Attorney-Advisor (Open Continuous)

Washington, D.C
Oct 24, 2021
Nov 01, 2021
Full Time


This position is located in the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Office of the General Counsel (OGC), Intelligence Law Division (ILD).

The primary purpose of this position is to support the authorized activities of the Office of Intelligence & Analysis (I&A).
Learn more about this agency


As an Attorney-Advisor (Open Continuous) GS 0905 14/15, your typical work assignments may include the following under supervision:
  • Provides a broad range of legal support to DHS clients-including conducting complex legal research and analysis, developing memoranda, and presenting results to senior officials in a clear, precise, and persuasive manner- regarding the conduct and oversight of DHS intelligence activities; Functions as General Attorney Advisor and provides legal counsel on all activities and matters involving Homeland Security initiatives, operations, programs, and policies. Also, serves as the Attorney-Advisor to DHS staff on new technologies and initiatives to use technology to facilitate information sharing and analysis in support of national and departmental missions; and the management of the DHS intelligence enterprise.
  • Works with colleagues throughout DHS and at other departments and agencies, including the Department of Justice and the Intelligence Community, with special emphasis on enabling DHS intelligence professionals, computer and data scientists, and policy makers to effectively carry out their authorized functions while ensuring their activities are conducted in a manner that reflects the protections of individuals' privacy, civil rights, and civil liberties required by law; Provides written and oral counsel, legal reviews, opinions, or decisions in the application of Federal laws to programs conducted or assisted by DHS components, and DHS policies.
  • Assists or represents institutional clients in negotiating, developing, or resolving legal and other matters within DHS, and externally with the Congress, other government agencies, individuals, citizen groups and civil society, state and local government officials, and foreign partners.
  • Ensures that departmental policy development, planning, and implementation efforts properly consider and accurately reflect the authorities conferred and constraints imposed by law, Presidential order and directive, and executive branch policy, in carrying out the intelligence mission function.
  • Provides advice and guidance to attorneys in DHS component agencies and contributes to the formation of DHS-wide policies.
  • Routinely interacts with state, local, tribal, private sector, and foreign officials on behalf of DHS and OGC on matters related to the law and policies governing intelligence and information sharing and safeguarding.

Travel Required

25% or less - You may be expected to travel for this position.

Supervisory status

Promotion Potential


Conditions of Employment

  • U. S. Citizenship Required
  • Males born after 12/31/1959 must be registered for Selective Service
  • You must successfully pass a background investigation
  • You must be able to obtain a (TS/SCI) Security Clearance
  • You must submit to a pre-employment drug test
  • You must submit an OGE-450, Confidential Financial Disclosure Form
  • Employees hired under an Excepted Service appointment may be required to serve a two (2) year trial period


Basic Requirements:
You as an applicant must be an active member in good standing of the bar of the highest court of a State, U.S. Commonwealth, U.S. territory, or the District of Columbia, and be a graduate of a law school accredited by the American Bar Association, AND meet the minimum qualifications as stated below:

1. The first professional law degree (LL.B. or JD), OR
2. The second professional law degree (LL.M.), AND
3. Three (3) years of specialized professional legal experience that is commensurate with the duties and responsibilities of the position or two (2) years of specialized professional legal experience that is commensurate with the duties and responsibilities of the position, AND one (1) year of judicial clerkship. The quality of the individual's background may be evidenced by the relatedness of his or her specialization.

1. The first professional law degree (LL.B. or JD), OR
2. The second professional law degree (LL.M.), AND
3. Specialized professional legal experience in excess of three (3) years that is commensurate with the duties and responsibilities of the position. The quality of the individual's background may be evidenced by the relatedness of his or her specialization.

Specialized Experience:
The Office of the General Counsel (OGC) will evaluate eligible candidates based on the following criteria:
OGC will assess qualified applicants by comparing each candidate's qualifications to those pertinent to the position. OGC will consider relevant skills and experience, education and training, performance, and awards. The skills and experience listed immediately below are of particular importance to the position, and applicants should provide specific detailed information in these areas, where applicable, as part of their application.

For this position, specialized experience is defined as experience providing legal advice and support on matters comparable to those encountered in homeland or national security related programs, including but not limited to programs involving the conduct of intelligence activities, administrative or legal compliance and oversight of agency operations, the sharing and safeguarding of sensitive information, and programs for ensuring official agency activities are undertaken in a manner that protects individual privacy, civil rights, and civil liberties interests.

Substitution of education in lieu of specialized experience may not be used for this grade level.

Current General Schedule (GS) federal employees, and those that have served in GS positions within the last 52 weeks, must have served 52 weeks at the next lower grade, or a combination of the next lower grade level and an equivalent band in the federal service.
All qualifications and eligibility requirements must be met by the closing date of the announcement.

Selectee will be required to complete an OGE 450, Confidential Financial Disclosure Form.
Permanent Change of Duty Station (PCS) Expenses will (not) be paid.

This is a permanent appointment in the excepted service and will be filled on a full-time permanent basis. Employees hired under an Excepted Service appointment are required to serve a two (2) year trial period. Upon successful completion of the required trial period, this position will be permanent.

Experience refers to paid and unpaid experience, including volunteer work done through National Service programs (e.g., Peace Corps, AmeriCorps) and other organizations (e.g., professional; philanthropic; religious; spiritual; community, student, social). Volunteer work helps build critical competencies, knowledge, and skills and can provide valuable training and experience that translates directly to paid employment. You will receive credit for all qualifying experience, including volunteer experience.

Application of Veterans' Preference: There is no formal rating system for applying veterans' preference to attorney appointments in the excepted service; however, the Department of Homeland Security considers veterans' preference eligibility as a positive factor in attorney hiring. Applicants eligible for veterans' preference are encouraged to include that information in their cover letter or resume and attach supporting documentation (e.g., DD form 214 or other substantiating documents) to their submissions.


Applicants must be a graduate of a school of law school accredited by the American Bar Association and an active member in good standing of the bar of a state, territory of the United States, the District of Columbia, or the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. If qualifying based on your education, you must submit a copy of your college transcript OR a list of college courses with credit hours, dates completed, and grades received to verify education. Unofficial transcripts will be accepted. Official transcripts will be required if you are selected for the position.

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; applicant's resumes and supporting documentation should only reflect education received from schools accredited by such institutions. Applicants can verify accreditation at the following Website: .

If you are using foreign education to meet qualification requirements, you must send a Certificate of Foreign Equivalency (a U.S. private organization's interpretation that such education has been deemed at least equivalent to conventional U.S. education programs) with your transcript in order to receive credit for that education. For more information regarding evaluation of foreign education for federal employment, please visit the U.S. Department of Education webpage.

Additional information

For Alternate Application Information please go to:

DHS offers competitive salaries and an attractive benefits package, including: health, dental, vision, life, and long-term care insurance; retirement plan; Thrift Savings Plan [similar to a 401(k)]; Flexible Spending Account; Employee Assistance Program; personal leave days; and paid federal holidays. Other benefits may include: flexible work schedules; telework; tuition reimbursement; transportation subsidies; uniform allowance; health and wellness programs; and fitness centers. DHS is committed to employee development and offers a variety of employee training and developmental opportunities. For more information, go to the DHS Careers website and select "Employee Benefits."

This position may be filled at the GS-14 or GS-15 level. If selection is made at the GS-14 level, promotion to the next higher level may occur without further competition.

Promotion Potential: GS-15

Background Investigation: To ensure the accomplishment of its mission, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) requires each and every employee to be reliable and trustworthy. To meet those standards, all selected applicants must undergo and successfully complete a background investigation for TS/SCI clearance as a condition of placement in this SPECIAL SENSITIVE position. This review includes financial issues such as delinquency in the payment of debts, child support and/or tax obligations, as well as certain criminal offenses and illegal use or possession of drugs.

Pursuant to Executive Order 12654 and DHS policy, DHS is committed to maintaining a drug-free workplace and, therefore, conducts random and other drug testing of its employees in order to ensure a safe and healthy work environment. Headquarters personnel in safety- or security-sensitive positions are subject to random drug testing and all applicants tentatively selected for employment at DHS Headquarters are subject to drug testing resulting in a negative test result.

Current or Former Political Appointees: The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) must authorize employment offers made to current or former political appointees. If you are currently, or have been within the last 5 years, a political Schedule A, Schedule C or Non-Career SES employee in the Executive Branch, you must disclose this information to the HR Office. Failure to disclose this information could result in disciplinary action including removal from Federal Service.

This position does not confer non-competitive conversion to the competitive service. Acceptance of an excepted service appointment from applicants in the competitive service will require a written statement of understanding when voluntarily leaving the competitive service.

This job opportunity announcement may be used to fill additional vacancies within 90 calendar days of the initial issue date of the referral list. Multiple selections may be made from this announcement.

By applying to this announcement certifies that you give permission for DHS to share your application with others in DHS for other similar positions.

You may be required to submit to urinalysis to screen for illegal drug use prior to appointment and is subject to random drug testing for the duration of service with DHS.

How You Will Be Evaluated

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

We will assess your resume and supporting documentation to ensure you meet the minimum qualification requirements. If you meet the minimum qualifications, your experience, education and training will be rated using a job questionnaire based on the following competencies or knowledge, skills and abilities needed to perform this job:

1.Ability to work with legal, policy, administrative and other professionals to support a broad range of programs and activities.

2. Ability to work cooperatively with others, develop partnerships and rapport with those who can provide information and assistance, and effectively assist in negotiating among varying views of interested parties in a manner that fosters the professional and efficient conduct of activities undertaken by supported institutional elements.

3. Experience working closely with institutional clients in support of their organizational efforts and missions.

4. Knowledge of or experience working with public laws and regulations concerning federal, state, or local government agency programs.

5. Ability to identify legal issues during the development of initiatives undertaken by the supported client elements; synthesize applicable facts and legal requirements; and provide clear, concise, and well-reasoned oral and written advice on those issues and initiatives.

If you are placed among the Best Qualified, you may be called for an interview.

The Department of Homeland Security encourages persons with disabilities to apply, to include persons with intellectual, severe physical or psychiatric disabilities, as defined by 5 CFR § 213.3102(u), and/or Disabled Veterans with a compensable service-connected disability of 30 percent or more as defined by 5 CFR § 315.707. Veterans , Peace Corps / VISTA volunteers , and persons with disabilities possess a wealth of unique talents, experiences, and competencies that can be invaluable to the DHS mission. If you are a member of one of these groups, you may not have to compete with the public for federal jobs. To determine your eligibility for non-competitive appointment and to understand the required documentation, click on the links above or contact the Servicing Human Resources Office listed at the bottom of this announcement.

Background checks and security clearance

Security clearance
Sensitive Compartmented Information

Drug test required

Position sensitivity and risk
Special-Sensitive (SS)/High Risk

Trust determination process
National security

Required Documents

  • Your résumé.
  • Your responses to the job questionnaire.
  • Submit a copy of your law school transcript (unofficial is acceptable). Applicants must be graduates of a law school accredited by the American Bar Association.
  • A legal writing sample not to exceed 10 pages.
  • Submit proof that you are an active member in good standing of the bar of a state, territory of the United States, the District of Columbia, or the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.
  • Are you a current or former Federal employee? You must submit a copy of your most recent SF-50, Notification of Personnel Action, which shows competitive or excepted service appointment, tenure group, and salary. If you are applying for a higher grade, please submit the SF-50 showing the highest (permanent) grade ever held, if different from your current grade. Please note: Performance award, Details, and Realignments are not acceptable SF-50s.
  • Consideration may be given to performance appraisals and incentive awards as an indicator of quality of prior experience. If you are determined to be best qualified, you may be referred to the hiring manager for consideration and may be called for an interview. Please provide a copy of your recent performance appraisal and/or incentive awards.

  • 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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