Assistant General Counsel

Washington, D.C
Oct 16, 2019
Oct 23, 2019
Full Time


The incumbent assists in discharging the responsibility of the Office of General Counsel to provide legal advice and counsel to the Chair, Commissioners, and staff of the Commission. The incumbent performs a variety of tasks and responsibilities dealing with federal sentencing and the federal sentencing guidelines.
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Responsibilities include, but are not limited to, the following:
  • In-depth legal research related to sentencing and other issues involving analysis of statutes, proposed legislation, case law, and governmental and other reports.
  • Preparation of legal memoranda and analytical reports.
  • Preparation of oral and written responses to inquiries from Commissioners, Commission staff, prosecutors, defense attorneys, probation officers, judges, and the public generally.
  • Training of practitioners and judges in sentencing and guidelines practice.
  • Participating on or leading staff working groups that focus on new legislation, preparing proposed guideline amendments, and other sentencing issues.
  • Participating as a Commission representative in professional conferences.
Legal research topics include issues relating to the application of the sentencing guidelines for both individual and organizational defendants, sentencing guideline issues relating to all federal offenses, as well as statutory and constitutional issues relating to the sentencing guidelines, substantive sentencing and criminal law issues, administrative law and federal agency practice, and personnel, ethics, and administrative matters.

Travel Required

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

Supervisory status

Promotion Potential


Conditions of Employment

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 narrative statement.
  • Substantial experience in applying the federal sentencing guidelines. Experience in or knowledge of the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of the federal government.
  • 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.Knowledge of recent Supreme Court jurisprudence relating to federal sentencing.
  • 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.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.Ability to serve as a representative for the agency.
  • Skill in planning, organizing, setting priorities, and completing multiple tasks of varying complexity.
  • Technical abilities, such as computer experience and knowledge of software applications used to conduct legal research.


  • 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 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. (To be considered at the GS-14 level, applicants must have at least one year of specialized experience equivalent to the GS-13 in the federal service.)
  • Applicants must have demonstrated work experience applying the federal sentencing guidelines.
  • 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.

  • Five years of trial experience as a prosecutor or defense attorney.


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.

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 .
  • 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.
  • If appointed to a temporary position, management may have the discretion of converting the position to permanent depending upon funding and staffing allocation.

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
    • Resume

    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.

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