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Minimum Qualification Requirements

Applicants must be an active member in good standing of the bar of a State or the District of Columbia and possess at least 1 year of professional legal experience at a level of difficulty and responsibility comparable to the next lower grade level in the Federal service.

Attorneys who lack professional legal experience may be qualified at the GS-11 level provided they have:

  1. the second professional law degree (LLM) that requires one full year of graduate study in an accredited college or university; OR
  2. the first professional law degree (LLB or JD) from an accredited college or university provided the applicant's record shows superior law student work or activities as demonstrated by one of the following:
  • academic standing the upper third of the law school graduating class;
  • work or achievement of significance on his/her law school's official law review;
  • special high-level honors for academic excellence in law school (ie, election to the Order of the Coif, wining of a moot court competition, or membership on the moot court team that represents the law school in competition with other law schools);
  • full-time or continuous participation in a legal aid program as opposed to one-time, intermittent, or casual participation;
  • significant summer law office clerk experience; OR
  • other evidence of clearly superior achievement.

Examples of Qualifying Specialized Experience:

To Qualify for GS-11: Work as an attorney on assignments involving legal or factual questions that range from relatively simple to difficult. Some assignments may have involved relatively easy research on clear-cut issues with adequate precedents; other legal questions may be more difficult because of the complexity of the facts or the different possible constructions that may be placed on either the facts or laws involved. Cases are strongly contested in formal hearings or informal negotiations by the individuals, corporations, or agencies involved. In relation to cases of this scope, as an entrance-level attorney, searching case reports, legal documents, periodicals, and textbooks, and preparing tentative drafts of letters, memorandum, and legal documents for use by higher-level attorneys. Assisting attorneys in charge of court cases or administrative proceedings by interviewing and selecting witnesses, preparing them tot give testimony, and suggesting questions to be asked in cross-examination. Working under very close supervision, receiving specific preliminary instructions, with limited commitment authority and careful and close review of completed written work.

To Qualify for GS-12: Working on assignments involving complex and difficult legal questions requiring extensive research, analysis, and evaluation of information in controversial areas. Cases have an important impact on major private or public interests, for example, a major extension or revision in a State grant program or a substantial question on civil rights. Cases are vigorously contested by capable legal talent as, for example, in an antitrust case. In relation to cases of this scope, as an entrance-level attorney, preparing legal documents for filing by drafting complaints, orders to show cause, indictments, preliminary motions, and supporting affidavits and briefs. Preparing drafts of pleadings and motions for cases in litigation; conducting investigations to obtain facts; studying legal precedents, and preparing recommendations. Assisting attorneys in charge of court cases by cross-examining witnesses, and by drafting findings of fact, conclusions of law, and orders based upon the records. Working under close supervision, receiving specific preliminary instructions, with limited commitment authority and careful review of completed written work.

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Page Last Updated: 7/13/2015 9:30 PM