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Staff Attorney

Washington, D.C
Closing date
Nov 24, 2023

The Legal Division's principal responsibility is to recommend to the court the disposition of substantive and procedural motions, appeals decided without oral argument, and emergency matters. Staff attorneys conduct legal research, prepare legal memoranda, draft proposed orders, respond to judges' inquiries, and make oral presentations. Staff attorneys meet with three-judge panels in formal conferences about twice a month to present their recommendations. At conference, staff attorneys answer any questions about their cases, and the panel discusses and votes on staff attorney recommendations. Staff attorneys may also present recommendations orally to the judges when handling time-sensitive emergency motions.


Conditions of Employment

Because the D.C. Circuit entertains a large number of high-profile and sealed cases, staff attorneys are subject to strict confidentiality requirements.

In addition, your continued employment is contingent upon the satisfactory completion of a background check. A full background investigation for a security clearance may be required.

Applicants must be United States citizens or eligible to work for the United States government.


The caseload of the D.C. Circuit involves virtually every area of federal law, and is unique in the number of cases filed against the executive branch. Because staff attorneys must be able to advise the judges on difficult, varied, and important legal issues, the court is highly selective in its hiring. The court is looking for individuals who have demonstrated the ability to research and analyze complex legal issues in depth and to express themselves clearly, both orally and in writing.

At a minimum, applicants must possess a J.D. degree as of the position's start date. A judicial clerkship or internship, law review membership, or comparable legal research and writing experience is desirable. Litigation experience is advantageous. Graduation in the top 25% of your law school class is preferred.

To qualify for the CL 28 level or above, you must be a member of the bar of a state or the District of Columbia, and have at least one year of relevant experience after graduation from law school.


Please read the "Qualifications" section.

Additional information

Selected applicants will serve a one-year probationary period. All positions in the Clerk's Office are excepted appointments and are "At-Will." The United States Court of Appeals is an Equal Employment Opportunity employer. Selected applicants will be subject to mandatory electronic transfer of funds for payment of net pay. The United States Courthouse is a smoke-free building. Proof of up-to-date COVID-19 vaccination will be requested of the candidate selected for this position.

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