Attorney-Advisor (Appellate Litigation)

Washington, D.C
May 06, 2021
May 11, 2021
Full Time


Want to do appellate litigation and work on agency decisions in a small and vibrant independent regulatory agency? The STB Office of the General Counsel (OGC) may be the place for you. The STB issues decisions and rules primarily regarding railroad regulatory matters. Because the agency has independent litigating authority, our lawyers represent the agency in federal courts of appeal in cases involving complex statutory and administrative issues.

Learn more about this agency


The major duties of this position are:
  • Independently investigating and analyzing facts, conducting necessary research, and otherwise performing the full range of professional legal work involved in the preparation of pleadings and arguments in court representing the Surface Transportation Board.
  • Advising and assisting the Board with respect to legal matters concerning the duties, functions, and activities of the Board, the interpretation of federal laws applicable to or affecting the Board or its activities (including the Interstate Commerce Act), the preparation or review of rules, regulations, orders, and opinions, and other documents.
  • Acting as counsel for the Surface Transportation Board, or jointly for the Board and the United States, in state and federal courts.
  • Working collaboratively with other staff on the agency's decisions, focusing primarily on defensibility.

Travel Required

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

Supervisory status

Promotion Potential


Conditions of Employment

U.S. Citizenship is required.

All qualification requirements must be met by 05/10/2021. Your application package will not receive consideration if it lacks any of the required documents under the "Required Documents" tab.

Trial Period: Two-year trial period may be required.

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. See

Background Suitability Investigation: Continued employment is contingent upon satisfactory completion of a background investigation and the granting of a Federal suitability or security clearance. If selected, you may be offered tentative employment until the background investigation has been fully adjudicated.

Relocation expenses are not authorized.


The Office of Personnel Management has not issued qualification standards for attorney positions. However, successful candidates must possess the following minimum qualifications before the closing date of this posting:
  • A professional law degree (LL.B, J.D., LL.M.) from a law school accredited by the American Bar Association (ABA);
  • Current membership in good standing of the bar of a state or territory of the United States or the District of Columbia. Proof of bar membership will be required before entering on duty.

All candidates being considered must demonstrate through their application documents: excellent research and writing skills, incisive legal analytical ability, strong oral advocacy and presentation skills.

GS-14 candidates must have three years of professional legal experience: analyzing facts, conducting legal research, preparing pleadings/motions/briefs, conducting oral arguments, managing litigation deadlines, and providing legal counsel on an array of issues, preferably related to transportation economics, rate regulation/competition, environmental or administrative law.

GS-15 candidates must have four years of professional legal experience: analyzing facts, conducting legal research, preparing pleadings/motions/briefs, conducting oral arguments, managing litigation deadlines, and providing legal counsel on an array of issues, preferably related to transportation economics, rate regulation/competition, environmental or administrative law.

The candidate must be able to perform the functions of the position with a high degree of autonomy but must also be able to incorporate feedback from a rigorous review process.

A writing sample and cover letter are to be submitted with application package.


You MUST provide transcripts or other documentation to support your educational claims. Unless otherwise stated: (1) unofficial transcripts are acceptable, or (2) you may submit a list with all of your courses, grades, semester, year, and credit for the course. All materials must be submitted by the closing date of the announcement.

You must provide your transcripts to support your educational claims. Transcripts may be unofficial copies, but they must come from an accredited college or university, and they also must include the courses' names and number of credit hours. To search the database of accredited institutions visit:

Foreign Education: If you are using education completed in foreign colleges or universities to meet the qualification requirements, you must show that the education credentials have been evaluated by a private organization that specializes in interpretation of foreign education programs and such education has been deemed equivalent to that gained in an accredited U.S. education program; or full credit has been given for the courses at U.S. accredited college or university. For further information visit:

Additional information

A career with the U.S. Government provides employees with a comprehensive benefits package. As a federal employee, you and your family will have access to a range of benefits that are designed to make your federal career very rewarding. In addition, the Surface Transportation Board (STB) has work/life-balance flexibilities that may be right for you. We offer:

Flexible Work Schedule options: Two flexible work schedules, the Flexitour Option and the Compressed Work Schedule. Employees on the Flexitour may schedule fixed arrival and departure times around established core hours and work 8 hours plus a 30-minute unpaid lunch period. Employees on the Compressed Work Schedule may work 8 9-hour work days and one 8-hour day (plus the 30-minute unpaid lunch period) in each biweekly pay period and receive one scheduled day off; OR may work 4 10-hour days (plus the 30-minute unpaid lunch period) with one week day off each week;

Limited Telework opportunities upon supervisor approval and in accordance with the Employee Work Schedule policy;

Fitness Center: STB employees, at no cost, have access to the fitness center conveniently located in the building; and

A monthly transit subsidy for a portion of your commuting costs to help defray the commuting costs of employees who use mass transportation, including commuter bus, Metrorail or Metrobus, or commuter rail systems.

How You Will Be Evaluated

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

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

Once the application process is complete, a review of the resume and supporting documentation will be made to determine if you are qualified for this job. 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 to more accurately reflect the submitted documentation.

All candidates who meet the qualifications described above will be referred to the hiring official for consideration.

Interagency Career Transition Assistance Program (ICTAP). ICTAP provides eligible displaced Federal competitive service employees with selection priority over other candidates for competitive service vacancies. If your agency has notified you in writing that you are a displaced employee eligible for ICTAP consideration, you may receive selection priority if this vacancy is within your ICTAP eligibility, you apply under the instructions in this announcement, and you are found well-qualified for this vacancy. Well-qualified means you must be within the Best and Highly Qualified categories; meet medical, suitability, and minimum educational and experience requirements; all selective factors where applicable and appropriate quality ranking factor levels; be physically qualified, with reasonable accommodation where appropriate, to perform the essential duties of the position; meet any special qualifying condition(s) that OPM has approved for the position; and be able to satisfactorily perform the duties of the position upon entry. You must provide proof of eligibility with your application to receive selection priority. Proof may include a copy of your written notification of ICTAP eligibility or a copy of your separation personnel action form. Information about ICTAP is on OPM's website at

Preview the Assessment Questionnaire,

Background checks and security clearance

Security clearance

Drug test required

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

Trust determination process

Required Documents

Please be advised, the following documents are required even if you are already a current Federal or STB employee:

1. Resume that includes the experience you wish to be considered for the review of your qualifications, the dates of employment with month and year, and hours worked per week, if part time. Resumes that do not contain all of the necessary information to determine qualifications may be marked as insufficient and applicants may not receive consideration for this position. Your latest resume submission is the one that will be used to determine your qualifications.

2. Responses to questionnaire.

3. Supporting documents verifying your eligibility or any preference eligibility along with your application package.

These documents may include, but are not limited to:
  • Veterans documentation: There is no formal rating system for applying veterans' preference to attorney appointments in the Excepted Service. However, if you are eligible for veteran's preference, you may attach supporting documents. If submitting DD214, a MEMBER 4 copy is required. If you are currently on active duty, you must submit an official statement of service from your command or other official documentation that proves your military service was performed under honorable conditions;
  • Preference eligible documentation: If claiming 10-point preference you must also submit a SF-15 and any other proof that you are eligible for 10-point preference if a job offer is extended to you, final VA letter including percentage (please do not include letter from VA noting specific private medical information);
  • ICTAP documentation: RIF separation notice along with last performance rating or appraisal;
  • Transcripts: if you are using education to substitute or if position has a positive education requirement; and
  • Writing Sample: applicants must include an unedited or lightly edited writing sample that demonstrates your ability to perform the duties of the position and illustrates your ability to conduct complex legal research and analysis. Selected extracts of larger documents are acceptable. If appropriate, please attach an explanatory cover memo to your writing sample. Do not submit any sensitive or classified documents or documents containing personally identifiable information.

Similar jobs