ICE OPLA Government Information Law Division (GILD) is seeking an attorney for an Associate Legal Advisor position in Washington, D.C. to handle issues relating to:
- Providing legal advice, training, and support to ICE programs, including top-ranking officials, on FOIA, the Privacy Act, E-Government Act, Federal Records Act, Paperwork Reduction Act, and general matters relating to information disclosure;
- Serving as agency counsel in in defending ICE against various civil litigation, to include FOIA, Privacy, and other APA-related lawsuits filed in U.S. Federal Courts;
- Providing crucial assistance in responding to congress, media outlets, and other entities: handling third-party requests for agency information; and reviewing domestic and international information sharing agreements, to include Mutual Legal Assistance Treaties and Customs and Mutual Assistance Agreements;
- Providing legal advice and guidance on confidentiality-related statutes, regulations, and policies; and
- Liaising with DHS's Office of General Counsel and OPLA's legal counterparts in other DHS components, the Department of Justice, and local and state partners, on various issues pertaining to information law
GILD primarily provides legal advice to ICE Operational Program clients. GILD's work contributes to significant policy decisions integral to ICE's mission. Assignments within GILD are fast-paced and involve high-profile work. GILD attorneys advise, counsel, and train operational programs on legal authorities, best practices, and agency policies on a wide array of issues.
GILD attorneys work closely with a wide range of ICE program offices, including HSI, OPR, ERO, OAQ, M&A. They also work with DHS HQ, other DHS component agencies, and HQ stakeholders, and other federal agencies and departments.
The selected attorney will immediately be given significant responsibilities and will be expected to craft legally supportable policies to address the needs of agency operational components. The attorney will be expected to routinely provide timely legal opinions to ICE officers and agents, GILD management, and leadership within OPLA, ICE, and the Department of Homeland Security's Office of the General Counsel Headquarters. The selected attorney will be required to assess litigation risk and provide litigation support to the Department of Justice.
OPLA is the largest legal program in the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), employing over 1,000 attorneys nationwide. In addition to Headquarters in Washington, D.C., there are 25 OPLA field locations in more than 60 cities throughout the United States. Pursuant to statute, OPLA serves as the exclusive representative of DHS in removal proceedings before the Executive Office for Immigration Review litigating cases involving criminal noncitizens, terrorists, human rights abusers, and other priority noncitizens. OPLA also provides a full range of legal services to all ICE programs and offices.
OPLA provides legal advice and prudential counsel to ICE personnel on their law enforcement authorities, legal liability under the Federal Tort Claims Act and Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents of Fed. Bureau of Narcotics , 403 U.S. 388 (1971), the Freedom of Information Act and Privacy Act, ethics, and a range of administrative law issues, such as contract, fiscal and employment law. OPLA represents the agency before the Merit Systems Protection Board, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and the Contract Board of Appeals. OPLA attorneys support the Department of Justice in the prosecution of ICE cases and in the defense of civil cases against the ICE.
OPLA fosters an environment in which all voices are heard and values the unique perspectives and opinions that inhere among a talented, diverse, and inclusive workforce. Comprising a far more diverse workforce than its private sector counterparts, OPLA is proud to strive to further diversify the experiences, perspectives, and characteristics of its workforce and is committed to celebrating our differences and embracing practices that foster a fair, safe, and inclusive workplace by promoting equitable access to opportunities.RequirementsConditions of Employment
QualificationsQualification requirements must be met by the closing date of this announcement. Qualification claims will be subject to verification.
- You must successfully pass a background investigation and drug test for federal employment.
- Selective Service registration is required for males born on, or after, December 31, 1959. Those not registered should have an approved exemption on file.
- You must have relevant experience (see How You Will Be Evaluated and Qualifications tabs).
- You must meet all requirements by the closing date of the announcement.
- You may be required to serve a two-year trial period if the requirement has not been met.
- Current OPLA attorneys must have completed two years of service with OPLA by the announcement closeout to be considered for this position.
- You must be an active member in good standing of the bar of a U.S. state, a territory of the United States, or the District of Columbia.
Applicants should be able to efficiently produce quality legal analyses of complex and novel issues, exercise sound legal judgment, prioritize competing assignments, and work effectively independently, as part of a team, and across work units. Applicants should be detail-oriented and have a strong interest in supporting and providing stellar client services to diverse program offices, including law enforcement officers, policymakers, attorneys, and agency senior leadership, and must be able to tailor communications to a particular audience. Applicants should be able to take initiative and work in a reliable, decisive, and professional manner. Applicants should possess the following characteristics and competencies: integrity, sound professional judgment, organizational skills, decisiveness, initiative, stellar client services, the ability to function independently and cooperatively, and superior written and oral advocacy skills.
In addition, applicants for this position should be able to:
- Handle Federal litigation, and issues relating to the FOIA, Privacy Act, E-Government Act of 2002, the Federal Records Act of 1950, and the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995.
- Work closely and diplomatically with federal and state agencies and other law enforcement partners;
- Prioritize multiple assignments, including litigations and taskings;
- Exercise sound legal judgment;
- Efficiently produce quality legal analyses of complex issues within the area of FOIA, Privacy, information disclosure law; and
- Work effectively both independently and as part of a team. In addition, the selectee must possess the ability to represent ICE in high-level meetings and to provide legal advice to top-ranking officials.
Applicants must possess the following characteristics and competencies: integrity, judgment, organizational skills, communication skills, reliability, perseverance, decisiveness, initiative, professionalism, the ability to function independently and as part of a team, interpersonal relationship skills, and outstanding written and oral advocacy skills. The selectee will be required to have or be able to obtain a security clearance at the Secret level.Bar Membership:
You must be an active member in good standing of the bar of a U.S. state, a territory of the United States, or the District of Columbia.Current or Former Political Appointees:
The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) must authorize employment offers made to current or former political appointees. If you are currently, or have been within the last five years, a political Schedule A, Schedule C, Non-career SES or Presidential Appointee employee in the Executive Branch, you must disclose this information to the Human Resources Office.
The Department of Homeland Security encourages persons with disabilities to apply, to include persons with intellectual, severe physical or psychiatric disabilities, as defined by 5 C.F.R. § 213.3102(u), and Disabled Veterans with a compensable service-connected disability of 30 percent or more as defined by 5 C.F.R. § 315.707. Veterans , Peace Corps , VISTA volunteers , and persons with disabilities possess a wealth of unique talents, experiences, and competencies that can be invaluable to the DHS mission. If you are a member of one of these groups, you may not have to compete with the public for federal jobs. To determine your eligibility for non-competitive appointment and to understand the required documentation, click on the links above or contact the Servicing Human Resources Office listed at the bottom of this announcement. Education
Applicants must be a graduate of an American Bar Association accredited law school with a Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree. Please see Required Documents
for more information.
A student loan repayment incentive may be available; if such an incentive is available and is authorized, a service agreement will be required. Additional informationE-Verify:
DHS uses E-Verify to confirm the eligibility of all newly hired employees to work in the United States. Learn more about E-Verify including your rights and responsibilities.Bargaining Unit Status:
This is a bargaining position. The exclusive representative for this bargaining unit position is the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), with representation provided by AFGE, Local 511.Promotion Potential:
This position has promotion potential to the GS-15 level. When promotion potential is shown, the agency is not making a commitment and is not obligated to provide future promotions to you if you are selected. Future promotions will be dependent on your ability to perform the duties at a higher level, the continuing need for an employee assigned to the higher level, and administrative approval. Further, promotion from the GS-14 to the GS-15 is subject to OPLA's internal guidance.Direct Deposit:
All federal employees are required to have Federal salary payments made by direct deposit to a financial institution of their choosing.Veterans' Preference:
There is no formal rating system for applying veterans' preference to attorney appointments in the Excepted Service; however, OPLA considers veterans' preference eligibility as a positive factor in attorney hiring.Financial Disclosure:
If you are hired, you may be required to complete a Confidential Financial Disclosure Report (OGE Form 450) within 30 days after appointment.Suitability:
If you receive a conditional offer of employment, you must complete an Optional Form 306, Declaration for Federal Employment , and sign and certify the accuracy of all information in your application, prior to entry on duty. False statements on any part of the application may result in withdrawal of offer of employment, dismissal after beginning work, fine, or imprisonment.Background Investigation:
DHS requires every employee to be reliable and trustworthy. To meet these standards, all selected applicants for this position must undergo a background investigation and successfully obtain and maintain a security clearance at the [Top Secret/Secret] level as a condition of placement into this position. This process may include a credit check, a review of financial issues such as delinquency in the payment of debts, child support, and tax obligations, and a review of certain criminal offenses and illegal use or possession of drugs.Drug Test:
Pursuant to Executive Order 12564 and the DHS Drug-Free Workplace Plan, ICE is committed to maintaining a drug-free workplace. All applicants tentatively selected for employment are subject to pre-employment drug testing, and a final offer of employment is contingent upon a negative result.