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 is an independent federal agency in the Judicial Branch of government consisting 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 incumbent reports to the general counsel and assists in discharging the responsibility of the Office of General Counsel (OGC) to provide legal advice and counsel on a broad range of issues to the Chair, Commissioners, and staff of the Commission.  The incumbent, along with the general counsel, shares the responsibility of supervising OGC staff and assists the general counsel in the development and drafting of the sentencing guidelines, policy statements, and commentary (and for amendments thereto) for Commission consideration.  The incumbent performs a variety of tasks and responsibilities dealing with federal sentencing and the federal sentencing guidelines. 

Additional responsibilities include, but are not limited to, the following: 

(1) Supervising staff, coordinating and allocating resources, and ensuring long and short-term goals of the office are met; approving requests for travel, leave, and work schedules. 

(2) Assisting the general counsel in coordinating the legal unit's input into the guideline amendment process, the review of sentencing case law, and the review of regular reports of case law summaries and circuit conflicts for use in amendment consideration and training. 

(3) Performing in-depth legal research involving analysis of statutes, proposed legislation, case law, and governmental and other reports; and writing briefs, legal memoranda, and other documents on matters pertinent to the work and administrative functioning of the Commission. 

(4) Providing legal advice and counsel to Commissioners and staff on issues relating to the sentencing guidelines for both individual and organizational defendants; substantive criminal law issues; administrative law and federal agency practice, and personnel and administrative matters. 

(5) Responding to inquiries from judges, probation officers, attorneys, congressional staff, and inmates on the application of the federal sentencing guidelines and other sentencing issues. 

(6) Participating in and supervising staff working groups focusing on sentencing guidelines and other legal issues. 

(7) Representing the Commission at seminars and other programs on sentencing guideline issues. 

(8) Participating in the recruitment and selection of permanent and temporary staff for the legal unit. 

(9) Performing back-up duties in the absence of the general counsel and other duties as assigned.Legal research topics include issues relating to the application of sentencing guidelines for both individual and organizational defendants, sentencing guideline issues relating to all federal offenses, as well as statutory and constitutional issues relating to the sentencing guidelines, substantive sentencing and criminal law issues, administrative law and federal agency practice, and personnel, ethical, and administrative matters.

Travel Required

  • Occasional Travel
  • Less than 5%

Relocation Authorized

  • No