Assistant Special Counsel

Washington, D.C
Dec 01, 2022
Dec 08, 2022
Full Time

Duties include, but are not limited to:
  • Drafting of preliminary and final sentencing guidelines, commentary, and policy statements during the amendment cycle, which includes assisting commissioners and staff in objectively analyzing the effects of alternative guideline proposals.
  • Preparing and ensuring the technical accuracy of guideline amendments adopted by the Commission for submission to Congress.
  • Preparing and ensuring the technical accuracy of each edition of the Guidelines Manual and Appendices.
  • Drafting Federal Register notices.
  • Drafting legislative proposals for commissioners and staff, or as a service to requesting members of Congress.
  • Assisting the general counsel, as requested, in providing legislative and parliamentary advice to commissioners and staff.
  • Assisting the general counsel, as requested, in the drafting of internal Commission rules or procedures, and Commission human resources and other policies.
  • Providing policy-neutral information to, and briefing of, the commissioners, the staff director, the office directors and other staff, on policy development initiatives as requested.
  • Facilitating the work of policy development teams and performing other liaison duties as requested by the general counsel.
  • Providing guidance on technical aspects of the guidelines.
  • Preparing, assembling, and distributing meeting materials.
  • Preparing items for the Annual Report, appropriations summaries, and any other materials relating to guideline amendments and other policy initiatives.


Conditions of Employment


Applicants must have a law degree (JD) from a law school accredited by the American Bar Association. Membership of the bar of a state, territory, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, or a federal court of general jurisdiction. Practical experience in drafting legislation, rules, regulations, or policies. To be considered at the JS-14 level, you must have one year of specialized experience equivalent to the GS-13 in the federal service. To be considered at the JS-13 level, you must have one year of specialized experience equivalent to the GS-12 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.
  • Exceptional oral and written communication skills.
  • Working knowledge of federal lawmaking, rulemaking, and policymaking, including thorough understanding of the legislative process; ability to research and analyze case law and legislative history; and familiarity with such topics as statutory interpretation, parliamentary procedure, and administrative law.
  • Ability to analyze, understand and convey to others the effect of proposed legislation.
  • 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.
  • Knowledge of or experience in governmental organizations, including the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of the federal government.
  • Ability to handle multiple priorities and meet deadlines. Technical abilities, such as computer experience and knowledge of software applications used to conduct research.

The following is strongly preferred: Hill experience, preferably with criminal and sentencing policy issues.

In addition, preference will be given to applicants who have one or more of the following qualifications:
  • Experience in litigating at the trial or appellate levels.
  • Experience as a state appellate law clerk or federal judicial law clerk.
  • Outstanding academic credentials and/or law review or moot court experience.
  • Publications in a law review or other legal publication.
  • Knowledge of the federal criminal justice system and the federal sentencing guidelines.
  • Experience with federal criminal and sentencing policy issues.
  • Significant writing and editing experience, whether legal or non-legal.

The Commission participates in the following federal benefits:
  • Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) program;
  • Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program (FEDVIP),
  • Federal Employees Group Life Insurance (FEGLI) program,
  • federal retirement,
  • Thrift Savings Plan (TSP),
  • 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 is conveniently located next to Union Station on Capitol Hill, and is easily accessible by public transportation, including the Metro, and the MARC and VRE commuter trains. In addition to the federal benefits package, the Commission's location in the Thurgood Marshall Federal Judiciary Building offers various amenities such as a health unit, credit union, day care center, cafeteria, and free on-site fitness center.

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 9 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 have 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.