The Honors Program in the Office of the Solicitor (SOL) at the U.S. Department of Labor provides challenging professional opportunities for outstanding law school graduates. Honors Program attorneys work in the Solicitor’s Office, gaining exposure to a broad range of substantive legal work in one of the government’s preeminent legal offices. Upon completion of the two-year program, attorneys will continue their careers in one of the Solicitor’s national or regional offices.
WHO ARE WE
The Office of the Solicitor serves as the legal counsel for the U.S. Department of Labor. The approximately 550 attorneys in SOL enforce and interpret occupational and mine safety and health laws, civil rights laws, pension and health benefit laws, minimum wage and overtime requirements, whistleblower protections, and international labor standards. SOL also provides legal services to programs that pay Federal benefits to the victims of certain occupational diseases and accidents, provide grants in support of employment and training programs, and administer unemployment benefits. In all, SOL attorneys work with more than 180 labor and employment laws.
SOL has more independent litigating authority than virtually any other cabinet department outside the Justice Department. SOL attorneys represent the Secretary of Labor in proceedings before federal district courts, federal courts of appeals, and administrative law judges. SOL attorneys also play a leading role in important and high-profile federal rulemakings and policy decisions.
About half of SOL’s attorneys serve in the National Office in Washington, D.C., and the remainder work in one of the 14 regional and branch offices across the country. Those offices are located in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Kansas City, New York City, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Seattle, Cleveland, Denver, Nashville, Los Angeles, and Arlington, Virginia.
The Honors Program gives attorneys a unique opportunity to help interpret and enforce a broad range of labor and employment laws while working in one of the largest legal offices in the Federal government. Honors Attorneys will gain experience that would be difficult to obtain in years of private practice, and will share the honor and privilege of representing the United States Government and engaging in public service.
The Department of Labor’s mission is to promote the welfare of wage earners, job seekers, and retirees, to improve working conditions, to advance opportunities for profitable employment, and to ensure work-related benefits and rights. Honors Attorneys play a crucial role in enabling the Department to carry out its mission. Like the Department, the Honors Program is more effective when its workforce includes highly qualified individuals whose backgrounds reflect our nation’s richly diverse workforce.
THE WORK OF AN HONORS PROGRAM ATTORNEY
- Honors Attorneys who are located in the National Office will spend their first two years in SOL handling a broad variety of assignments from divisions in the National Office. National Office Honors Attorneys have the opportunity to argue cases in federal courts of appeals, draft new mine and occupational safety regulations, participate in negotiations regarding international trade and labor law, prepare the Department for litigation in enforcement matters, and draft regulations. Honors attorneys in the National Office will rotate through various SOL divisions. National Office Honors Attorneys may also volunteer to work in a Regional Office for one of their rotations.
- Honors Attorneys who are located in the Regional Offices will engage in all aspects of trial litigation under the various statutes enforced by the Department of Labor, including analyzing an investigative file, filing a complaint, engaging in negotiations and discovery, preparing briefs and arguing motions, and serving as lead counsel in cases that go to trial. Honors Attorneys in the Regional Offices remain in that office for the duration of the Honors Program but may volunteer for a three-month rotation in the National Office.
- After two years, Honors attorneys will be permanently placed in a specific office in SOL. All efforts will be made to accommodate attorneys’ preferences among the National Office divisions and regional offices, consistent with the needs of the Department.
Occasional travel – Occasional travel – Limited travel may be required.
14 – There is no obligation to provide future promotions if you are selected. Promotions are dependent on your ability to perform the duties at a higher level, meet all the performance requirements, and supervisor’s recommendation to the next grade.