Assistant Director of the Legal Division (Supervisory Staff Attorney)

Employment Type

: Full-Time


: Legal


The position begins in August 2020. The Legal Division of the Office of the Clerk, U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, has an opening for a highly qualified attorney to serve as an Assistant Director of the Legal Division.

Learn more about this agency


The Legal Division's principal responsibility is to recommend to the court the disposition of substantive and procedural motions, appeals decided without oral argument, and emergency matters. An Assistant Director supervises, develops, and mentors staff attorneys and support staff; responds to inquiries from chambers, the Clerk's Office, the public, and members of the bar; develops and implements personnel policies and conducts performance evaluations; performs special projects as required by the Director of the Legal Division and Clerk of Court; and provides after-hours supervisory duty for emergency matters.

Major Duties

Provides guidance, advice, and assistance to staff attorneys regarding substantive and procedural legal issues. Reviews the legal work of staff attorneys, including draft memoranda and proposed orders, ensuring that the quality of the work comports with court standards. Attends formal conferences at which staff attorneys present their recommendations to three-judge panels. Conducts research on general legal questions posed by judges and the Clerk and prepares memoranda on the results of the research. Provides guidance to court staff on local and federal rules and procedures. Assists the Director of the Legal Division with matters concerning the management of the office, including the evaluation of short- and long-term institutional goals and strategies. Provides back-up to the Director in the Director's absence. Screens cases for jurisdictional issues and assesses the difficulty of the appeal and the necessity for oral argument. Oversees cases dealing with national security, which require special handling of classified materials and other sensitive information. Ensures a stable operation of the Legal Division and participates in hiring decisions. Prepares orders disposing of procedural motions. Provides advice to the Clerk's Office Operations Unit regarding the processing of motions, preparation of votesheets, and drafting of orders.

Travel Required

Not required

Supervisory status


Promotion Potential

None - CL-31, comparable to GS 15.


Conditions of Employment

Because the D.C. Circuit entertains a large number of high-profile and sealed cases, employees are subject to strict confidentiality requirements.

Your continued employment is contingent upon the satisfactory completion of a background records check. A full background investigation for a security clearance will also be required.

The successful applicant must be a United States citizen or eligible to work in the United States. This position is an excepted appointment and is 'at will.' The United States Court of Appeals is an Equal Employment Opportunity employer. The successful applicant will be subject to mandatory electronic transfer of funds for payment of net pay. The United States Courthouse is a smoke-free building.


The caseload of the D.C. Circuit involves virtually every area of federal law and is unique in the number of cases filed against the executive branch. Because an Assistant Director must be able to advise the judges, Director, and Clerk on difficult, varied, and important legal issues, the court is highly selective in its hiring. The court is looking for an individual who has demonstrated the ability to analyze complex legal issues quickly and to communicate clearly, both orally and in writing. Prior experience working for a federal court, especially in a Clerk's Office, or a Staff Attorney Office, is preferred. A judicial clerkship, law review membership, or comparable legal research and writing experience is helpful. Other desirable qualifications include litigation experience and graduation in the top 25% of your law school class. At a minimum, applicants must possess a J.D. degree, be a member of the bar of a state or the District of Columbia, and have at least four years of specialized experience gained after graduation from law school, including at least one year equivalent to work at the CL-30.

Specialized Experience

Progressively responsible experience in the practice of law, in legal research, legal administration, or equivalent experience, gained after graduation from law school.


Educational Substitutions

The following may be credited as one year of specialized experience:

  • Graduation in the upper third of class from a law school accredited by the American Bar Association or the Association of American Law Schools;
  • Membership on the editorial board of a law review of such a school;
  • Graduation from a law school on the approved list of the American Bar Association or the Association of American Law Schools with an advanced degree (LLM or equivalent); or
  • Demonstrated proficiency in legal studies which, in the opinion of the appointing official, is the equivalent of the above.
  • The following are examples of criteria that are considered to be acceptable as equivalent:
  • Publication of a noteworthy article in a law school student publication or other scholarly publication;
  • Special high-level honors for academic excellence in law school, such as election to Order of the Coif;
  • Winning of a moot court competition or membership on a moot court team that represents the law school in competition with other law schools; or
  • Significant pre-graduation legal experience: in a law school clinical program; as a law clerk to a judge of a court of record (either full- or part- time); or as a law clerk in a private law firm or law department of a governmental agency, provided that such participation and experience were not for academic credit.
  • TERMS: The first year of employment is considered a probationary period.

    Additional information

    How You Will Be Evaluated

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

    Please read the 'Next steps' for more information.

    Background checks and security clearance

    Security clearance

    Top Secret

    Drug test required


    Required Documents

    Please read the 'How To Apply' section.

    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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    * The salary listed in the header is an estimate based on salary data for similar jobs in the same area. Salary or compensation data found in the job description is accurate.

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