Legal jobs with the federal government these days are few and far between, but the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has multiple attorney openings.
Job applicants can forget the dreaded knowledge-skills-abilities statement - the SEC is using a headhunter, Futurestep, "to provide strategic talent acquisition solutions to help the agency address its continuing talent needs." While retaining a headhunter may be standard operating procedure in the private sector, for federal agencies, it’s far more unusual.
Open SEC jobs include a trial attorney in the Enforcement Division and a senior advisor in the Clearance and Settlement unit within the Division of Trading and Markets, which both pay between $126,661 and $198,333. The SEC is also hiring an associate director for Clearance and Settlement and chief counsel of the Division of Trading and Markets, with salaries of up to $226,160.
The SEC is even using Futurestep to fill what amounts to entry-level attorney advisor positions - there are at least two vacancies, with pay starting at $81,225.
Futurestep is part of Korn/Ferry, which bills itself as the world’s largest executive recruiting firm. It was awarded a government contract in 2009 and began working with the SEC in February 2010, according a company press release, assisting with “the implementation of best-practice talent acquisition processes and expert support related to workforce planning, employment branding and talent technology strategy.”
The SEC job vacancies are listed on the Office of Personnel Management’s USAJobs.com website, but employment seekers are directed to Futurestep’s website to actually apply.
The SEC and Futurestep did not respond to requests for comment.
It’s imperative that the SEC fill the jobs before the end of the fiscal year in September, Enforcement Division head Robert Khuzami told a securities law conference earlier this month. The agency got a $70 million bump in funding which will go toward new hires, “but we only have five months to do it,” he said. “All of a sudden we have to push through a lot of hires, because if we don’t spend the money by the end of the fiscal year, it’s gone.”
The SEC’s workload has risen dramatically after the passage of the Dodd-Frank Act, which overhauled financial regulations. The Commodity Futures Trading Commission also found itself short-staffed, and is currently looking to fill at least eight lawyer vacancies – but it’s doing so on its own, without a headhunter.