Attorney Advisor (General)

Washington, D.C
Sep 25, 2021
Sep 29, 2021
Full Time


The U.S. Department of Justice, Office of the Pardon Attorney (PARDON) seeks to fill a vacant Attorney Advisor position. PARDON receives petitions for executive clemency, initiates the necessary investigations, and prepares recommendations to the Deputy Attorney General and the President in connection with the consideration of all forms of executive clemency, including commutation (reduction) of sentence, pardon, remission of fine and reprieve, as well as commutation of the penalty of death.
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The Attorney Advisor will become familiar with all aspects of executive clemency. Knowledge of and/or experience with federal or state criminal law (from either the prosecution or defense perspective, or both), sentencing policy and guidelines, re-entry, and related issues are all helpful for this position. Applicants must demonstrate exceptional legal, analytical, policy, and writing skills, objectivity, and a high level of discernment. In addition, applicants must possess the ability to manage and prioritize a sizable and growing workload while meeting deadlines under pressure. Applicants should also show flexibility in their responses to sudden priority shifts that may occur due to changing administration goals and objectives. Applicants should also demonstrate compassion and the ability to make fair and balanced evaluations of written applications submitted by Federal petitioners.

Attorney Advisor responsibilities include the performance of challenging and varied legal assignments in the interpretation and proper application of executive orders, federal regulations, precedents, and agency practices related to executive clemency. Among other responsibilities, the Attorney Advisor will be assigned to review and evaluate the merits of clemency petitions in a fully automated electronic case management system, confer with officials of the USDOJ and external agencies regarding the performance of investigations, secure information and records related to the clemency petition and investigation, and advise the Pardon Attorney and Deputy Attorney General on the results of the investigative process and appropriate disposition of each petition. Attorney advisors assigned to review pardon petitions will be expected to interact with pardon petitioners and their legal representation and to demonstrate a high level of commitment to professionalism, courtesy and public service.

**Additional selections may be made from this announcement.

Travel Required

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

Supervisory status

Promotion Potential


Conditions of Employment

  • Must be a U.S. Citizen or National
  • Must successfully complete a pre-employment background investigation to support a Secret clearance
  • Selective service registration is required for males born after 12/31/59
  • Will be required to completion a two year trial period.
  • Proof of law degree, and active bar membership
  • Will be required to submit to a drug test.
  • This position is in the excepted service.


All applicants must possess:
  • A J.D. degree
  • Be an active member of the bar (any U.S. jurisdiction)
  • Have a minimum of 3 years post-J.D. experience
  • Preferred candidates will possess expertise in criminal law, from either the prosecutorial or defender perspective or both, as well as a thorough understanding and experience with sentencing law.

    Applicants who have worked with a felon population in other than a prosecutorial or defense capacity are also encouraged to apply.

    Applicants should demonstrate exceptional legal, analytical, policy, and writing skills, as well as the ability to manage and prioritize a sizable and growing workload and to meet deadlines under pressure.


    Applicants must possess a J.D. degree and be an active member of the bar (any U.S. jurisdiction)

    Additional information

    Relocation Expenses: Relocation expenses will not be authorized

    Telework Eligible: Yes - as determined by agency policy

    Number of Positions: 1 (potentially more if slots become available before the certificate expires)

    This and other vacancy announcements can be found under Attorney Vacancies & Volunteer Legal Internships. The Department of Justice cannot control further dissemination and/or posting of information contained in this vacancy announcement. Such posting and/or dissemination is not an endorsement by the Department of the organization or group disseminating and/or posting the information.

    How You Will Be Evaluated

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

    Suitability and Citizenship: It is the policy of the Department to achieve a drug-free workplace and persons selected for employment will be required to pass a drug test which screens for illegal drug use prior to final appointment. Employment is also contingent upon the completion and satisfactory adjudication of a background investigation. Congress generally prohibits agencies from employing non-citizens within the United States, except for a few narrow exceptions as set forth in the annual Appropriations Act (see, ).Pursuant to DOJ component policies, only U.S. citizens are eligible for employment with the Executive Office for Immigration Review, U.S. Trustee's Offices, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Unless otherwise indicated in a particular job advertisement, qualifying non-U.S. citizens meeting immigration and appropriations law criteria may apply for employment with other DOJ organizations. However, please be advised that the appointment of non-U.S. citizens is extremely rare; such appointments would be possible only if necessary to accomplish the Department's mission and would be subject to strict security requirements. Applicants who hold dual citizenship in the U.S. and another country will be considered on a case-by-case basis. All DOJ employees are subject to a residency requirement.Candidates must have lived in the United States for at least three of the past five years. The three-year period is cumulative, not necessarily consecutive. Federal or military employees, or dependents of federal or military employees serving overseas, are excepted from this requirement. This is a Department security requirement which is waived only for extreme circumstances and handled on a case-by-case basis.

    Veterans: There is no formal rating system for applying veterans' preference to attorney appointments in the excepted service; however, the Department of Justice considers veterans' preference eligibility as a positive factor in attorney hiring. Applicants eligible for veterans' preference must include that information in their cover letter or resume and attach supporting documentation (e.g., the DD 214, Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty and other supporting documentation) to their submissions. Although the "point" system is not used, per se, applicants eligible to claim 10-point preference must submit Standard Form (SF) 15, Application for 10-Point Veteran Preference, and submit the supporting documentation required for the specific type of preference claimed (visit the OPM website, for a copy of SF 15, which lists the types of 10-point preferences and the required supporting document(s). Applicants should note that SF 15 requires supporting documentation associated with service- connected disabilities or receipt of nonservice-connected disability pensions to be dated 1991 or later except in the case of service members submitting official statements or retirement orders from a branch of the Armed Forces showing that his or her retirement was due to a permanent service-connected disability or that he/she was transferred to the permanent disability retired list (the statement or retirement orders must indicate that the disability is 10% or more).

    Background checks and security clearance

    Security clearance

    Drug test required

    Position sensitivity and risk
    Noncritical-Sensitive (NCS)/Moderate Risk

    Trust determination process
    Credentialing , Suitability/Fitness , National security

    Required Documents

    Interested candidates should submit all of the following:
  • Cover letter (highlighting relevant experience);
  • Resume (see this USAJOBS Resume Writing Tutorial );
  • Law school transcript, which shows date degree conferred (for application purposes, these can be unofficial);
  • Professional legal writing sample (not to exceed 20 pages);
  • Official certificate showing that the applicant is an active member in good standing of a state bar;
  • Performance appraisal (if a current federal employee) issued within the last 12 months, or if none exists, a statement describing why one is not available; and
  • A copy of your latest SF-50, Notification of Personnel Action (if a current federal employee).

  • 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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