Legislative Specialist
U.S. Sentencing Commission

Salary Range

  • $64,650.00 to $100,736.00 / Per Year
  • Series & Grade


  • Promotion Potential


  • Supervisory Status


  • DE-10000750-16-NW-16-07


About the Agency

The United States Sentencing Commission is an independent federal agency in the Judicial Branch of government consisting of seven members appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate and two non-voting ex-officio members. The agency staff consists of approximately 100 employees. The Commission develops and revises guidelines for federal district court judges to consider in sentencing offenders convicted of federal crimes. The Commission monitors and evaluates the use of the guidelines, conducts research and education programs on guideline application and sentencing matters generally, produces sentencing-related reports, and recommends improvements in federal sentencing practices and policies.

The Commission is conveniently located next to Union Station on Capitol Hill, and is easily accessible by public transportation, including the Metro, and the MARC and VRE commuter trains. In addition to the federal benefits package, the Commission’s location in the Thurgood Marshall Federal Judiciary Building offers various amenities such as an on-site fitness center, health unit, credit union, day care center, and cafeteria.


The incumbent will report to the Director of the Office of Legislative and Public Affairs (OLPA) and will assist in coordinating and carrying out the Commission’s interactive work with Congress and the public.

Responsibilities include, but are not limited to:

  • Identify and track relevant bills through the legislative process.
  • Analyze and prepare summaries of relevant legislative issues, including the introduction of bills, hearings, and other legislative actions of the Congress related to the federal criminal justice system.
  • Evaluate pending and proposed legislation to determine the impact on Commission work.
  • Facilitate effective and ongoing communications between the Commission and Congress, other federal agencies, and stakeholder organizations.
  • Develop and maintain relationships with congressional staff.Engage in regular outreach to congressional staff through periodic briefings and communications.
  • Assist in coordinating and preparing responses to congressional staff regarding the federal sentencing guidelines and sentencing data.
  • Manage the tracking and archiving of congressional correspondence, reporting and other related memoranda in the agency’s electronic document management system.
  • Serve as internal advisor to senior staff regarding congressional relations and legislative issues.
  • Support team efforts to develop and implement strategies for communications with the press, outside groups, and the public.
  • Draft memoranda, talking points, and policy analysis aimed at publicly disseminating Commission policy priorities, publications, and actions.
  • Attend and/or review congressional hearings, public symposia, and other events related to the Commission’s work, as needed, and write summary memoranda of events.
  • Identify and analyze emerging policy issues and problems.
  • Participate on policy teams and staff working groups that focus on new legislation and other sentencing issues.
  • Other duties as assigned by the Director of OLPA.

Travel Required

  • Not Required

Relocation Authorized

  • No

Job Requirements

Key Requirements

  • U.S. Citizenship required
  • All employees must serve a one year probationary period


Applicants must have one year of specialized experience which is in or directly related to the line of work of this position and which has equipped the applicant with particular knowledge, skills, and abilities to perform successfully the duties of this position. This one year of specialized experience must have been at, or equivalent to, the next lower grade from the grade being considered. For example, to qualify for the GS-12, one year of specialized experience must have been gained at, or equivalent to, the GS-11. Applicants must have an undergraduate degree from an accredited university or college.

The following qualifications are preferred:

  1. A law degree (J.D.) from a law school accredited by the American Bar Association.
  2. Membership of the bar of a state, territory, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, or a Federal court of general jurisdiction.
  3. Hill experience, preferably with criminal and sentencing policy issues.
  4. Experience in the federal criminal justice system.
  5. Knowledge of the federal sentencing guidelines.

Applicants must have demonstrated work experience related to the mandatory requirements listed below. Applicants and must address the qualification requirements in their attached cover letter or narrative statement.

  1. Effective oral and written communication skills and an ability to serve as a representative for the agency;
  2. Thorough understanding of the federal legislative process;
  3. Demonstrated skill in researching and preparing well-written, organized and persuasive legal memoranda;
  4. Ability to make effective oral presentations in a clear and concise manner;
  5. Excellent ability to analyze, understand, and convey to others the effect of proposed legislation;
  6. Ability to maintain effective working relationships with agency staff at all levels as well as with key individuals in a variety of other federal organizations and interest groups; and
  7. Ability to multi-task in a complex and fast-paced inter-disciplinary environment, entailing timely collection of facts, identification and resolution of issues, enumeration of options and formulation of recommendations.

Security Clearance

Not Applicable

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