Paralegal Specialist

Washington, D.C
May 14, 2021
May 21, 2021
Full Time


This position is located in the Office of Research and Publication Section, Paralegal Unit. The Unit reviews all government briefs filed in the Supreme Court. Paralegals in this position provides legal support to the Deputy Solicitors General, Assistants to the Solicitor General, and attorney in the various divisions of the department, as well as officials and attorneys in other governmental agencies.

Learn more about this agency


As a Paralegal Specialist GS-0950-9/11~ , your typical work assignments may include the following:
  • Handles multiple assignments with varying deadlines and conflicting priorities; plans and organizes work carefully to meet requirements for each stage of the assignment.
  • Ensures adherence to the Rules of the Supreme Court of the United States regarding timelines for filing petitions, briefs, and motions.
  • Analyzes factual and legal issues to determine the relevancy of information in briefs and other case documents and to identify facts requiring additional research.
  • Keeps abreast of case law and decisions on appeals to ensure legal research reflects current status.
  • Studies Court precedent to determine appropriate sources for research and to form recommendations.
  • Conducts complex legal research and analysis on precedents, legislative history, periodicals, technical data, and other information bearing on relevant and particular legal issues and analyzes the information to determine either what to include or what to recommend for inclusion in the Government's brief.
  • Locates, retrieves, and evaluates official, primary legal sources that are hard-to-find, obscure, problematic, antiquated, and archival. Primary legal sources are in the areas of foreign law, comparative law, international law, common law, and civil law. Builds and maintains internal and external partnerships with a variety of legal research professionals to obtain source material in a timely manner.
  • Uses hard copy federal and state statutes, hard copy federal and state reporter systems, Shepard's Citations, on-line legal research databases (e.g., Westlaw and Hein Online) and indices, and online court dockets (e.g., Pacer), congressional research reports, legislation, law journals, legal dictionaries and textbooks, and periodicals noting discussion on treaties, federal, state, local, foreign, and international statutes and legal authority, administrative precedents, legal opinion, and other source material to accomplish research.
  • Conducts legal citations research using hard-copy citators (e.g. Shepard's Citations) to determine whether cases cited have been reaffirmed, overturned, cited by later cases or questioned.
  • Updates legal authorities accordingly. Corrects erroneous or incomplete citations, references, assertions and quotations in briefs and other case documents.
  • Writes memorandum and reports outlining and analyzing the factual and legal issues involved, explaining the application of legal principles and precedents, and justifying recommendations or conclusions.
  • Prepares recommendations for attorneys based on case law and other sources referenced in the brief or other case documents. This includes reconciling conflicts or inconsistencies between legal research and the Government's approach or recommending alternative wording that more accurately supports the identified source(s) on which the Government is relying or correcting sources or citations.
  • Reviews or edits briefs, petitions and motions documents under tight deadlines.
  • Works closely with attorneys to: identify what assistance is needed on particular cases; provide timely, responsive assistance in identifying legal sources that support the Government's case; and answer legal questions.
  • Advises attorneys and other officials on the accuracy and relevancy of citations quotations, paraphrasing, parenthetical information, and other references; and propose reliable additions of relevant citations and other references for the improvement of the brief.
  • Ensures adherence to legal ethics in conducting work to include protecting confidential or classified material in accordance with OSG, information security and national security rules.

Travel Required

Not required

Supervisory status

Promotion Potential


Conditions of Employment

  • You must be a United States Citizen or National.
  • You will be required to complete a pre-employment security investigation and background check which includes a drug screening.
  • You may be required to complete a one-year probationary or two-year trial period.
  • Selective Service registration is required for males born on, or after, December 31st 1959. Those not registered should have an approved exemption on file.
  • You must meet all eligibility requirements by the closing date of this announcement and continue to meet these requirements throughout the hiring process. Offers can be rescinded if requirements are not met.
  • Additional selections may be made from this announcement, for up to 90 days, if openings occur in other offices serviced by Justice Management Division.


To qualify for the GS-950-09, you MUST:

Have at least one year of specialized experience equivalent to the GS-07 grade level in the Federal service performing duties which include, but are not limited to: Conducting legal research and analysis sufficient to perform recurring case development and documentation assignments that are typically covered by established procedures; thorough analysis of proper format in cite-checking for accuracy and relevancy of references and citations contained in briefs going before Supreme Court. Assist attorney by correcting erroneous or incomplete citations, quotations, and assertions that are unsupported.


Have a master's or equivalent graduate degree or 2 full years of progressively higher level graduate education leading to such a degree or LL.B. or J.D., if related

To qualify for the GS-950-11 you MUST:

Have at least one year of specialized experience equivalent to the GS-09 grade level in the Federal service performing duties which include, but not limited to: Verifying, supporting, or disputing case information in appellate cases through the conduct of legal and archival research that involved using primarily hard-copy sources such as federal and state reporter systems, case law, and federal and state statutes; conducting legal citations research to determine the status of cases cited using hard-copy citators such as Shepherd's citations; and, writing legal memorandums and reports that analyze legal issues, explain the application of legal principles and precedents to those issues, and justify recommendations or conclusions or editing legal merits briefs, petitions and motions.


Have a Ph.D or equivalent doctoral degree; or three full years of progressively higher level graduate education leading to such a degree; or LL.M., if related.

You MUST meet all qualification requirements by the closing date of this announcement.
YOUR RESUME MUST support your responses to the online questionnaire and the qualification requirements. Failure to do so may result in an ineligible rating.


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

  • CAREER TRANSITION PROGRAMS ( CTAP or ICTAP ): For more information visit: USAJOBS Career Transition Programs
  • VETERANS AND MILITARY SPOUSES: Please see USAJOBS Veterans Preference for more details.
  • REASONABLE ACCOMMODATION: Our policy can be found at:
  • DOJ EEO STATEMENT: The U.S. Department of Justice fosters an inclusive and diverse workforce, find our EEO statement online at:
  • SELECTIVE SERVICE: If you were born male, on or 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: .

  • How You Will Be Evaluated

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

    Your application will be evaluated and rated under DOJ's Category Rating and Selection Procedures. Your resume 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 Occupational 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 it is determined you meet minimum qualification requirements, your application will then be placed in one of three categories: Best Qualified, Highly Qualified, or Qualified. Within these categories, applicants eligible for Veterans' Preference will receive selection priority over non-veteran preference eligibles.

    Your qualifications will be evaluated on the following competencies (knowledge, skills, and other characteristics):
    • Case Documents
    • Communication
    • Customer Service
    • Legal Citation
    • Legal Research

    Career Transition Programs ( CTAP or ICTAP ): These programs apply to Federal and/or DOJ employees who meet the definition of surplus or displaced from a position in the competitive service. To receive selection priority for this position, you must:
  • Meet CTAP or ICTAP eligibility criteria;
  • Be rated well-qualified for the position with a score of 85 or above based on the competencies listed above; and
  • Submit the appropriate documentation to support your CTAP or ICTAP eligibility.

  • Background checks and security clearance

    Security clearance

    Drug test required

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

    Trust determination process

    Required Documents

    Documentation requirements may vary from applicant to applicant based on your eligibility claims.
    For example, Veteran documents would be required only from applicants claiming Veteran's Preference. It is your responsibility to carefully review the list of document descriptions below, to see which documents are required for your application.

    ALL APPLICANTS : You must submit a detailed resume containing the following pieces of information for each job listed:
  • official position title,
  • employer name and contact information,
  • start and end dates ( including month and year ),
  • a detailed list of duties & accomplishments,
  • your highest salary (or grade/step) achieved, and
  • the number of hours worked per week (or indicate full-time).
  • If you're unsure about what to include in your resume, please review the USAJOBS Resume Writing Tutorial on YouTube. You are encouraged to use the USAJOBS Resume Builder , as this will ensure you're including everything that is required.

    If you are claiming a Veterans Preference eligibility:
  • When claiming a Veteran's Preference, you must submit your last DD-214 (Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty) form, specifically the Member #4 Copy, indicating dates and character of service and discharge type.
  • If you are a V eteran with a service-connected disability rating of 30% or more , you will need to additionally submit the SF-15 (Application for 10-point Veterans Preference) and a copy of your VA Letter stating your disability rating.
  • If you are the qualifying parent or spouse of a disabled, deceased, or deployed Veteran, and are seeking a derived preference eligibility, you must submit appropriate supporting documentation such as the Veterans DD-214, SF-15, VA Letter, and/or Permanent Change of Station (PCS) orders. See Veteran Family Preference for more information.
  • For more information on each type of Veterans Preference, and the documentation required for each, see FedsHireVets .
  • If you are a displaced Federal employee claiming eligibility under CTAP or ICTAP :
  • You must submit your separation notice or agency RIF letter from your agency.
  • If you have not yet been separated, you can provide the letter of intent to separate you from the agency because of reduction-in-force.
  • See USAJOBS' Career Transition Programs for more information.
  • If you are using education to qualify for this position, or education is required :
  • You must submit a transcript, which may be unofficial, as long as it contains a full listing of courses, credit earned, grade and grade-point-average, subject area, degree(s) earned, and dates of award.
  • Your transcript must come from a nationally-accredited educational institution recognized by the Department of Education.
  • If submitting a foreign transcript, you must have the transcript reviewed by an approved foreign education review organization recognized by the Department of Education.
  • Please do not submit electronic transcripts with documentation security protection, these may prevent our application system from accepting and processing the document.
  • More Info:
    USAJOBS - What documents might I need to provide?
    Application Manager Help - Documents

    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.