Supervisory Paralegal Specialist

Alexandria, Virginia
Jul 10, 2017
Jul 25, 2017
Full Time

About the Agency

Come work for the USPTO, we have been ranked as one of the Best Places to Work in the Federal Government®!

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has been serving the economic interests of America for more than 200 years. We are responsible for granting US intellectual property rights for patents and trademarks. Our efforts have provided inventors exclusive rights over their discoveries. It's an effort that continues to contribute to a strong global economy, to encourage investment in innovation and to cultivate an entrepreneurial spirit for the 21st century. The USPTO is headquartered in Alexandria, Virginia, and has over 12,000 employees, including engineers, scientists, attorneys, analysts, IT specialists, etc. all dedicated to accomplishing the USPTO’s mission, vision, strategic goals and guiding principles. For more information about the USPTO, please visit the USPTO Careers Website.

This position is located in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB), Board Operations Division, Case Management Branch, Paralegal Operations Section. PTAB is charged with reviewing ex parte appeals from adverse decisions made by patent examiners; ex parte and inter-partes reexamination requests, interferences, and various proceedings under the America Invents Act (AIA).

The Supervisory Paralegal Specialist is responsible for supervising a group of paralegal specialists and other legal support staff that provide legal support to Administrative Patent Judges (APJs), patent attorneys of the Board, other PTAB staff and the general public. The paralegal specialists process Board related documents, to include but not limited to: preparing and reviewing appeal decisions, providing administrative support and technical assistance to the Board, and receiving and responding to public inquirie.

  • A probationary period may be required
This position is also being announced under the USPTO’s Merit Promotion Program, the Job Announcement Number is PTAB-2017-0014. Please review that announcement to determine if you are eligible for consideration under the Merit Promotion Program.

The following links provide information on various hiring authorities that do not fall under competitive examining procedures as this announcement; however, they may enable you to apply through merit assignment procedures, or be eligible for a non-competitive appointment.

  • Not Required

  • No

  • You must be a U.S. Citizen or National.
  • Your resume and question responses must demonstrate the job-related KSAs.
  • You must meet the definition of specialized experience.
  • Required to pass a background investigation and fingerprint check.
  • Must be registered for Selective Service, if applicable (
  • You must meet the following United States Office of Personnel Management's (OPM) qualification requirements for the advertised position. OPM's prescribed Group Coverage Qualification Standard for Administrative and Management Positions can be found at OPM Qualification Standards. You must meet all qualification requirements by the closing date of the job announcement.

    Specialized Experience: is experience that has equipped you with the particular knowledge, skills and abilities to perform successfully the duties of the position, and that is typically in or related to the position to be filled. To be creditable, specialized experience must have been equivalent to at least the next lower grade level in the federal service.
    Candidates for the GS- 12 grade level must have at least 52 weeks of specialized experience equivalent to the GS-11 grade level in the Federal service.
    Specialized experience for this position includes the following skill sets:
    Skill Set 1: Experience analyzing and researching complex legal research in order to make substantive, legally supportable recommendations to attorneys/judges.
    Skill Set 2: Experience providing technical expertise and advice on the proper procedures for the preparation and filing of legal documents.
    Skill Set 3: Experience explaining, orally and in writing, legal opinions, precedents, and practices on legal issues.
    Skill Set 4: Experience reviewing and editing documents (both correspondence and legal documents) for format, citation, spelling, grammar, and other non-merit considerations.

    Experience refers to paid and unpaid experience, including volunteer work done through National Service programs (e.g., Peace Corps, AmeriCorps) and other organizations (e.g., professional; philanthropic; religious; spiritual; community, student, social). Volunteer work helps build critical competencies, knowledge, and skills and can provide valuable training and experience that translates directly to paid employment. You will receive credit for all qualifying experience, including volunteer experience.

    The incumbent must possess the following supervisory competencies to be successful in this position:

    Accountability: Holds self and others accountable for measurable high-quality, timely, and cost effective results. Determines objectives, sets priorities, and delegates work. Accepts responsibility for mistakes. Complies with established control systems and rules.

    Customer Service: Anticipates and meets the needs of both internal and external customers. Delivers high-quality products and services; is committed to continuous improvement.

    Decisiveness: Makes well-informed, effective, and timely decisions, even when data are limited or solutions produce unpleasant consequences; perceives the impact and implications of decisions.

    Flexibility: Is open to change and new information; rapidly adapts to new information, changing conditions, or unexpected obstacles.

    Integrity/Honesty: Behaves in an honest, fair, and ethical manner. Shows consistency in words and actions. Models high standards of ethics.

    Interpersonal Skills: Treats others with courtesy, sensitivity, and respect. Considers and responds appropriately to the needs and feelings of different people in different situations.

    Oral Communication: Makes clear and convincing oral presentations. Listens effectively; clarifies information as needed.

    Problem Solving: Identifies and analyzes problems; weighs relevance and accuracy of information; generates and evaluates alternative solutions; makes recommendations.

    Resilience: Deals effectively with pressure; remains optimistic and persistent, even under adversity. Recovers quickly from setbacks.


    Public Trust - Background Investigation


    The individual selected for this position:

    • Analyzes information and decides which law, regulation or directive is applicable to each particular problem and proposes a solution which may include referral or correction of the problem through phone calls, electronic messages, or letters. Screens information, compiles data, prepares documents as necessary, in order to assist the APJs. Reviews decisions from the judiciary and interprets data in order to communicate the case decision to appropriate parties.
    • Considers the many legal resources available, such as WESTLAW, eDan, Madras, ACTS, LEXIS-NEXIS, PALM, and various other professional level sources in written, print or digital format. Researches those deemed most likely to provide information or documents. Skillfully selects resources and applies legal references which establish and support crucial lines of argument.
    • Leads or participates in complex studies and projects assigned by senior management. Analyzes complex legal issues, and conducts extensive and thorough legal research on particular legal issues and makes substantive, legally supportable, recommendations to Administrative Patent Judges (APJs) based on knowledge, experience and research findings.
    • Produces accurate summation for an appropriate response to the identified problem(s). Explains legal opinions, precedents, and practices on particular legal issues; and prepares drafts and outlines covering specific legal issues for use by the APJs working on a particular case based on knowledge of legal documents, forms and publications.
    • Provides technical and administrative supervision of subordinates and plans work to be accomplished; sets and adjusts short-term priorities; and prepares schedules for completion of work. Assigns work based on priorities, selective consideration of the difficulty and requirements of assignments, resources available, and the capabilities of employees.

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