Paralegal Specialist

Employer
USAJobs
Location
Washington, D.C
Posted
Feb 23, 2021
Closes
Feb 25, 2021
Hours
Full Time
Duties

Summary

This positions is located within the Office of General Counsel (OGC) at the VA Central Office in Washington, DC. The Paralegal Specialist performs administrative and legal support to colleagues and supervisors on assigned work, and routinely provides direct legal services on case and/or program assignments related to personnel law.

Learn more about this agency

Responsibilities

This position involves a multi-grade career ladder. The major duties listed below represent the full performance level of GS-11. At the GS-09 grade level, you will perform assignments of a more limited scope and with less independence. You will progressively acquire the background necessary to perform at the full performance level of GS-11. Promotion is at the discretion of the supervisor and is contingent upon satisfactory performance, availability of higher level work, and availability of funds.

The major duties and responsibilities include but are not limited to:

Assists and acts in a confidential capacity to OGC supervisors who are significantly involved in internal OGC ER/LR issues, and has regular access to confidential ER/LR information;
Provides direct legal services to clients on case and/or program assignments;
Gathers all relevant facts and information needed for case processing, conducting legal research and applying the same to the issues presented, interviewing witnesses/claimants and other stakeholders, negotiating settlements/compromises within authority, and managing and prioritizing caseload;
Exercises good judgment, initiative, and subject expertise in ensuring that assigned tasks are thoroughly and accurately developed, researched, investigated, and documented in accordance with guidance provided;
Anticipates program or case requirements, determines, with minimum oversight and guidance, the approach to be taken and methodology to be used, on routine assignments;
Participates and assists in litigation preparation and other program work by performing a variety of services;
Utilizes all available research systems and resources in conducting extensive legal research and writing on assigned cases and/or programs;
Performs a wide array of research and writing tasks;
Prioritizes and manages assigned cases and program duties;
Provides a wide range of legal support and administrative services to support OGC management and operations; and
Performs other related duties as assigned.

Work Schedule: Monday through Friday, 8:00a.m. to 4:30p.m.
Telework: Authorized
Recruitment & Relocation Incentives: Not authorized
Financial Disclosure Report: Not Required

Travel Required

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

Supervisory status
No

Promotion Potential
11

Requirements

Conditions of Employment

  • You must be a U.S. Citizen to apply for this job
  • Subject to a background/security investigation
  • Designated and/or random drug testing may be required
  • Selective Service Registration is required for males born after 12/31/1959
  • May be required to serve a probationary period
  • Selected applicants will be required to complete an online onboarding process


Qualifications

To qualify at the GS-9 grade level, you must meet one of the following Minimum Qualification requirements:

Specialized Experience: You must have at least one (1) full year of specialized experience equivalent to the next lower grade level (GS-7) in Federal Service that has equipped you with the knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary to perform the duties of a Paralegal Specialist GS-9. Specialized experience includes assisting with applying various principles, concepts, and methods of legal research and analysis sufficient for case development, documentation, and resolution; interviewing and/or obtaining necessary information from a variety of sources, such as, potential witnesses, claimants, and experts; utilizing legal and factual resource tools sufficient to investigate, analyze, and resolve issues in assigned work with supervision; and preparing memoranda, briefs, legal opinions, and/or written documents needed in the delivery of accurate, timely and effective legal services. NOTE: Your experience must be fully documented in your resume and must include job title, duties, month and year start/end dates AND hours worked per week.

~OR~

Education: Applicants may substitute education for the required experience. To qualify based on education for this grade level, you must possess a master's or equivalent degree OR 2 full years of progressively higher level graduate education leading to such a degree. Such education must demonstrate the knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary to do the work of the Paralegal Specialist. NOTE: Transcripts must be submitted with your application materials. Education cannot be credited without documentation.

~OR~

Combination: Applicants may also combine education and experience to qualify at this level. You must have a combination of specialized experience and education beyond 1 year of graduate level education. Such education must demonstrate the knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary to do the work of the Paralegal Specialist. NOTE: Transcripts must be submitted with your application materials. Education cannot be credited without documentation.

To qualify at the GS-11 grade level, you must meet one of the following Minimum Qualification requirements:

Specialized Experience: You must have at least one (1) full year of specialized experience equivalent to the next lower grade level (GS-9) in Federal Service that has equipped you with the knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary to perform the duties of a Paralegal Specialist GS-11. Specialized experience includes applying various principles, concepts, and methods of legal research and analysis sufficient for case development, documentation, and resolution; interviewing and/or obtaining necessary information from a variety of sources, such as, potential witnesses, claimants, and experts; utilizing legal and factual resource tools sufficient to investigate, analyze, and resolve issues in assigned work independently, or with minimal guidance; and preparing memoranda, briefs, legal opinions, and/or written documents needed in the delivery of accurate, timely and effective legal services. NOTE: Your experience must be fully documented in your resume and must include job title, duties, month and year start/end dates AND hours worked per week.

~OR~

Education: Applicants may substitute education for the required experience. To qualify based on education for this grade level, you must possess a Ph.D. or equivalent doctoral degree or 3 full years of progressively higher level graduate education leading to such a degree. Such education must demonstrate the knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary to do the work of the Paralegal Specialist. NOTE: Transcripts must be submitted with your application materials. Education cannot be credited without documentation.

~OR~

Combination: Applicants may also combine education and experience to qualify at this level. You must have a combination of specialized experience and education beyond 2 years of graduate level education. Such education must demonstrate the knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary to do the work of the Paralegal Specialist. NOTE: Transcripts must be submitted with your application materials. Education cannot be credited without documentation.

You will be rated on the following Competencies as part of the assessment questionnaire for this position:
  • Attention to Detail
  • Legal, Government and Jurisprudence
  • Self-Management
  • Writing


IMPORTANT: A full year of work is considered to be 35-40 hours of work per week. All experience listed on your resume must include the month and year start/end dates. Part-time experience will be credited on the basis of time actually spent in appropriate activities. Applicants wishing to receive credit for such experience must indicate clearly the nature of their duties and responsibilities in each position and the number of hours a week spent in such employment.

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

For more information on these qualification standards, please visit the United States Office of Personnel Management's website at https://www.opm.gov/policy-data-oversight/classification-qualifications/general-schedule-qualification-standards/ .

Education

IMPORTANT: A transcript must be submitted with your application if you are basing all or part of your qualifications on education.

NOTE: Only education or degrees recognized by the U.S. Department of Education from accredited colleges, universities, schools, or institutions may be used to qualify for Federal employment. You can verify your education here: http://ope.ed.gov/accreditation/ . If you are using foreign education to meet qualification requirements, you must send a Certificate of Foreign Equivalency with your transcript in order to receive credit for that education. For further information, visit: http://www.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ous/international/usnei/us/edlite-visitus-forrecog.html .

Additional information

Physical Requirements: The work is predominantly sedentary, requiring some walking, standing, bending, lifting and carrying light to moderate weight and size items such as books, files, and paper.

The work is generally conducted in an environment which involves everyday risks or discomforts which require normal safety precautions typical of offices and meeting rooms, e.g., use of safe work practices with office equipment, avoidance of tripping and falling, and observance of fire regulations. The work area is adequately lighted, heated, and ventilated. Occasional travel may be involved where the person in this position would be required to visit witnesses, veterans, and/or their representatives to obtain information. Many visits are to hospitals, outpatient clinics, and other medical facilities.

Telework: VA supports the use of telework as a way to help attract and retain talented individuals in public service, increase worker productivity, and better prepare the agency to operate during emergencies. This position may be authorized for telework. Telework eligibility will be discussed during the interview process.

Receiving Service Credit for Earning Annual (Vacation) Leave: Federal Employees earn annual leave at a rate (4, 6 or 8 hours per pay period) which is based on the number of years they have served as a Federal employee. VA may offer newly-appointed Federal employee's credit for their job-related non-federal experience or active duty uniformed military service. This credited service can be used in determining the rate at which they earn annual leave. Such credit must be requested and approved prior to the appointment date and is not guaranteed.

Special Employment Consideration: VA encourages persons with disabilities to apply, including those eligible for hiring under 5 CFR 213.3102(u), Schedule A, Appointment of persons with disabilities (i.e., intellectual disabilities, severe physical disabilities, or psychiatric disabilities), and/or disabled veterans with a compensable service-connected disability of 30% or more. For more information on how to apply using this appointment authority via the Selective Placement Coordinator within the office, contact the facility Human Resources Department at (216) 447-8010.

It is the policy of the VA to not deny employment to those that have faced financial hardships or periods of unemployment.

Veterans and Transitioning Service Members: Please visit the VA for Vets site for career-search tools for Veterans seeking employment at VA, career development services for our existing Veterans, and coaching and reintegration support for military service members.

The Interagency Career Transition Assistance Plan (ICTAP) and Career Transition Assistance Plan (CTAP) provide eligible displaced Federal competitive service employees with selection priority over other candidates for competitive service vacancies. To be qualified you must submit appropriate documentation and be found well-qualified (have a final rating of 85 or more before any Veterans preference points) for this vacancy. Information about ICTAP and CTAP eligibility is on OPM's Career Transition Resources website at http://www.opm.gov/policy-data-oversight/workforce-restructuring/employee-guide-to-career-transition/ .

This job opportunity announcement may be used to fill additional vacancies.

If you are unable to apply online view the following link for information regarding an Alternate Application .

How You Will Be Evaluated

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

IN DESCRIBING YOUR EXPERIENCE, PLEASE BE CLEAR AND SPECIFIC . WE WILL NOT MAKE ASSUMPTIONS REGARDING YOUR EXPERIENCE. If your resume does not support your questionnaire answers, we will not allow credit for your response(s).

Your responses to the assessment questionnaire will be reviewed along with the information provided in your resume and supporting documentation to determine if you are qualified for the position. If, after reviewing your resume and/or supporting documentation, a determination is made that you have inflated your qualifications and or experience, your rating may be lowered and/or you may lose consideration for this position. Please follow all instructions carefully. Errors or omissions may affect your eligibility.

Candidates who apply under All U.S. Citizens announcements will be rated and ranked using Category Rating procedures. Qualified candidates will be assigned to a quality category. The categories are defined as follows:
  • Best qualified - applicants possessing experience that substantially exceeds the minimum qualifications of the position including all selective factors, and who are highly proficient in all requirements of the job and can perform effectively in the position;
  • Highly qualified - applicants possessing experience that exceeds the minimum qualifications of the position including all selective factors, and who are proficient in most of the requirements of the job;
  • Well qualified - applicants possessing experience that meets the minimum qualifications of the position including all selective factors, and who are proficient in some, but not all, of the requirements of the job; and
  • Qualified - applicants possessing experience and/or education that meets the minimum qualifications of the position including all selective factors.
Application of Veterans' Preference: Category rating and selection procedures place those with veteran's preference above non-preference eligibles within each category. Preference eligible applicants that meet the eligibility and qualification requirements and who have a compensable service-connected disability of at least 10 percent are listed in the highest quality category (except when the position being filled is scientific or professional at the GS-09 grade level or higher).

Background checks and security clearance

Security clearance
Other

Drug test required
No

Position sensitivity and risk
Non-sensitive (NS)/Low Risk

Trust determination process
Suitability/Fitness

Required Documents

IMPORTANT: Please ensure your resume include up-to-date contact information (phone number(s), email address(s), etc.)

To apply for this position, you must provide a complete Application Package which includes:
  • Resume


The following documents are accepted, and may be required if applicable to your eligibility and/or qualifications for this position. Please use this checklist to ensure you have included all documents required for your application, such as a copy of your transcript (if using education to qualify), SF-50's (current/former Federal employees), documentation to support Veterans Preference or ICTAP/CTAP documentation (for displaced Federal employees).
  • Cover Letter
  • DD-214/ Statement of Service
  • Disability Letter (VA)
  • Resume
  • Separation Notice (RIF)
  • SF-15
  • SF-50/ Notification of Personnel Action
  • Transcript


Veterans' Preference: When applying for Federal Jobs, eligible Veterans should claim preference for 5pt (TP), 10pt (CP/CPS/XP), or for Sole Survivor Preference (SSP) in the questionnaire. You must provide a legible copy of your DD214(s) which shows dates and character of service (honorable, general, etc.). If you are currently serving on active duty and expect to be released or discharged within 120 days you must submit documentation related to your active duty service which reflects the dates of service, character of service (honorable, general, etc.), and dates of impending separation. Additionally, disabled veterans and others eligible for 10-point preference (such as widows or mothers of eligible Veterans) must also submit an SF-15 "Application for 10 Point Veteran Preference" with required proof as stated on the form. Documentation is required to award preference. For more information on Veterans' Preference, please visit http://www.fedshirevets.gov/job/vetpref/index.aspx .

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.