The Work of Honors Attorneys
Attorneys in the Honors Program who are located in the national office will spend their first two years in SOL handling a broad variety of assignments from all divisions in the national office. Past Honors attorneys have:
- Argued cases in federal courts of appeals on pension and wage and hour law
- Drafted critical new mine safety regulations
- Participated in negotiations regarding international trade and labor law
- Advised the department on conducting effective occupational safety investigations
- Prepared the department for litigation against contractors with discriminatory hiring practices
- Arbitrated and resolved internal union grievances and ensured the legitimacy of labor union elections
- Issued enforcement recommendations to protect whistleblowers
- Assisted in litigation to recover misappropriated employee retirement funds
Honors attorneys may also receive assignments from SOL's regional offices, which typically involve trial work, including discovery, brief writing, and oral argument. After the first nine months in the program, Honors attorneys begin a series of 90-day rotations to various SOL divisions in the national office. National office Honors attorneys may also volunteer to work in a regional office for one of their rotations.
SOL also hires Honors attorneys into SOL's regional offices. The focus of the regional Honors Program is developing an attorney's skills as a trial litigator under all the statutes commonly enforced by the Department of Labor. Receiving guidance from experienced courtroom lawyers, a regional Honors Program attorney will typically carry a varied caseload from beginning to end: analyzing an investigative file, filing a complaint, engaging in negotiations and discovery, preparing briefs and arguing motions, and serving as lead counsel in cases that go to trial. Regional Honors attorneys have:
- Provided pre-litigation advice to client agencies in significant cases
- Filed complaints in federal district court to recover employees' benefits and wages under pension and wage and hour laws
- Appeared before administrative law judges in cases involving Occupational Safety and Health and Mine Safety and Health laws
Honors attorneys located in regional offices also will receive select assignments from the national office divisions to complement their trial work or to expose them to practice areas usually handled by the national office. Funding permitting, these attorneys will travel to the national office in Washington, D.C. to participate with their national office colleagues in training and networking opportunities. Regional office Honors attorneys may also volunteer to rotate to the national office for a temporary assignment, usually lasting about three months.
After two years, Honors attorneys will be permanently placed in a specific office in SOL. All efforts will be made to accommodate attorneys' preferences, consistent with the needs of the department. This placement may be in either a national office division or a regional office.
The Honors Program gives attorneys a unique opportunity to help interpret and enforce a broad range of labor and employment laws while working in one of the largest legal offices in the federal government. Honors attorneys will gain a broad knowledge of labor and employment matters that would be difficult to obtain in years of private practice, and will share the honor and privilege of representing the United States government and engaging in public service. We invite you to apply.