Trial Attorney (Labor)

4 days left

Washington, D.C
Apr 07, 2021
Apr 15, 2021
Full Time


DOL seeks to attract and retain a high performing and diverse workforce in which employees' differences are respected and valued to better meet the varying needs of the diverse customers we serve. DOL fosters a diverse and inclusive work environment that promotes collaboration, flexibility and fairness so that all individuals are able to participate and contribute to their full potential. This position is located in the DOL, Office of the Solicitor, Plan Benefits Security Division.

Learn more about this agency


This Trial Attorney position is located in the Plan Benefits Security Division (PBSD), of the Office of Solicitor (SOL), DOL. . PBSD is responsible for providing legal advice and litigation services to Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA), , relating to the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA). PBSD is comprised of a talented, hard-working group of approximately 40 attorneys and paraprofessional and administrative support staff members with diverse backgrounds and skill sets. Trial Attorneys work in PBSD's litigation practice and may have opportunities in the appellate and amicus practice.
  • PBSD's Three Major Practice Areas

First, in our litigation practice, we initiate and conduct complex litigation to enforce ERISA. These cases are brought to protect the interests of workers and retirees in their pension, health benefit, and other employee benefit plans covered by ERISA. They are brought throughout the country and often involve expert testimony and large volumes of documents. Unlike litigation under many federal statues, litigation brought by DOL under ERISA is handled directly in the federal district courts by PBSD attorneys, not by Department of Justice (DOJ) attorneys. PBSD also supports the DOJ in cases brought against DOL officials and those challenging agency action and regulations in the area of ERISA.

Second, we have an active appellate and amicus practice, . PBSD is responsible for briefing and arguing the appeals in all of DOL's ERISA enforcement cases brought by PBSD and SOL's regional offices. We also participate as amicus curiae in the federal appellate courts on ERISA issues and brief and argue those cases. We provide draft briefs and legal support to the Solicitor General in all ERISA cases in the Supreme Court in which the Court requests the government's views at the certiorari stage and those in which the government participates as amicus curiae at the merits stage.

Third, in our regulations, opinion, and advice practice, regulations attorneys provide legal services in support of agency rulemaking and legal opinions and advice on a broad array of related legal and legislative issues. These attorneys address pension and health care policy questions and develop policies, draft and review advisory opinions and regulations, participate in rulemaking, and analyze proposed legislation. Our priorities include enhanced access to pension savings (including the recently passed SECURE Act), health benefits laws and regulations, genetic information nondiscrimination, mental health parity, and disclosures to participants.
  • Job Responsibilities

The incumbent represents the Secretary of Labor as plaintiff in civil litigation enforcing ERISA, as amended by the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 (MHPAEA), the Affordable Care Act of 2010 (ACA), and the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, which added new transparency, disclosure and MHPAEA enforcement requirements), as well as other legislation. The incumbent will typically work under the supervision of senior attorneys as part of a litigation team. The litigation protects the pension and health benefits of employees participating in ERISA-covered benefit plans by obtaining injunctive and substantial monetary relief against plan trustees and other fiduciaries who have breached their fiduciary duties under ERISA. The pension cases often involve investments of plan assets, and an understanding of financial transactions is important to evaluating the merits of the case and effectively using expert witnesses. The health benefit cases involve novel and challenging issues under ERISA, MHPAEA, and the ACA. The incumbent may also litigate cases seeking civil monetary penalties under ERISA section 502(c)(2) before administrative law tribunals.

The incumbent's responsibilities include legal assistance to EBSA, reviewing investigations and preparing written factual and legal analyses and recommendations as to whether the Secretary should bring an enforcement suit. The attorney is responsible for preparing court pleadings and motions, arguing and presenting evidence and witnesses in court hearings, and conducting pretrial discovery, settlement negotiations, and trials, often as part of a team of attorneys with various levels of experience. These responsibilities require the ability to aggressively pursue the litigation to conclusion through settlement, summary judgment, or trial and the ability to work cooperatively.

The incumbent may also have the opportunity to brief and argue appeals in the U.S. Courts of Appeals, and may also provide legal opinion and advice in connection with drafting or reviewing regulations under ERISA, proposed legislation, prohibited transaction exemptions, advisory opinions, and other legal guidance.

Travel Required

Not required

Supervisory status

Promotion Potential
14 - There is no obligation to provide future promotions if you are selected. Promotions are dependent on your ability to perform the duties at a higher level, meet all the performance requirements, and supervisor's recommendation to the next grade.


Conditions of Employment

  • Appointment to this position may require a background investigation.
  • Requires a probationary period if the requirement has not been met.
  • Must be a U.S. Citizen.
  • This position is included in the bargaining unit.

Applicants must possess a professional law degree (LL.B. or J.D.). Applicants must meet all legal and regulatory requirements. Reference the "Required Documents" section for additional requirements.


To qualify for an attorney position, applicants must possess a professional law degree (LL.B. or J.D.); be a member in good standing of the bar of a court of general jurisdiction of a state, territory or possession of the U.S.; and have acquired the amount of experience indicated below for each grade level.

GS-13, two (2) years of progressively responsible legal experience of a professional nature which demonstrates the ability to perform the work at this level.

GS-14, three (3) years of progressively responsible legal experience of a professional nature which demonstrates the ability to perform the work at this level. At least one year of qualifying experience, at this level, must be specialized experience as defined below.

Specialized experience is defined as experience in conducting litigation of civil cases in federal or state trial or appellate courts or administrative agencies.

Note: An LL.M may be substituted for a maximum of one year experience.


Any applicant falsely claiming an academic degree from an accredited school will be subject to actions ranging from disqualification from federal employment to removal from federal service.

If your education was completed at a foreign college or university, you must show comparability to education received in accredited educational institutions in the United States and comparability to applicable minimum course work requirements for this position. Click Evaluation of Foreign Education for more information.

Additional information

How You Will Be Evaluated

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

Applicants meeting the minimum qualification requirements for this position will be further evaluated against the following evaluation factors. Current and/or past supervisors may be contacted unless specified otherwise. A panel and/or the selecting official or his/her designee may interview applicants.

Evaluation Factors:
  • Demonstrated skill in researching and preparing well-written, organized and persuasive legal documents.
  • Ability to make effective oral presentations in a clear and concise manner.
  • Ability to plan and conduct litigation. Trial experience is a plus.
  • Ability to establish and maintain effective liaison with high level departmental officials, regional program officials, supervisors, agency staff and the general public.
  • Ability to multi-task in a complex and fast-paced inter-disciplinary legal environment, entailing timely collections of facts, identification and resolution of issues, enumeration of options, and formulation of recommendations.

  • It is the responsibility of the applicant to supply sufficient information to provide a basis for rating each of the evaluation factors listed above.

    INFORMATION FOR CTAP/ICTAP ELIGIBLE(S) ONLY: If you are eligible for special priority selection under CTAP or ICTAP, you must be well-qualified for the position to receive consideration. CTAP/ICTAP eligible(s) who are placed into the WELL-QUALIFIED CATEGORY or higher will be considered "well-qualified." Be sure to review DOL Account Eligibility Questions #24 to reflect that you are applying as an ICTAP or CTAP eligible and submit supporting documentation.

    The information you provide may be verified by a review of your work experience and/or education, by checking references, and through other means (ex. interview).

    To preview questions please click here .

    Background checks and security clearance

    Security clearance
    Not Required

    Drug test required

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

    Trust determination process
    Credentialing , Suitability/Fitness

    Required Documents

    The following documents must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. (ET) on the vacancy closing date. Warning: If you submit a document using the same document title, the 2nd submission will OVERWRITE the 1st submission. You are not required to submit a document if it does not apply to you.

    -Resumes are required - provide a resume either by creating one in USAJOBS or uploading one from your profile. To receive full consideration for relevant and specialized experience, please list the month, year, and the number of work hours worked for the experience listed on your resume. We also suggest that you preview the vacancy questions, and confirm that your resume supports your question responses.

    - Bar Certification: Should you be selected for this position, you will be required to submit documentation verifying that you are an active member of the Bar in Good Standing of any State, District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, or any Territorial Court under the U.S. Constitution. This letter and/or certificate should be dated within the last six months of the closing date of this job announcement.

    - Transcript(s): Should you be selected for this position, you will be required to submit documentation verifying that you have completed your first professional law degree. Applicants who claim substitution of education for experience with an LL.M must submit a copy of their transcripts for verification.

    - Veterans Documents (if applicable): Attorney appointments within the Department of Labor are positions in the excepted service, not the competitive service. There is no formal rating system for applying veterans' preference in attorney appointments; however, the Department of Labor considers veterans' preference eligibility as a positive factor in attorney hiring. In order to receive positive consideration, you must indicate your eligibility, in response to the appropriate item on the vacancy questionnaire. Additionally, you must submit a copy of your Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty, DD214 showing the type of discharge and dates of active duty and, if applicable, a VA letter certifying the present existence of the service-connected disability which indicates the percentage of your disability. (For active duty service members expecting to be honorably discharged or released within 120 days, click Active Duty ) Without this documentation, you will not receive veteran's consideration. Additional information is available in the Vet's Guide .

    You may also find more information on positive consideration for attorney hiring .

    - Displaced Employee Placement Documents: These documents are only required if you are requesting priority consideration under ICTAP/CTAP Eligibility. Applicants with disabilities (SCHEDULE A) applying under the area of consideration must submit proof of certification by counselors, State vocational rehabilitation agencies, or the Veterans Administration.

    - Cover Letter(s) Please submit a cover letter no longer than one page explaining why you are interested in working for the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of the Solicitor. Cover letters are not mandatory and will not be used to verify experience, but are highly encouraged.

    Applicants selected for employment that are not current DOL employees will be required to provide proof of citizenship, or non-citizenship as allowable in Excepted Service hiring through P.L. 112-10, and the E-Verify system will be used to confirm the employment eligibility of all new hires.

    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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