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The primary mission of attorneys at ATF is to prevent violent crime by enforcing and administering the Gun Control Act and other federal laws on firearms, explosives and the trafficking of alcohol and tobacco. As a small agency with broad, interrelated missions involving law enforcement, regulatory compliance, and homeland security concerns, ATF affords attorneys, interns, and recent law school graduates the opportunity to experience a variety of legal disciplines in a dynamic and collegial environment.

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The Office of the Chief Counsel (OCC) is the legal advisor to the ATF Director, executive staff, supervisors and employees. OCC performs legal services, including training on alcohol, tobacco, firearms, explosives, arson and civil service laws. Additionally, attorneys play a crucial role in developing ATF’s policies and programs. Their work helps to shape the foundation of many firearms and explosives laws focused on making the nation a safer place. 

The Office of the Chief Counsel consists of approximately 90 attorneys who provide legal advice and services to the agency nationwide in support of programs and operations. A number of attorneys are located in ATF headquarters in Washington D.C., where they provide legal advice and strategic guidance to agency leadership. 

Areas of Practice

The OCC is divided into five practice groups: Litigation, Management, General Law and Information, Firearms and Explosives, and Asset Forfeiture. Attorneys are also based in field offices, where they work directly with special agents and industry operations investigators on active cases.

Although the responsibilities of the attorneys vary depending on their assignment, they work closely with their colleagues around the country and their clients to support the mission of ATF as a law enforcement and regulatory agency. Our attorneys are often encouraged to take opportunities to expand their knowledge and experience through details to other areas of legal practice.

Career Opportunities 

ATF hires experienced attorneys through attorney vacancy announcements. As positions become available, they are posted with specific application requirements, which will vary depending on the position. Interested applicants are encouraged to follow the instructions on the individual announcements when applying to vacancy announcements. 

Summer Law Intern Program

ATF participates in the Department of Justice (DOJ) Summer Law Intern Program (SLIP), which offers unpaid volunteer summer legal internship opportunities in Washington, D.C. 

Learn more and apply

Last Updated: May 23, 2024

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