General Attorney

Arlington, Virginia
Nov 25, 2022
Nov 29, 2022
Full Time

This position is located in the Office of the Solicitor, Division of Mine Safety and Health. The Division is one of the headquarters divisions reporting to the Solicitor of Labor. The Division is responsible for providing all legal services to Department officials, especially the officials of the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA), other 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. Legal services include drafting, reviewing, and interpreting the Mine Act's safety and health standards and representing the Secretary of Labor in trial and appellate litigation arising under the Mine Act. The Division is also responsible for assisting MSHA in the conduct of major mine accident investigations, including, where appropriate, the conduct of public hearings into the cause of and contributing factors involved in the accident. The Division also monitors and participates in the conduct of regional litigation in the SOL regional and sub-regional offices. In addition, the Division oversees and participates in the training and in the conduct of trial practice by MSHA Conference and Litigation Representatives (CLRs) under the MSHA Alternate Case Resolution Initiative. The Division is responsible for the preparation and trial of cases before the Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission (Commission), the Department of Labor, U.S. district courts, and U.S. Courts of Appeals throughout the country. The cases may involve matters arising under the Mine Act or other statutes, and may involve working in conjunction with attorneys from other divisions or offices in the Solicitor's Office, the Department of Justice, or other agencies. The incumbent performs professional legal assignments in support of Division operations.

The incumbent reports to the Counsel for Trial Litigation and serves as a senior trial attorney advising the Mine Safety and Health Administration, the Counsel for Trial Litigation, and the Associate Solicitor for Mine Safety and Health on all legal issues regarding MSHA's investigations into the causes and contributing factors of mine accidents under the authority of the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act, as amended. The incumbent, as senior trial attorney, provides prompt and detailed legal advice on all legal questions arising out of the investigation of mine accidents.

Principal areas of responsibility include, but are not limited to, advising Chief Accident Investigators and senior MSHA officials regarding issues such as the legality and procedures for voluntary informal witness interviews; procedures for public hearings; the legality and proper procedures to take into custody mine equipment for examination and testing and the examination of records kept by the mine operator. These are complex and difficult factual and legal questions because of the interaction between the civil remedial goals of the accident investigation and the goals of effective civil and criminal enforcement as appropriate.

In the event of certain serious mine accidents, the incumbent will provide on-site legal assistance to the accident investigation team, sometimes for an extended period of time, advising team members on issues and participating in witness interviews, among other duties.

The incumbent, as senior trial attorney, is available to provide legal assistance and legal representation in the appropriate Federal district court or forum in order to obtain any legal orders necessary in carrying out the accident investigation responsibilities of the Secretary and the Mine Safety and Health Administration.

Incumbent also serves as a resource to regional attorneys who assist MSHA in single fatality accident investigations, or other investigations as necessary and participates in the MSHA headquarters review of the official, published Agency reports of these fatality investigations. Close coordination with senior officials of the Mine Safety and Health Administration, the Chief Accident Investigator assigned, and the Associate Solicitor for Mine Safety and Health is required.

In addition to accident investigations, the incumbent also handles enforcement trial and appellate litigation arising out of major accident investigations and other high profile, high priority enforcement litigation as assigned by the Counsel for Trial Litigation or the Associate Solicitor for Mine Safety and Health.

The incumbent may also be required to provide training to MSHA enforcement staff in legal matters related to the performance of enforcement responsibilities under the Mine Act including investigations and enforcement actions before the Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission (FMSHRC) and Federal courts.

This position is inside the bargaining unit.


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 paid.
  • This position is included in the bargaining unit.
  • Candidate required to obtain the necessary security/investigation level.
  • Subject to financial disclosure requirements.

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

This position is subject to the confidential financial disclosure requirements of the Ethics in Government Act of 1978 (P.L. 95-521). Therefore, if selected, you will be required to complete a Confidential Financial Disclosure Report (OGE Form 450) to determine if a conflict or an appearance of a conflict exists between your financial interest(s) and your prospective position with DOL. This information will be required annually.

Notification Concerning COVID-19 Vaccinations. As required by Executive Order 14043 , Federal executive branch employees are required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 regardless of the employee's duty location or work arrangement (e.g., telework, remote work, etc.), subject to such exceptions as required by law. If selected, you will be required to be vaccinated against COVID-19 and to submit documentation of proof of vaccination or to be in the process of requesting an exception to the vaccination requirement before appointment or onboarding with the agency. The agency will provide additional information regarding which forms of documentation can be accepted and how you can request to be considered for a legally required exception from this requirement.

Currently, implementation and enforcement of Executive Order 14043 has been suspended pursuant to an injunction pending further litigation.


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.

GS-15, four (4) years of progressively responsible legal experience of a professional nature which demonstrates the ability to perform the work at this level. At least one year of qualifying experience, at this level, must be specialized experience as defined below.

Specialized experience, for this grade level, is experience advising organizations on the legal issues, as it relates to the investigation into the causes and contributing factors of occupational safety and health accidents, and especially under the authority of the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act.

Note: An LL.M may be substituted for a maximum of one year 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

Persons who are deaf, hard of hearing, blind, or have speech disabilities, please dial 711 to access telecommunications relay services.

DOL seeks to attract and retain a high-performing and diverse workforce in which employees' differences are respected and valued to better meet the varying needs of the diverse customers we serve. DOL fosters a diverse and inclusive work environment that promotes collaboration, flexibility, and fairness so that all individuals can participate and contribute to their full potential.

All MSHA (Mine Safety and Health Administration) employees and their spouses, and minor children are prohibited by regulation from having any interest, direct or indirect, in any mine or mining company which may be directly affected by the work of MSHA through its investigations, technical research, or other activities. These interests are prohibited under the Department of Labor's Supplemental Standards of Ethical Conduct Regulations at 5 CFR 5201.105. For questions, please contact the vacancy contact listed on this announcement. All MSHA Inspectors are required to file within 30 days of the entrance of duty, and annually thereafter, a Confidential Financial Disclosure Report, OGE Form 450 .