Trial attorneys in Office of Constitutional and Specialized Tort Litigation - Vaccine Litigation Staff - represent the interests of the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services in all cases filed in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims under the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act ("Vaccine Act"). The cases involve claims of injury as a result of the receipt of vaccines covered by the Act. The office is currently expanding to address workload created by an increase in cases filed under the Vaccine Act.
The position is a unique trial practice in support of public health, science, and medicine. The legal and medical issues at stake in each case vary. Trial attorneys independently manage heavy caseloads, and while streamlined procedures are utilized, many cases involve complex scientific issues of causation that require expert witnesses in medical fields such as pediatrics, neurology, immunology, and epidemiology. In cases in which petitioners are found entitled to compensation, the litigation occasionally requires use of damages experts to develop an appropriate life care plan for the injured party, including medical treatment and related care needs, and the determination of other compensable damages, such as lost earnings and pain and suffering, often awarded through a structured settlement.
Attorneys with limited experience will focus primarily on litigating cases in a "claims" type posture, typically involving less complicated issues of science and medicine, limited damages, and fewer court appearances, with the possibility of transitioning to handling more complex cases in litigation over time.
Attorneys appear frequently before the Office of Special Masters in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, and also appear before the judges of the Court of Federal Claims, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit when handling appeals. Responsibilities include factual and legal research, medical record review, brief writing, and working with expert witnesses to develop the defense of claims, as well as to address the life care needs of vaccine-injured petitioners in some cases. The majority of cases are resolved informally, and thus attorneys engage regularly in settlement and damages negotiations, including alternative dispute resolution, and drafting settlement memoranda. RequirementsConditions of Employment
- Must be a U.S. Citizen or National.
- You will be required to complete a pre-employment security investigation and background check which includes a drug screening.
- Selective Service registration is required for males born on, or after, December 31st 1959. Those not registered should have an approved exemption on file.
- May require completion of a 14-month temporary appointment, subject to extension, pending the completion and adjudication of your background check.
- Must be able to obtain and maintain a Top Secret security clearance with eligibility for Sensitive Compartmented Information (SCI) access depending on organizational assignment / duty location.
- It is the policy of the Department to achieve a drug-free workplace and persons selected for employment will be required to pass a drug test which screens for illegal drug use prior to final appointment.
- Financial Disclosure: If selected, you will be required to disclose financial information in accordance with DOJ and Federal ethics guidelines.
- Upon conversion to a permanent appointment with the Department, all Department attorneys are subject to a two year trial period.
Applicants must be a graduate from a full course of study in a School of Law accredited by the American Bar Association and be 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.
Applicants must possess a J.D. degree, be an active member of the bar (any jurisdiction), have at least one year of post J.D. experience to qualify at the GS-12 level; have at least one and a half years of post J.D. experience to qualify at the GS-13 level; have at least two and a half years of post J.D. experience to qualify at the GS-14 level; and four years of post J.D. experience to qualify at the GS-15 level. You must also be a U.S. citizen.
Applicants should have excellent writing, negotiation and interpersonal skills and exhibit good judgment. Trial experience is strongly preferred, although not required. Education
All academic degrees and coursework must be completed at a college or university that has obtained accreditation or pre-accreditation status from an accrediting body recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. For a list of schools that meet this criteria, see www.ed.gov.
Education completed in foreign colleges or universities may be used to meet the above education requirements if you can show that the foreign education is comparable to that received in an accredited educational institution in the United States. It is your responsibility to timely provide such evidence by submitting proof of creditability of education as evaluated by a credentialing agency with your application materials. More information may be found at https://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ous/international/usnei/us/edlite-visitus-forrecog.html .
All documentation must be in English or include an English translation. https://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ous/international/usnei/us/edlite-visitus-forrecog.html . Additional informationVeteran Preference:
If you are entitled to or claim veterans' preference (VP), you should indicate the type of veteran preference (5 or 10 points) you are claiming on your resume. In order to determine your eligibility, you can find additional information at: http://www.opm.gov/policy-data-oversight/veterans-services/vet-guide/ .
There is no formal rating system for applying veterans' preference to attorney appointments in the excepted service; however, the Department of Justice considers veterans' preference eligibility as a positive factor in attorney hiring. Applicants eligible for veterans' preference must include that information in their cover letter or resume and attach supporting documentation ( e.g. , the DD 214, Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty and other supporting documentation) to their submissions. Although the "point" system is not used, per se, applicants eligible to claim 10-point preference must submit Standard Form (SF) 15, Application for 10-Point Veterans' Preference, and submit the supporting documentation required for the specific type of preference claimed (visit the OPM website, www.opm.gov/forms/pdf_fill/SF15.pdf for a copy of SF 15, which lists the types of 10-point preferences and the required supporting document(s).DOJ EEO Statement/Policy:
http://www.justice.gov/jmd/eeos/08-eeo-policy.pdf Reasonable Accommodation Statement:
Federal agencies must provide reasonable accommodation to applicants with disabilities where appropriate. Applicants requiring reasonable accommodation for any part of the application and hiring process should contact the hiring agency directly. Determinations on requests for reasonable accommodation will be made on a case-by-case basis.Schedule A:
DOJ welcomes and encourages applications from persons with disabilities and is firmly committed to satisfying its affirmative obligations under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 to ensure that persons with disabilities have every opportunity to be hired and advanced on the basis of merit within the Department. DOJ also encourages eligible Schedule A applicants to submit their resumes to email@example.com, and reference "Federal Career Opportunities" in the subject line. Additional information is found at: www.benderconsult.com .Selective Service:
If you are a male applicant born after December 31, 1959, you must certify that you have registered with the Selective Service System, or are exempt from having to do so under the Selective Service Law. Additional information is found at: www.sss.gov .
As the federal agency whose mission is to ensure the fair and impartial administration of justice for all Americans, the Department of Justice is committed to fostering a diverse and inclusive work environment. To build and retain a workforce that reflects the diverse experiences and perspectives of the American people, we welcome applicants from the many communities, identities, races, ethnicities, backgrounds, abilities, religions, and cultures of the United States who share our commitment to public service.