Paralegal Specialist

Washington, D.C
Jan 20, 2021
Jan 26, 2021
Full Time


This position is located in the Appellate Section which is responsible for handling most Environmental and Natural Resources Division cases in federal and state appellate courts, for preparing appeal recommendations, and for preparing drafts for the Office of the Solicitor General of petitions and briefs in these cases if they go the U.S. Supreme Court. The incumbent will provide paralegal support to the Section's attorneys.
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This vacancy is also being announced concurrently with Announcement# ENRD-21-015-DE for applicants who DO NOT have Federal status. Please review that announcement to determine if you are eligible to apply. Note: Applicants must apply separately for each announcement.

As a Paralegal Specialist, your typical work assignments may include the following:
  • Perform case management including opening and closing case files; preparing and organizing exhibits; and recording, reviewing files, and obtaining documents for attorneys.
  • Performing research in various databases including Westlaw, PACER and Lexis; performing cite checks pursuant to The Bluebook, compiling legislative histories; proofreading and editing legal briefs and memoranda prior to filing in court; and ensuring conformance of documents to applicable court rules.
  • Performing document management, including creating and maintaining litigation databases.
  • Reviewing referrals, memoranda, informal email, and other documents; extracting a host of information; and accurately filling in numerous data fields in the Case Management System (CMS).
  • Monitoring section documents to assure the quality of data in CMS, and resolving any discrepancies discovered.
  • Organizing and writing synopses of factual materials; summarizing depositions; preparing, organizing, and indexing administrative records; and preparing non-legal memoranda.
  • Providing assistance at hearings and/or trials, for example, preparing exhibits and coordinating travel and trial logistics.
  • Performing case docketing; maintaining filing deadline calendar and coordinating with attorneys on each court filing; and preparing and filing all documents using PACER (ECF) and LEXIS-NEXIS (Courtlink) systems.

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 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-9 : You must have one year of specialized experience at, or equivalent to, the GS-7 Federal grade level or above utilizing automated legal databases to verify legal citations and statutory references; analyzing and organizing factual, legal, and archival records; providing assistance to attorneys in preparation for hearings and/or trials; and creating and maintaining litigation databases for management of case materials; OR have a Master's or equivalent graduate degree; OR two (2) full academic years of progressively higher level graduate education leading to such a degree; OR L.L.B. or J.D.; OR a combination of graduate education and experience that meets 100% of the qualification requirements for this position.

To qualify for GS-11 : You must have one year of specialized experience at, or equivalent to, the GS-9 Federal grade level or above preparing summaries of depositions and other documents; performing factual, legal, and archival research; compiling and researching a variety of sources to verify, support, or dispute case information; and resolving problems in line with established policies, precedents, directives, and practices; OR Ph.D. or equivalent doctoral degree; OR three (3) full academic years of progressively higher level graduate education leading to such a degree; OR LL.M., if related; OR a combination of education and experience that meets 100% of the qualification requirements for this position.

Qualifying education must demonstrate the knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary to do the work of this position.

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.

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.

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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

Interagency Career Transition Assistance Plan (ICTAP): ICTAP provides eligible displaced Federal competitive service employees with selection priority over other candidates for competitive service vacancies. 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/ICTAP, you may receive special priority consideration for this position, if this vacancy is within your CTAP/ICTAP 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.

Veterans Employment Opportunity Act (VEOA): VEOA allows eligible veterans to apply and compete for positions announced under merit promotion procedures when the hiring agency is recruiting from outside its own workforce. To be eligible for a VEOA appointment, a veteran must be honorably separated and either a preference eligible or have substantially completed three (3) or more years of continuous active military service. If you are applying for a Merit Promotion announcement and wish to be considered under the VEOA, you must submit a copy of the Member Copy 4 of your DD-214, in addition to any other required documents listed on this announcement. You can find additional information at:

Military spouses: If you're a military spouse, you may be eligible to apply using a non-competitive process designed to help you get a job in the federal government. You're eligible if you are a spouse of an active duty member of the armed forces; a spouse of a service member who is 100% disabled due to a service-connected injury; or a spouse of a service member killed while on active duty. You must meet certain criteria for each of these eligibility categories. Learn more about the specific criteria for military spouses

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):

  • Database Management Systems
  • Legal, Government and Jurisprudence
  • Oral Communication
  • Performance & Awards
  • Technical Competence
  • 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 demonstrating relevant experience and dates the experience was obtained (cover letter optional)
  • SF-50, Notification of Personnel Action, which shows career or career-conditional tenure in the competitive service or Federal reinstatement eligibility. Do not submit an Award personnel action
  • For Federal employees, performance appraisal issued within the last 12 months
  • Veteran preference documentation, if applicable for VEOA consideration
  • ICTAP/CTAP documentation, if applicable
  • An unofficial GRADUATE transcript if you are using education to meet the minimum qualification requirement
  • Schedule A documentation, if applicable
  • Supporting documentation for other special appointment authorities, 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 grade of the position(s) . If information is missing or incomplete from 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/ICTAP 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/ICTAP eligibility can be found at

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