Job Overview


The United States Sentencing Commission, an independent agency in the Judicial branch of the Federal government, was organized in 1985 to develop a national sentencing policy for the federal courts. The resulting sentencing guidelines structure the courts' sentencing discretion to help ensure that similar offenders who commit similar offenses receive similar sentences.

The United States Sentencing Commission consists of seven members appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate and two non-voting ex-officio members. The agency staff consists of approximately 100 employees. The Commission develops and revises guidelines for federal district court judges to consider in sentencing offenders convicted of federal crimes. The Commission monitors and evaluates the use of the guidelines, conducts research and education programs on guideline application and sentencing matters generally, produces sentencing-related reports, and recommends improvements in federal sentencing practices and policies. Additional information about the Commission can be accessed via the Commission's website at


The general counsel is the principal legal officer of the Commission and director of the Office of General Counsel. The general counsel reports to the staff director and is responsible for representing the Commission and serving as the principal advisor to the commissioners and staff on legal matters. As the director of the legal unit, the general counsel is responsible for the supervision of a team of 10-12 attorneys and support staff, the operation of the unit, and the legal advice and representation provided by the unit to the commissioners and staff regarding the federal sentencing guidelines, criminal law issues, statutory and constitutional changes to the federal sentencing guidelines, agency policy, employment law, personnel matters, and ethical and administrative matters.

The position involves a wide variety of projects and responsibilities, many of which require supervision of tasks involving detailed analyses and review, recognition and consideration of all relevant legal principles and policy factors, and interpretation and application of these policies and principles in light of the particular circumstances involved, more specifically, concentrating on sentencing guidelines and criminal law.