$76,990 - $119,964 yearly
  • US Environmental Protection Agency
  • Hybrid (Chicago, IL, USA)
  • Feb 23, 2023
Full time Government Legal

Job Description


This position is in Region 5, Office of Regional Counsel. About Region 5: Region 5 Website

This is an office-centered position--you must physically report to the duty station stated in this announcement on a regular basis. Partial work-from-home flexibilities may be authorized.


At the entry level of this position, you will:

  • Provide legal advice, perform legal research, prepare legal documentation, and provide policy recommendations
  • Participate in litigation activities
  • Draft Agency determinations, proposed regulations, and Federal Register notices
  • Perform negotiation and informal dispute resolution

When entering a Federal job at a grade level lower than the highest promotion potential level, you may be promoted to more complex duties and work more independently, as your career progresses.  NOTE:  Career ladder promotions are not automatic, and all eligibility and qualifications requirements must be met in order to progress to the next grade level.


Conditions of Employment

  • An LL.B. or J.D. is required.
  • You must submit a resume and required documents--see How to Apply section.
  • You must be a U.S. citizen.

You must self-certify annually and in writing that you hold an active bar membership.

To ensure compliance with an applicable preliminary nationwide injunction, which may be supplemented, modified, or vacated, depending on the course of ongoing litigation, the Federal Government will take no action to implement or enforce the COVID-19 vaccination requirement pursuant to Executive Order 14043 on Requiring Coronavirus Disease 2019 Vaccination for Federal Employees. Therefore, to the extent a Federal job announcement includes the requirement that applicants must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 pursuant to E.O. 14043, that requirement does not currently apply. Federal agencies may request information regarding the vaccination status of selected applicants for the purposes of implementing other workplace safety protocols, such as protocols related to masking, physical distancing, testing, travel, and quarantine.


If you are selected, you will be required to complete a Confidential Financial Disclosure form within 30 days of your first day of employment and annually thereafter.

This position is designated as Moderate Risk and requires a background investigation. Unless an appropriate background investigation is already on record with the Office of Personnel Management, you must undergo a background investigation. All conditions of the pre-employment security process must be met before an official letter of employment can be issued with a report for duty date.

If you are selected, travel, transportation, and relocation expenses will not be paid by EPA. Any travel, transportation, and relocation expenses associated with reporting to work in this position will be your responsibility.


In addition to the educational requirements, you must meet the minimum grade-specific qualifications as described below:

To qualify for the GS-11 level, you must have either:
-an LL.M. degree
-at least one year of specialized experience equivalent to the GS-09 level defined as internships, summer clerkships, or other experience, ideally in the public interest, government, or environmental law, demonstrating strong research, writing, verbal, and interpersonal skills. 
-completed superior law student activities while earning a J.D. degree. Superior law student activities include:
(A) Academic standing in upper third of law school graduating class;
(B) Work or achievement of significance on law school’s law review;
(C) Special high-level honors for academic excellence, such as election to Order of the Coif;
(D) Winning of a moot court competition or membership on the moot court team representing the law school in competition with other law schools;
(E) Full-time or continuous participation in a legal aid program or significant summer law office clerk experience; or
(F) Other equivalent evidence of clearly superior achievement, as determined by the hiring office and documented in writing for the case file.

To qualify for the GS-12 level, you must have at least one year of specialized experience equivalent to the GS-11 level defined as work as lawyer or a judicial law clerk at the state or federal level, ideally in the public interest, government, or environmental law, demonstrating strong legal research, writing, verbal, and interpersonal skills.

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.

If you have part-time work experience, read this: EPA Announcement Policies and Procedures.


You must:

(1) possess a J.D. or LL.M. degree from an accredited or pre-accredited college or university or equivalent apprentice experience as allowed per state law; and

(2) be duly licensed and authorized to practice as an attorney under the laws of any state, territory of the United States, or the District of Columbia; and

(3) be an active member of the bar of any U.S. jurisdiction in good standing. (NOTE:  Bar membership is not required at the time of application, but you must be admitted to the bar before entry on duty.)

For information about accreditation requirements, visit EPA Announcement Policies and Procedures.

Additional information

Diversity, equity, and inclusion are core values at EPA. Our excellence can only be fully realized by staff who share our commitment to these values. Successful candidates are committed to advancing equity and inclusion in the Agency’s workplace and mission. We encourage applications from candidates with a variety of personal experiences, values, and worldviews that arise from differences of culture and circumstance. At EPA, diversity is a vital element in bringing a balance of perspectives to bear on every challenge we face. We are committed to creating a diverse workforce because we know that the individual strengths and abilities of our employees make us a stronger organization. The more inclusive our employee base is, the greater the variety of ideas that are generated, and the more representative we are of the nation we serve. To learn more about how EPA values and supports our diverse workforce, visit Equal Opportunity Employment at EPA. You can also hear a diverse group of attorneys talk about their careers at EPA on the Legal Careers at EPA Webinar.

About the Office of Regional Counsel, Region 5:  

Attorneys in EPA Region 5’s Office of Regional Counsel (ORC), located in Chicago, are responsible for all legal duties associated with implementing federal environmental laws in the six states which comprise EPA Region 5. ORC attorneys support the Region’s enforcement efforts by working with regional staff to develop administrative, civil, and criminal cases; litigating administrative cases; working with the U.S. Department of Justice to litigate judicial cases; and negotiating settlements. ORC attorneys also provide legal counsel to regional staff and management on a variety of matters including permits, grants, and oversight of state and tribal environmental programs. Because ORC is organized as a multi-media office, an attorney’s caseload may span the range of statutes EPA enforces and implements and is not limited to one statute, state, or industry.  Attorneys, including those new to the profession, work on matters receiving intense public and congressional attention, involving serious threats to public health and the environment, and requiring millions of dollars in cleanup costs.

If you have questions about this position, contact Debra Klassman at

This position is excluded from provisions of the Interagency Career Transition Assistance Program (ICTAP).

Selection under this appointment authority does not confer civil service competitive status.

This position is in the bargaining unit.

EPA participates in E-Verify. E-Verify is an Internet based system operated by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in partnership with the Social Security Administration (SSA) that enables participating employers to electronically verify the employment eligibility of their newly hired employees. For additional information: EPA Announcement Policies and Procedures.

If you are selected, travel, transportation, and relocation expenses will not be paid by EPA. Any travel, transportation, and relocation expenses associated with reporting to work in this position will be your responsibility.

Except in special circumstances, those new to the federal government will be hired at the starting salary (step 1) of the applicable grade range listed in the Overview section.

Required Documents

Documents to be submitted online:

NOTE:  You should ensure your social security number, date of birth, and any other personal information are redacted.

--Cover letter expressing your interest in the position and explaining how your qualifications meet the requirements of the position.

--Resume clearly stating your experience related to this position as described in the Duties section and Qualifications and Education sections.  In describing your experience, you need to be clear and specific.  We may not make assumptions regarding your experience.

--Copy of active bar membership/license (not required at the time of application, but you will be required to provide this documentation before entry on duty).

--Law school transcripts - if qualifying for this position based on education, you are required to submit either unofficial transcripts or a list of courses that includes school(s) attended, school address, course title, grades earned, completion dates, department, and quarter or semester hours earned.  NOTE:  Official educational transcripts are not required at the time of application; however, if you are selected, you must provide official transcripts before you start work with EPA.  IF EDUCATION WAS COMPLETED AT A FOREIGN INSTITUTION:  You must submit an equivalency evaluation with your application as described here:  EPA Announcement Policies and Procedures.

--Superior law student activities - if qualifying for this position based on superior law student activities, you must submit the applicable information/documentation.

--Veterans' Preference Documents:

Separated veterans claiming 5-point preference:

  • - DD-214 Member 4 copy (or other copy indicating character of service) or other official document/statement from the Armed Forces showing separation, discharge, or release from active duty; document must show separation is under honorable conditions (Honorable or General Discharge)

Separated veterans claiming 10-point preference based on compensable service-connected disability of 10% or more:

  • - DD-214 Member 4 copy (or other copy indicating character of service); document must show separation is under honorable conditions (Honorable or General Discharge); and
  • - VA letter stating overall/combined disability rating (percentage); and
  • - SF-15 (use current version: SF-15 Form) (see page 2 for documents that can be submitted in lieu of the DD-214 and VA letter)

Other separated veterans claiming 10-point preference OR spouses, widows/widowers, or mothers claiming 10-point derived preference:

  • - SF-15 (use current version: SF-15 Form); and
  • - Other required documentation indicated on the SF-15

Active duty service members:

  • - Certification from the armed forces documenting active duty dates, expected discharge/release date, campaign medals/badges, and character of service (a certification is any written document from the armed forces that certifies you are expected to be discharged/released from active duty service in the armed forces under honorable conditions (Honorable or General Discharge) within 120 days after you submit the certification)

--Name, address, and telephone number of three references, including a current or former employer.

To learn more about submitting documentation, visit Uploading Documents to USAJOBS.

How to Apply

You are strongly encouraged to read the entire announcement before you submit your application for this position.

To begin the application process, click the Apply button to the top right on this screen, follow the prompts to log-in/register, submit all required documents, and complete the assessment questionnaire. To be considered, you must submit a complete application package by 11:59 PM Eastern Time on the day the announcement closes.

All required supporting documents will be collected electronically via the USAJOBS document portfolio feature.

If you cannot apply online, you must contact the Human Resources Office listed below for assistance no later than three business days prior to the closing date of this announcement. You must provide complete application materials by the day the announcement closes.

For detailed instructions to assist you in ensuring your application package is received, go to EPA Announcement Policies and Procedures.


EPA provides reasonable accommodation to applicants with disabilities.  Decisions for granting reasonable accommodation are made on a case-by-case basis.

• If you require reasonable accommodation for any part of the application process (submitting the application or completing the application process), contact the Human Resources Office listed below no later than three business days prior to the closing date of this announcement, and the Human Resources Office will work directly with you.

• If you are referred to the hiring official for consideration and need an accommodation during the selection process (e.g., writing sample or interview), you should notify the person who contacted you from the hiring official’s office.

• If you are selected and need an accommodation during the hiring process, notify the HR Specialist who made the job offer to you.

The National Reasonable Accommodation Coordinators will provide assistance to you, the Human Resources Office, and/or the hiring official as needed.  For more information, see Reasonable Accommodation.