Assistant General Counsel

Washington, D.C
Nov 30, 2022
Dec 08, 2022
Full Time

The incumbent assists in discharging the responsibility of the Office of General Counsel to provide legal advice and counsel to the Chair, Commissioners, and staff of the Commission. The incumbent performs a variety of tasks and responsibilities dealing with federal sentencing and the federal sentencing guidelines.

Responsibilities include, but are not limited to, the following:
  • In-depth legal research related to sentencing and other issues involving analysis of statutes, proposed legislation, case law, and governmental and other reports.
  • Preparation of legal memoranda and analytical reports.
  • Preparation of oral and written responses to inquiries from Commissioners, Commission staff, prosecutors, defense attorneys, probation officers, judges, and the public generally.
  • Training of practitioners and judges in sentencing and guidelines practice.
  • Participating on or leading staff working groups that focus on new legislation, preparing proposed guideline amendments, and other sentencing issues.
  • Participating as a Commission representative in professional conferences.
Legal research topics include issues relating to the application of the sentencing guidelines for both individual and organizational defendants, sentencing guideline issues relating to all federal offenses, as well as statutory and constitutional issues relating to the sentencing guidelines, substantive sentencing and criminal law issues, administrative law and federal agency practice, and personnel, ethics, and administrative matters.


Conditions of Employment


  • Applicants must possess a law degree (JD) from a law school accredited by the American Bar Association and be a member of the bar of a state, territory, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, or a Federal court of general jurisdiction.
  • Applicants must have a minimum of seven years of extensive legal experience which is in or directly related to the line of work of this position and which has equipped the applicant with the particular knowledge, skills, and abilities to successfully perform the duties of this position.
  • Applicants must have demonstrated work experience applying the federal sentencing guidelines.
  • Applicants must possess excellent oral and written communication skills and the ability to interact successfully with staff at all levels. Good organization and planning skills a must.
  • To be considered at the GS-14 level, applicants must have at least one year of specialized experience equivalent to the GS-13 in the federal service.
Applicants must have demonstrated work experience related to the mandatory requirements listed below and must address the qualification requirements in an attached cover letter.
  • Substantial experience in applying the federal sentencing guidelines. Experience in or knowledge of the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of the federal government.
  • Knowledge of relevant federal criminal law, procedural and administrative rules and regulations, canons of statutory construction, and methods of investigating the legislative history of congressional enactments. Knowledge of recent Supreme Court jurisprudence relating to federal sentencing.
  • Experience conducting in-depth legal research related to sentencing and other issues involving analysis of statutes, proposed legislation, case law, and governmental and private reports. Excellent legal analysis, writing, and editing skills. Ability to express, orally and in writing, complex legal issues in clear and succinct language so that the concepts are understood by both lawyers and non-lawyers.
  • Ability to maintain effective working relationships with agency staff at all levels as well as with key individuals in a variety of other federal organizations and interest groups. Ability to serve as a representative for the agency.
  • Skill in planning, organizing, setting priorities, and completing multiple tasks of varying complexity.
  • Technical abilities, such as computer experience and knowledge of software applications used to conduct legal research.
    Five years of trial experience as a prosecutor or defense attorney.

    The Commission participates in the following federal benefits:
    • The Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) program;
    • the Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program (FEDVIP),
    • the Federal Employees Group Life Insurance (FEGLI) program,
    • federal retirement,
    • the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP),
    • and the federal leave program.
    • In addition, the Commission participates in the Judiciary's Flexible Spending Program for dependent care, health care, and commuter reimbursement, and the government-wide Long Term Care Insurance Program, unemployment, and workers' compensation benefits.

      The Commission offers a monthly transit subsidy to employees who use mass transit to commute to and from work, subject to the availability of funds. The Commission offers alternative work schedules (AWS), which are fixed work schedules that enable full-time employees to complete the basic 80-hour biweekly work requirement in less than 10 workdays.

      The Commission offers regular telework (not full-time) to employees in positions deemed eligible by the staff director and who meet the requirements of an approved telework arrangement in which an employee performs official duties at home or at an approved telework site.

      The Commission also offers training opportunities to employees through LinkedIn Learning, and the Judiciary's Online University, which offers academic credit and professional credit programs through web-based learning. These training tools assist Commission employees with taking online courses in a flexible way, by offering training courses in the areas of: staff training and development; credit toward undergraduate degree programs; continuing education and non-credit certificate programs; executive education; contract training; credit credentials courses for continuing professional education and credit for individuals who hold credentials and achieve certifications associated with several globally-recognized sponsored organizations.


    Applicants must possess a law degree (JD) from a law school accredited by the American Bar Association.

    Additional information

    • This position is in the excepted service and does not carry the tenure rights of positions in the competitive Civil Service.
    • All information is subject to verification. Applicants are advised that false answers or omissions of information on application materials or inability to meet the following conditions may be grounds for non-selection, withdrawal of an offer of employment, or dismissal after being employed.
    • Selection for this position is contingent upon completion of OF-306, Declaration for Federal Employment during the pre-employment process and proof of U.S. citizenship or, for noncitizens, proof of authorization to work in the United States and proof of entitlement to receive compensation. Additional information on the employment of non-citizens can be found at: . For a list of documents that may be used to provide proof of citizenship or authorization to work in the United States, please refer to .
    • The Commission participates in E-Verify and will confirm your authorization to work in the United States.
    • A background security investigation is required for all selectees. Appointment will be subject to a selectee's successful completion of a background security investigation and favorable adjudication. Failure to successfully meet these requirements may be grounds for appropriate personnel action. A background security reinvestigation or supplemental investigation may be required at a later time.
    • All new Commission employees must identify a financial institution for direct deposit of pay before appointment, mandated by the Federal Compensation Act.
    • All new Commission employees, those converted from a temporary appointment to a permanent appointment, and all rehired former Commission employees are required to serve a one-year probationary period. The probationary period begins on the effective date of the employee's appointment, conversion, or rehire.
    • Applicant must relocate to the Washington DC Metropolitan area.
    • On January 21, 2022, a nationwide preliminary injunction was issued against the enforcement of Executive Order 14043, which imposed a COVID-19 vaccination requirement for federal employees in the Executive Branch. The preliminary injunction, like the executive order at issue, does not apply to the Commission and may be supplemented, modified, or vacated, depending on the course of ongoing litigation. However, the Commission has suspended enforcement of the COVID-19 vaccination requirement for current and new employees, set forth in the Commission's COVID-19 Vaccination Protocol, pending the outcome of such litigation. To ensure a safe workplace, the remaining requirements of this protocol remain in effect, including the proof-of-vaccination requirement, requirements for employees who are not fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or who do not provide proof thereof, and requirements for employees testing positive for COVID-19.