Legal Assistant (OA)

Washington, D.C
Dec 03, 2020
Dec 04, 2020
Full Time


The Natural Resources Section handles litigation arising under more than 80 natural resource, environmental, and cultural resource statutes, various treaties and international agreements, interstate compacts, and congressional referrals.
Learn more about this agency


As a Legal Assistant, you will join a well-respected team of Legal Assistants who are responsible for performing a wide range of administrative and legal support tasks to support the Section's federal district court litigation practices:
  • Review and analyze case materials to become familiar with the case or matter.
  • Utilize electronic databases to organize case materials, search databases for documents, and code documents as requested by attorneys.
  • Utilize word processing software including Microsoft Word, Excel, and Adobe Acrobat to draft, edit, and prepare a variety of routine documents and correspondence using proper format, grammar, punctuation, and spelling.
  • Utilize automated legal databases, including PACER, Westlaw, Lexus or other similar databases, to conduct searches for or retrieve legal documents, court cases, and statutory references.
  • Retrieve, organize, and assemble court exhibits, affidavits, legal documents, briefing books, and other case materials to prepare for trials or other litigation projects.
  • Arrange travel reservations, prepare and complete necessary travel authorizations and vouchers, and coordinate with appropriate offices to ensure prompt payment.
  • Convey information in a clear and concise manner.
  • Facilitate the exchange of information between litigation support staff, paralegals and attorneys.

Travel Required

Not required

Supervisory status

Promotion Potential


Conditions of Employment

  • You must be a U.S. citizen or national.
  • You must complete a background investigation to include pre-employment drug testing.
  • Selective Service Registration is required, as applicable.
  • You must complete or have completed a one-year probationary period.
  • You must maintain a bank account for direct deposit of salary.


To qualify for GS-5 , you must have one year of specialized experience at, or equivalent to, the GS-4 Federal grade level or above applying standardized rules, processes, and procedures concerning commonly utilized general reference sources and legal research tools to perform a variety of legal support work. This experience must include preparing correspondence and administrative forms using proper format, grammar, punctuation, and spelling; OR

Successful completion of 4 years of education above the high school level in any field for which high school graduation or the equivalent is the normal prerequisite is creditable and fully meets the qualification requirements at GS-5. This education must have been obtained in an accredited business, secretarial, or technical school, junior college, or university; OR

A combination of post-high school education in excess of the first 60 semester hours and specialized experience may also be used to meet the qualification requirements at GS-5. Note: One full academic year of study (30 semester hours) beyond the second year is equivalent to 6 months of specialized experience.

To qualify for GS-6 , you must have one year of specialized experience at, or equivalent to, the GS-5 Federal grade level or above composing standardized legal forms needed for specific actions; preparing trial exhibits, affidavits, and legal documents in preparation for trials; and maintaining litigation case files.

Typing Requirement : This position requires a qualified typist with a minimum typing speed of 40 words per minute. If you do not self certify on the occupational/assessment questionnaire that you have the required typing proficiency, you will be rated ineligible for this position.

This position requires office automation skills. Some examples of office automation skills include database management and various word processing software packages (MS Office Suite: Excel, PowerPoint, and Word) and database applications.

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 skill and can provide valuable training and experience that translates directly to paid employment. You will receive credit for all qualifying experience, including volunteer experience.

Time in Grade : Federal employees must meet time-in-grade requirements (one year at the next lower grade) by the closing date of announcement.

Note: Land Management applicants are also eligible to apply:

The Land Management Workforce Flexibility Act, P.L. 114-47 was signed into law on August 7, 2015, allowing certain individuals who currently are or formerly were under time-limited competitive appointments at certain land management agencies (see below) to compete for permanent positions in the competitive service at a land management agency, or any other agency, under merit promotion procedures.

Land Management Agencies:
  • Forest Service of the Department of Agriculture;
  • Bureau of Land Management of the Department of the Interior;
  • National Park Service of the Department of the Interior;
  • Fish and Wildlife Service of the Department of the Interior;
  • Bureau of Indian Affairs of the Department of the Interior; and
  • Bureau of Reclamation of the Department of the Interior.
YOUR RESUME MUST support your responses to the online questionnaire. Failure to provide support may result in an ineligible rating. Your latest resume submitted for this vacancy announcement will be used to determine qualifications and supersedes previous submissions.

YOUR RESUME MUST provide specific details as to how your experience meets the specialized experience as described in the vacancy announcement if you are using experience to meet all or part of the qualification requirements. Please ensure that your resume includes the month and year that you began and ended each position held or that position will not be credited toward meeting the specialized experience requirement. Part-time employment will be prorated in crediting experience. Failure to provide details will result in an ineligible rating.

Only experience and education obtained by the closing date of this announcement will be considered.

To preview questions, please click here:


All academic degrees and coursework must be completed at a college or university that has obtained accreditation or pre-accreditation status from an accrediting body recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. For a list of schools that meet this criteria, see

Education completed in foreign colleges or universities may be used to meet the above education requirements if you can show that the foreign education is comparable to that received in an accredited educational institution in the United States. It is your responsibility to timely provide such evidence by submitting proof of creditability of education as evaluated by a credentialing agency with your application materials. More information may be found at

All documentation must be in English or include an English translation.

Additional information

Career Transition Assistance Plan (CTAP): The Career Transition Assistance Program (CTAP) provides eligible surplus and displaced competitive service employees in DOJ with selection priority over other candidates for competitive service vacancies.

If you have received written notification of your eligibility for consideration under CTAP, you may receive special priority consideration for this position, if this vacancy is within your CTAP eligibility and you are well-qualified for the position. To be well qualified, you must satisfy all qualification requirements and score 85 or better on established ranking criteria.

Schedule A: DOJ welcomes and encourages applications from persons with disabilities and is firmly committed to satisfying its affirmative obligations under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 to ensure that persons with disabilities have every opportunity to be hired and advanced on the basis of merit within the Department. DOJ also encourages eligible Schedule A applicants to submit their resumes to, and reference "Federal Career Opportunities" in the subject line. Additional information is found at:

Selective Service: If you are a male applicant born after December 31, 1959, you must certify that you have registered with the Selective Service System, or are exempt from having to do so under the Selective Service Law. Additional information is found at:

Benefits: DOJ offers a comprehensive benefits package that includes, in part, paid vacation; sick leave; holidays; telework; life insurance; health benefits; and participation in the Federal Employees Retirement System. Please review the link below for an overview of the benefits currently offered to Federal employees.

How You Will Be Evaluated

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

Your resumé and supporting documentation will be used to determine whether you meet the job qualifications listed on this announcement. If you are basically qualified for this job, your resume and supporting documentation will be compared to your responses on the online assessment questionnaire. If you rate yourself higher than is supported by your application materials, your responses may be adjusted and/or you may be excluded from consideration for this job. If you are found to be among the top candidates, you will be referred to the selecting official for employment consideration.

All applicants' qualifications will be evaluated on the following competencies (knowledge, skills, and other characteristics):

  • Applies Technology to Tasks
  • Database Management Systems
  • Legal, Government and Jurisprudence
  • Oral Communication
  • Performance & Awards
  • Writing

Please Note: Additional candidates may be selected if more positions become available in the Division within 90 days after the HR office issues the selection certificate.

Background checks and security clearance

Security clearance

Drug test required

Position sensitivity and risk
Moderate Risk (MR)

Trust determination process

Required Documents

  • Resumé (Cover Letter optional)
  • SF-50, Notification of Personnel Action, which shows career or career-conditional tenure in the competitive service or Federal reinstatement eligibility
  • For Federal employees, a performance appraisal issued within the last 12 months
  • For Land Management Eligibles, submit a copy of your most recent SF-50 or equivalent document proving eligibility for appointment under the Land Management Workforce Flexibility Act
  • CTAP documentation, if applicable
  • Your online responses to the Occupational Questionnaire
Your resumé MUST include full employment information such as periods of employment with month/year started and ended, title of position(s), FT or PT hours worked, and description of duties. If you have Federal employment, you must include the pay grade for each position . If information is missing or incomplete on your application, you may be rated INELIGIBLE.

Do not include the following types of information in your profile or resume:
  • Classified or government sensitive information
  • Social Security Number (SSN)
  • Photos of yourself
  • Personal information, such as age, gender, religious affiliation, etc.
  • Encrypted and digitally signed documents
To prove eligibility for the special CTAP selection priority, you must submit a copy of your latest performance appraisal showing a rating of at least fully successful AND one of the following :
  • A separation notice;
  • A "Notice of Personnel Action" (SF-50) documenting separation;
  • An agency certification that you cannot be placed after injury compensation has been terminated;
  • An OPM notification that your disability annuity has been terminated; or
  • A Military Department of National Guard Bureau notification that you retired under 5 U.S.C. 8337(h) or 8456.
Additional information about CTAP eligibility can be found at

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