Deputy General Counsel

Washington, D.C
Jul 14, 2019
Jul 16, 2019
Full Time


The incumbent reports to the general counsel and assists in discharging the responsibility of the Office of General Counsel (OGC) to provide legal advice and counsel on a broad range of issues to the Chair, Commissioners, and staff of the Commission.

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The incumbent, along with the general counsel, shares the responsibility of supervising OGC staff and assists the general counsel in the development and drafting of the sentencing guidelines, policy statements, and commentary (and for amendments thereto) for Commission consideration. The incumbent performs a variety of tasks and responsibilities dealing with federal sentencing and the federal sentencing guidelines. Duties include, but are not limited to:

- Supervising staff; coordinating and allocating resources; ensuring short and long-term goals and strategies of the office are met; and approving requests for travel, leave, and work schedules.

- Assisting the general counsel in coordinating the legal unit's input into the guideline amendment process, reviewing sentencing case law, reviewing reports of case law summaries and circuit conflicts for use in amendment consideration and training, and identifying sentencing guideline provisions in need of amendment.

- Performing in-depth legal research and analysis of statutes, proposed legislation, sentencing guideline issues relating to all federal offenses, statutory and constitutional issues relating to federal sentencing and sentencing guidelines, substantive sentencing and criminal law issues, administrative law and federal agency practice, personnel, ethical, and administrative matters.

- Writing legal briefs, legal memoranda, and other documents on matters pertinent to the work and administrative functioning of the Commission; and presenting on legal research and analysis relating to federal sentencing and sentencing guidelines for use in amendment consideration and on other matters pertinent to the administrative functioning of the Commission.

- Providing legal advice and counsel to Commissioners and staff on issues relating to the sentencing guidelines for both individual and organizational defendants, substantive criminal law issues, administrative law and federal agency practice, and personnel and administrative matters.

- Participating on or leading staff working groups that focus on new legislation, sentencing guideline amendments, and other sentencing issues.

- Responding to inquiries from judges, probation officers, attorneys, congressional staff, and inmates on the application of the federal sentencing guidelines and other sentencing issues.

- Representing the Commission at seminars and other programs on sentencing guideline issues.

- Participating in the recruitment and selection of permanent and temporary staff for the legal unit.

- Performing back-up duties in the absence of the general counsel and other duties as assigned.

Travel Required

Occasional travel - You may be expected to travel for this position.

Supervisory status

Promotion Potential


Conditions of Employment

  • This position is in the excepted service and does not carry the tenure rights of positions in the competitive Civil Service.



- Applicants must have a minimum of seven years of extensive legal experience which is in or directly related to the line of work of this position and which has equipped the applicant with the particular knowledge, skills, and abilities to successfully perform the duties of this position.

- Applicants must have demonstrated work experience applying the federal sentencing guidelines.

- Applicants must possess a law degree (JD) from a law school accredited by the American Bar Association and be a member 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 possess excellent oral and written communication skills and the ability to interact successfully with staff at all levels and with the Commissioners.

- Applicants must have excellent organization and planning skills.

- Applicants must have at least one year of specialized experience equivalent to the GS- 15.

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.

- Ability to effectively manage staff and resources. Ability to manage competing priorities and work requirements. Skill in planning and scheduling own and unit's workload, managing multiple assignments, and ensuring deadlines are met and projects are completed on time.

- Substantial knowledge of relevant federal criminal law, procedural and administrative rules and regulations, canons of statutory construction, and methods of investigating the legislative history of congressional enactments. Excellent knowledge of recent Supreme Court jurisprudence relating to federal sentencing.

- Substantial experience conducting in-depth legal research related to sentencing and other issues involving analysis of statutes, proposed legislation, case law, and governmental and private reports. Excellent legal analysis, writing, and editing skills. Excellent 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, Commissioners, and key individuals in a variety of other federal organizations and interest groups. Ability to serve as a representative for the agency.


- Strong preference will be given to applicants with supervisory experience and progressively responsible administrative experience in public service or business which provides a thorough understanding of organizational, procedural and human aspects in managing an organization.

- Federal criminal trial or appellate experience.

- Experience as a state appellate law clerk or federal judicial law clerk.

- Outstanding academic credentials and/or law review or moot court experience.


Applicants must possess a law degree (JD) from a law school accredited by the American Bar Association.

Additional information

How You Will Be Evaluated

You will be evaluated for this job based on how well you meet the qualifications above.

The Commission evaluates applicants through a structured interview. Applicants may also be screened for some jobs through a narrative/application review, and/or a preliminary telephone interview. Applicants who do not address the qualification requirements (mandatory and preferred) in his or her application materials as stated in the vacancy announcement are automatically disqualified from consideration and must re-apply before the closing date to be considered for employment.

The Office of Human Resources:

- Reviews the applicant's application to ensure the proper materials are submitted.

- Ensures that the application addresses all of the qualification requirements (mandatory and preferred) as stated in the vacancy announcement.

- Determines whether the applicant meets the qualification requirements for the particular position and notifies the applicant about the status of his or her application.

Background checks and security clearance

Security clearance

Drug test required

Required Documents

Cover letter

If you are relying on your education to meet qualification requirements:

Education must be accredited by an accrediting institution recognized by the U.S. Department of Education in order for it to be credited towards qualifications. Therefore, provide only the attendance and/or degrees from schools accredited by accrediting institutions recognized by the U.S. Department of Education .

Failure to provide all of the required information as stated in this vacancy announcement may result in an ineligible rating or may affect the overall rating.