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    An extraordinary opportunity is available to start your legal career in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Office of the General Counsel's Attorney Honors Program beginning in Fall 2016. The NOAA Office of the General Counsel employs approximately 110 attorneys at headquarters in the Washington, DC area and six regional sections. The Office provides legal advice to the NOAA Administrator and NOAA program offices on a wide variety of legal issues including U.S. and international fisheries, marine mammals, endangered and threatened marine species, preservation of coastal areas, marine sanctuaries, and licensing of commercial satellites.

    NOAA is a premier environmental agency located within the Department of Commerce and employs over 12,000 individuals nationwide. NOAA is an agency that enriches life through science. Our reach goes from the surface of the sun to the depths of the ocean floor as we work to keep citizens informed of the changing environment around them.

    From daily weather forecasts, severe storm warnings and climate monitoring to fisheries management, coastal restoration and supporting marine commerce, NOAA’s products and services support economic vitality and affect more than one-third of America’s gross domestic product. NOAA’s dedicated scientists use cutting-edge research and high-tech instrumentation to provide citizens, planners, emergency managers and other decision makers with reliable information they need when they need it.

    NOAA's roots date back to 1807, when the Nation’s first scientific agency, the Survey of the Coast, was established. Since then, NOAA has evolved to meet the needs of a changing country. NOAA maintains a presence in every state and has emerged as an international leader on scientific and environmental matters.

    NOAA’s mission touches the lives of every American and we are proud of our role in protecting life and property and conserving and protecting natural resource. For more information see www.noaa.gov and www.gc.noaa.gov.

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    As an Attorney-Advisor in the Attorney Honors Program, you will work closely with experienced NOAA scientists and other program specialists on a variety of cutting-edge issues relating to the management and conservation of natural resources. This position requires interaction with other NOAA General Counsel Office attorneys, NOAA scientists, policy makers and technical staff, Department of Commerce officials, other Federal and state agency officials, members of the regulated community, and representatives of public interest organizations. It also involves active participation, in concert with U.S. Department of Justice attorneys, in prosecuting and defending NOAA cases brought under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, the Endangered Species Act, the Marine Mammal Protection Act, Oil Pollution Act, the National Marine Sanctuaries Act and other similar laws. The work involves complex and challenging issues on important matters.

    Travel Required

    Occasional travel - Overnight domestic travel and may require foreign travel.

    Supervisory status


    Promotion Potential


    Who May Apply

    This job is open to…

    All qualified U.S. Citizens or Nationals.
    Applicant must be a current third-year law student or graduate law student who will receive his/her degree by June 30, 2016 OR a recent law school graduate who will complete a judicial clerkship or a legal fellowship by on or about October 2, 2016.

    Questions? This job is open to 2 groups.

  • Job family (Series)

    0905 Attorney

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    Conditions Of Employment

    • Must be a U.S. Citizen or National to apply.
    • Applicant must complete a two-year trial period.
    • Applicant must successfully complete a background security investigation.
    • Applicant must be registered for Selective Service (males only).
    • Applicant must be able to start work by on or about October 3, 2016.

    Applicants must pass a bar examination and be an active member of the bar (any U.S. jurisdiction) within 14 months of entry on duty in Fall 2016.


    Knowledge of or experience working with Federal environmental protection and/or conservation or natural resource conservation laws, as well as laws and regulations governing Federal agencies, such as the Administrative Procedure Act, National Environmental Policy Act, Regulatory Flexibility Act, Freedom of Information Act or other generally applicable federal laws, will be favorably considered. Knowledge of or experience working with the Endangered Species Act, the Marine Mammal Protection Act, the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, or the Federal Power Act will be favorably considered. Demonstrated interest in issues related to natural resources or the environment will also be favorably considered. Knowledge of or experience working with international law pertaining to the marine environment such as the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea will be favorably considered.

    Applicants must have a demonstrated ability to communicate effectively orally and in writing and to identify and resolve complex legal issues. Applicants also must demonstrate the ability to work effectively in a team with clients, other attorneys, and support staff.

    Experience refers to paid and unpaid experience, including volunteer work done through National Service programs (e.g., Peace Corps, AmeriCorps) and other organizations (e.g., professional; philanthropic; religious; spiritual; community, student, social). Volunteer work helps build critical competencies, knowledge, and skills and can provide valuable training and experience that translates directly to paid employment. You will receive credit for all qualifying experience, including volunteer experience.

    Applicants must meet all qualifications by the closing date of this announcement. Please do not apply this position through USAJobs.gov. All documents must be sent by email to: GCHonors.Program2016@noaa.gov


    Applicants must be a current third-year law student or graduate law student who will receive his/her degree by June 30, 2016; or a recent law school graduate who will complete a judicial clerkship or a legal fellowship by on or about October 2, 2016.

    Significant academic achievement in law school (such as top 20% class rank), graduation with honors, judicial clerking experience, or participation in law review, will be favorably considered.

    Additional information

    Attorneys in the Honors Program are hired at the GS-11 pay grade. If you served as a judicial law clerk or in a legal fellowship for at least one year or earned an advanced law degree with one year of post-law school graduate study (LLM or equivalent), you will start at the GS-12 pay grade. Attorneys joining the Attorneys Honor Program following multiple-year judicial clerkships may be hired at the GS-13 pay grade on a case-by-case basis. Please check OPM's salary tables for current salaries for the Washington, DC area: http://www.opm.gov/policy-data-oversight/pay-leave/salaries-wages/salary-tables/pdf/2015/DCB.pdf

    If you have passed the bar by the time you enter on duty in Fall 2016, you will join the NOAA Office of the General Counsel as an Attorney-Advisor. If you have not yet passed the bar, you will join as a Law Clerk at the GS-11 pay grade, and will become an Attorney-Advisor once you pass the bar. You must pass a bar examination and be an active member of the bar (any U.S. jurisdiction) within 14 months of entry on duty in Fall 2016.

    During the first 18 months of the program, you will participate in three six-month rotations in the legal sections located in the Washington, D.C. area. You may volunteer to work in a regional office as your third rotation. We will make reasonable efforts to accommodate your preference for rotations, consistent with the needs of the Office.

    At the end of the third rotation, you will be permanently placed in a specific legal section in the Washington. D.C. area. You may also volunteer to work in one of the six regional offices as your permanent placement. We will make reasonable efforts to accommodate your preference for your permanent placement, consistent with the needs of the Office. If a permanent placement involves a change in location, you will be responsible for your personal relocation costs.

    How You Will Be Evaluated

    Applicants will be evaluated based on the Qualifications described above. Please be advised that NOAA Attorney positions are in the Excepted Service. As such, these positions are not covered by the usual civil service hiring procedures. There are no numerical rating system through which to apply veterans preference; however, the NOAA Office of the General Counsel considers veterans preference eligibility as a positive factor in hiring. Applicants eligible for veterans preference are encouraged to include that information in their cover letter or resume, and to attach supporting documentation (e.g., the DD Form-214 or other substantiating documents) to their submissions.
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    Background checks and security clearance

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    Required Documents

    A complete application consists of the following:

    Cover Letter, resume and unofficial law school transcript (in one PDF file). Please include your GPA and class rank in your resume, if available. Your resume must indicate your citizenship, and whether you are registered for Selective Service if you are a male born after 12/31/59.

    Please note that prior to receiving a formal offer, you will be asked to submit an official law school transcript or a list of courses that includes the following information: name of accredited institution, grades earned, completion dates, and quarter and semester hours earned. Education completed in foreign colleges or universities may be used to meet the requirements. Please refer to http://www.opm.gov/qualifications/policy/ApplicationOfStds-04.asp for more information.

    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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    A career with the U.S. Government provides employees with a comprehensive benefits package. As a federal employee, you and your family will have access to a range of benefits that are designed to make your federal career very rewarding.


    Eligibility for benefits depends on the type of position you hold and whether your position is full-time, part-time, or intermittent. Contact the hiring agency for more information on the specific benefits offered.

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    How to Apply

    Application is made by sending a cover letter, resume, and unofficial law school transcript in one PDF file by e-mail. Please copy following address into email: GCHonors.Program2016@noaa.gov
    Applications must be emailed by September 17, 2015. Incomplete applications will not be considered.

    Agency contact information

    Octavia G. Saine








    Department of Commerce, NOAA, OGC
    14th & Constitution Ave NW
    Washington, DC 20230
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    Learn more about what it's like to work at National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, what the agency does, and about the types of careers this agency offers.


    Next steps

    Applicants will not be notified that their application has been received. Interviews may be arranged at the discretion of NOAA for those subject to further consideration based upon qualifications.

Fair & Transparent

The Federal hiring process is setup to be fair and transparent. Please read the following guidance.

Equal Employment Opportunity Policy

The United States Government does not discriminate in employment on the basis of race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy And gender identity), national origin, political affiliation, sexual orientation, marital status, disability, genetic information, age, membership in an employee organization, retaliation, parental status, military service, or other non-merit factor.

Reasonable Accommodation Policy

Federal agencies must provide reasonable accommodation to applicants with disabilities where appropriate. Applicants requiring reasonable accommodation for any part of the application process should follow the instructions in the job opportunity announcement. For any part of the remaining hiring process, applicants should contact the hiring agency directly. Determinations on requests for reasonable accommodation will be made on a case-by-case basis.

A reasonable accommodation is any change in the workplace or the way things are customarily done that provides an equal employment opportunity to an individual with a disability. Under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) must provide reasonable accommodations:

  • An applicant with a disability needs an accommodation to have an equal opportunity to apply for a job.
  • An employee with a disability needs an accommodation to perform the essential job duties or to gain access to the workplace.
  • An employee with a disability needs an accommodation to receive equal access to benefits, such as details, training, and office-sponsored events.

Legal and regulatory guidance

This job originated on www.usajobs.gov. For the full announcement and to apply, visit www.usajobs.gov/GetJob/ViewDetails/413087700. Only resumes submitted according to the instructions on the job announcement listed at www.usajobs.gov will be considered.