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This Position Is No Longer Available

Job Title:  Deputy General Counsel
Department:  Judicial Branch
Agency:  U. S. Sentencing Commission
Job Announcement Number:  #14-02

This position is closed and no longer accepting online applications through USAJOBS.

The contents of the announcement can still be viewed.
$145,144.00 to $165,300.00 / Per Year
Thursday, December 12, 2013 to Wednesday, June 4, 2014
Full Time - Excepted Service Permanent
1 vacancy in the following location:
Washington DC, DC View Map
United States Citizens
Not Applicable



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


  • Occasional Travel
  • Less than 5%


  • No


  • U.S. Citizenship Required
  • Individuals must undergo a fingerprint background check.
  • Employees are required to serve a one year probationary period.


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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.


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Applicants must have a minimum of seven years of extensive legal experience which is in or directly related to the line of work of this position and which has equipped the applicant with the particular knowledge, skills, and abilities to successfully perform the duties of this position. Strong preference will be given to applicants with supervisory experience and progressively responsible administrative experience in public service or business which provides a thorough understanding of organizational, procedural and human aspects in managing an organization.  Applicants must possess excellent oral and written communication skills and the ability to interact successfully with staff at all levels and with the Commissioners.  Excellent organization and planning skills are a must.


Applicants must have demonstrated work experience related to the mandatory requirements listed below and must address the qualification requirements in a separate written narrative statement.  Highly competitive applicants will have experience and/or education in all or most of the following areas:


Ability to manage competing priorities and work requirements.  Skill in planning and scheduling own and unit's workload, managing multiple assignments, and ensuring deadlines are met and projects are completed on time.


Substantial knowledge of relevant federal criminal law, procedural and administrative rules and regulations, canons of statutory construction, and methods of investigating the legislative history of congressional enactments.  Excellent knowledge of recent Supreme Court jurisprudence relating to federal sentencing.


Substantial experience conducting in-depth legal research related to sentencing and other issues involving analysis of statutes, proposed legislation, case law, and governmental and private reports.  Excellent legal analysis, writing, and editing skills.  Excellent ability to express, orally and in writing, complex legal issues in clear and succinct language so that the concepts are understood by both lawyers and non-lawyers.


Ability to maintain effective working relationships with agency staff at all levels, Commissioners, and key individuals in a variety of other federal organizations and interest groups.  Ability to serve as a representative for the agency.



Preference will be given to applicants who have one or more of the following qualifications:


(1) Federal criminal trial or appellate experience.


(2) Experience as a state appellate law clerk or federal judicial law clerk


(3) Outstanding academic credentials and/or law review or moot court experience.

Applicants must possess a law degree (JD) from a law school accredited by the American Bar Association and be a member of the bar of a state, territory, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, or a Federal court of general jurisdiction and have at least one year of specialized experience equivalent to the GS-15 in the federal service to be considered for the GS-16. Applicants must have demonstrated extensive work experience applying the federal sentencing guidelines.


The U.S. Sentencing Commission evaluates applicants through a structured interview. Applicants may also be screened for some jobs through a narrative/application review, and/or a preliminary telephone interview. Applicants who do not address the qualification requirements (mandatory and preferred) in his or her application materials as stated in the vacancy announcement are automatically disqualified from consideration and must re-apply before the closing date to be considered for employment.


The Office of Human Resources: (1) Reviews the applicant’s application to ensure the proper materials are submitted, (2) Ensures that the application addresses all of the qualification requirements (mandatory and preferred) as stated in the vacancy announcement; and, (3) Determines whether the applicant meets the qualification requirements for the particular position and notifies the applicant about the status of his or her application.

Applicants who meet the mandatory qualification requirements will be considered and their application materials will be forwarded to the screening panel for review. Applicants who do not meet the mandatory qualification requirements for the position are automatically disqualified from consideration. In addition, some applicants may be asked to complete a writing test or may be tested using various assessment tools not listed on the vacancy announcement to verify an applicant’s experience, knowledge, and training directly related to the job in order to identify the best qualified applicants for consideration and selection.


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The Commission participates in the following federal benefits: The Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) program; the Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program (FEDVIP), the Federal Employees Group Life Insurance (FEGLI) program, federal retirement, the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP), and the federal leave program. In addition, the Commission participates in the Judiciary’s Flexible Spending Program for dependent care, health care, and commuter reimbursement, the Judiciary’s Long Term Care Program, or government-wide Long Term Care Insurance Program, unemployment, and workers’ compensation benefits.


The Commission offers a monthly transit subsidy to employees who use mass transit to commute to and from work, subject to the availability of funds. The Commission offers alternative work schedules (AWS), which is a fixed work schedule that enables full-time employees to complete the basic 80-hour biweekly work requirement in less than 10 workdays. The Commission offers regular telework to employees in positions deemed eligible by the staff director and who meet the requirements of an approved telework arrangement in which an employee performs official duties at home or at an approved telework center in Reston, Virginia for the purposes of the Commission’s Telework Policy.



This position is in the excepted service and does not carry the tenure rights of positions in the competitive Civil Service.  All new Commission employees, those converted from a temporary appointment to a permanent appointment, and all rehired former Commission employees are required to serve a one year probationary period. The probationary period begins on the effective date of the employee's appointment, conversion, or rehire.  Employment is contingent upon a suitable pre-employment background check, and requires electronic fingerprinting.  Applicants must be a citizen of the United States or eligible to work in the United States as mandated by the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986. Employees are required to participate in electronic fund transfer, mandated by the Federal Compensation Act.




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To apply for this position, you must complete the occupational questionnaire and submit the documentation specified in the Required Documents section below. Your complete application must be submitted by 11:50 PM (EST) on Wednesday, June 04, 2014 to receive consideration.  The first cut-off date for review of applications is January 24, 2014.

To begin, click Apply Online to create a USAJOBS account or log into your existing account. Follow the prompts to select your USAJOBS resume and/or other supporting documents and complete the occupational questionnaire.

Click the Submit My Answers button to submit your application package.

It is your responsibility to ensure your responses and appropriate documentation are submitted prior to the closing date.

To verify that your application is complete, log into your USAJOBS account,, select the Application Status link and then select the More Information link for this position. The Details page will display the status of your application, the documentation received and processed, and any correspondence the agency has sent related to this application. Your uploaded documents may take several hours to clear the virus scan process.

To return to an incomplete application, log into your USAJOBS account and click Update Application in the vacancy announcement. You must re-select your resume and/or other documents from your USAJOBS account or your application will be incomplete.



All applicants are required to submit the following supporting document type(s):
   ·Cover Letter

Applicants may also submit the following supporting document type(s),which may not be required for all applicants:


Faxing Applications or Supporting Documents:

You are encouraged to apply online. Applying online will allow you to review and track the status of your application.

NOTE: If you applied online and your application is complete, do not fax the paper application (1203FX) as this will overwrite your prior online responses and may result in you being found ineligible.

If you completed the occupational questionnaire online and are unable to upload supporting document(s):

  1. To fax your documents, you must use the following cover page and provide the required information. The Vacancy ID is 1012575.
  2. Fax your documents to 1-478-757-3144.


If you cannot complete the application package online, you may fax all of your materials. The complete application package must be submitted by 11:50 PM (EST) on Wednesday, June 04, 2014 to receive consideration. Keep a copy of your fax confirmation in the event verification is needed.


To complete the occupational questionnaire and submit via fax:

  1. Click the following link to view and print the occupational questionnaire View Occupational Questionnaire.
  2. Print the 1203FX form,, follow the instructions and provide your responses to the occupational questionnaire items.
  3. Fax the completed 1203FX form, along with any supporting documents, to 1-478-757-3144. Your 1203FX will serve as a cover page for your fax transmission.


Nicole Webb
Phone: (202)502-4537
Agency Information:
United States Sentencing Commission
One Columbus Circle NE
South Lobby Suite 2-500
Washington, DC


Once the online questionnaire and required documents are received you will receive an acknowledgement email that your submission was successful. After a review of your complete application is made, qualified applications will be forwarded to the selecting committee for consideration. If further evaluation or interviews are required, you will be contacted.

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