Celebrating 10 years! 2007-2017

VA Board of Veterans Appeals jobs are back

https://www.usajobs.gov/GetJob/View Details/482405700 jdmaryland10/21/17
Thank you. kramer71610/21/17
You got this Kramer! jdmaryland10/21/17
Nice thought, but been beaten down by this process a lot, so kramer71610/21/17
Chin up! The odds are good! petunia10/21/17
From what I’ve heard it’s a horrible job due to the work notreallyalawyer10/22/17
Seriously? I thought you were unemployed and live in D.C. thirdtierlaw10/22/17
THats one benefit but you’d get only 6 months on your resu notreallyalawyer10/22/17
So you can apply and if you get an interview, ask about thos downwardslope10/22/17
I'm beginning to think notreallyalawyer is a troll. blackholelaw10/23/17
what took you so long? inho2solo10/23/17
Ignore. Tried to edit but I think I hit reply instead, so th kramer71610/22/17
Agreed. Is it an ideal position? No. Have I heard it sucks, kramer71610/22/17
The SBA job pays hourly so your likely make more money doing notreallyalawyer10/22/17
I will be applying, and if practicing law makes you miserabl kramer71610/22/17
Thanks. . Good luck to you. I applied with them in March and notreallyalawyer10/22/17
No clue where you live, but I can with 99.9% certainty say t kramer71610/22/17
If my finances improve I might try that to see it but right notreallyalawyer10/22/17
100% agreed if you are doing doc review, but if you aren't w kramer71610/22/17
I have some doc review gig that's supposed to start soon, bu notreallyalawyer10/23/17
Yeah I had one in Detroit like that. Kept pushing the start kramer71610/23/17
Folks, As someone with firsthand experience at the Board, mxab5410/22/17
MY lord that’s depressing and they even rejected me. My on notreallyalawyer10/22/17
Also, you all should be aware that the Board increased the p mxab5410/22/17
How long does it take to do the case is the time influenced notreallyalawyer10/22/17
Our nominee for Chairman, recently stated that it takes 8 ho mxab5410/22/17
Our nominee for Chairman, recently stated that it takes 8 ho mxab5410/22/17
Attrition at the Board is sky high. Now, in truth, the Boar mxab5410/22/17
If you quit do you get and preference points still for other notreallyalawyer10/22/17
You do not get preference points for other government jobs i mxab5410/22/17
That frightens me because my experience has caused me to los notreallyalawyer10/22/17
Wow. I know some people through a friend who worked there an spaghetti10/23/17
ITS good to know this but seriously depressing. I had aspire notreallyalawyer10/23/17
Sounds like married people with kids would do poorly there. notreallyalawyer10/22/17
You cannot work from home during the first year. Keep in min mxab5410/22/17
I really appreciate your posts and insight. You’ve convinc notreallyalawyer10/22/17
It appears as part of the application process they will requ kramer71610/23/17
You should reread the older thread and see what has changed. notreallyalawyer10/23/17
I work at the Board now, they're hiring 150 new attorneys in threedham10/24/17
Curious, even if you were there for years, if they fire you notreallyalawyer10/24/17
I don't know the answer to that, but our union cited one ins threedham10/24/17
What are the mathematical odds of someone starting say today notreallyalawyer10/24/17
So they are only hiring at a GS-11 position?? Lol that might oddis50010/25/17
I think I have read either here or possibly on another board downwardslope10/25/17
I saw the same thing, but no clue what thread that was. kramer71610/25/17
they pay gs11 step 1 notreallyalawyer10/25/17
That is for non-fed employees. Not a current fed employee in downwardslope10/25/17
You are right. I forgot on saw on USAJOBS an ad for federal notreallyalawyer10/25/17
They will work with current fed employees but will not excee izzymandelbaum10/25/17
That's a shame I would have been interested in applying. Tha oddis50010/25/17
The job is basically this: (1) Figure out what the applic dcm198310/25/17
Also keep in mind, if there's a snow day, you are expected t notreallyalawyer10/25/17
They actually prorate for leave now. So, they will reduce t dcm198310/25/17
Word of advice - if you accept this job, make sure you sign mxab5410/25/17
No other fed agency operates like this. Why does the VA boar dopesmokeresquire10/25/17
Doesn’t the uspto or social security have similar quotas? notreallyalawyer10/25/17
Both the USPTO trademark examiner and SSA attorney adviser p mxab5410/25/17
Ssa quotas seem to be based on what is reasonable on a 40h w dcm198310/25/17
I think people do get fired/demoted, but it’s not that com downwardslope10/25/17
For anyone who works or worked there, can you tell us about notreallyalawyer10/26/17
http://www.jdunderground.com/all/th read.php?threadId=117611 downwardslope10/26/17
Thanks. notreallyalawyer10/26/17
I heard that this is the last large hiring they have planned notreallyalawyer10/27/17
Your first statement is key, "Last large hiring they have pl kramer71610/27/17
Even though it might be harder to get jobs with them later, notreallyalawyer10/27/17
Who knows. If the actually retained all of the attorneys the lydia10/27/17
I thought there was no paid OT? notreallyalawyer10/27/17
There is paid OT, but it is for doing cases in ADDITION to t lydia10/27/17
Since you are closing in on GS-14 I assume you have been the kramer71610/27/17
This may be the worst it has ever been. It got dramatically lydia10/27/17
Appreciate the information. I applied, so we will see what h kramer71610/27/17
But are you prepared to be working 10-20 hours of unpaid OT notreallyalawyer10/27/17
I was doing that in my previous position so nothing new. Plu kramer71610/27/17
I figured that me being single/no kids would be an advantage notreallyalawyer10/27/17
As a new attorney at the Board, I can echo this sentiment. T threedham10/27/17
How long did it take you to get to GS-13? aspiringlawyer10/27/17
Anyone who works there like to tell us about the firing that notreallyalawyer10/28/17
Where did you hear that? jdmaryland10/28/17
A source notreallyalawyer10/28/17
I guess no body is talking. But I heard someone who was ther notreallyalawyer10/29/17
One of the biggest problems for attorneys at the Board is th somefed10/28/17
The pay scale is keeping me from applying, but these horror oddis50010/28/17
They might have less turnover if they started at something o downwardslope10/28/17
What happens to the careers and potential of people who say notreallyalawyer10/29/17
Unfortunately, what happens in that case is that you have to somefed10/29/17
So that would basically rule out any contract specialist cha notreallyalawyer10/29/17
If you do that can you at least go up in steps? After a whil notreallyalawyer10/31/17
@SSA? It takes something like 18 years to get to step 10 in downwardslope10/31/17
DO they do entry level hiring? I’ve never seen a ssa job a notreallyalawyer10/31/17
In DC? They hired like 100+ last year I think. They were hir downwardslope10/31/17
Three years of experience doing those sort of things for ano notreallyalawyer10/31/17
I don't remember the exact amount of experience required, bu kramer71610/31/17
Well because there are so many more lawyers than there are j notreallyalawyer10/31/17
Most people have no related experience. They hire people wit downwardslope10/31/17
If there was one opening or a handful, then I think your poi kramer71610/31/17
Again, if you get fired, which the odds are high of, you bas notreallyalawyer10/31/17
FWIW, I know plenty of people who were fired from state jobs downwardslope10/31/17
You have been waiting to get a non-doc review job for how lo kramer71610/31/17
Are you applying for the VA or going to take the SBA job? I notreallyalawyer10/31/17
I am applying for both. I think I have a better shot at the kramer71610/31/17
Curious, would you take a job at a federal agency, but not t notreallyalawyer10/31/17
At this point, Yep kramer71610/31/17
I got called for an interview for this. I can't bring myself notreallyalawyer10/31/17
What's the job title? I will apply kramer71610/31/17
It closed. it was at the IRS, some "general attorney" positi notreallyalawyer10/31/17
Just call! Seriously. What is wrong with you. This is why ev downwardslope10/31/17
Here was the description: esponsibilities The following notreallyalawyer10/31/17
A friend of mine is doing that type of work for an agency in kramer71610/31/17
I don't know how I could explain how I lost my job an an int notreallyalawyer10/31/17
So tell us what happened and I am sure someone can give you kramer71610/31/17
I can’t say on here notreallyalawyer10/31/17
If you wanna email me at that throwaway email I can tell asp notreallyalawyer10/31/17
WEll I scheduled the interview. Gonna be a big mistake. I ca notreallyalawyer10/31/17
Just spin it and congratulations on getting the interview. Y kramer71610/31/17
I don't see how I can spin it given there's going to be an S notreallyalawyer10/31/17
Typically an employer isn’t going to reveal why a person w downwardslope10/31/17
This would involve a background check, they will contact my notreallyalawyer10/31/17
Alright. Just treat it as a practice interview then. You hav kramer71610/31/17
That's what I'm trying to do, but it's not helping... I get notreallyalawyer10/31/17
You were laid off along with a bunch of other people due to wolfman10/31/17
That's not what happened though. I was on staff at a firm. notreallyalawyer10/31/17
Again, they are not going to give a detailed “real” reas downwardslope10/31/17
It's not a reference check, it's a background check. They ar notreallyalawyer10/31/17
Plus if you start there I have seen FOIA positions up to GS- downwardslope10/31/17
The FOIA experience is one major plus I see from this.. notreallyalawyer10/31/17
For a lot of those duties, I've never done, and I doubt anyo notreallyalawyer10/31/17
Because you can eventually move up to a GS-15 non-supervisor downwardslope10/31/17
You can only get to GS 15 from this job by applying to other notreallyalawyer10/31/17
Right but you are not going to get a GS-15 FOIA job without downwardslope10/31/17
Most SSA jobs start out NTE 2 years. Look. You have to take downwardslope10/31/17
I really wish they would ban this idiot. oddis50010/31/17
thanks for posting. from what i am hearing, a large number hopelesslyunemployed11/01/17
That surprises me. It would seem that SSA trumps the VA, but kramer71611/01/17
I’m at SSA. I won’t be applying and this whole conversat brownbear11/01/17
Just so you know, my contact there, still after telling me notreallyalawyer11/01/17
Same govlaw11/01/17
I am not sure why you would apply if you are at SSA. I know downwardslope11/01/17
the SSA gigs are not permanent whereas VA is (plus VA career hopelesslyunemployed11/01/17
But the SSA gigs become permanent for most people and the VA brownbear11/01/17
All VA positions are at will now and it is very easy to fire downwardslope11/01/17
It is true that it is much easier to fire people now under t somefed11/01/17
Another thing is that with the high turnover of the past yea threedham11/02/17
It looks like they changed the close date to November 3rd. trophy201711/02/17
I think it was always November 3rd, at least whenever I look notreallyalawyer11/02/17
Anyone else apply recently and it's saying "unavailable" on notreallyalawyer11/02/17
Since you're only dealing with federal law, can you be barre dharamsala11/02/17
Yes, that isn't an issue. kramer71611/02/17
Heck, in my dad's office at a Department, there was a go who notreallyalawyer11/02/17
Yes. Most people here are Maryland and/or Virginia lawyers, threedham11/03/17
Has anyone applied to this job recently and their applicatio notreallyalawyer11/03/17
Go in and select "update" application and just click through trophy201711/03/17
I've done that and have now submitted it twice. and it still notreallyalawyer11/03/17
Make sure you attached every document you uploaded from usaj trophy201711/03/17
THey were attached though I put two docs in one category cou notreallyalawyer11/03/17
Thanks. I removed the double entry and it worked. notreallyalawyer11/03/17
I think this may be worth applying to if you have experience kemken11/07/17
I know it's the job from hell, but it's a full-time from hel kramer71611/08/17
I have a feeling they are going to at least to try to do mos notreallyalawyer11/08/17
I'll be pulling for you Kramer! You definitely deserve a sho oddis50011/08/17
After seeing someone get fired this week, it is hard to be o somefed11/09/17
No question. If I get picked up for that position, then I wi kramer71611/09/17
I do not know the exact time, but it was under the two year somefed11/09/17
Thank you for the information. Not sure if the person was yo kramer71611/09/17
how many folks are you aware of that have been let go at VA? hopelesslyunemployed11/09/17
I know of about 5 people who were let go under the 2-year pr somefed11/10/17
About the JOA that closed 11/03/17 that was open to the publ sendlawyers11/21/17
Hey they started referring or rejecting people yet? I haven' notreallyalawyer11/21/17
Sounds about right. I haven't heard anything about being ref kramer71611/21/17
What questions did they ask you ? I applied for this job man notreallyalawyer11/21/17
Everything was related to writing. What was your favorite th kramer71611/21/17
I don't recall that, or anything from my last interview with notreallyalawyer11/21/17
If you had an offer and turned it down, why have you taken u blackholelaw11/21/17
Well, that was over a decade ago, when I didn't have a decad notreallyalawyer11/21/17
Notreallyalawyer, you are pretty much the only person in you anonattempt11/22/17

jdmaryland (Oct 21, 2017 - 4:09 pm)

https://www.usajobs.gov/GetJob/ViewDetails/482405700

Reply Like (0)
kramer716 (Oct 21, 2017 - 4:24 pm)

Thank you.

Reply Like (0)
jdmaryland (Oct 21, 2017 - 4:40 pm)

You got this Kramer!

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kramer716 (Oct 21, 2017 - 4:44 pm)

Nice thought, but been beaten down by this process a lot, so I am a glass completely empty kind of guy. Don't want to get my hopes up, but will definitely apply.

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petunia (Oct 21, 2017 - 5:02 pm)

Chin up! The odds are good!

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notreallyalawyer (Oct 22, 2017 - 3:51 pm)

From what I’ve heard it’s a horrible job due to the work quotas. Zero job security and many people get fired after about 6 months of work hence why they do these mass hiring to replace the people they fired who couldn’t work quickly enough . Sounds too stressful for me and I’m not going to even apply for this one.

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thirdtierlaw (Oct 22, 2017 - 4:06 pm)

Seriously? I thought you were unemployed and live in D.C.

How is this less secure than doc review? It'd also give you something to put on your resume.

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notreallyalawyer (Oct 22, 2017 - 4:34 pm)

THats one benefit but you’d get only 6 months on your resume and have to explain you got fired for not meeting quotas. Sounds highly stressful too. I read some arbitration opinion which states that even in 2013 it was so bad people had to use vacation time to meet their quotas
http://afgenvac.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/Arbitration-Decision-Strikes-Down-Strict-Weekly-Quota-Enforcement-Pending-Completion-of-Further-Negotiations.pdf

Hear it is much much worse now and zero job security

Reply Like (0)
downwardslope (Oct 22, 2017 - 6:34 pm)

So you can apply and if you get an interview, ask about those things. You have no job and shoot down every option suggested.

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blackholelaw (Oct 23, 2017 - 11:06 am)

I'm beginning to think notreallyalawyer is a troll.

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inho2solo (Oct 23, 2017 - 12:56 pm)

what took you so long?

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kramer716 (Oct 22, 2017 - 6:56 pm)

Ignore. Tried to edit but I think I hit reply instead, so this post is superflous.

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kramer716 (Oct 22, 2017 - 6:57 pm)

Agreed. Is it an ideal position? No. Have I heard it sucks, and have I heard about people leaving en masse? Yes. Having said that would I take the job tomorrow? Oh hell yes, happily.

From what I have read about the SBA job I think the working conditions are worse than this position. You are working a minimum of 40 hours a week at SBA and possibly doing 12 hour days 7 days a week. If you are ok with those requirements then I would throw my hat in the ring for this position, but that is me. IF you don't want this job, then I am more than happy that one less person is applying.

Reply Like (0)
notreallyalawyer (Oct 22, 2017 - 7:09 pm)

The SBA job pays hourly so your likely make more money doing that. Any extra hours you’d work at the VA you wouldn’t get paid for. From what I’m
Told around 6-8 months into the job many many lawyers are asked to resign which is apparently slightly better than being fired. It looks like a miserable embattled government agency with huge backlogs and the subject matter is very depressing. Seeing that many government jobs have even no job security this has convinced me my only salvation is leaving law. I’ve been miserable every day for the past 18 years of my life and I can’t even contemplate anyone enjoying being a lawyer. What could someone possibly enjoy other than getting paid? If I were 10 years younger I’d apply for this job and risk the stress of it should I even get it, but now I’m worried even about my health how much more stress can I take? The serious depression I’m in now isn’t helping but you should apply for this from the sound of things

Reply Like (0)
kramer716 (Oct 22, 2017 - 7:18 pm)

I will be applying, and if practicing law makes you miserable then I agree it may not be for you. I would offer some advice, but no clue what situation you would thrive in. I like the advice that someone gave you, actually not really advice I think he just said what he did instead of practicing law, and that is become a teacher. If I could talk to myself circa post undergrad, but before law school I would have gone back to become a teacher and teach history. I chose the massive debt road though, so I will be picking my poison with the SBA or VA.

You are correct about SBA paying hourly, and I would probably make more. The SBA is also temporary, although I have seen pages that said it could go for a year or two. The VA job is permanent assuming I can make the quota. I will apply to the VA and hope for the best. I wish you well.

Reply Like (0)
notreallyalawyer (Oct 22, 2017 - 7:28 pm)

Thanks. . Good luck to you. I applied with them in March and didn’t even get referred. I didn’t know much about the job back then know a lot more now.
I wish I could teach. I was a history major but I cannot even strong together a coherent sentence I get so nervous speaking. It makes me feel so incompetent

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kramer716 (Oct 22, 2017 - 7:32 pm)

No clue where you live, but I can with 99.9% certainty say there is a demand for substitute teachers where you are. Go apply. You can be a teacher for a day or two, and you very rarely have to actually teach. I was a sub for about a year and a half, and I only actually had to teach about two classes. You will usually just have to proctor homework and make sure they don't turn the classroom into thunderdome. You can practice your speaking. Just write yourself a script and follow it. If you don't like it then just take your name off the list, but it's money. You can probably make a little over a grand per month while you look for something else.

Reply Like (0)
notreallyalawyer (Oct 22, 2017 - 7:38 pm)

If my finances improve I might try that to see it but right now I need to do doc review just to pay my bills. When I get out of debt I’ll have a lot more options.

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kramer716 (Oct 22, 2017 - 7:51 pm)

100% agreed if you are doing doc review, but if you aren't working at the moment then you can do worse than substitute teaching.

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notreallyalawyer (Oct 23, 2017 - 1:13 pm)

I have some doc review gig that's supposed to start soon, but the start date keeps on getting pushed back. It was supposed to start last week.. I'm just hoping it actually starts in the next week or two.

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kramer716 (Oct 23, 2017 - 1:15 pm)

Yeah I had one in Detroit like that. Kept pushing the start date back and they ended up pulling it. Wasn't happy.

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mxab54 (Oct 22, 2017 - 7:25 pm)

Folks,

As someone with firsthand experience at the Board, I can honestly say that the Board is a horrible place to work. I could spend hours recounting the negative and demeaning experiences that I've had at the Board. But, there's no need for me to recount my personal experiences - our Union has a nice summary of life at the Board dated September 2017, which is addressed to the Secretary of VA and the House and Senate Committees on Veterans Affairs, and signed by nearly 100 Board attorneys.

https://www.afge.org/contentassets/a91c998d3be44362a75c5c67c60852f7/loss-of-confidence-statement.pdf

Reply Like (0)
notreallyalawyer (Oct 22, 2017 - 7:32 pm)

MY lord that’s depressing and they even rejected me. My only hope is a nightmare position. The low pay of government work with none of the job security and still has high stress .

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mxab54 (Oct 22, 2017 - 7:34 pm)

Also, you all should be aware that the Board increased the production standard for this fiscal year (FY18). Last year (FY17), attorneys only needed to complete 125 cases to meet the minimum standard and complete 145 cases for an exceptional performance rating. This year's standard (FY18), which was implemented this month, requires attorneys to complete 169 cases at minimum. In essence, you must exceed last year's exceptional standard by 24 cases to meet this year's minimum standard.

Reply Like (0)
notreallyalawyer (Oct 22, 2017 - 7:39 pm)

How long does it take to do the case is the time influenced by any outside factors or is it all up to how fast you work? What hours do people work weekly?

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mxab54 (Oct 22, 2017 - 7:49 pm)

Our nominee for Chairman, recently stated that it takes 8 hours on average to do a case. She stated that the Board is developing standardized language to reduce the time it takes to do each case.

In reality, however, the most time consuming part of each case is case review - it takes many hours to review all of the case documents (writing the decision doesn't take as much time as reviewing the documents). On average, it takes about 16 to 24 hours (that's work hours) to adequately review and write a decision. What does that mean? It means you will be spending many hours of unpaid overtime in excess of the standard 40 hour work week and will spend many hours working during the weekend (FOR FREE!).

Reply Like (0)
mxab54 (Oct 22, 2017 - 7:49 pm)

Our nominee for Chairman, recently stated that it takes 8 hours on average to do a case. She stated that the Board is developing standardized language to reduce the time it takes to do each case.

In reality, however, the most time consuming part of each case is case review - it takes many hours to review all of the case documents (writing the decision doesn't take as much time as reviewing the documents). On average, it takes about 16 to 24 hours (that's work hours) to adequately review and write a decision. What does that mean? It means you will be spending many hours of unpaid overtime in excess of the standard 40 hour work week and will spend many hours working during the weekend (FOR FREE!).

Reply Like (0)
mxab54 (Oct 22, 2017 - 7:43 pm)

Attrition at the Board is sky high. Now, in truth, the Board very rarely fires attorneys. Management prefers to get rid of attorneys by making life miserable for them, so that they will leave "voluntarily." The high production standard isn't the worst thing about the job - it's the toxic environment that causes people to leave or develop mental illnesses.

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notreallyalawyer (Oct 22, 2017 - 7:45 pm)

If you quit do you get and preference points still for other government jobs or do you lose it?

Is the work difficult to do ?

Reply Like (0)
mxab54 (Oct 22, 2017 - 7:52 pm)

You do not get preference points for other government jobs if you lose your job at the Board.

The work is complex, but not overly so. However, the training is terrible. This means you will have to learn it by yourself for the most part.

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notreallyalawyer (Oct 22, 2017 - 7:57 pm)

That frightens me because my experience has caused me to lose and self confidence and completely doubt my abilities and I’d fear not being able to learn how to do the job corrrectly

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spaghetti (Oct 23, 2017 - 10:40 am)

Wow. I know some people through a friend who worked there and they all said it was pretty bad, but mostly due to the high turnover rate and unexpected mass layoffs. He also said it depended almost entirely on the judges you worked for. It always sounded like the most miserable job, especially because the substance seemed boring as hell, but I didn't know it was this bad.

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notreallyalawyer (Oct 23, 2017 - 10:56 am)

ITS good to know this but seriously depressing. I had aspired to that job one day think at least it was a realistic option though I was led to believe there was any semblance of job security there. Some did review projects would last longer than the average person does at the BVA. Welp, for me it’s pay off debt so I can go back into debt going back to school for something that makes me more marketable .

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notreallyalawyer (Oct 22, 2017 - 7:56 pm)

Sounds like married people with kids would do poorly there. Fortunately I have no life have no conflicts to prevent from working as much as needed. Would suck working 60 hour weeks for years and years. I’ve heard if it snows and govt closes you are still expected to meet your quota. Can you at least work the unpaid overtime hours from home?

Reply Like (0)
mxab54 (Oct 22, 2017 - 8:15 pm)

You cannot work from home during the first year. Keep in mind that management at the Board likes to get rid of attorneys before the first year, so there is no guarantee you will last a full year.

Also, the Board also recently fired a few attorneys with 20+ years of experience for production reasons. Even if you successfully complete the probationary period, you won't have any job security as you can be fired for production reasons.

The main reason why people are so miserable at the Board is due to the toxic environment and the mistreatment of attorneys. The high production standard is only a part of the problem.

I invite all of you to read Kelli Kordich's testimony to Congress regarding the climate at the Board.

http://docs.house.gov/meetings/VR/VR08/20140910/102615/HHRG-113-VR08-Wstate-KordichK-20140910.pdf

https://www.afge.org/contentassets/a91c998d3be44362a75c5c67c60852f7/loss-of-confidence-statement.pdf

Reply Like (0)
notreallyalawyer (Oct 22, 2017 - 8:18 pm)

I really appreciate your posts and insight. You’ve convinced me I have no choice but to do a career change.

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kramer716 (Oct 23, 2017 - 3:48 pm)

It appears as part of the application process they will require applicants to go through a writing exam. I don't think they did this during the last round of hiring, but could be wrong.

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notreallyalawyer (Oct 23, 2017 - 4:29 pm)

You should reread the older thread and see what has changed. Curious how they can test for the skills they want.

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threedham (Oct 24, 2017 - 8:44 am)

I work at the Board now, they're hiring 150 new attorneys in this hiring wave. Mxab54 is largely correct, morale isn't great and the new production standards have a lot of people wondering if the job is doable. 3.4 cases per week seems really, really high. The big boss gave a Board-wide meeting the other week about the new standards, and it was embarrassing. He tried selling the new standard as commensurate with the pace of hiring, which is simply untrue. Everyone left the meeting feeling drained and afraid for their jobs.

I was really optimistic about the job going in, but now that I've been here for a few months, I'm reconsidering. The fast track to GS-14 is great, but the this job has a lot of negatives. There's basically no professional oversight; you're left to your own devices to figure out the law. Yeah you're given a mentor during the three-month boot camp, but they're so overworked that it's tough to get a minute with them. If you're considering this because the pay is good and it's federal, really think hard about it. Job security here feels super, super shaky. The people on production already got a somewhat nasty email about how we're already falling behind target, and we're like two weeks into the FY.

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notreallyalawyer (Oct 24, 2017 - 11:54 am)

Curious, even if you were there for years, if they fire you or ask you to resign, you get zero preference points? I think mxab54 said that, but even the people there for 20+ years who get fired for production?

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threedham (Oct 24, 2017 - 1:10 pm)

I don't know the answer to that, but our union cited one instance of a 20+ year attorney who was fired for production reasons recently. I'm positive there was more to that attorney's situation than is publicly known, but it did happen. That said, I only know of this single instance.

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notreallyalawyer (Oct 24, 2017 - 1:13 pm)

What are the mathematical odds of someone starting say today and lasting at the BVA for 5 years?

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oddis500 (Oct 25, 2017 - 12:46 am)

So they are only hiring at a GS-11 position?? Lol that might be a contributing factor on why they aren't getting great candidates.

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downwardslope (Oct 25, 2017 - 9:17 am)

I think I have read either here or possibly on another board that people from SSA we’re leaving for this position. They may pay more through a fed employee listing. I can’t imagine you would go from GS-12 step 5 to a GS-11...

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kramer716 (Oct 25, 2017 - 9:26 am)

I saw the same thing, but no clue what thread that was.

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notreallyalawyer (Oct 25, 2017 - 9:29 am)

they pay gs11 step 1

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downwardslope (Oct 25, 2017 - 9:37 am)

That is for non-fed employees. Not a current fed employee in a 0905 series job. Typically they at least give you a step increase.

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notreallyalawyer (Oct 25, 2017 - 10:23 am)

You are right. I forgot on saw on USAJOBS an ad for federal employees only for the same position

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izzymandelbaum (Oct 25, 2017 - 11:33 am)

They will work with current fed employees but will not exceed GS 11. So hypothetically, if you are a GS-12 step 4 they will offer and 11-step whatever to get you close.

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oddis500 (Oct 25, 2017 - 8:22 pm)

That's a shame I would have been interested in applying. That's going to lower interest a ton.

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dcm1983 (Oct 25, 2017 - 8:37 pm)

The job is basically this:

(1) Figure out what the applicable Veterans law is. It varies a lot from case to case, and it can be very very complicated at times.
(2) Review 20,000-80,000 pages of evidence.
(3) Write a flawless 5-10 page remand order or 10-30 page decision that is 100% legally accurate and free of any typos.
(4) Repeat.

You have 12 hours to complete a case including reviewing 20,000-80,000 pages of evidence.

If you can't produce a flawless decision or remand order in that time, then you stay late or work on the weekends until you can produce 3.25 cases on average per week.

If the computer system is down or you have to attend mandatory meetings or trainings, that time will most likely not count towards your quota. For example, if the computer system is down on Monday, you are not allowed to go home, but you are allowed to come in on Saturday in order to make up for the fact that the computer system did not work on Monday.

If you can reduce your reading of 20,000-80,000 pages of evidence down to 2-4 hours, then the job is super easy and you will be "high producer" and earn bonuses. You'll be promoted to GS-14 rapidly and maybe become a judge some day.

So, that's the job. If it sounds like you would do well in it, apply.

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notreallyalawyer (Oct 25, 2017 - 8:46 pm)

Also keep in mind, if there's a snow day, you are expected to meet your quota and if you go on vacation, you are still expected to meet your quota.

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dcm1983 (Oct 25, 2017 - 8:48 pm)

They actually prorate for leave now. So, they will reduce the quota by snow days and leave. However, after they did that, they increased the base quota by 35%.

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mxab54 (Oct 25, 2017 - 11:06 pm)

Word of advice - if you accept this job, make sure you sign up for health insurance and get the high option plan. After a few months on the job, you will probably start developing serious health issues.

Be sure that your health insurance plan covers mental health care (as you will probably go crazy), cardiovascular rehabilitation (status post myocardial infarction secondary to BVA misery), neurological rehabilitation (status post cerebrovascular accident secondary to BVA nightmare), erectile dysfunction (to rehabilitate what remains of your non-existent sex life), marriage counseling (as your spouse will probably accuse you of having an affair after you spend countless nights and weekends claiming to be "in the office" on unpaid overtime), irritable bowel syndrome, and more!

After a few years at BVA, you will probably qualify for SSA disability due to mental health reasons and live as a hermit for the remainder of your life.

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dopesmokeresquire (Oct 25, 2017 - 9:56 pm)

No other fed agency operates like this. Why does the VA board of appeals operate like this?

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notreallyalawyer (Oct 25, 2017 - 10:10 pm)

Doesn’t the uspto or social security have similar quotas? Keep in mind the VA us in chaos with a serious backlog of cases and a terrible reputation

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mxab54 (Oct 25, 2017 - 10:41 pm)

Both the USPTO trademark examiner and SSA attorney adviser positions have production quotas. However, I've heard from former SSA AAs at BVA that the quota at SSA is more manageable. Moreover, SSA prohibits employees from working late or working on the weekend on unpaid overtime. BVA has no such rule - in fact many BVA employees work in excess of 40 hours a week, and, even then, still fail to meet the quota.

Now, BVA is hiring 150 new attorneys. Who do you think will train all of these attorneys? The truth is, after the initial training period, you will be on your own to learn the law and write perfect decisions. As the judges are also on strict production quotas, they won't have time to train you, and, if you screw up, guess who they will be the victim of their anger? YOU, of course!

BVA stands apart from USPTO and SSA in that a lot, but not all, of the judges and managers will intentionally try to get you fired or get you to quit in order to the make themselves look good.

I've posted links above - follow these links to learn more about the miserable work environment at the Board.

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dcm1983 (Oct 25, 2017 - 10:27 pm)

Ssa quotas seem to be based on what is reasonable on a 40h week. Almost no one gets fired at ssa it seems, and they aren’t allowed to work unpaid overtime. It’s monitored strictly. Not sure about uspto but I’ve heard uspto is more reasonable overall

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downwardslope (Oct 25, 2017 - 10:51 pm)

I think people do get fired/demoted, but it’s not that common. We had a few non-attorney writers in my office who were demoted last year because they could not get up to speed; however, SSA seems to be moving away from hiring non-attorney writers and is developing other paralegal positions instead. This may be the reason. The probationary period is 2 years and I don’t think you are allowed to be graded on your productivity until your second year.

SSA has a backlog too, but usually the approach is to offer paid overtime at least on Saturdays, and sometimes on weekdays and Sundays as well. They redid the quota system so some case types are shorter and others are longer, but there is now no allowance if your computer is broken or if you have to do continuing education videos. I still think it’s overall a better system since most of the cases we do in my office tend to be the ones with the lengthened timeframe.

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notreallyalawyer (Oct 26, 2017 - 9:34 am)

For anyone who works or worked there, can you tell us about possible interview questions they might ask?

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downwardslope (Oct 26, 2017 - 10:40 am)

http://www.jdunderground.com/all/thread.php?threadId=117611

I think there are some questions here in this thread.

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notreallyalawyer (Oct 26, 2017 - 10:48 am)

Thanks.

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notreallyalawyer (Oct 27, 2017 - 9:38 am)

I heard that this is the last large hiring they have planned, though that could change, so maybe they won't be firing most of the people, unless they change their mind again.

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kramer716 (Oct 27, 2017 - 9:41 am)

Your first statement is key, "Last large hiring they have planned." They don't want to hire more, but if they run people out in droves then they will be forced to do another round. If they figure out that what they are proposing isn't working and change, then maybe the situation stabilizes and another round of massive hiring won't be needed. This is 100% an opinion from an outsider, but just my observations.

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notreallyalawyer (Oct 27, 2017 - 10:30 am)

Even though it might be harder to get jobs with them later, I think it would be better to risk that to try for a time when there's more job security and there's not such a crisis. I don't think getting fired from that job will help one's chances of starting a legal career. Maybe I'm wrong, I just see it being very risky if you get the job and take it. But if it's 8 months of employment or being homeless, then yes, I can understand why one would take it.

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lydia (Oct 27, 2017 - 10:10 am)

Who knows. If the actually retained all of the attorneys they hired and trained, they would easily make the goal for their fiscal year if the quota was a much lower number to the point where attorneys don't have panic attacks and cry at work. They seem to have set the quota to meet their goal with the following assumptions (1) everyone will somehow use 8 weeks of leave, (2) 20% or more of the attorneys may be fired, quit, or otherwise be unable to meet the quota.

It seems that the new quota for the judges does not match the new quota output from the attorneys. Therefore, if the management honestly believed that all of the attorneys were reasonably able to hit this new number, we would end up with a huge backlog of unsigned cases. In general, it appears the whole thing is in very bad faith, which is consistent with history.

So, they could do mass firings if the most attorneys hit the new numbers, but they may not. If around 70-80% of the attorneys hit the new quota, then the rest are disposable.

What is clear though is if you fall behind for a single week you (1) will not be promoted if you're being evaluated for a promotion during that week and (2) will not be eligible for paid overtime on the weekends for doing extra cases if you are behind that week.

I think the most upsetting thing for the attorneys is the sense that they are being lied to and manipulated on a daily basis. I think this system worked better for management when the organization was half the size.

Watch out when you find yourself loaded with hundreds of extremely angry attorneys who know things you wouldn't want the public to know.

Closing in on GS-14 now, and contemplating thinking about going back to another job at GS-11.

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notreallyalawyer (Oct 27, 2017 - 10:19 am)

I thought there was no paid OT?

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lydia (Oct 27, 2017 - 10:32 am)

There is paid OT, but it is for doing cases in ADDITION to the cases your are responsible for each week. Here is an example of what may be a week for me.

Monday: Work 8:30-6:30 (10 hours) on Case #1.
Tuesday: Work 8:30-5:30 (9 hours) on Case #1
Wednesday: Work 8:30- 6:30 (10 hours) Complete case #1, Start case #2.
Thursday: Work 8:00 - 7:00 (11 hours) Complete case #2, Start case #3
Friday: Work 8:30 - 6:00 (10.5 hours) Complete case #3

In this situation, I worked the 40 hours I was supposed to work and an ADDITIONAL 10.5 hours UNPAID overtime. NOTE, I still only completed 3 cases. I need to complete 3.25 per week. Therefore, I am behind and am NOT eligible for unpaid overtime. In order to be eligible, I have to come in on Saturday and work from 8:00-5:00 or longer to finish the 4th case UNPAID.

So, to complete 4 cases and be eligible for PAID overtime, I had to work about 60 hours including 20 hours of UNPAID overtime. In order to get paid for more I have work a 5th case.

In Summary, this is the new normal:

First 40 hours (PAID)
Next 10-25 hours (UNPAID, necessary to avoid being fired)
Next 10-25 hours (PAID at a flat rate, assuming you are able to complete a case in that time)

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kramer716 (Oct 27, 2017 - 10:39 am)

Since you are closing in on GS-14 I assume you have been there for a while. Did it just get bad since January, or has the BVA always been a bit nasty with their policies?

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lydia (Oct 27, 2017 - 10:49 am)

This may be the worst it has ever been. It got dramatically better last year because we got a new Executive in Charge. She dramatically improved morale by eliminating the quota briefly. Unfortunately, they did not have time to tweak the new system to a point where attorneys were productive enough. Productivity dropped dramatically. She brought back the quota but decided to prorate it for leave. The quota she implemented was still stressful and tough for a lot of attorneys, but it was doable for most people with about 5-10 hours unpaid.


The new quota is not going to be attainable for people with children and other responsibilities who can't work 20+ additional hours unpaid every week. Based on what happened last fiscal year, they may just fire those people.

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kramer716 (Oct 27, 2017 - 10:55 am)

Appreciate the information. I applied, so we will see what happened. At this point i have no kids so I can do the OT, but I completely understand where you are coming from.

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notreallyalawyer (Oct 27, 2017 - 11:01 am)

But are you prepared to be working 10-20 hours of unpaid OT just to keep your job for the next several years or rest of your career? Sounds like the best case scenario is to just work your butt off to make quota for a couple years and try your best to get some other government job with the preference you get, even if that means a GS 9 or 11 job, to something that has job security and not as much stress. That's the only way I could convince myself of doing this. My usual thing is, is when I apply for a job, I'm thinking " this is the job I will hopefully be working for the rest of my life". But that sounds like a living hell at the BVA.

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kramer716 (Oct 27, 2017 - 1:04 pm)

I was doing that in my previous position so nothing new. Plus, I will waive into the DC bar while I am working for the VA and try to go over to the DC AG as a fallback.

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notreallyalawyer (Oct 27, 2017 - 10:59 am)

I figured that me being single/no kids would be an advantage, but I could see lawsuits coming if they fire married people, people with lives, or people with kids.. That's got to be pretty depressing, given most people thing government workers sit around doing nothing for 40 hours a week, you are working 10-15 hours of unpaid OT a week in a highly stressed job.

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threedham (Oct 27, 2017 - 11:21 am)

As a new attorney at the Board, I can echo this sentiment. The theory among the new hires is that maybe half of us won't be able to keep up with the new production standards and we'll be fired off over the course of our first six months on production. The new 150 they're on-boarding in the spring are going to be there to offset the attrition among the new attorneys.

Also FWIW, a good chunk of people who started in the summer are already looking for new jobs. The sense is that the BVA is simply too unstable at the time to warrant staying.

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aspiringlawyer (Oct 27, 2017 - 2:04 pm)

How long did it take you to get to GS-13?

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notreallyalawyer (Oct 28, 2017 - 9:38 am)

Anyone who works there like to tell us about the firing that the union announced?

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jdmaryland (Oct 28, 2017 - 10:03 am)

Where did you hear that?

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notreallyalawyer (Oct 28, 2017 - 10:06 am)

A source

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notreallyalawyer (Oct 29, 2017 - 6:29 pm)

I guess no body is talking. But I heard someone who was there multi decades, I believe 30 years, has been fired.

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somefed (Oct 28, 2017 - 9:12 pm)

One of the biggest problems for attorneys at the Board is that different judges impose different requirements. There is no standardized measure of quality. If you get placed with a very picky judge, you could receive unsatisfactory ratings putting you on the track to be removed, whereas your co-worker with the less particular judge receives high ratings. The quality of your work is determined by one person's opinion, and you are at the whims of that person.

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oddis500 (Oct 28, 2017 - 10:37 pm)

The pay scale is keeping me from applying, but these horror stories might have kept me from it even if they were starting at a higher rate.

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downwardslope (Oct 28, 2017 - 11:18 pm)

They might have less turnover if they started at something other than 11 though. People at HHS and SSA, for example, might be better equipped to be able to pick up the job quickly and would have some interest since it goes to GS-14 while HHS and SSA top out at 12 unless you apply competitively for 13. However, if you’re applying because you’ve applied a few times for a GS-13 at HHS or SSA and haven’t gotten anywhere, you’re probably going to be a few steps into GS-12 and it’s not going to be worthwhile to go back down to an 11 and have to give up 3-4 days of telecommute for a year in a high COL city.

With the ridiculously high turnover, how can anyone get enough knowledge to do the job and do it well? A person who sticks around for 5 years and can make GS-14 is going to be a lot faster than a GS-11 who has been there for 4 months. There is no doubt. I remember in January they were hiring 160 and now they’re hiring another 150, so basically the same amount of people who were hired have left or have been fired. That is insane.

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notreallyalawyer (Oct 29, 2017 - 3:33 pm)

What happens to the careers and potential of people who say worked at SSA for a while, doing their equivalent, and you take this job, hoping for the higher GS levels, and you get fired for not meeting quota? Doesn't that destroy your chances getting other similar federal jobs? you'd have to explain that you couldn't make quota, and if you are applying for other jobs that have quotas, you are in trouble, aren't you?

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somefed (Oct 29, 2017 - 3:38 pm)

Unfortunately, what happens in that case is that you have to report on your applications that you were terminated from a federal job, thus limiting your chance for another federal job. If you have a safe gig with SSA and you can make the quota, it is probably best to stay there.

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notreallyalawyer (Oct 29, 2017 - 3:40 pm)

So that would basically rule out any contract specialist chance I might in theory if I were to get this job and not make quota. Seems to risky to even apply to something like this.

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notreallyalawyer (Oct 31, 2017 - 9:41 am)

If you do that can you at least go up in steps? After a while when you max out you'll only get COLA

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downwardslope (Oct 31, 2017 - 9:47 am)

@SSA? It takes something like 18 years to get to step 10 in a grade if you start at step 1. You can still apply for details/term gs-13s or the ALJ register during that time. There is also legit overtime at SSA pretty much every week.

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notreallyalawyer (Oct 31, 2017 - 9:49 am)

DO they do entry level hiring? I’ve never seen a ssa job advertised on opm for where I live

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downwardslope (Oct 31, 2017 - 10:07 am)

In DC? They hired like 100+ last year I think. They were hiring this year as well. However, they really don’t seem to want entry level anymore. Most people in my training group had at least 3 years experience. There were some fairly new people who graduated last year, though.

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notreallyalawyer (Oct 31, 2017 - 10:12 am)

Three years of experience doing those sort of things for another agency, or three years of any kind of experience?

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kramer716 (Oct 31, 2017 - 10:23 am)

I don't remember the exact amount of experience required, but I think it was just general attorney experience. I interviewed with them last year, and I had zero experience that was related to what they do in the office, but I have five years' experience handling child support cases. If they required specialized experience, then I don't think they would have wasted their time talking to me. Having said that I didn't get the job, so I could be wrong, but it would seem to be a waste of resources to interview me if I didn't meet the minimum qualifications.

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notreallyalawyer (Oct 31, 2017 - 10:30 am)

Well because there are so many more lawyers than there are jobs for, they can afford to be selective, and interview a lot more people than they have spots for. that's just life for us. However sometimes they do make mistakes. Years and years ago, I had an interview with the Department of Commerce, in the general counsel's office, and one of the interviewers asked me what kind of contracts I worked on (as I listed contract attorney), and I had to explain what I did, and you could see the look of disgust on his face. Naturally I didn't get an offer. However they did call me for another interview, but I was in asia at the time, and couldn't make it.

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downwardslope (Oct 31, 2017 - 10:35 am)

Most people have no related experience. They hire people with background in criminal law, ID, PI, etc. They do have some people who worked representing people in SSA cases, but that is a small minority.

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kramer716 (Oct 31, 2017 - 10:40 am)

If there was one opening or a handful, then I think your point would be stronger. Having said that, the VA is hiring 150 people, and it sounds like they are hiring 150 people because the job is hell and attorneys are leaving in droves. They may need warm bodies, so I think you and I have a decent shot. Is it a great job? No, but it gets your foot in the door. I wouldn't take the job if you had other options, but if you don't, I think you can do worse then this position.

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notreallyalawyer (Oct 31, 2017 - 12:24 pm)

Again, if you get fired, which the odds are high of, you basically prevent yourself from getting federal employment as you have to put down you've been fired from a federal job. I'd prefer to wait until they figure things out there, even if it means they are hiring fewer and it reduces my chances. I view this job as overral hurting my chances because it would, if I got fired, likely prevent me from getting an 1102 job with the feds or any other kind of job. That's assuming they'd even take me, which they didn't even give an interview to me for last time, rejected me flag out as unqualified, when they gave me an offer in 2006.

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downwardslope (Oct 31, 2017 - 12:42 pm)

FWIW, I know plenty of people who were fired from state jobs and they still have state jobs. If you work for ultra political agencies, this agencies have reputations as being bad. You might be out for a bit, but you could come back. Most people who work for the VA and know it is going horribly try to find something or quit before they get fired. It is not that hard to do. If they are firing people before a year, they do not even have a real performance evaluation yet.

ETA I know more than one person who has moved fed jobs within 6 months because the jobs were really that bad. It is not that much of a problem.

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kramer716 (Oct 31, 2017 - 1:21 pm)

You have been waiting to get a non-doc review job for how long? You admit that they probably won't take you, and I won't say that to you. I think you have a decent shot at this one. I think your odds are long when there is only one opening or a handful, but you have a fair shot with this one. I would say you will be low-risk. Why do I say that? You have a grace period while they "train" you. Go in and see if you can do the freaking job. You may be good at it for all we know. If it gets to the end of your training period and you know there is no shot that you can do this then go back to doc review, but take the chance now. I think we both agree that there isn't much demand for your services by the Feds, and I am not knocking you because there isn't much demand for my services by the Feds. You have to take the opportunities when you can, and I don't see waiting giving you any benefit. Now if you are working right now, then stick with your current job, but if you are unemployed then you aren't making yourself more employable by staying unemployed.

Having said all that, call the SBA and talk to them if you don't want to do the VA position.

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notreallyalawyer (Oct 31, 2017 - 1:37 pm)

Are you applying for the VA or going to take the SBA job? I have a doc review gig starting soon that they claim is long term.

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kramer716 (Oct 31, 2017 - 1:43 pm)

I am applying for both. I think I have a better shot at the SBA job, but I will be pursuing both

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notreallyalawyer (Oct 31, 2017 - 1:49 pm)

Curious, would you take a job at a federal agency, but not to exceed 2 years, with a possibility it could get extended, paying GS9 maybe GS 11, doing doc review and doc review management for that agency?

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kramer716 (Oct 31, 2017 - 1:59 pm)

At this point, Yep

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notreallyalawyer (Oct 31, 2017 - 2:02 pm)

I got called for an interview for this. I can't bring myself to even call them to schedule and interview because I despise document review so much. TO do it for so much less money than what i used to, with much more responsibility, and then having to explain in an interview I got canned because they didn't want to promote me into the position you are basically hiring me for.. I can't face it. I spoke to my shrink about this on monday..

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kramer716 (Oct 31, 2017 - 2:05 pm)

What's the job title? I will apply

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notreallyalawyer (Oct 31, 2017 - 2:07 pm)

It closed. it was at the IRS, some "general attorney" position. Doc review, some doc review management stuff, redacting. I'm not 100% sure it's not a scam as they called and left a message that I could barely make out, they haven't emailed. I googled the phone number and some say it's a scam, other say it's is the IRS general counsel number.

I'm really kicking myself over this. Passing up a chance for a job, but it's document review, and I'd be SO miserable at the IRS given how many tax courses I've taken in law school, knowing how underemployed I am. I'd rather do agency doc review and have a chance for OT, so I can get the HELL out of doing document review. But that's stupid too. God I can't stand my life right now.

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downwardslope (Oct 31, 2017 - 2:10 pm)

Just call! Seriously. What is wrong with you. This is why everyone thinks you are a troll. You won’t take a job to stay in doc review but then a fed job opens up and you still won’t take it because it is doc review?

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notreallyalawyer (Oct 31, 2017 - 2:10 pm)

Here was the description:

esponsibilities
The following are the duties of this position at the GS-11. If you are selected at the GS-9 level, you will have the opportunity to learn to perform all these duties, and will receive training to help you grow in this position.



Serves as a general attorney with primary responsibility of reviewing, redacting, preparing and producing legal and electronic discovery (e-discovery) responses in litigation, FOIA, Congressional and other requests and providing litigation support services to field offices.
Conducts document review of both electronically stored information (ESI) and/or paper material in response to e-discovery and related discovery request using Symantec, Clearwell, Adobe Pro, or other e-discovery document review platforms.
Conducts appropriate level of legal review of ESI and paper materials determining relevance of documents, the correct application of legal privileges, IRC section 6103 and 6110, Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) exemptions, U.S. Tax Court Rules, Federal Rules of Evidence, Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and other procedural provisions.
Drafts legal documents required in connection with e-discovery and electronic litigation support such as declarations, memoranda, motions and other documents.
Researches case law related to electronic discovery, evidence production, submission of evidence at trial, and privileges.
Conducts informal preservation management.
Maintains case production schedule by coordinating with field attorneys, Senior Level Counsel, Paralegals and Technology Advisors.
Develops and oversees application of case review requirements by review attorneys and Technology Advisors.
Ensures compliance with production schedules on e-Discovery and where doing so is not possible, recommends scheduling alternatives.
Coordinates with Senior Level Counsel, Paralegals, and Technology Advisors to develop case strategy as appropriate.
Organizes and maintains accurate record of assigned e-discovery and related discovery requests, including keeping detailed case notes, using discovery plans, using spreadsheets, and entering case information into appropriate databases.
Analyzes the facts, identifies relevant issues and applies e-discovery case law in advising the principal Counsel attorney on the appropriate scope of e-discovery request with regard to cases in litigation.

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kramer716 (Oct 31, 2017 - 2:14 pm)

A friend of mine is doing that type of work for an agency in DC. She loves it. Don't know if it's term-limited but she loves it. Hours are fine. I don't see the downside. You can always keep looking for work and you can always do Doc review

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notreallyalawyer (Oct 31, 2017 - 2:16 pm)

I don't know how I could explain how I lost my job an an interview to them given what this job entails. They'll find out because they're going to do a background check.

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kramer716 (Oct 31, 2017 - 2:27 pm)

So tell us what happened and I am sure someone can give you a good spin answer.

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notreallyalawyer (Oct 31, 2017 - 2:35 pm)

I can’t say on here

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notreallyalawyer (Oct 31, 2017 - 2:36 pm)

If you wanna email me at that throwaway email I can tell aspects but not all.

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notreallyalawyer (Oct 31, 2017 - 3:31 pm)

WEll I scheduled the interview. Gonna be a big mistake. I can’t tell them the reason I lost my job without eliminating my chance. Even not wanting this job makes me no less nervous. I’ll take Xanax and that won’t help. God will I get wasted Friday night

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kramer716 (Oct 31, 2017 - 3:58 pm)

Just spin it and congratulations on getting the interview. You can also call the SBA to get a back-up plan

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notreallyalawyer (Oct 31, 2017 - 4:15 pm)

I don't see how I can spin it given there's going to be an SF85 form if I get an offer. If tell them what happened, they won't consider me, if I defend myself from the what happened story, then I'll really really not get considered.

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downwardslope (Oct 31, 2017 - 4:26 pm)

Typically an employer isn’t going to reveal why a person was let go for liability reasons unless they had excessive absences or something like that.

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notreallyalawyer (Oct 31, 2017 - 4:27 pm)

This would involve a background check, they will contact my former employer. This isn't just a reference check.

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kramer716 (Oct 31, 2017 - 4:29 pm)

Alright. Just treat it as a practice interview then. You have nothing to lose.

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notreallyalawyer (Oct 31, 2017 - 4:32 pm)

That's what I'm trying to do, but it's not helping... I get so anxious over stuff like this. I literally don't want the job, because I want out of doc review, and yet I still get nervous to the verge of vomiting for something I shouldn't even care about. And the self esteem blow that I can't even get a doc review job that pays about 55% of what I used to make. God my life sucks.

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wolfman (Oct 31, 2017 - 4:46 pm)

You were laid off along with a bunch of other people due to project/projects ending, and them not having any more work for you to do. And you didn't want to be a doc review manager at an agency - you wanted to find a real federal job. That's it, and it's not even untrue. Don't be an idiot.

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notreallyalawyer (Oct 31, 2017 - 4:57 pm)

That's not what happened though. I was on staff at a firm.

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downwardslope (Oct 31, 2017 - 5:02 pm)

Again, they are not going to give a detailed “real” reason for liability reasons. Even during a reference check. They might say you were terminated, but will not say why.

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notreallyalawyer (Oct 31, 2017 - 6:16 pm)

It's not a reference check, it's a background check. They are different things.
. They will ask these questions. The law firm may or may not answer it, but, I have a feeling they do....

As for the interview, I'm told the IRS asks a standard list of questions, but I don't know if they alter the list or it includes asking about why you are no longer at your past employer... It would be better if it doesn't come up, but still there's the SF85 issue. Depending on how in depth the background check is, they either send a letter or have an FBI agent go in and talk to them.

Here's what they say:

Background checks and security clearance
Security clearance
Public Trust - Background Investigation

It also includes finger printing, and a possible audit as well as an examination of my tax returns (no issue with any of this).

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downwardslope (Oct 31, 2017 - 2:17 pm)

Plus if you start there I have seen FOIA positions up to GS-15. At my old state job, we have one entry level job and it is the foia job. That is the way to get in. You can move out of it.

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notreallyalawyer (Oct 31, 2017 - 8:09 pm)

The FOIA experience is one major plus I see from this..

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notreallyalawyer (Oct 31, 2017 - 7:13 pm)

For a lot of those duties, I've never done, and I doubt anyone who has only reviewed docs has. What do I say if they ask med if I've ever insured complicant with production schedules or maintaining records other than I'm quick at learning things. Wouldn't they want someone who already can do those things? I don't at all fudge my resume, so It's pretty clear that I have done and have not done things on their list. I'd had to get GS9 for that position even if they did consider me, when I could make more doing agency doc review..

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downwardslope (Oct 31, 2017 - 7:54 pm)

Because you can eventually move up to a GS-15 non-supervisory position... the holy grail of positions.

Those missing skills are not really critical. I mean it consists of calling someone like me up and then listening to me say that no, I don’t currently have the records at present because of [insert tale of woe here]. Or, you might email me and I will also give a tale of woe about where the records are. It is not really an in-depth, extreme skill. You just have to be able to call people up and know that they are probably not going to be super happy to hear from you. We did have a wonderful person doing our FOIA job (very experienced) but then the auxiliary person was horrible and he got transferred into another unit. Then we got the newbie who was pretty clueless. I mean it was probably a 9/10 on the clueless meter although she was very sweet and really did try to learn. I have a feeling that you are probably only a 4 to 5/10 on the clueless meter, which would be pretty good! I think Clueless has now moved onto another position and they have now hired Clueless2! I am pretty sure when I started in there my first projects were FOIA projects with thousands of pages. It is kind of like the Welcome to Government experience.

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notreallyalawyer (Oct 31, 2017 - 8:00 pm)

You can only get to GS 15 from this job by applying to other jobs, not from this job directly.. But I get your point..

I've literally never ever worked on anything FOIA before. Do you think I should read about the exemptions before this interview? it would be nice to learn about FOIA from this job, that would be a bit useful...

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downwardslope (Oct 31, 2017 - 9:49 pm)

Right but you are not going to get a GS-15 FOIA job without a lower level one. You have to start somewhere.

You might as well learn the exemptions just be prepared. There aren’t that many, so it isn’t like there would be that time consuming to learn. With FOIA it is often not as much about those but then looking at other statutes and figuring out whether those apply. Unfortunately I am clueless on anything related to the IRS, so I can’t help you there.

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downwardslope (Oct 31, 2017 - 1:59 pm)

Most SSA jobs start out NTE 2 years. Look. You have to take a risk to get in. How is this worse than doc review? You can always go back to doc review.

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oddis500 (Oct 31, 2017 - 11:38 pm)

I really wish they would ban this idiot.

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hopelesslyunemployed (Nov 1, 2017 - 3:25 pm)

thanks for posting. from what i am hearing, a large number of SSA employees will be applying to this vacancy

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kramer716 (Nov 1, 2017 - 3:51 pm)

That surprises me. It would seem that SSA trumps the VA, but I guess the grass is greener on the other side.

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brownbear (Nov 1, 2017 - 4:17 pm)

I’m at SSA. I won’t be applying and this whole conversation definitely played into that decision.

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notreallyalawyer (Nov 1, 2017 - 4:20 pm)

Just so you know, my contact there, still after telling me how horrible it is, still suggest I should apply. However if you've got something good, even though it is limited to GS12, probably isn't worth the risk. I've got less to lose, though I'm highly doubtful I'm going to apply still. I'd rather wait for better times there, even if my odds go down.. who knows by then I will be in school in a radiography technician program..

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govlaw (Nov 1, 2017 - 4:21 pm)

Same

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downwardslope (Nov 1, 2017 - 4:25 pm)

I am not sure why you would apply if you are at SSA. I know a few long-term details were posted so it is not like there are no options. At least you will not be fired from those and can go back to gs-12. Heck, if you really are stuck, the ALJ process would have been a better bet for people with any experience before SSA.

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hopelesslyunemployed (Nov 1, 2017 - 4:40 pm)

the SSA gigs are not permanent whereas VA is (plus VA career ladders to a 14

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brownbear (Nov 1, 2017 - 4:50 pm)

But the SSA gigs become permanent for most people and the VA has fired people during there probationary period so that point alone doesn’t make it any more secure. The ladder to 14 is hard to beat though.

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downwardslope (Nov 1, 2017 - 4:56 pm)

All VA positions are at will now and it is very easy to fire people even out of probation. I just don’t see the appeal.

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somefed (Nov 1, 2017 - 6:25 pm)

It is true that it is much easier to fire people now under the Accountability Act. A number of people were let go at the end of the fiscal year. A lot of them were nice people and they probably had high hopes for their Board career. You can control how many cases you write,but you cannot control if your judge will like your work. Some judges are more involved than others with training new people. If you get a tough judge, it could be hard to survive the 2 year probationary period.

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threedham (Nov 2, 2017 - 8:28 am)

Another thing is that with the high turnover of the past year, a great number of attorneys here are new-ish. I don't know exact numbers, but I'd suspect a majority of attorneys now are at the GS-11/12 level. With the new quota, we've asked management how cases are going to be assigned. They told us that judges will continue to assign more complex cases (which take longer to write) to more senior attorneys.

However, because there's simply more of us new people now, a lot of complex cases are gonna get passed on to junior people. As a result, there's a lot of potential for a monster of a case to fall into your lap and mess up your week. Keep in mind, there have been attorneys fired and asked to resign for falling 3-4 cases behind pace. That's easy to do.

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trophy2017 (Nov 2, 2017 - 3:57 pm)

It looks like they changed the close date to November 3rd. Im guessing they have an overflow of applications.

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notreallyalawyer (Nov 2, 2017 - 4:03 pm)

I think it was always November 3rd, at least whenever I looked at it. I decided to apply.

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notreallyalawyer (Nov 2, 2017 - 5:45 pm)

Anyone else apply recently and it's saying "unavailable" on usajobs for quite some time? I completed my applications hours ago. It's never taken this long, and it's not saying incomplete, but unavailable. normally when it takes a while for docs to upload it say "incomplete"

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dharamsala (Nov 2, 2017 - 4:29 pm)

Since you're only dealing with federal law, can you be barred only in state A and work for the VA in state B?

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kramer716 (Nov 2, 2017 - 4:52 pm)

Yes, that isn't an issue.

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notreallyalawyer (Nov 2, 2017 - 5:14 pm)

Heck, in my dad's office at a Department, there was a go who wasn't barred, that the job required him to be barred, and he had the job years and constantly failed the bar exam, then stopped even trying, and he got to keep his job.

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threedham (Nov 3, 2017 - 8:49 am)

Yes. Most people here are Maryland and/or Virginia lawyers, but as long as you have an active law license somewhere in the U.S., you're good to go.

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notreallyalawyer (Nov 3, 2017 - 9:08 am)

Has anyone applied to this job recently and their application status on usajobs says unavailable? I submitted and got a confirmation email that it was submitted, but now 12+ hours on, my status still says unavailable.

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trophy2017 (Nov 3, 2017 - 9:38 am)

Go in and select "update" application and just click through the pages and re-submit. My status now says "Received".

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notreallyalawyer (Nov 3, 2017 - 9:44 am)

I've done that and have now submitted it twice. and it still says that. i'm worried a third submission will just anger them.

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trophy2017 (Nov 3, 2017 - 9:55 am)

Make sure you attached every document you uploaded from usajobs, if not it will not go through.

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notreallyalawyer (Nov 3, 2017 - 10:01 am)

THey were attached though I put two docs in one category could that be the problem ? It’s never not worked before

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notreallyalawyer (Nov 3, 2017 - 10:06 am)

Thanks. I removed the double entry and it worked.

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kemken (Nov 7, 2017 - 2:12 pm)

I think this may be worth applying to if you have experience. I've won multiple cases before the CAVC and applied for this job. Now I'm understanding why the Board makes such simple errors that make for an easy remand.

However, I think the production requirement might be doable for someone who knows what to look for and how the appellate process works, but that may be a naive assumption. Anyway, I'll see how it goes and will keep you guys posted.

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kramer716 (Nov 8, 2017 - 7:47 pm)

I know it's the job from hell, but it's a full-time from hell. If anyone hears anything then please keep us in the loop.

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notreallyalawyer (Nov 8, 2017 - 9:35 pm)

I have a feeling they are going to at least to try to do most of their hiring from inside of the government. That's why they had that government employees only job announcement on USAJOBS..

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oddis500 (Nov 8, 2017 - 9:37 pm)

I'll be pulling for you Kramer! You definitely deserve a shot.

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somefed (Nov 9, 2017 - 5:32 pm)

After seeing someone get fired this week, it is hard to be optimistic. You are just a number. It is depressing and demoralizing. Best of luck to anyone who wants to apply because you will need it.

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kramer716 (Nov 9, 2017 - 6:15 pm)

No question. If I get picked up for that position, then I will take the opportunity to network and ideally find an opening with the DC Attorney General.

If you don't mind me asking, how long was the person there that was fired?

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somefed (Nov 9, 2017 - 7:46 pm)

I do not know the exact time, but it was under the two year probation period.

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kramer716 (Nov 9, 2017 - 7:51 pm)

Thank you for the information. Not sure if the person was your friend or not, but they have my sympathies. If you are friends with this person, and you know they can handle living on the other side of the world, then I might be able to help them find a new job. I can't promise anything, but former employer always seems to be hiring.

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hopelesslyunemployed (Nov 9, 2017 - 10:01 pm)

how many folks are you aware of that have been let go at VA?

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somefed (Nov 10, 2017 - 7:59 am)

I know of about 5 people who were let go under the 2-year probationary mark.

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sendlawyers (Nov 21, 2017 - 11:47 am)

About the JOA that closed 11/03/17 that was open to the public for 130+ slots: heard there were 450+ applicants and 10 biz day deadline on certificate of eligibles not met due to volume of applicants.

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notreallyalawyer (Nov 21, 2017 - 11:57 am)

Hey they started referring or rejecting people yet? I haven't gotten any news either way.

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kramer716 (Nov 21, 2017 - 1:23 pm)

Sounds about right. I haven't heard anything about being referred or being rejected.

I interviewed for this the last go round, and to give you some estimation of a timeline. I received an email from their main administrative assistant at the middle of November, not sure the exact date but around Nov. 17th, and they just gave me an interview date and time. I wasn't asked, they just said your interview is Dec. 15th at 9:30. So you will get a few weeks' notice I would assume. THey offered phone interviews, but I thought a face-to-face interview would be better, it wasn't. If I am referred this time around I am going to try and swing for a phone interview.

On the plus side, assuming the numbers are correct, let's 130/450=29% chance of success. Could be worse.

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notreallyalawyer (Nov 21, 2017 - 1:24 pm)

What questions did they ask you ? I applied for this job many years ago and got an offer but declined it, then the last time I applied I didn't even get referred.

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kramer716 (Nov 21, 2017 - 1:55 pm)

Everything was related to writing. What was your favorite thing to write? How much did you write in your previous position? Things along those lines.

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notreallyalawyer (Nov 21, 2017 - 2:14 pm)

I don't recall that, or anything from my last interview with them.. But if they asked that of me, I'd be scredwe because you do virtually no writing doing document review... But I know someone who was doing doc review who got hired with the BVA, so it can be done. Maybe just not me.

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blackholelaw (Nov 21, 2017 - 2:54 pm)

If you had an offer and turned it down, why have you taken up so much real estate on this board complaining about how you can't escape from doc review?

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notreallyalawyer (Nov 21, 2017 - 3:00 pm)

Well, that was over a decade ago, when I didn't have a decade plus of doc review experience... And if I had taken that job and gotten fired in 8 months like many people do, I would have been right back into doc review anyways.

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anonattempt (Nov 22, 2017 - 9:01 am)

Notreallyalawyer, you are pretty much the only person in your way.

Glad to hear you are seeing a therapist though.

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