The Congressional Research Service (CRS) seeks a senior manager to lead its American Law Division (ALD), one of CRS’ five research divisions. CRS provides objective, nonpartisan, and authoritative legislative research, analysis, and consultative support exclusively to the U.S. Congress.
This position serves as head of the American Law Division, a major CRS research division. In this capacity, and reporting directly to the Director of CRS, the Assistant Director leads, plans, directs, and evaluates the work of a team of attorneys in its production of written products and consulting services in support of the U.S. Congress. Working directly with congressional committees and Members of the House and Senate, ALD attorneys contribute to an informed national legislature as it considers legal and policy issues of importance to the American people. Areas of research, analysis, and consultative support include all facets of law in the United States, including administrative, business, civil rights, constitutional, energy, environmental, health, immigration, intellectual property, international, labor, military, national security, procurement, tax and trade law. The Assistant Director ensures that both written and consulting work is of the highest quality and consistently meets the Service’s standards of objectivity, nonpartisanship, balance, timeliness, legislative relevance, authoritativeness, and accessibility.
The Assistant Director leads implementation of the Service’s agenda for legal issues within the division’s areas of responsibility, including approaches, frameworks, and methodologies for addressing policy and legislative issues. This includes demonstrating personal intellectual leadership in monitoring congressional needs in the policy areas for which the Assistant Director has direct management responsibility and assuring access to the intellectual capacity needed to meet the current and changing needs of the United States Congress at a sustained level of excellence. This also includes exercising overall responsibility and delegated authority for the oversight and management of the division’s human, financial, material, and information research assets, including a staff of approximately 70 employees. In performing these activities, the Assistant Director is responsible for ensuring that the research, analytical, and consulting activities of the division are fully aligned with the legislative needs of Congress and with the priorities, goals, and policies of CRS for meeting those needs.
The Assistant Director also serves as one of the chief advisors to the Director, counseling the Director on all aspects of the research management and operations of CRS and recommending specific policies and procedures for improving the Service’s overall quality, efficiency, and effectiveness. The Assistant Director serves as a member of the Director’s senior management team and serves as a principal CRS representative to Members, committees, and officers of the United States Congress.
The competencies below are required for this position. Those marked with a double asterisk (**) are considered the most critical competencies for this position.
A candidate's resume must show a proven record of accomplishment that clearly demonstrates he or she has:
Expert knowledge of American law**: Applies expert, multidisciplinary knowledge of the theories, relevant laws and regulations, concepts, processes, techniques, principles, and/or practices of American law to address legal questions in a public policy setting and in the context of federal law and legislation. This includes knowledge of the history, trends, interrelationships, and current status of the fields of American law and interrelationships with other key fields and disciplines.
Ability to lead, develop and execute legal research and consulting support in a public policy setting**: Leads implementation of the Service’s legal research and consulting agenda with respect to the division. Develops innovative and creative ideas to advance the quality of the research and the success of the Service. Recommends specific policies and procedures for improving efficiency and effectiveness of research management and operations of the Service and assesses their implications. Oversees and manages legal and legislative research and consulting services across and within major research areas. Demonstrates intellectual leadership and understanding of the current national legal discourse by formulating and executing a research agenda to address those issues. Guides and directs research of individuals and groups, and critically reviews and evaluates the work of legislative attorneys and their managers. This includes managing, organizing, and evaluating the legal analysis of public policy issues at the federal level; ensuring that the legal components of public policy problems are appropriately conceptualized and defined; information and research are fully analyzed and synthesized; the implications of statutory and case law are identified and appropriate conclusions are drawn; alternatives are generated and assessed; the consequences of choosing each alternative are evaluated; and established requirements are applied (e.g., objectivity and authoritativeness) in the development, evaluation, and maintenance of products and services.
Ability to lead people and manage a workforce**: Oversees the overall performance of the division by assessing staffing requirements in relation to current and anticipated needs of the Congress, developing staffing plans, justifications, and requests, and making policy area assignments for and evaluating staff in order to assure the availability of the intellectual capacity needed to meet the current and changing needs of Congress at a sustained level of excellence. Develops and oversees recruiting, hiring, mentoring, and training a diverse workforce as well as builds and maintains exceptional staff performance.
Ability to exercise judgment and discretion**: Demonstrates awareness of the likely consequences or implications of one’s own actions and work within the context of agency/ organizational/ departmental standards. Acts appropriately in a given situation (e.g., with colleagues, clients, media/press), using discretion, and being committed to confidentiality.
Ability to assess the quality of products and services**: Evaluates the content, organization, and relevance of a range of products and services to meet the quality standards of a public policy organization. Makes suggestions to improve these products and services.
Ability to think strategically and lead change: The ability to establish and implement a strategic vision and direction for an organization or group and to lead/effect change. This includes evaluating interdependencies and interrelationships among functions and resources and outcomes; developing performance targets; and identifying strategic opportunities. This also includes championing ideas that promote the mission with enthusiasm, conviction, and assertiveness; gaining support and commitment from others; and motivating and inspiring others.
Ability to write and review the writing of others: The ability to write a variety of clear, cogent, accurate, and well-organized written products and to evaluate the written products of others to ensure they meet the quality standards of a public policy organization.
Ability to apply knowledge of congressional decision making: Applies knowledge of congressional decision making, including how legislation becomes law, the federal budget process, the appropriations process, and oversight, sufficient to ensure timely and legislatively relevant assistance to congressional committees, Members, and senior staff. Has knowledge of institutional and political environment, including the context in which congressional decision making occurs, the roles and relationships of the President and executive and independent agencies, the judiciary, state and local governments, and interest groups, and the ramifications of those decisions on existing policies and affected constituencies.
Ability to communicate effectively other than in writing: Ability to effectively express ideas and recommendations other than in writing in various settings to peers, staff, managers, supervisors, and external audiences to both provide and seek information. This includes actively listening to or understanding communicated information and answering questions thoughtfully and completely.
Continue with the application process only if you are able to document on your resume that you meet all the critical competency requirements at the levels described below.
1. Expert knowledge of American law: I am recognized by decision makers as a professional resource in specific areas of American law at the federal level.
2. Ability to lead, develop and execute legal research and consulting support in a public policy setting: I have routinely developed and managed a work unit’s portfolio in specific areas of American law at the federal level. This included managing research and analysis for the production of written products and services to client(s).
3. Ability to lead people and manage a workforce: I have led and managed a professional research staff (e.g., responsible for developing staffing plans, recruiting and hiring, assigning work, evaluating performance).
4. Ability to exercise judgment and discretion: In execution of work duties, I was routinely relied upon to exercise judgment and discretion.
5. Ability to assess the quality of products and services: I evaluated and critically reviewed a range of products and services for compliance with established professional organizational standards and made independent judgments on acceptability of material.
Internal Number: VAR001153
About Congressional Research Service
The Congressional Research Service (CRS) works exclusively for the United States Congress, providing policy and legal analysis to committees and Members of both the House and Senate, regardless of party affiliation. As a legislative branch agency within the Library of Congress, CRS has been a valued and respected resource on Capitol Hill for more than a century.CRS is well-known for analysis that is authoritative, confidential, objective and nonpartisan. Its highest priority is to ensure that Congress has 24/7 access to the nation’s best thinking.
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