Foreign Service Attorney

  • Mid-level, Full-time staff position
  • Posted on 20 April 2020
  • Save for later

Job Description

Summary

USAID is the world’s premier international development agency and a catalytic actor driving development results. USAID works to help lift lives, build communities, and advance democracy. USAID’s work advances U.S. national security and economic prosperity; demonstrates American generosity; and promotes a path to recipient self-reliance and resilience. We operate in five regions of the world: Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Latin America and the Caribbean, and Europe and Eurasia.

Responsibilities

USAID seeks the best-qualified professional candidates who are willing to make a long-term career commitment to the Foreign Service and international development. A career in the Foreign Service (FS) is a commitment to public service, supporting the diplomatic and development goals of the United States. Our Foreign Service Officers work alongside Civil Service employees and contracted staff in our offices in Washington, DC and overseas.

USAID currently has 62 staff members in the Office of the General Counsel in Washington, comprised of Civil Service and Foreign Service attorneys, paralegals, administrative, and support staff. Foreign Service staff members are primarily based overseas with periodic postings in Washington. USAID has 49 Foreign Service attorneys stationed in 38 field missions as Resident Legal Officers. Most tours of duty last two to four years.

Foreign Service attorneys overseas provide legal advice to USAID Missions. Missions plan and implement overseas activities and are typically co-located with U.S. embassies and consulates. Legal work focuses on matters of U.S. and international law applicable to assistance programs and personnel overseas. The work is fast-paced, with attorneys regularly facing highly complex and novel legal and policy issues arising from emerging international events and assistance priorities.

USAID offers a robust career skills training program. Attorneys enjoy a high rate of personal satisfaction and professional success within the ranks of USAID’s Foreign Service. A Foreign Service career can also involve difficult living and working conditions that require a strong commitment to the Agency’s mission. Attorneys serve most of their careers overseas at various USAID missions in developing countries after an initial training period in Washington, D.C., of one to two years, unless Agency requirements necessitate an earlier assignment overseas. New entrants begin their careers in a formal training program, followed by rotational on-the-job, Washington DC-based training for 12-18 months, which may include foreign language training. After completion of Washington training, new entrants are assigned to an overseas mission. This initial assignment is a directed assignment where the Agency’s Human Capital and Talent Management office determines the optimal placement for the new employee, taking into consideration the employee’s prior experience and family situation. After completing the initial posting, the employee enters USAID’s competitive bidding system where all Foreign Service Officers express their preferences for follow-on assignments in line with bidding instructions. All Foreign Service Officers should anticipate serving at hard to fill countries multiple times during their careers.

New Foreign Service Officers have five years in which to earn tenure in the Foreign Service. Tenure requirements include foreign language proficiency and successful performance during at least three years in the agency, of which 18 months must have been on a permanent overseas assignment in one of USAID’s field offices.

Foreign Service Officers must be world-wide available for assignments. Although personal desires are taken into account, postings are ultimately made based on Agency needs. Attorneys should expect to serve at least one 1-year tour in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, and/or South Sudan, which are unaccompanied posts. Attorneys may also be assigned to other hardship posts, such as Bangladesh, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Haiti, Mali, Nigeria, and/or Sudan.

Foreign Service attorneys are leaders in Agency innovation and change. This entails crafting tailored solutions to new development challenges. Attorneys negotiate and draft international agreements and other instruments that serve the foreign policy and international development interests of the United States. Their expertise is regularly and urgently needed when the U.S. Government responds to international crises and events, such as natural disasters or political changes. USAID attorneys serve as key advisors on a wide range of legal and policy matters, such as project design and implementation, contracting and grant-making, international law, investment and credit activities, and personnel and ethics matters. Attorneys have significant engagement with partner country governments, international organizations, and both U.S. and foreign private entities. As a result, skills in cross-cultural communications and understanding are essential.

Prior overseas experience, especially in developing countries, and/or prior demonstrated interest in international development, while not required, helps in equipping candidates for work with USAID.

Conditions of Employment

  • Must be a U.S. citizen.
  • Must have worldwide availability.
  • Must be able to obtain and maintain a TS security clearance.
  • Must be between 18 and 59 years old at time of application.
  • Males born after 12/31/1959 must be registered with the Selective Service.

Must meet all requirements by the closing date of this announcement.

Medical Clearance. A medical clearance or waiver for the applicant is required prior to being hired for this position. FS members must be able to serve at any overseas post or receive a waiver. Many facilities are remote, unhealthy, or have limited medical support. Therefore, each applicant must meet medical fitness standards or receive a waiver. Prior to being appointed to the Foreign Service, applicants must have a thorough medical examination and must be able to receive a medical clearance for worldwide availability or a waiver.

Qualifications

  • You must be a graduate of a law school accredited by the American Bar Association (or foreign equivalent).
  • You must currently be a member in good standing of the bar of a state, territory of the United States, District of Columbia, or Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.
  • You must have a minimum of four years of post-law school experience practicing law (the position must have required a legal degree and involved providing legal services to clients; serving as a judicial clerk counts toward qualifying experience).
  • You must demonstrate an ability to communicate with and work well with a diverse range of clients and colleagues (including those from different cultures), spot legal issues, solve problems, and operate with minimal supervision.
  • You must demonstrate an ability to write and otherwise communicate professionally, clearly, and persuasively.

Desirable:

  • Prior overseas experience, especially in developing countries, and/or demonstrated interest in international development.
  • Foreign language skills at the appropriate level (see https://careers.state.gov/faq-items/language-proficiency-definitions/) for any of the USAID tenure languages (see https://www.usaid.gov/sites/default/files/documents/1877/438maa.pdf) is highly desirable.
  • Foreign Service attorneys engage in a wide variety of activities in each assignment and across their careers with USAID.

These activities are similar in nature to work performed in other contexts where applicants may have experience, including:

  • Negotiating agreements with or engaging in legal problem solving with governments, particularly developing country governments;
  • Developing public-private partnerships;
  • Legal analysis/advisory services in investment and credit transactions;
  • Litigation in the federal government context, including bid protests;
  • Legal analysis/advisory services in U.S. federal appropriations law, and/or government contracts or grants; and/or prior experience requiring responsibility for a wide range of legal and policy issues,
  • Working collaboratively as a member of a non-legal team to achieve an organizational goal, similar to a general counsel or in-house counsel role.

USAID is committed to an inclusive and diverse work environment. Attorneys from a variety of legal backgrounds, including other government agencies (including military judge advocates), non-governmental organizations, law firms, corporations and public international organizations, are encouraged to apply.

Education

Graduate of a law school accredited by the American Bar Association (or foreign equivalent).

Education completed in foreign colleges or universities may be used to meet the education requirements. Transcripts from any and all foreign educational institutions must be accompanied by an official Evaluation of Educational Credentials in order to be considered for the position. It is your responsibility to provide evidence that the foreign education is comparable to that received in an accredited educational institution in the United States when applying. If you are qualifying based on foreign education, you must submit proof of creditability of education as evaluated by a credentialing agency. Click on the following link for a list of accredited organizations (https://www.naces.org/members) recognized as specializing in interpretation of foreign education credentials. More information may be found at https://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ous/international/usnei/us/edlite-visitus-forrecog.html

Unofficial transcripts must be uploaded as part of the application no later than the closing date. Failure to do so will result in the application being eliminated from consideration. If we are unable to determine that you meet the required education, you will be found ineligible for further consideration. If you proceed past the initial application phase, official transcripts must be received by USAID from your university/institution during the final selection process.

How to Apply

Please carefully read all the instructions before you begin the application process.

Applications for this position are being processed through an on-line applicant assessment system that has been specifically configured for US Agency for International Development applicants. To begin the application process, please click on the “Apply Online” button to the right. If you do not already have an account with USAjobs.gov you will be prompted to create one. Only applications received through USAjobs.gov will be processed and reviewed. All applicants will be considered without regard to race, color, religion, national origin, marital status, political affiliation, age, sex, sexual orientation, physical disabilities, membership in an employee organization, or any other non-merit factors.

The following instructions outline our application process. You must complete this application process and submit any required documents by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Standard Time (ET) on the closing date of this announcement. We are available to assist you during business hours (normally 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., Monday - Friday).

Deadline: March 1, 2021

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