Celebrating 10 years! 2007-2017

Fed Contract Specialist interview

During a particularly busy period at work, I blanketed USAjo thirdtierlaw06/27/17
Yes the contract specialist is a much better job than what y gs1306/28/17
I became contract specialist after about 9 years of practici carlito06/28/17
I became a contract specialist after one year of practicing flyer1406/28/17
Graduated law school in 2010. Missed passing the MI bar by o fedlawyer06/29/17
Doesn't sound like you're a fed lawyer, fedlawyer. booyeah06/29/17
Graduated law school in 2010. Missed passing the MI bar by o fedlawyer06/29/17
Still doesn't sound like you're a fed lawyer, fedlawyer. booyeah06/29/17
Fake it til you make it, and if you're a GS-14, you've made flyer1406/29/17
I am not fedlawyer. I should probably change that handle. fedlawyer06/29/17
I practiced for a few years and hated it. I took a contract lawyernomore06/29/17
This post makes me wonder what building you work in, as I'm flyer1406/29/17
thirdtierlaw (Jun 27, 2017 - 4:45 pm)

During a particularly busy period at work, I blanketed USAjobs with resumes. I received a job interview for a contract specialist position. So I have 4 questions for those in the know:

1. I applied to multiple positions at the same office the different ads ranged from G-7 to G-12. What was interesting when applying to the G7 position is that the salary range went from G-7 up to the max G-12. Even though the ads just said G-7. All the other ads had the full range. USA jobs just had all my applications reviewed. So I have no idea which one I'm being brought in to interview for, does having a JD automatically put me in the G9 range?

2. There is another local office, same department, that I had applied to work in as well. My interview is scheduled at a different location than where the ad said I'd be working. This leads me to believe that there is a central office that interviews for all of them. Would it be inappropriate to express interest in those other positions during the interview?

3. What can I expect during the interview? Is there anything to prepare for?

4. The most important question. Is the contract specialist position worth taking? I'd be taking at least a $20k cut this year. I currently work in a small firm, average 50hr weeks. No one keeps track of my vacation. I.E. I can duck out to pick up a sick kid from school. I keep 100% of whatever I bring in for business. There are days I enjoy what I'm doing, other days the anxiety is killer. I do not receive any benefits, but do get them through my wife. So is the $20k hit worth it?

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gs13 (Jun 28, 2017 - 9:48 pm)

Yes the contract specialist is a much better job than what you have. You have to take into consideration benefits of being a fed ( pension etc) plus the oppurtunity to get higher paid positions gs 13-15

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carlito (Jun 28, 2017 - 7:55 pm)

I became contract specialist after about 9 years of practicing. To answer your questions:

1 - They will probably hire you as a GS-9. That's typically entry level for contract specialists for someone with masters/JD.

2 - I don't think it would be inappropriate; it just shows you are open to various locations.

3 - If it is anything like mine, it will be COMPLETELY different from private sector interviews. You are given a list of questions when you walk in and have something like 15 minutes to write notes for your answers. You will then go in front of a panel and have a set time to speak to answer each question. It is really like giving a speech.

4 - Yes, yes, and yes. I took a much larger pay cut, and it has been so worth it. I was miserable practicing law, and now I actually don't mind going to work. The benefits, vacation, retirement, etc are above and beyond anything you will see in small law.

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flyer14 (Jun 28, 2017 - 9:40 pm)

I became a contract specialist after one year of practicing law. I'm a GS-12 now in a low COL area and regret nothing. Take the interview, and take the temporary pay cut. You'll enjoy going home at 4 every day.

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fedlawyer (Jun 29, 2017 - 8:50 am)

Graduated law school in 2010. Missed passing the MI bar by one point (never took again). Took Fed job as contract specialist and now a GS14. TAKE THE JOB.

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booyeah (Jun 29, 2017 - 8:57 am)

Doesn't sound like you're a fed lawyer, fedlawyer.

Reply Like (1)
fedlawyer (Jun 29, 2017 - 8:58 am)

Graduated law school in 2010. Missed passing the MI bar by one point (never took again). Took Fed job as contract specialist and now a GS14. TAKE THE JOB.

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booyeah (Jun 29, 2017 - 9:02 am)

Still doesn't sound like you're a fed lawyer, fedlawyer.

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flyer14 (Jun 29, 2017 - 9:05 am)

Fake it til you make it, and if you're a GS-14, you've made it... barred or not.

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fedlawyer (Jun 29, 2017 - 9:42 am)

I am not fedlawyer. I should probably change that handle.

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lawyernomore (Jun 29, 2017 - 9:58 am)

I practiced for a few years and hated it. I took a contract specialist position starting at the gs 09 grade. I'm 1 year in and making gs 11 pay, and I will be automatically promoted to gs 12 in another 11 months.

It's a solid position with good pay and benefits, and the work is at least as interesting as most law practice. An added bonus is that you can transfer between agencies easily and potentially live anywhere you want after a few years. As for the day-to-day, I might work 37 hours per week (we get 3 paid hours for PT) pricing out contract proposals and negotiating based on the FAR. When I interviewed I focused on my reading/ writing ability and desire to negotiate a great deal for the taxpayer etc.


I'm content with the work, there's opportunity to promote to at least gs 13 in the next few years, and I have plenty of time to go on vacation or do whatever else I want in my free time.

Good luck with your interview.

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flyer14 (Jun 29, 2017 - 10:03 am)

This post makes me wonder what building you work in, as I'm starting to think we work for the same agency.

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