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The EPA Honors Attorney Fellowship is designed for a recent law school graduate who is a licensed attorney with excellent academic credentials and a strong interest in a career in environmental law or the public sector (see more detailed criteria below). It provides an opportunity for entry-level attorneys to practice law in a leading governmental environmental organization, and to receive extensive training in and exposure to environmental law and policy work in the public sector. The Region offers new attorneys significant responsibility, the opportunity to handle a complex caseload that includes enforcement and counseling work, and extensive training and mentoring from dedicated colleagues with recognized expertise. The Region offers a diverse and supportive work environment.
The Office of Regional Counsel, Pacific Southwest Region
The Office of Regional Counsel (ORC) employs approximately 65 attorneys whose work spans environmental law issues in the geographic region of California, Nevada, Arizona, Hawaii, Pacific Islands, and over 140 Tribal Nations. ORC attorneys provide legal support for both enforcement and counseling matters under the federal statutes administered by EPA to the Region, one of ten EPA regional offices. They also work collaboratively with state, tribal, and local governments to implement these national environmental laws.
Regarding enforcement, attorneys are responsible for preparing administrative, judicial and criminal cases against violators of environmental laws. These cases involve developing and using technical and legal strategies for negotiation and litigation purposes. The primary statutes enforced by the EPA are the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, Safe Drinking Water Act, Toxic Substances Control Act, Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (Superfund) and the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act. For cases brought in federal court, attorneys work with the Department of Justice, but solely represent the Agency in administrative proceedings.
In addition to preparing enforcement actions, ORC attorneys are also responsible for counseling the Regional Administrator and Program Division Directors on the interpretation of environmental laws, regulations and policies in such matters as permitting or other agency decisions. The Region also has innovative initiatives addressing environmental justice, brownfields redevelopment, and urban and rural environmental issues.
Recent law school graduates (e.g., 2012, 2013, and 2014) who are licensed attorneys with active bar memberships (any State, U.S. territory, Puerto Rico or the District of Columbia) are eligible to apply. 2014 law school graduates or applicants who are not bar members are NOT eligible for this program. In addition, the candidate’s suitability for employment must be confirmed by a background investigation.
Veterans and individuals with disabilities are especially encouraged to apply. If you qualify for veterans preference and want the Agency to consider that preference as a positive factor in reviewing your application, you must include in your application appropriate documentation such as DD214(copy 4), your VA letter, or Standard Form-15 (disabled veteran).
The salary will be at the GS-11 level (currently starting at $68,643). Full benefits are also provided. Relocation expenses are not authorized. This position is in the Excepted Service (and not in Competitive Service) and does not confer competitive status.
Please submit the following no later than January 30, 2015:
- Cover letter explaining the applicant's interest in the Fellowship.
- Resume, including significant accomplishments, work experience, law school class rank, contact telephone numbers, and e-mail address.
- Transcript of law school grades and documentation of graduation from an ABA accredited law school.
- Name, address and telephone numbers of 3 references, including a current or former employer and a law school professor or advisor.
- Proof of active bar membership and license to practice law in any State, U.S. Territory, Puerto Rico or the District of Columbia.
- Veterans Preference supporting documents, if applicable.
All applications should be submitted by email to R9ORCHonors@epa.gov and should include "2015 Fellowship Application" in the subject line of the message. Documents may be attached in Word or PDF formats. Selected applicants will be invited for telephonic interview(s). A writing sample will be required of each selected candidate prior to the interview.
For any questions, please send an email to R9ORCHonors@epa.gov with “Inquiry” in the subject line of the email. For other information about the EPA Pacific Southwest regional office, please visit the Region's website at www.epa.gov/region9 (for further information about the ORC, click on “Pacific Southwest Programs and Resources” then “Legal”).
Please note that other EPA legal offices may have their own honors attorney fellowship programs which are administered separately. The Region 9 website provides links to those programs.
EPA provides reasonable accommodations to applicants with disabilities. If you need a reasonable accommodation for any part of the application and hiring process, please notify the Agency. The decision on granting reasonable accommodation will be made on a case-by-case basis.