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About NLRB

About NLRB

Applying for Attorney Positions in the Office of the General Counsel Washington, D.C. Headquarters

  • Division of Advice (Regional Advice Branch and Injunction Litigation Branch)
  • Division of Enforcement Litigation (Appellate and Supreme Court Litigation Branch, Office of Appeals)
  • Division of Legal Counsel (Contempt, Compliance, and Special Litigation Branch)  

The following is a description of the type of work done by the various legal divisions within the Office of the General Counsel in Washington, DC, along with the general requirements for law student and attorney applicants.  For all offices described below, please watch for position postings on  


The Division of Advice, located within the Office of the General Counsel in Washington, D.C., consists of two branches -- the Regional Advice Branch and the Injunction Litigation Branch. 

The Regional Advice Branch provides guidance to the General Counsel and to the Regional Offices with respect to difficult or novel legal issues arising in the processing of unfair labor practice charges. It determines whether charges have merit and, if so, what legal theories should be advanced in support. If the decision is to dismiss a charge, it sets forth the theories that support that decision. In either case, the guidance must take into account the current law and agency policies as well as an analysis of how those legal principles and policies may be evolving.

The Injunction Litigation Branch implements, in conjunction with the Regional Offices, the General Counsel's Section 10(j) program to obtain interim injunctions to restore or preserve the status quo where necessary to preserve the effectiveness of the Board's ultimate remedial order. The Branch evaluates Regional recommendations for seeking interim injunctive relief and drafts recommendations to the Board in cases in which the General Counsel recommends seeking such relief. It provides to Regional Offices resource materials and training on the investigation and litigation of Section 10(j) cases. The Branch also advises and assists Regions in the litigation of both Section 10(j) and Section 10(l) injunction cases in federal district courts, and directly handles all appellate litigation in such cases.

Application requirements:

For Law Student positions:  Second or third year law student. Basic labor law course preferred but not required. Strong research and writing skills.

For Staff Attorney positions:  Law school graduate and licensed attorney (or admission within one year of hire). Labor law course(s) and/or experience in labor relations field preferred. Strong research and writing skills.



The Appellate and Supreme Court Litigation Branch of the Division of Enforcement Litigation represents the Board in cases involving enforcement or review of the Board's orders, in the federal circuit courts of appeals, and also represents the Board in all Supreme Court litigation. Attorneys in the Branch handle all aspects of the appellate litigation, including drafting the Board's brief and presenting oral argument before the circuit court.





The Contempt, Compliance, and Special Litigation Branch (CCSLB) represents the Board and the General Counsel in all suits not statutorily based on Sections 10(e) and (f) of the Act, and conducts civil and criminal contempt litigation to obtain compliance with Board orders. These matters may include actions to restrain or compel issuance of complaint by the General Counsel, actions to restrain or compel particular Board proceedings, actions to review Board rulemaking, actions to compel disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act or payment of attorney fees under the Equal Access to Justice Act, subpoena enforcement proceedings under Section 11 of the National Labor Relations Act, filing objections to subpoenas issued against Agency personnel, or proceedings and assistance to Regions to protect the Board's remedial orders in bankruptcy courts or against attachments, garnishments, or liens. In addition, based on the recommendation of the General Counsel, and upon authorization by the Board, CCSLB may initiate an action or intervene in ongoing litigation in federal district court in order to protect the Board's jurisdiction and the primacy of its decisions. In conjunction with the Justice Department, CCSLB also assists defending Agency employees in suits filed against them in their individual capacity for actions they have taken within the scope of their authority and employment.


CCSLB also conducts civil and criminal contempt litigation in the U.S. Courts of Appeals to coerce compliance or to punish non-compliance with judgments enforcing orders of the Board; obtains protective orders to ensure that assets will not be dissipated in an effort to avoid the payment of backpay judgments; and institutes and monitors ancillary collection proceedings, including actions under the Federal Debt Collection Procedures Act to garnish and obtain other injunctive relief pendente lite. CCSLB also provides investigative assistance to the Regions in order to obtain compliance with Board and court orders, including investigating entities and/or individuals that may be derivatively liable under the Act.

CCSLB litigation is nationwide in scope, affects all segments of industry and applies to all unfair labor practices proscribed by law. Through this litigation, compliance with orders of the Courts of Appeals is obtained, and the policies enunciated in the National Labor Relations Act and the orders of the courts are effectuated.


The primary function of the Office of Appeals is to review, on behalf of the General Counsel, appeals of decisions by the Regional Directors to dismiss or defer unfair labor practice charges. Procedures governing such appeals are set forth in Section 102.19 of the Board's Rules and Regulations. The General Counsel has sole authority to review and sustain or deny these appeals and the decisions in such cases are not subject to review by the National Labor Relations Board or in any court.

When an appeal is filed, the full investigatory file developed in the Regional Office is forwarded to the Office. The case is then assigned to a staff attorney for review. This attorney, in conjunction with his or her supervisor, is expected to review the facts developed in the field investigation, identify the legal issues involved, find the relevant case law; and orally and in writing analyze whether, based on case precedent, the decision of the Regional Director should be reversed. When a reversal is recommended, or where, due to the novelty of the legal issues presented or the notoriety of the case, review by the General Counsel is desirable, the attorney, with the assistance of his or her supervisor, will present the case to either the Assistant Director or Director of the Office and ultimately to the General Counsel for decision. Meetings with the General Counsel are held weekly for the purpose of discussing cases identified by the Office as deserving of General Counsel review. The Office of Appeals also reviews appeals from Regional Directors' refusals to provide information from Regional office files to requesting parties seeking documents and records under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). The Office of Appeals has a tradition of innovative legal work under FOIA and has been instrumental in assisting the General Counsel in developing the policy of disclosure of records in the Agency investigative files and on e-mail under FOIA.

A newly-hired staff attorney will become quickly immersed in the leading labor law issues on a daily basis. Case assignments cover each and every section of the Act as it pertains to allegations surrounding unfair labor practice charges filed by Employers, Unions and individuals. Superior research and writing skills are a prerequisite for a staff attorney position and a familiarity with the Act as part of the applicant's law school curriculum would be an asset.

A law student intern in the Office of Appeals would be responsible with the assistance of supervision for organizing facts from the agency investigative files; ascertaining the substantive legal issues; interpreting relevant case law; interpreting and construing pertinent provisions of the Act; analyzing and presenting oral and written reports of cases at various levels of supervision including the General Counsel's agenda and preparing disposition letters and memoranda. A legal internship is available in the Office of Appeals through the Peggy Browning Fund (link is external) Summer Intern program and through cooperative education agreements with law schools whereby law students work in the Office for scholastic credit.