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Senior Attorney - Training

Washington, D.C
Closing date
Nov 26, 2023

The incumbent performs a variety of tasks and responsibilities dealing with federal sentencing in general, and the federal sentencing guidelines, in particular. This position requires relocation to the Washington DC metro area, and requires moderate to frequent travel within the 50 states and territories of the United States.

Duties include, but are not limited to:
  • Online and in-person training of judges, probation officers, law clerks, prosecutors, and defense attorneys in federal sentencing guidelines, practice, and law.
  • Developing visual training materials on sentencing guidelines, practice, and law.
  • Researching and analyzing statutes, proposed legislation, and case law related to sentencing and criminal procedure.
  • Acting as a resource for other unit staff in resolving sentencing-related issues.
  • In consultation with the Director of ESP, identifying sentencing guideline provisions in need of amendment.
  • Participating in or leading multi-disciplinary working groups that focus on new legislation, sentencing guideline amendments, and other sentencing issues.
  • As part of multi-disciplinary policy teams, developing and drafting proposed guideline amendments in consultation with the Commission's Office of General Counsel, and reviewing proposed amendments for presentation to the Commissioners
  • Representing the Commission at professional conferences.
  • Completing other duties as assigned by the Deputy Director or Director of ESP, or by the Staff Director.


Conditions of Employment


  • Applicants must possess a law degree (JD) from a law school accredited by the American Bar Association and be a member in good standing 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 five years of legal experience that is in or directly related to the line of work of this position and that has equipped the applicant with the particular knowledge, skills, and abilities to successfully perform the duties of this position.
  • 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 are a must.
  • Applicants must have at least one year of specialized experience equivalent to the next lower level of the grade for which they are applying. For example, to qualify for the GS-15, one year of specialized experience must have been at the GS-14 level or equivalent.
Applicants must have demonstrated work experience related to the mandatory requirements listed below and must address the qualification requirements in an attached cover letter or separate narrative statement.
  • Experience or demonstrated aptitude as a trainer or instructor of graduate-level or adult learners in the legal field.
  • Knowledge of federal criminal law, both substantive and procedural.
  • Experience conducting legal research related to criminal law or sentencing 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, including the Federal Judicial Center, Defender Services, and United States Probation and Pretrial Services, among others.
  • Expertise in federal sentencing law and guideline application.

Highly competitive applicants will have the following:
  • Experience as a criminal defense attorney in federal court at the trial or appellate level, or law firm experience.
  • Knowledge of the Sentencing Reform Act of 1984 and the functions of the Commission, particularly regarding reviewing and revising the federal sentencing guidelines.
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 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 possess a law degree (JD) from a law school accredited by the American Bar Association and be a member in good standing of the bar of a state, territory, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, or a Federal court of general jurisdiction.

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.

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