Camp Springs, Maryland
Sep 25, 2021
Sep 30, 2021
Full Time


Do you desire to be a part of the vibrant United States immigrant admission process, to protect American interests and to secure our nation while building a meaningful and rewarding career? If so, United States Citizenship and Immigration (USCIS), and its Office of the Chief Counsel are calling!

Learn more about this agency


As part of both USCIS and the Office of the General Counsel of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), you will work with other highly talented attorneys and colleagues on a rich array of intellectually challenging, critically important, cutting edge legal issues. Working along-side other components of DHS, USCIS strives to administer immigration benefit applications fairly, efficiently, and in keeping with the law, while simultaneously safeguarding our borders, our cyber space, and other elements of our nation's security. This vital mission is achieved by a diverse workforce spanning hundreds of occupations. Make an impact; join, OCC, USCIS, and DHS!

The Office of the Chief Counsel (OCC), U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), Department of Homeland Security, is seeking to fill an GS-12 entry-level attorney position in Camp Springs, MD with the Litigation and National Security Coordination Division (LNSCD).

Responsibilities include, but are not limited to, providing legal counsel and litigation assistance to the Office of Chief Counsel, USCIS, on matters pertaining to the Immigration and Nationality Act, fraud and fraud detection, public safety, national security and other laws and procedures relating to immigration benefits. The attorney will coordinate appropriate action on cases where the issues in the matter are novel, unique, controversial, or have national implications. The attorney will also frequently work with other USCIS counsel and attorneys from the Department of Justice on cases in litigation. The attorney will review policy memos, training, and draft case decisions for legal sufficiency. The attorney will also coordinate with other USCIS counsel and attorneys from the law enforcement and intelligence community on issues related to fraud, public safety, and national security concerns. The position is supervised by a LNSCD Deputy Chief and the LNSCD Chief.

Travel Required

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

Supervisory status

Promotion Potential


Conditions of Employment

U.S. Citizenship: Candidate must be a United States Citizen and present proof of citizenship, if selected.

Qualifications by Closing date: You must meet all qualification requirements by the closing date of the announcement. Please note that qualification claims will be subject to verification.

Background Security Investigation: A background security investigation will be required for all new hires. Appointment will be subject to the applicant's successful completion of a background security investigation and favorable adjudication. Failure to successfully meet these requirements will be grounds for termination.

A Confidential Financial Disclosure Report (SF-450) will be required for certain positions. You may be asked to complete the necessary Financial Disclosure Report to meet that requirement.

Drug Testing: If position has been identified as a Testing-Designated position under DHS's Drug-Free Workplace Plan, any individual tentatively selected will be required to submit to urinalysis to screen for illegal drug use prior to appointment.

Selective Service Registration: Male applicants born after December 31, 1959, will be required to certify that they have registered with the Selective Service System, or are exempt from having to do so under the Selective Service Law.

Residency Requirement: There is a residency requirement for all applicants not currently employed by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. The residency requirement states that candidates must have, for three of the last five years immediately prior to applying for this position(s);
  • resided in the United States; or
  • worked for the United States Government as an employee overseas in a Federal or Military capacity; or
  • been dependent of a U.S. Federal or Military employee serving overseas.

Exceptions may be granted to applicants if they can provide complete state-side coverage information required to make a suitability/security determination.

Examples of state-side coverage information include:
  • the state-side address of the company headquarters where the applicant's personnel file is located,
  • the state-side address of the Professor in charge of the applicant's "Study Abroad" program,
  • the church records for the applicant's overseas church mission,
  • and/or the state-side addresses of anyone who worked or studied with the applicant while overseas. Applicants must be able to provide information at a later date if deemed necessary.


You qualify at the GS-12 level if you: have graduated from law school and are licensed by your state's Bar.

Applicants must possess a J.D. or LL.M. degree from an ABA-accredited law school or serve a legal apprenticeship in California, Virginia, Vermont, or Washington and pass the bar exam in order to be permitted to practice law in one (1) of those jurisdictions. Preference for recent law school graduates within the last 3 years. Exposure to USCIS adjudications and experience coordinating with USCIS operational personnel on immigration and citizenship issues is desirable, but not necessary. Applicants should have a strong academic law school record.

Prior to entering on duty, all selected attorneys must provide a Certificate of Good Standing in holding an active Bar License to practice law in any state or territory of the United States, or the District of Columbia, or Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.

All applicants will be rated against the following factors:
  • Ability to resolve questions and provide accurate legal advice to both attorneys and non-attorneys on complex legal matters.
  • Ability to handle a heavy workload and meet deadlines.
  • Legal aptitude as reflected in the resume and law school transcript provided.
  • Quality of writing sample not to exceed 10 pages.
  • Quality of the cover letter addressed to OCC summarizing interest in the position not to exceed 1 page.
  • Quality of recommendations provided (No more than 3 recommendations total).


Additional information

You will need to successfully complete a background security investigation before you can be appointed into this position. The candidate selected will be required to obtain a "Secret" clearance and continued employment is contingent on being able to maintain at least a "Secret" clearance.

Probationary Period: The candidate selected is required to serve a probationary trial period of two (2) years.

Promotional Potential: This position starts at the GS-12 level, depending on such factors as the selectee's experience and current salary, and has promotion potential to the GS-15/10. When promotion potential is shown, the agency is not making a commitment and is not obligated to provide future promotions to you if you are selected. Future promotions will be dependent on your ability to perform the duties at a higher level, the continuing need for an employee assigned to the higher level, and administrative approval.

The actual salary will be set based on the grade, step, and location of the selectee(s) and/or position.

Continued employment for a candidate selected under this job announcement is contingent upon the applicant maintaining Bar membership in good standing of a state or territory of the United States, or the District of Columbia, or Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.

Telework: USCIS provides voluntary telework opportunities for eligible employees serving in positions conducive to working at an alternate work site in accordance with agency policy. Please Note: You may be required to telework from your personal residence or another location due to the needs of an office or an emergency situation such as severe weather, natural or manmade disasters or for public health, safety or emergency preparedness measures.

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 based upon your resume, citing qualifications and work experience, your writing sample, and, if selected for interview, your responses provided during a structured interview. In responding to structured interview questions you should be sure to cite specific examples of experience, explain exactly what you did, and the outcome.

All information you provide may be verified by a review of the work experience and/or education as shown on your application forms, by checking references and through means, such as the interview process. The verification could occur at any stage of the application process. An exaggeration of your experience, false statements, or attempts to conceal information may be grounds for rating you ineligible, not hiring you, or firing you after you begin work.

To preview questions please click here .

Background checks and security clearance

Security clearance

Drug test required

Position sensitivity and risk
Critical-Sensitive (CS)/High Risk

Trust determination process

Required Documents

In addition to completing an online questionnaire, the following supporting documents must be received by the closing date of this announcement:
  • A cover letter addressed to the Office of the Chief Counsel (OCC) no more than 1 page in length summarizing your background and interest in the position not otherwise evident from the other required documents.
  • Law School Transcript (can be an unofficial transcript)
  • Resume.
  • A writing sample not to exceed 10 pages.
  • No more than 3 optional recommendations total.
  • A declaration under penalty of perjury that the applicant is a member in good standing with the bar of a state, territory of the U.S., the District of Columbia, or the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and that his or her fitness to practice law or conduct as an attorney have never been challenged in any jurisdiction, OR if either has been challenged, a sworn declaration concerning the facts and circumstances together with any explanation the applicant may deem appropriate. This notarized sworn statement must be dated within 3 months of the date the application is submitted.
  • If you are or have been a FEDERAL EMPLOYEE, please submit a copy of your last Notification of Personnel Actions, Form SF-50, which shows tenure group, promotion potential and salary, and your most recent or last performance appraisal.

Recommendations must be scanned and uploaded into the system along with other supporting documents and addressed to the Office of the Chief Counsel.

To verify your application is complete, log into your USAJOBS accounts. All of your applications will appear on the Welcome page. The application record in your USAJOBS account provides the Announcement Status and a "You applied on" date. This information does not confirm the agency application status. Use the "Track this Application" link for additional information regarding the agency application status, the documentation received and processed, and any correspondence the agency has sent related to this application. Your uploaded documents may take several hours to clear the virus scan process. For information on what each Announcement Status means, visit: .

It is your responsibility to ensure that your correct documents are uploaded and received. Please only submit documents listed in the Required Documents section.

This job is being filled by an alternative hiring process and is not in the competitive civil service.

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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