet the minimum qualification requirements, and further evaluated as part of the application process.
Qualified candidates will be rated by comparing each candidate's qualifications to the skills and experience pertinent to the position to be filled. Experience, education, training, awards, and performance will be considered. An applicant need not have specific knowledge and experience with regard to each item listed in the Duties section in order to qualify for the position.
Experience refers to paid and unpaid experience, including volunteer work through national Service programs (e.g., Peace Corps, AmeriCorps) and other organizations (e.g. professional; philanthropic, religious, community; student; social). Volunteer work helps build critical competencies, knowledge, and skills and can provide valuable training and experience that relates directly to gain employment. You will receive credit for all qualifying experience, including volunteer experience. If such experience is on a part-time basis, you must provide the average number of hours worked per week as well as the beginning and ending dates of the experience to be fully credited.
All the information you provide may be verified by a review of the work experience and/or education as shown on your application forms, by checking references and through other means, such as the interview process. This verification may occur at any stage of the application process. Any exaggeration of your experience, false statements, or attempts to conceal information may be grounds for rating you ineligible, not hiring you, or for firing you after you begin work.
Background checks and security clearance
Drug test required
Position sensitivity and risk
Special-Sensitive (SS)/High Risk
Trust determination process
You must include all required documentation, as set forth below, with your application package before the closing date. No extensions will be granted for required documents.
Cover Letter: Please use your cover letter to discuss your interest in the position, your pertinent knowledge, skills, abilities, and experience, and your personal characteristics and competencies that qualify you for the position as detailed in the Duties section of this announcement.
In addition, your cover letter must include the following information:
- full name;
- home address;
- home or work e-mail address(es);
- phone number(s) where we may contact you: cell, work, and/or home; and
- name of the law school, year of graduation, and year admitted to the bar.
Resume: Your resume must include: announcement number, education, training, awards, and work experience. Work experience must include: job title, duties, employer's name, employer's telephone number, employer's address, starting and ending dates (MM/YY). Please indicate whether or not we may contact your current supervisor.
Writing Sample: A writing sample demonstrating your legal analytical abilities must be submitted as part of your application package, for which you must be the principal author. It should not exceed 10 double-spaced pages.
Transcript: If you have practiced law for less than five years, you must submit a copy of your law school transcript and grade-point average or class ranking. If you have practiced law for five years or more, your transcript is not required.
Bar Membership: You must submit proof of your current membership (i.e., bar card, certificate of good standing, or other documentary evidence) from the bar to which you are licensed.
Are you a current or former federal employee? Please submit a copy of your most recent SF-50, Notification of Personnel Action which shows competitive service appointment, tenure group, and salary.
Veterans Preference Documentation (if applicable): If you are a discharged, non-disabled veteran, you must submit a copy of your DD214 (Member 4 copy) or other Documentation of Service and Separation under Honorable Conditions. If you don't have your DD-214, you may request it after discharge from the National Archives at www.archives.gov/veterans.
If you are a veteran within 120-days of discharge, you must submit signed documentation from the Armed Forces certifying: 1) your expected release/retirement from active duty, 2) under honorable conditions, 3) your pay grade/rank/rate at time of discharge, 4) dates of active duty service, 5) any campaign or expeditionary medals received, and 6) dated within 120 days of your separation.
If you are a disabled veterans, Purple Heart recipient, or mother or spouse of a disabled or deceased veteran, you must submit a completed SF-15 and all additional proof required by the SF-15, as applicable. If you don't have your Department of Veterans Affairs letter establishing proof of disability, you may request it at ebenefits.va.gov/ebenefits/homepage or call 1-800-827-1000.
If you are relying on your education to meet qualification requirements:
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.