Environmental Defense Section Trial Attorney (2 positions)

Website U.S. Department of Justice, ENRD



About the Office:

The Environmental Defense Section represents the United States in complex civil litigation arising under a broad range of environmental statutes, including the Clean Air Act; Clean Water Act; Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act; Toxic Substances Control Act; Safe Drinking Water Act; Resource Conservation and Recovery Act; and Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act.

Section attorneys are responsible for all aspects of complex litigation. This includes pre-trial tasks up to and through trial, such as preparation and filing of dispositive motions, drafting merits briefs, written and document discovery, taking and defending expert and fact witness depositions, presenting oral argument in court, handling witnesses at trial and other evidentiary hearings, and negotiating settlements. Section attorneys also defend cases seeking review of regulatory actions by the Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in the federal courts of appeals and district courts. Cases range from simpler, single-attorney matters to complex disputes under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (“CERCLA”) and other pollution control statutes. EDS cases present attorneys with the opportunity to regularly appear in district or appellate courts, to argue cases in the D.C. Circuit and other courts of appeals, and to periodically try cases or handle other evidentiary proceedings.

For more information about the Environmental Defense Section, visit: http://www.justice.gov/enrd/environmental-defense-section.

Our office places a high value on diversity of experiences and perspectives and encourages applications from all qualified individuals from all ethnic and racial backgrounds, veterans, LGBT individuals, and persons with disabilities.
Job Description:

EDS is one of the only sections in the Department of Justice’s Main-Justice components whose attorneys routinely handle cases in both federal courts of appeals and district courts, as well as both affirmative and defensive litigation. EDS defends rules and permits issued by the Environmental Protection Agency and other agencies, defends the United States on claims brought pursuant to the Administrative Procedure Act, and handles claims of liability against federal agencies under the pollution control laws, such as for costs of response actions at Superfund sites, federally-owned facilities and private sites. The Section also enforces the Clean Water Act against those who fill wetlands and other regulated waters.


The Section’s docket is demanding and requires top caliber work products. Successful applicants will have a demonstrated record of outstanding legal writing, complex case management, initiative and creativity, strong courtroom skills, and a commitment to the highest ethical and professional standards.

Applicants must possess a J.D. degree and be an active member of the bar (any jurisdiction), and be a U.S. citizen or national.  The ideal candidate should possess an excellent academic record and strong analytical, writing, and advocacy skills.  The ideal candidate should also have a comprehensive understanding of environmental law and federal civil procedure, excellent interpersonal skills, and the ability to work effectively in a team environment.

Specific grade level requirement:
GS-14:  At least 4 years of relevant civil/environmental litigation experience.
GS-15:  At least 5 years of relevant civil/environmental litigation experience.

Current salary and years of experience will determine the appropriate salary level. The possible salary range is GS-14 ($121,316 – $157,709) and GS-15 ($142,701 to $170,800) per annum.
You may be expected to travel for this position.
Application Process:

Applicants must submit the following materials to: ATTYAPPLY-EDS.ENRD@USDOJ.GOV – Subject Line:  ENRD-20-028-EXC

1) Resume; (2) short writing sample for an advocacy piece (5-10 pages); (3) law school transcript; (4) cover letter of no more than two pages highlighting relevant litigation, environmental law; and legal writing experience and any other factor that you believe would be a good fit for EDS’ litigation practice; and (5) declaration for federal employment – www.opm.gov/forms/pdf_fill/of0306.pdf, and DD-214 if applicable.

No telephone calls please.  You must submit your application so that it will be received by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on the closing date.

Please Note: The Selecting Official may select additional candidates if more positions become available within 90 days after the closing date of the announcement.

Applicants should familiarize themselves and comply with the relevant rules of professional conduct regarding any possible conflicts of interest in connection with their applications. In particular, please notify this Office if you currently represent clients or adjudicate matters in which this Office is involved and/or you have a family member who is representing clients or adjudicating matters in which this Office is involved so that we can evaluate any potential conflict of interest or disqualification issue that may need to be addressed under those circumstances.

Application Deadline:  Friday, February 21, 2020
Relocation Expenses:  Relocation expenses will not be authorized.
Number of Positions:  2
Updated January 31, 2020

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Department Policies

Equal Employment Opportunity:  The U.S. Department of Justice is an Equal Opportunity/Reasonable Accommodation Employer.  Except where otherwise provided by law, there will be no discrimination because of color, race, religion, national origin, political affiliation, marital status, disability (physical or mental), age, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, protected genetic information, pregnancy, status as a parent, or any other nonmerit-based factor.  The Department of Justice welcomes and encourages applications from persons with physical and mental disabilities. The Department is firmly committed to satisfying its affirmative obligations under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, to ensure that persons with disabilities have every opportunity to be hired and advanced on the basis of merit within the Department of Justice. For more information, please review our full EEO Statement.

Reasonable Accommodations:  This agency provides reasonable accommodation to applicants with disabilities where appropriate. If you need a reasonable accommodation for any part of the application and hiring process, please notify the agency.  Determinations on requests for reasonable accommodation will be made on a case-by-case basis.

Outreach and Recruitment for Qualified Applicants with Disabilities:  The Department encourages qualified applicants with disabilities, including individuals with targeted/severe disabilities to apply in response to posted vacancy announcements.  Qualified applicants with targeted/severe disabilities may be eligible for direct hire, non-competitive appointment under Schedule A (5 C.F.R. § 213.3102(u)) hiring authority.  Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to contact one of the Department’s Disability Points of Contact (DPOC) to express an interest in being considered for a position. See list of DPOCs.

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, https://www.usajobs.gov/Help/working-in-government/non-citizens/). 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, www.opm.gov/forms/pdf_fill/SF15.pdf 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).

For more information, please contact ATTYAPPLY-EDS.ENRD@USDOJ.GOV