From USAJOBS Help
Attorneys (series 0905) include professional legal positions involved in: (1) preparing cases for trial and/or the trial of cases before a court or an administrative body or persons having quasi-judicial power; (2) rendering legal advice and services with respect to questions, regulations, practices, or other matters falling within the purview of a Federal Government agency (this may include conducting investigations to obtain evidentiary data); (3) preparing interpretive and administrative orders, rules, or regulations to give effect to the provisions of governing status or other requirements of law; (4) drafting, negotiating, or examining contracts or other legal documents required by the agency's activities; (5) drafting, preparing formal comments, or otherwise making substantive recommendations with respect to proposed legislation; (6) editing and preparing for publication statutes enacted by Congress and opinions or decisions of a court, commission, or board; and (7) drafting and reviewing decisions for consideration and adoption by agency officials.
The work of this series may require admission to the bar, a Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree, Master of Laws (LL.M), or an equivalent law degree. Included also are positions, not covered by the Administrative Procedure Act, involved in hearing cases arising under contracts or under the regulations have the effect of law, and rendering decisions or making recommendations for disposition of such cases.
Attorneys may wish to look for such opportunities through USAJOBS.gov or on individual agency websites.
Please note that attorney positions are Excepted Service so there is no public notice requirement for job vacancies.
Attorney positions classified in grade GS-9 are considered General Attorneys. At the lower grade, the attorney is learning the procedures and policies of his organization and specialized knowledge is usually relatively insignificant. In positions of grades GS-11, attorneys specialize with respect to the function they perform or in the subject-matter area in which they work.
The following are functional areas by which an attorney position may be classified:
- Trial Attorney - Positions involved in the preparation for trial and/or the trial of cases, or for positions involved in providing technical guidance to persons preparing for or trying cases before a court or an administrative body or person having quasi-judicial power.
- Attorney-Adviser - Positions involved in rendering legal advice and services with respect to questions, regulations, practices, or other matters falling within the purview of a Federal Government agency (this may include conducting investigation to obtain evidentiary data and recommending an agency course of action); preparing interpretative and administrative orders, rules, or regulations to give effect to the provisions of governing statutes or other requirements of law; drafting, negotiating, or examining contracts or other legal documents required by the agency's activities; drafting, preparing formal comments, or otherwise making substantive recommendations with respect to proposed legislation; editing and preparing for publication statutes enacted by Congress and opinions or decisions of a court, commission, or board; drafting and reviewing decisions for consideration and adoption by agency officials.
- Attorney-Examiner - Positions, not covered by the Administrative Procedure Act, involved in hearing cases arising under contracts or under the regulations of a Federal Government agency when such regulations have the effect of law, and rendering decisions or making recommendations for disposition of such cases.
- General Attorney - Positions involving two or more of the above functional areas or for positions, regardless of functional or subject-matter area of work, classifiable at GS-9.
The following are subject matter areas by which an attorney position may be classified:
- Admiralty - Maritime law and matters related thereto.
- Aeronautics - Law pertaining to the operation of aircraft and related matters.
- Antitrust - Pertaining to antitrust and kindred law and protection of the competitive enterprise system.
- Civil Rights - Pertaining to law employed to protect federally secured civil rights and liberties of persons.
Also pertaining to law concerning the conduct of elections and to labor practices which have relationship to the civil rights of individuals.
- Contract - The preparation, negotiation, review, and advisory work pertaining to contracts, agreements, bonds, notes, and other legal instruments.
- Customs - Pertaining to customs law and related matters.
- Finance - Corporation finance matters dealing with securities, reorganizations, recapitalizations, mergers, and other related activities or municipal finance matters involving municipal securities, tax levies, mortgage financing, loans and guarantees to municipalities or local public agencies.
- General - For areas of law not covered by other subject-matter titles or when two or more areas of law are involved. Where this designation would appropriately be used with the functional title General Attorney, the subject-matter title (General) may be omitted to avoid the awkward combination -- General Attorney (General).
- Immigration - Pertaining to law concerned with the admission of aliens to, and their status in, the United States, as well as their exclusion or deportation from the United States.
- Indian Matters - Pertaining to Indian tribal claims and related matters.
- International - Pertaining to law, agreements, treaties, conferences, and related matters of an international nature.
- Labor - Pertaining to Federal labor law and related matters.
- Mail - Pertaining to mail law involving mailability, fraud, claims, and other related matters.
- Military - Pertaining to military law and practice and to statutes and regulations concerning military personnel, including pay, allowances, appointments, promotions, separations, retirement, punishments, and other related matters.
- Nationality - Pertaining to law concerned with allegiance to a government and entitlement to protection from that government, and including such matters as repatriation, naturalization, and citizenship.
- Public Utilities - Pertaining to law and regulations concerning the Government as an owner, consumer, or regulator of public utilities.
- Real Property - Pertaining to title searches and other professional legal work in connection with all forms of real property (including natural resources) acquisition, use, or disposal.
- Tax - Pertaining to Federal tax law and related matters.
- Trade-Mark - Pertaining to the adjudication of trade-mark appeals.
- Trade Regulation - Pertaining to law prescribing unfair and deceptive acts and practices in interstate commerce, unfair methods of competition, and other monopolistic and trade restraining practices.
- Transportation - Pertaining to finance, rates, practices, operating rights, and other matters concerning motor, rail, water, or air carriers, freight forwarders, pipelines, or brokers of transportation.
- Veterans - Pertaining to law concerning veterans' rights and benefits and related matters.
In addition, attorneys may specialize in a second subject matter area such as Legislation and Editor, if qualification requirements of a position are significant enough to require their use.
Other positions related to law
There are a number of occupations for which a law degree and/or legal experience are qualifying and valuable, but not necessarily required. Examples include, but are not limited to:
- Paralegal Specialist,
- Hearings and Appeals Specialist,
- Contract Specialist,
- Labor Relations Specialist, and
- Estate Tax Examiner.
Attorneys are evaluated based on the following criteria:
- Nature of the case or legal problem - This factor incorporates all those elements in a case or a problem which tend to make it more or less difficult to resolve satisfactorily. These elements measure the inherent difficulty of the legal and factual questions involved in a case or problem, as distinguished from the nature or extent of the individual's responsibilities for resolving the problem, the supervision he receives, extent of significant personal contacts, or any other performance element.
- Level of responsibility - This factor incorporates all those elements which are indicative of the level at which an attorney carries out his assignment. The factor includes the functions performed, the supervision and guidance received, the personal work contacts, and the nature and scope of recommendations and decisions.
For additional information on qualifications, please go to http://www.opm.gov/fedclass/gs0905.pdf.