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Job opening: Legal Assistant (Recent Graduate)

Salary: $45 146 - 58 686 per year
Published at: Jan 03 2024
Employment Type: Full-time
This is an excepted service appointment under the DOJ Pathways Recent Graduates Program for the Appellate Section, Environment and Natural Resources Division. This Section is responsible for handling most Division cases in federal and state appellate courts and for preparing appeal recommendations.


As the federal agency whose mission is to ensure the fair and impartial administration of justice for all Americans, the Department of Justice is committed to fostering a diverse and inclusive work environment. To build and retain a workforce that reflects the diverse experiences and perspectives of the American people, we welcome applicants from the many communities, identities, races, ethnicities, backgrounds, abilities, religions, and cultures of the United States who share our commitment to public service. After successfully completing one year under the Program, recent graduates MAY be converted to a term or permanent appointment if the following program requirements are met: 1) successful completion of at least 1 year of continuous service; 2) completion of at least 40 hours of formal interactive training; and 3) demonstration of successful job performance. A recent graduate converted to a term appointment may be subsequently converted non-competitively into a permanent competitive service position before the term expires. You will join a well-respected team that is responsible for performing a wide range of administrative and legal support tasks: Interview callers or visitors to determine entitlement to confidential information. Use word processing software to create, edit, and format documents and correspondence. Conduct online research that included collecting and sorting information into logical formats. Review and assemble large volume of documents for review in preparation for specific projects. Organize and maintain files. Perform data entry in databases. Arrange travel reservations and prepare necessary paperwork. Recent Graduates are on a trial period for the duration of the program. An Individual Development Plan (IDP) must be completed and approved by the supervisor within 45 days of appointment and a mentor must be assigned within 90 days of appointment.


  • You must be a U.S. citizen or national.
  • You must complete a background investigation to include pre-employment drug testing.
  • Selective Service Registration is required, as applicable.
  • You will be required to serve a one year trial period.
  • You must maintain a bank account for direct deposit of salary.
  • If you do not submit school transcripts, you will be rated ineligible.
  • If this is your first appointment in the Federal service, your salary will be set at Step 1 of the grade.


To be eligible for this Recent Graduate program, one of the following requirements must be met: Recent graduates must have completed, within the previous two years, a qualifying associate, bachelor, master, professional, doctorate, vocational, or technical degree or certificate from a qualifying educational institution. You must have completed your degree or certificate on or before the end of the current semester. If you graduated prior to January 2022, you will not be eligible for this position. Veterans unable to apply within two years of receiving their degree, due to military service obligation, have as much as six years after degree completion to apply. Note: Current students may apply if they are in the final semester of degree/certificate program. You must include your expected date of graduation on your resume. You must receive your degree prior to appointment. If you are currently a student but cannot provide proof that you expect to graduate by the end of the current semester, you will not meet the program eligibility requirements for the Recent Graduate. To qualify for the Legal Assistant (Recent Graduate) GS-5, applicants must have one of the following: A. One year of specialized experience at, or equivalent to, the GS-4 Federal grade level applying standardized rules, processes, and procedures concerning commonly utilized general reference sources and legal research tools to perform legal support work. This experience include preparing correspondence and administrative forms using proper format, grammar, punctuation, and spelling; or B. Successful completion of 4 years of education above the high school level in any field for which high school graduation or the equivalent is the normal prerequisite. This education was obtained in an accredited business, secretarial or technical school, junior college, college or university; or C. A combination of specialized experience described in letter A above and qualifying post high school education described in letter B above. One full academic year of study (30 semester hours beyond the second year) is equivalent to 6 months of specialized experience. Typing Requirement: This position requires a qualified typist with a minimum typing speed of 40 words per minute. If you do not self certify on the occupational/assessment questionnaire that you have the required typing proficiency, you will be rated ineligible for this position. This position requires office automation skills. Some examples of office automation skills include database management and various word processing software packages (MS Office Suite: Excel, PowerPoint, and Word) and database applications. 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 skill and can provide valuable training and experience that translates directly to paid employment. You will receive credit for all qualifying experience, including volunteer experience. To preview questions, please click here: https://apply.usastaffing.gov/ViewQuestionnaire/12244883. YOUR RESUME MUST support your responses to the online questionnaire and provide specific details as to how your experience meets the specialized experience as described in the vacancy announcement if you are using experience to meet all or part of the qualification requirements. Please ensure that your resume includes the month and year that you began and ended each position held or that position will not be credited toward meeting the specialized experience requirement. Part-time employment will be prorated in crediting experience. Failure to provide details will result in an ineligible rating. Your latest resume submitted for this vacancy announcement will be used to determine qualifications and supersedes previous submissions. Only experience and education obtained by the closing date of this announcement will be considered.


All academic degrees and coursework must be completed at a college or university that has obtained accreditation or pre-accreditation status from an accrediting body recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. For a list of schools that meet this criteria, see www.ed.gov

Education completed in foreign colleges or universities may be used to meet the above education requirements if you can show that the foreign education is comparable to that received in an accredited educational institution in the United States. It is your responsibility to timely provide such evidence by submitting proof of creditability of education as evaluated by a credentialing agency with your application materials. More information may be found at https://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ous/international/usnei/us/edlite-visitus-forrecog.html

All documentation must be in English or include an English translation. https://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ous/international/usnei/us/edlite-visitus-forrecog.html


  • Address Appellate Section 950 Pennsylvania Ave. NW Washington, DC 20530 US
  • Name: Carmen Browne
  • Phone: (202) 616-3127
  • Email: [email protected]


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