General Attorney

Washington, D.C
Jan 12, 2021
Jan 19, 2021
Full Time


Organizational Location: This attorney position is located in the Office of the Principal Legal Advisor (OPLA), National Security Law Division (NSLD), Washington, D.C.

Salary: General Schedule locality pay tables may be found under Salaries & Wages .

BUS: This is a non-bargaining position.

NOTE: One or more positions may be filled using this vacancy announcement.
Learn more about this agency


ICE OPLA National Security Law Division (NSLD) attorneys perform a crucial role in ICE's overall efforts to protect the national security of the United States in cases involving international terrorism, counter terrorism, espionage, and other national security matters.

ICE OPLA is seeking an attorney(s) for its headquarters office in Washington, D.C. The primary duties will be providing national oversight of, and litigation support to, OPLA field locations in their litigation of national security issues before the Executive Office for Immigration Review; working with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Central Intelligence Agency, and the Department of State, as well as the National Security, Civil, and Criminal Divisions of the Department of Justice, on national security matters; coordinating removal proceedings and supporting criminal prosecutions involving terrorists, foreign intelligence agents, and other national security matters; drafting briefing papers and Congressional testimony for DHS, ICE, and OPLA leadership; analyzing and drafting legislative proposals that affect national security; and providing well-reasoned legal and policy advice regarding immigration, intelligence, and customs issues relating to national security.

In addition to these primary duties, the attorney may be responsible for providing legal advice and counsel regarding regulations, executive orders, legislative proposals, and interpretation of the immigration laws that affect the Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP), as well as other ICE programs. Additional duties may require knowledge of administrative law and the protections extended to regulated entities under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA); providing guidance and legal review of actions regarding the licensing and certification of regulated entities; drafting and reviewing regulations and policies; and advising on whether particular initiatives must be implemented through notice-and-comment rulemaking or less formal procedures.

The position is within NSLD, a team of approximately 16 attorneys, which provides legal advice to ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) and HSI officers, agents, and senior management. NSLD's work contributes to significant policy decisions that are integral to ICE's overall mission. Assignments within NSLD are typically fast-paced and involve high-profile work. NSLD attorneys are responsible for advising, counseling, and training ICE officers and agents on relevant legal authorities, best practices, and agency policies.

The selected attorney will immediately be given significant responsibilities. He or she will be expected to craft and adapt legally supportable policies to address the pressing needs of the agency and its operational components. The attorney will be expected to routinely provide timely legal opinions to ICE officers and agents, NSLD management, and leadership within OPLA, ICE, and the Department of Homeland Security's Office of the General Counsel. The selected attorney will also be required to assess litigation risk and provide litigation support to the Department of Justice.

Applicants must possess the following characteristics and competencies: integrity, sound professional judgment, organizational skills, decisiveness, initiative, the ability to function independently and cooperatively, and superior written and oral advocacy skills. The selectee must be able to obtain a security clearance at the Top Secret/Sensitive Compartmented Information level.

Applicants' cover letters should describe the knowledge, skills, and abilities that qualify them for the position, consistent with those outlined in this announcement. Writing samples will be assessed based on the sophistication of the legal reasoning presented, coherency, proper grammar and syntax, and conformity to applicable formatting and citation guidelines. This position, which is excluded from the collective bargaining unit, is physically located at OPLA Headquarters in Washington, D.C., but occasional travel may be required. Relocation expenses will not be reimbursed.

Travel Required

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

Supervisory status

Promotion Potential


Conditions of Employment

  • You must be a U.S. citizen to apply for this position.
  • You must successfully pass a background investigation and drug screen for federal employment.
  • Males born after 12/31/59 must certify registration with Selective Service.
  • Relevant Experience (see Qualifications and Evaluations Tab).
  • Requirements by Closing Date: You must meet all requirements by the closing date of the announcement.
  • Complete Application Package (see How to Apply Tab).
  • You may be required to serve a two-year trial period, if the requirement has not been met.


You must meet all qualification and eligibility requirements by 11:59 P.M. Eastern Standard Time on the closing date of the announcement. Please note that qualification claims will be subject to verification.


Applicants must be a graduate of a school of law accredited by the American Bar Association and an active member in good standing of the bar of a state, territory of the United States, the District of Columbia, or the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.

Additional information

E-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.

Promotion Potential: GS-15. 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.

Direct Deposit: All federal employees are required to have Federal salary payments made by direct deposit.

Notice to 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.

Applicants eligible for veterans' preference must attach supporting documents (e.g., DD Form 214, Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty) to their submissions. Although the point-preference system is not used, applicants eligible to claim a 10-point preference must submit a Standard Form (SF) 15, Application for 10-Point Veterans' Preference, and supporting documentation required for the specific type of preference claimed. The SF-15, which lists the types of 10-point preference and the required supporting documents, is available at

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 must undergo and successfully obtain and maintain a background investigation for Secret as a condition of placement into this position. This may include a credit check, a review of financial issues such as delinquency in the payment of debts, child support and/or tax obligations, as well as certain criminal offenses and illegal use or possession of drugs.

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/or 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.

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.

How You Will Be Evaluated

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

All information and documents submitted as set forth in the Required Documents Tab will be reviewed to ensure you meet the minimum qualification requirements, and further evaluated as part of the application process.

Qualified candidates will be rated by comparing each candidate's qualifications to the skills and experience pertinent to the position to be filled. Experience, education, training, awards, and performance will be considered. An applicant need not have specific knowledge and experience with regard to each item listed in the Duties section in order to qualify for the position.

Experience refers to paid and unpaid experience, including volunteer work through national Service programs (e.g., Peace Corps, AmeriCorps) and other organizations (e.g., professional; philanthropic, religious, community; student; social). Volunteer work helps build critical competencies, knowledge, and skills and can provide valuable training and experience that relates directly to gain employment. You will receive credit for all qualifying experience, including volunteer experience. If such experience is on a part-time basis, you must provide the average number of hours worked per week as well as the beginning and ending dates of the experience to be fully credited.

All the information you provide may be verified by a review of the work experience and/or education as shown on your application forms, by checking references and through other means, such as the interview process. This verification may occur at any stage of the application process. Any exaggeration of your experience, false statements, or attempts to conceal information may be grounds for rating you ineligible, not hiring you, or firing you after you begin work.

Background checks and security clearance

Security clearance

Drug test required

Position sensitivity and risk
Critical-Sensitive (CS)/High Risk

Trust determination process
National security

Required Documents

You must include all required documentation, as set forth below, with your application package before the closing date. No extensions will be granted for required documents.

Cover Letter
: Please use your cover letter to discuss your interest in the position; your pertinent knowledge, skills, abilities, and experience; and your personal characteristics and competencies that qualify you for the position as detailed in the Duties section of this announcement.

In addition, your cover letter must include the following information:
  • full name;
  • home address;
  • home or work e-mail address(es);
  • phone number(s) where we may contact you: cell, work, and/or home; and
  • name of the law school, year of graduation, and year admitted to the bar.
Resume: Your resume must include: announcement number, education, training, awards, and work experience. Work experience must include: job title, duties, employer's name, employer's telephone number, employer's address, starting and ending dates (MM/YY). Please indicate whether or not we may contact your current supervisor.

Writing Sample: A writing sample demonstrating your legal analytical abilities must be submitted as part of your application package, for which you must be the principal author. It should not exceed 10 double-spaced pages.

Transcript: If you have practiced law for less than five years, you must submit a copy of your law school transcript and grade-point average or class ranking. If you have practiced law for five years or more, your transcript is not required.

Bar Membership/Certificate of Good Standing: You must submit proof of your current membership (i.e., bar card, certificate of good standing, or other documentary evidence) from the bar to which you are licensed.

Are you a current or former federal employee? Please submit a copy of your most recent SF-50, Notification of Personnel Action, which shows competitive service appointment, tenure group, and salary.

Veterans Preference Documentation (if applicable): If you are a discharged, non-disabled veteran, you must submit a copy of your DD214 (Member 4 copy) or other Documentation of Service and Separation under Honorable Conditions. If you don't have your DD-214, you may request it after discharge from the National Archives at

If you are a veteran within 120 days of discharge, you must submit signed documentation from the Armed Forces certifying: 1) your expected release/retirement from active duty, 2) under honorable conditions, 3) your pay grade/rank/rate at time of discharge, 4) dates of active duty service, 5) any campaign or expeditionary medals received, and 6) dated within 120 days of your separation.

If you are a disabled veteran, Purple Heart recipient, or mother or spouse of a disabled or deceased veteran, you must submit a completed SF-15 and all additional proof required by the SF-15, as applicable. If you don't have your Department of Veterans Affairs letter establishing proof of disability, you may request it at or call 1-800-827-1000.

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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