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Posted on: 14 Mar 2020 342 views
: Attorney
: $68,309 t

Open & closing dates: 03/13/2020 to 04/03/2020

Salary: $68,309 to $149,562 per year

These positions are located in Portland, Oregon.
The incumbent serves as an attorney providing legal advice, research, analysis and interpretation of federal, state and local laws, as well as oral and written opinions, memoranda, pleadings, briefs and legal support of all USDA programs and litigation, and performs other legal services as assigned. The incumbent will have a broad generalist practice including both litigation and commercial transactions.


  • Provides written and oral legal advice to USDA officials in connection with the day-to-day operations of their programs.
  • Reviews loans and grants proposed to be made under various USDA lending programs to ensure legal sufficiency and work with the lending agencies on subsequent servicing issues.
  • Conducts and assists with litigation involving USDA agencies, programs, and officials, including preparing pleadings, interviewing witnesses, conducting depositions, and negotiating with opposing parties.
  • Conducts legal research to ensure that advice provided is based upon a sound understanding of the law and facts and anticipates foreseeable consequences of advice provided.
  • Recommends actions to ensure that decisions made and actions taken are practical, effective, and legally sound and defensible.
  • Reviews and prepares various kinds of legal documents for general and specific use, including documents related to contracts, real property transactions, and other commercials transactions.


Conditions of Employment

  • You must be a US Citizen or US National
  • Males born after 12/31/1959 must be Selective Service registered or exempt
  • Subject to satisfactory adjudication of a background investigation and/or fingerprint check
  • Direct Deposit Per Public Law 104-134 all Federal employees are required to have federal payments made by direct deposit to their financial institution
  • Successfully pass the E-Verify employment verification check. To learn more about E-Verify, including your rights and responsibilities, visit E-Verify at
  • Must submit Cover Letter, Resume, Proof of Bar membership, Law School Transcripts, and Narrative
  • Review of the OF-306, Declaration for Federal Employment, and the Electronic Questionnaires for Investigations Processing (eQIP) entries have been reviewed and determined to be satisfactory
  • Requires a favourable credit check as part of the background investigation
  • Additional selections may be made from this announcement
  • Selectee must be able to obtain and maintain a security clearance
  • Obtain and use a Government-issued charge card for business-related travel
  • May be subject to the satisfactory completion of a two year probationary or trial period
  • Subject to limited telework after six months completed and only by managerial approval and subject to change at any time from the Agency or Department


The duties listed below are described at the FPL GS-14, the GS-11 is developmental leading to such performance.

  • Mastery of statutes, regulations, and legal precedents related to major USDA program areas or relevant subject matter expertise to provide expert legal advice in regard to the assigned program area, develop or recommend litigation strategies and procedures, aid the Department of Justice in the trial of important or precedent-setting cases, and negotiate or participate in negotiating settlements on behalf of the Department
  • Mastery of a large and complex body of law in which precedents are frequently conflicting or non-existent to make determinations and reach conclusions which guide the Department or the Agency in resolving subsequent, similar problems; provide legal advice to heads of programs and Agencies on complex and difficult legal questions or factual issues, and write opinions and case assessment memoranda after conducting detailed factual and legal research
  • Mastery of the principles and techniques of legal analysis and practice in order to prepare pleadings, motions, briefs, litigation reports, and related documents in connection with suits by and against the Government and determine in each case the nature of action or defence, the legal issues involved, the most effective course of action, and optimal strategies and tactics to be employed.
  • Comprehensive knowledge and understanding of missions and functions of the USDA and its agencies or relevant subject matter expertise, as appropriate in order to provide legal services in support of USDA programs and activities that are consistent with the strategic goals of USDA and the priorities of the Secretary of Agriculture.
  • Mastery of the principles and techniques of written and oral communication to speak and write with clarity and tact to provide guidance on complex legal issues, secure acceptance of recommendations, prepare complex legal opinions, and effectively represent the Department in a variety of external interactions.

For consideration, applicants must meet the following minimum qualifications for attorney positions:

  • Successful completion of a full course of study in a school of law accredited by the America Bar Association (ABA) and have the first professional law degree (LLB or JD) (Law School transcript required) and
  • Currently be a member in good standing of the bar of a state, the territory of the United States, District of Columbia, or Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.

Applicants should have demonstrated specialized experience in legal research, excellent writing and communication skills, and a strong academic record. This experience should be clearly documented in the cover letter and resume.
GS-11: Meet minimum qualifications, above, and demonstrate: Federal service or equivalent responsibility in the private sector/pay systems that has equipped you with the particular competencies to successfully perform as an Attorney-Advisor. Examples of such experience include: Under direction providing legal advice, research, analysis and interpretation of federal, state, and local laws; Assisting in writing opinions, memoranda, pleadings, briefs, and legal support of agency/organization programs and litigation; Performing other legal services as assigned; Preparing various kinds of legal documents, both for specific case use and for general use under guidance; Ability to conduct legal research to handle cases involving the Department's programs; Ability to apply legal analysis and make a sound legal judgment to find appropriate precedent or distinguish applicable law or facts to support or justify legal positions with advice from senior attorneys.
NOTE: This experience must be demonstrated on your resume/supporting documents.


Bar Membership: Applicant must currently be a member in good standing of the bar of a state, the territory of the United States, District of Columbia, or Commonwealth of Puerto Rico by the time you begin the position.
Foreign Education: If you are using education completed in foreign colleges or universities to meet the qualification requirements, you must show that the education credentials have been evaluated by a private organization that specializes in interpretation of foreign education programs and such education has been deemed equivalent to that gained in an accredited U.S. education program; or full credit has been given for the courses at a U.S.accredited college or university.
Narrative: You must submit a written statement, in your cover letter or in a separate document, explaining your interest in working for USDA's Office of the General Counsel, and noting any relevant course work, training, or prior experience that you believe should be considered in evaluating your application.
It is your responsibility to provide adequate proof that you meet the above requirements (education and bar membership). Inadequate or illegible information could result in non-qualification and loss of consideration.
If you are relying on your education to meet qualification requirements: You MUST submit a copy of your transcript if you want to substitute your education for experience. If you claim qualifications based on education, and do not submit a transcript, your education will not be used in making a qualification determination and you may be found "not qualified".
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.

Required Documents

You must submit a complete Application Package prior to 11:59 ET on the closing date of this announcement. The following documents are required for your applicant package to be complete. Our office cannot be responsible for incompatible software, your system failure, etc. Encrypted documents will not be accepted. Failure to submit required, legible documents may result in loss of consideration.

All applicants must submit:

  • Resume that includes the following information: 1) job information for which you are applying; 2) personal information; 3) education; 4) work experience including the work schedule and hours worked per week as well as dates of employment; and title, series and grade if applicable; 5) supervisors phone number and e-mail address for each work period listed and whether or not we may contact them for reference checks; and, 6) other qualifications. 
  • Law School Transcript: An official copy is sufficient with the application; however, if selected, an official law school transcript will be required prior to entering on duty
  • Bar Membership: Proof of Bar Membership
  • Written Narrative: In order for your application to be considered, you must submit a written narrative not to exceed 1,200 words, showing you possess the knowledge, skills, abilities, and competencies listed in this announcement.
  • DD-214 (Member 4 Copy): If claiming veteran's preference, you must submit a DD-214, Certificate of Release from Active Duty, which shows dates of service and discharge under honorable conditions.If currently on active duty you must submit a certification of expected discharge or release from active duty service under honourable conditions not later than 120 days after the date the certification is submitted.Veteran's preference must be verified prior to appointment. Without this documentation, you will not receive veteran's preference and your application will be evaluated based on the material(s) submitted.

Other required documents may include:

  • If claiming 10-point veteran's preference you must provide the DD-214 or certification requirements (see above bullet), plus the proof of entitlement of this preference as listed on the SF-15 Application for 10-point Veterans' Preference. The SF-15 should be included but is not required. Failure to submit these documents could result in the determination that there is insufficient documentation to support your claim for 10-point preference. 
  • Surplus or displaced employees eligible for CTAP, RPL, or ICTAP priority must provide: proof of eligibility (RIF separation notice, notice of proposed removal for declining a transfer of function or directed reassignment to another commuting area, a notice of disability annuity termination), SF-50 documenting separation (as applicable), and your most recent SF-50 noting position, grade level, and duty location with your application per 5 CFR 330.
  • Worker's Compensation Separation: Agency certification of inability to place employee AND Notification of Separation OR Separation SF-50.
  • Disability Annuity Termination: Notification from OPM of disability annuity termination AND Separation SF-50 of the last position held. Military Reserve or National Guard Technician Special Disability Retirement Annuity under 5 U.S.C. 8337(h) or 8456: Certification of special disability retirement annuity from a military department or National Guard Bureau AND Separation SF-50 of the last position held.

No Personally Identifiable Information (PII), such as social security number or date of birth, should be provided in your application package

How to Apply

Please read the entire announcement and all instructions before you begin. You must complete this application process and submit all required documents electronically by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time (ET) on the closing date of this announcement.
Applying online is highly encouraged. We are available to assist you during business hours (normally 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m., Monday - Friday). If applying online poses a hardship, contact the Agency Contact listed below well before the closing date for an alternate method. All hardship application packages must be complete and submitted no later than noon ET on the closing date of the announcement in order to be entered into the system prior to its closing.
This agency provides reasonable accommodation to applicants with disabilities on a case-by-case basis; contact the Agency Contact to request this.
To begin, click "Apply Online" and follow the instructions to complete the Assessment Questionnaire and attach your resume and all required documents.
NOTE: If a document is resubmitted, it replaces the previous submission, which means the previous document is no longer available to the Human Resources Office. If you are adding to, rather than replacing a previous submission, you must upload both the old document and the new document. You must verify that uploaded documents from USAJOBS transfer into the Agency's staffing system as there is a limitation to the number of documents that can be transferred. However, once in the Agency's staffing system, you will have the opportunity to upload additional documents. Applicants may combine all like required documents (e.g. SF-50s or veteran docs) into one or more files and scan for uploading into the application. Each file must not exceed 3MB. Grouping like documents into files will simplify the application process. Documents must be in one of the following formats: GIF, JPEG, JPG, PDF, PNG, RTF, or Word (DOC or DOCX). Uploaded documents may not require a password, digital signature, or other encryption to open.

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