If you are a legal professional and want a career with diverse responsibilities in multiple areas of law, we have the opportunities you are looking for at Social Security! We are home to the country’s largest administrative law system. Our legal work positively impacts the lives of everyone you know. Practice law in a public service environment that is professional, supportive, and collegial. Opportunities exist for both attorneys and legal support staff.
The Office of General Counsel and the Office of Disability Adjudication and Review are the two components of Social Security staffed primarily by attorneys and legal support professionals. These components offer a variety of legal positions that are challenging, rewarding, and serve the interests of the public we serve. Additionally, our Office of Human Resources also hires qualified attorneys to work in labor relations.
The Office of General Counsel (OGC) promotes, advocates, and protects all legal interests of the Social Security Administration. As an attorney with OGC, your work will be broad, varied, and challenging.
The Office of Disability Adjudication and Review (ODAR) administers the hearings and appeals process for Social Security. There are a full range of positions in diverse areas within ODAR that will engage your interests and expertise. Opportunities range from entry-level to those requiring many years of experience in the profession.
For more detailed information on our legal opportunities, expand the information boxes below.
Legal positions are located at Headquarters in Baltimore, MD and an additional Headquarters office complex for the Office of Disability Adjudication and Review in Falls Church, VA.
Additional opportunities for legal professionals are located in our regional offices across the country.
We typically look for candidates with any of the following skills and/or work experience:
- Strong oral and written communication skills
- Strong analytical skills with demonstrated attention to detail
- Specific types of legal or legal support experience and/or supporting coursework. Read the position posting carefully to ensure that you will meet the specific qualifications.
Legal Assistants provide legal and technical support to Administrative Law Judges and other technical and professional positions to process entitlement cases at the administrative appeals levels. Legal Assistants also review and analyze a wide variety of medical and legal documentation. These positions become progressively responsible for developing and processing requests for hearing cases from receipt to completion, and independently perform a wide range of case development actions.
Paralegal Specialists/Paralegal Analysts serve as authoritative specialists and program experts in the adjudication of Social Security disability and non-disability cases. They analyze, research, and develop cases, formulate comprehensive decisions, and act on requests for hearings. Paralegals provide technical advice and assistance to the Administrative Law Judges in the review and analysis of cases prior to and after hearings, in the preparation of decisions, and other post-hearing actions.
Paralegal Specialists (Decision Writers)
Paralegal Specialists (Decision Writers) primarily write the decisions for Social Security disability and non-disability cases. They analyze, research, and develop cases on requests for hearing. Paralegals assure that all decisions are consistent with adjudication policies in Social Security law, regulations, and rulings.
All attorney positions require that an employee is a member of the Bar within the United States or U.S. territories and be in good standing. No additional tests are required for these positions. Attorneys may be hired at entry-level or higher depending upon prior experience.
Training and mentoring are strong components of our workforce planning. Extensive guidance is provided for new employees handling initial assignments. We are committed to providing ongoing learning and development opportunities for all employees.
General Attorneys work within the Office of General Counsel. They represent Social Security before administrative agencies and provide legal advice on matters ranging from family and trust law to employment law and labor relations. They also deal with torts, ethics, bankruptcy, civil rights matters, federal procurement law, and Freedom of Information Act and Privacy Act issues.
Field Attorneys work in Hearings Offices for the Office of Disability Adjudication and Review across the country. They provide professional legal assistance to Administrative Law Judges. Field Attorneys also assist in pre-hearing legal preparation, research, decision preparation, and post-hearing actions. Employees may progress to higher levels, including supervisory opportunities.
Staff Attorneys also work in the Office of Disability Adjudication and Review in Falls Church, Virginia. They serve in a variety of roles in areas such as Labor Relations, Contract Law, and Administration, and may review cases relative to their component’s function. Staff Attorneys may develop administrative law procedures, policy, and guidelines concerning hearings, appeals, and civil action processes.
Attorney-Examiners (Administrative Appeals Judges/AAJs) are also located in Falls Church and work for the Appeals Council to review the Administrative Law Judge decisions and dismissals. They also work with the Office of General Counsel on decisions appealed to the courts and recommend whether appeals should be taken to higher courts on judicial reversals of the Commissioner’s decision. To qualify for an Administrative Appeals Judge position, applicants are required to have seven years of legal experience.
Attorney Advisors also work in Falls Church and perform a variety of activities related to hearings and appeals processes. They support and assist Administrative Appeals Judges on the Appeals Council. They adjudicate denials of requests for review by the Appeals Council and may provide advice and assistance to the Chief Administrative Law Judge.
Administrative Law Judges (ALJs) serve as impartial arbiters at regulatory and benefits-granting agencies. At Social Security, ALJs conduct impartial de novo hearings and issue decisions to claimants who appeal the denial of their benefits. ALJ positions exist in over 140 Hearing Offices across the country. Generally applicants must have seven years of appropriate legal experience and must apply directly to the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) for consideration.
OPM posts ALJ opportunities periodically. Those individuals who are interested in applying are urged to closely monitor the USAJOBS web site for an announcement that the Administrative Law Judge Examination will be available to interested applicants. For more information on qualifications for ALJ opportunities, visit www.opm.gov/qualifications/alj/alj.asp.
- Compensation levels vary across the spectrum of legal positions and many levels of responsibilities. Our compensation packages recognize your skills gained through both work experience and academic accomplishments, and are very competitive.
- Grade levels for each available position are posted in the vacancy announcements on the www.ssa.usajobs.gov site. To compare salaries at different grades or Locality Pay Areas, go to the General Schedule and Locality Pay section by clicking on this link: Salaries & Wages.