Attorney Advisor (General)

US Other Agencies and Independent OrganizationsWashington, DC



The FMC is ranked in the top 10 Best Places to Work for Small Agencies!
The Office of the General Counsel is a small law firm (12 staff) that practices across multiple areas. We review recommendations for Commission action, draft Commission documents reflecting agency decisions on rulemakings and adjudications, and litigate on behalf of the Commission before courts and administrative agencies. We also administer the FMC's international program and provide legal counsel on in-house matters.


As an Attorney Advisor, you will:

  • Provide advice and recommendations to the Commission on legal and policy matters related to the Commission's responsibilities.
  • Prepare orders, formal opinions, and regulations for Commission approval and issuance.
  • In collaboration with other Commission program offices, draft orders, notices of inquiry, rulemaking notices, policy statements, and other documents to be considered or issued by the Commission.
  • Review staff recommendations for Commission action to ensure materials take into account the legal and policy precedents established by the Commission.
  • Provide technical and policy assistance to other government agencies engaged in bilateral and multilateral international negotiations or discussions on shipping matters.
  • Provide legal opinions to the Commission, its staff, and the general public in appropriate instances.
  • Provide advice to the Commission on legal matters concerning adjudicatory and investigative proceedings.
  • Represent the Commission in litigation before courts and other Federal agencies, including appellate review of Commission orders and rulemaking and suits seeking injunctions and other forms of relief in Federal district courts.

The OGC is filling two vacancies. One located in the General Law and Regulation practice area; and one in the Litigation and Adjudication practice area. While all attorneys perform the above duties, each practice area focuses on specific matters

General Law and Regulation: The incumbent's duties include providing advice on Commission rulemakings, including the requirements of the Administrative Procedure Act, Paperwork Reduction Act, Congressional Review Act, National Environmental Policy Act, and Regulatory Flexibility Act. The incumbent may also provide advice and opinions on the Freedom of Information Act, Government in the Sunshine Act, fiscal and appropriations law, procurement law, and other general law issues.

Litigation and Adjudication: The incumbent in this position will focus on providing advice on Commission adjudications - a role similar to that of a judicial law clerk. The duties also include providing advice on litigation to which the Commission is a party, and the incumbent may represent the Commission before federal district and appellate courts and before agencies such as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and Merit Systems Protection Board.

The duties described above are at the GS-14 grade level. If you are selected at a lower grade, you will have the opportunity to learn to perform all these duties, and you will receive training to help you grow in this position.

Travel Required

Occasional travel - You may be expected to travel for this position.

Supervisory status


Promotion Potential


  • Job family (Series)

    0905 Attorney

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    • Attorneys
  • Requirements


    Conditions of Employment

    • A relocation incentive may be offered to eligible selectee(s) or
    • A recruitment incentive may be offered to eligible selectee(s).
    • Must be a U.S. Citizen.
    • New appointees to the federal service must complete a 1-year probationary period.
    • Must be able to obtain and maintain a Moderate Risk Public Trust background investigation.
    • Complete a Declaration for Federal Employment to determine your suitability for Federal employment, at the time requested by the agency.
    • Go through a Personal Identity Verification (PIV) process that requires two forms of identification from the Form I-9. Federal law requires verification of the identity and employment eligibility of all new hires in the U.S.
    • If you are a male applicant born after December 31, 1959, certify that you have registered with the Selective Service System or are exempt from having to do so. Males born after 12/31/1959 must be registered or exempt from Selective Service (see
    • May be required to obtain and use a Government-issued charge card for business-related travel.
    • May be required to file a Confidential Financial Disclosure Report within 30 days of appointment and annually from then on.


    Candidates for all grades must meet the following by the close of the announcement:
    • Minimum educational requirements include a professional law degree (LL.B or J.D.) from an American Bar Association (ABA) accredited law school. NOTE: Applicants who have completed part or all of their education outside of the U.S. must have their foreign education evaluated by an accredited organization to ensure that the foreign education is comparable to education received in accredited educational institutions in the U.S. An ABA-approved law school may allow students to receive credit for law study or activities at a foreign institution and grant credit for the J.D. degree if those studies or activities are approved in accordance with the Rules of Procedure and Criteria adopted by the ABA's Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar.
    • Current active membership in a bar of any State, territory, Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, or the District of Columbia. Active bar association and a certificate that the member is in good standing will be verified prior to appointment and employees must maintain active bar membership in good standing while employed as an attorney with the FMC.
    • Applicants must possess excellent research and oral and written communication skills.

    Experience in one or more of the following areas is preferred:

    • Providing advice on Federal agency rulemakings and preparing rulemaking notices and documents.
    • Working within the maritime industry such as for an ocean common carrier, non-vessel-operating common carrier, ocean freight forwarder, marine terminal, or public port authority.
    • Providing legal advice to judges and drafting judicial opinions.
    • Litigating cases involving 46 U.S.C. §§ 40101-44106, the Administrative Procedure Act, antitrust law, or employment law.


    Please refer to the qualifications section for education information.

    Additional information

    • We may select from this announcement or any other source to fill one or more vacancies.
    • We may fill like positions within 12 months of the close of the announcement.
    • Federal employees are required to adhere to the 14 Principles of Ethical Conduct.
    • This is a non-bargaining unit position.

    How You Will Be Evaluated

    You will be evaluated for this job based on how well you meet the qualifications above.

    We will review your resume and supporting documentation to determine that you possess at least one year of professional, specialized law experience. Please ensure your resume includes detailed information to support your qualifications for this position.

    Professional law experience is experience that has equipped the applicant with the particular knowledge, skills, and abilities to perform successfully the duties of the position being filled. Law clerk experience (post J.D.) can be considered professional law experience if the candidate performed attorney duties.

    Specialized experience is typically in or related to the work of the position to be filled. Examples of specialized experience include experience working on complex rulemaking or policy proceedings; reviewing and editing policy statements, position papers, and other decisional documents; conducting civil litigation including discovery and of trial practice; and providing legal guidance to attorneys and other professionals.

    Background checks and security clearance

    Security clearance


    Drug test required


    Position sensitivity and risk

    Moderate Risk (MR)

    Trust determination process


  • Required Documents

    Required Documents

    A complete application includes:

    • A resume (of no more than 3 pages)
    • Law School Transcript (official or unofficial)
    • SF-50 that depicts your title, series, grade/step/salary (if applicable)
    • A copy of the most recent final performance appraisal (elements and standards for achievement, if not indicated clearly on the annual performance appraisal)
    • Cover letter that tells us how you will add value to the FMC and indicates your practice area preference or priority
    • A writing sample may be requested during an interview.
    Please note that if you do not provide all required information, as specified in this announcement, you will not be considered for this position (or will not receive the special consideration for which you may be eligible).

    Education Documentation:
    • An official transcript may be required if you are selected.
    • A college or university degree generally must be from an accredited (or pre-accredited) college or university recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. For a list of schools which meet these criteria, please refer to Department of Education Accreditation website.
    • If you are qualifying based on foreign education, you must submit proof of creditability of education as evaluated by a credentialing agency. Refer to the OPM instructions.
    Notice of Veterans Preference: There is no formal rating system for applying veterans' preference to attorney appointments in the excepted service; however, the Federal Maritime Commission considers veterans' preference eligibility a positive factor for attorney hiring. Applicants eligible for veterans' preference must include that information in their cover letter or resume and attach supporting documents (e.g., DD Form 214, "Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty") to their submissions.

  • Benefits


    A career with the U.S. Government provides employees with a comprehensive benefits package. As a federal employee, you and your family will have access to a range of benefits that are designed to make your federal career very rewarding. Opens in a new windowLearn more about federal benefits.

    Review our benefits

    Eligibility for benefits depends on the type of position you hold and whether your position is full-time, part-time, or intermittent. Contact the hiring agency for more information on the specific benefits offered.


This job is open to

  • The public

    U.S. citizens, nationals or those who owe allegiance to the U.S.

Clarification from the agency

This position is in the Excepted Service.

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