Staffed with over 200 career attorneys in offices across the country, the USPS Law Department provides top-quality, in-house legal representation to the United States Postal Service, an independent establishment of the executive branch.
The Law Department effectively functions as a large law firm with an enormously varied practice. Attorneys for the Postal Service practice in many areas, including: labor and employment, commercial, torts, economic regulation, finance, contracts, intellectual property, real estate, legislation, administrative, international, information, government ethics, and consumer protection law.
Thomas J. Marshall, General Counsel and Executive Vice President HTM | PDF
“Head on a swivel, thinking cap on”
The Postal Service Honors Attorney program offers an excellent and challenging employment opportunity for highly motivated 3Ls and recent law school graduates who are called to public service. Learn more
The Area Employment Law Offices (ELO) provide attorneys with the unique opportunity to work in a team environment, supported by paralegals and legal administrative assistants, to advise operational, human resources and labor relations professionals, on a wide range of employment law issues. ELO attorneys provide comprehensive advice and represent management primarily before the federal District Courts, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and the Department of Labor. Attorneys are mentored to quickly assume responsibility to advise and represent management in matters involving Title VII, the Rehabilitation Act, Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), OSHA, and other federal employment and labor laws, along with corporate policies and collective bargaining agreements. As litigators, they engage daily in handling the full range of discovery, witness management, settlement negotiations, mediations, dispositive motion practice and ultimately trials. ELO attorneys are also proactive in developing strategies for avoiding potential USPS liabilities through counseling and training clients in diverse practice areas including workplace discrimination, reasonable accommodation, discipline counseling, workplace harassment investigations and response, retaliation, adverse personnel actions, religious discrimination, and workplace conduct, among others.
The Business Services/Integration and Support professionals offer top-notch guidance and support to executive managers and employees of the Postal Service Law Department nationwide. The team provides high-level support that encompasses multiple functions including human resources, training, budget, contract administration, data analytics, information technology, compliance reporting and project management. We play a crucial role in maintaining the Law Department’s success while fulfilling the mission of the organization.
The Corporate and Postal Business Law Section of the Law Department supports the efforts of the Board of Governors, the Postmaster General, the Executive Leadership Team as a whole, and a host of other internal stakeholders, to legally advance the governmental and commercial interests of the Postal Service, both domestically and internationally. Among the types of initiatives supported are the establishment of prices for postal services, the filing of negotiated service agreements with numerous Postal Service customers, the introduction of innovative and improved services to the mailing public, and adjustment of standards of service to the public in response to changing market conditions. The attorneys of the section represent the Postal Service before the independent Postal Regulatory Commission, filing and litigating in numerous dockets in which the Commission reviews actions of the Postal Service prior to or after their implementation. In conjunction with the Department of State, the section’s attorneys also represented the interests of the Postal Service and the Nation before the Universal Postal Union, the international body responsible for facilitating a well-functioning international postal system. Beyond involvement in these important strategic activities, the section also acts as a sort of in-house counsel advising on a wide variety of ongoing issues involving numerous Postal Service Departments, ranging from review of Postal Service advertisements and public communications, drafting and negotiating promotional, licensing and other revenue-generating agreements with private third parties and other federal executive agencies, assisting the Chief Financial Officer in conjunction with borrowing and other dealings with the United States Treasury, and other issues that do not fall within the portfolios of the other sections of the Law Department.
The Employment Law Section is divided into the following three subgroups that provide high quality and effective employment law advice, guidance and litigation support to our headquarters and field clients and colleagues nationwide. The first group is the Employment Law group, which partners with departments across the Postal Service in the development and review of policies, agreements and initiatives that impact current, past and future employees and advises on compliance with postal personnel regulations, constitutional protections, and other applicable laws, including the Rehabilitation Act, Family and Medical Leave Act, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Age Discrimination in Employment Act, Debt Collection Improvement Act, and Fair Labor Standards Act. The second group is the Merit Systems Protection Board Unit which handles all litigation filed by postal employees with the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) relating to disciplinary adverse actions and prohibited personnel practices, helps management draft MSPB-appealable discipline and advises management regarding Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA), Veterans Employment Opportunity Act (VEOA) and Wounded Warrior leave issues. The third group is the National Employment Litigation Unit (NELU) which defends and advises the Postal Service regarding class and collective actions, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) matters, and eDiscovery-related issues.
The Ethics and Compliance group consists of attorneys, government information specialists, privacy specialists, and records management specialists dedicated to maintaining and supporting a world-class compliance culture at the Postal Service. This means ensuring full compliance with the Anti-Lobbying Act, the Anti-Nepotism statute, the criminal conflict of interests statutes, the Government in the Sunshine Act, the Hatch Act, the Freedom of Information Act, the Privacy Act, Sarbanes-Oxley, the anti-pandering advertisements statute, the Combined Federal Campaign regulations, the Standards of Ethical Conduct for Employees of the Executive Branch, the Supplemental Standards of Ethical Conduct for Employees of the United States Postal Service, the financial disclosure requirements, the Federal Register program, information security laws and best practices, and records management best practices. We accomplish this by providing thorough advice, effective communications, innovative and engaging training, and by proactively identifying other measures to maintain compliance.
The First Opportunity Risk Evaluation (FORE) Unit consists of attorneys, supported by paralegals and administrative assistants, who seek to resolve EEO claims, where appropriate, at the earliest possible stage through use of negotiation skills and creative problem-solving techniques. The FORE Unit represents the Postal Service with respect to these claims brought by employees and applicants and arising under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Rehabilitation Act, the Age Discrimination and Employment Act, the Equal Pay Act, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act. Resolving such matters early in the process reduces liability and costs for the Postal Service, while also providing a resolution to the issues raised by the employee or applicant, addressing issues identified in the process, and promoting an improved working environment.
National Tort Center
The Postal Service National Tort Center (“NTC”) consists of a team of attorneys, adjudicators, paralegals, and legal administrative assistants who handle large Federal Tort Claims Act (“FTCA”) claims and all tort litigation nationwide. We negotiate the settlement of high value claims in the FTCA administrative process, coordinate the Postal Service’s defense of tort litigation with the United States Attorney’s Offices, and directly represent the Postal Service’s interests at District Court mediations and settlement conferences. We provide advice, training, and support to Postal Service clients regarding tort-related issues and pursue the collection of damages sustained by the Postal Service due to third party tortfeasors.
General Law Unit
The Law Department’s General Law Unit consists of attorneys, paralegals, and a legal administrative assistant responsible for providing prompt, universally consistent legal advice to our postal operations clients nationwide. The General Law Unit handles advice matters and litigation related to requests for information, mail disputes, disputes with state and local governments, all of the needs of our National Preparedness clients and an unlimited variety of other non-employment law related legal issues. We pride ourselves on our ability to partner with our clients to help them address any of their legal concerns with advice tailored to each client’s unique situation and objectives.
EEO Litigation Unit
The EEO Litigation Unit consists of a team of EEO Litigation Advocates who, with the support of a paralegal specialist and legal administrative assistant, represent the Postal Service during selected administrative complaint proceedings before the EEOC nationwide. Advocates defend the Postal Service against complaints of discrimination filed under a variety of federal employment discrimination statutes, including Title VII, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, and the Rehabilitation Act. Advocates independently handle all aspects of the litigation, which involves identifying legal issues, investigating factual circumstances, assessing potential liability and damages, preparing dispositive motions and other legal pleadings, communicating with clients, negotiating settlements when appropriate, and representing the Postal Service at EEOC mediations and hearings.
Labor Law Unit
The Labor Law Unit supports the Postal Service’s Labor Relations clients in collective bargaining, and handles national rights arbitrations that involve interpretative issues under the collective bargaining agreements with postal unions that represent the majority of the Postal Service’s employee population. We also advise management on labor law matters covered by the Postal Service’s collective bargaining agreements and authorizing statute, as well as the National Labor Relations Act.
National Labor Relations Board Unit
The National Labor Relations Board Unit is comprised of attorneys and specialists who handle all charges and complaints before the National Labor Relations Board. The unit also provides advice and counsel to the Postal Service’s operations and labor relations clients on matters arising under the National Labor Relations Act.
The Legal Strategy team consists of the Commercial and Appellate Litigation Group and the Legal Policy and Legislative Advice Group. Our commercial litigators handle all Postal Service commercial litigation in U.S. District Court and the Court of Federal Claims covering disputes over contracts, intellectual property, real estate, False Claims Act matters, and a variety of other statutory and constitutional issues; our appellate litigators handle litigation in U.S. Courts of Appeals and the Supreme Court regarding commercial matters, as well as tort, labor, employment, and regulatory matters (most litigation matters are handled in coordination with the Department of Justice). Our policy attorneys are responsible for advice on legislation (including technical assistance on bills related to the Postal Service), strategically significant dockets before the Postal Regulatory Commission, issues involving other Executive Branch agencies, the applicability of laws and directives to the Postal Service, constitutional questions (including First Amendment issues and conduct on Postal Property), governance, and election mail.
The Procurement and Property Law attorneys help the Postal Service acquire the property, goods, and services necessary to fulfill its universal service mission. The Procurement Law attorneys advise USPS purchasing personnel in the expenditure of billions of dollars annually for supplies and services, including automation and robotics technology, air and surface transportation, medical, financial, and consulting services, IT, software, telecommunications, and cybersecurity, and the Postal Service’s fleet of over 200,000 vehicles. Intellectual Property attorneys handle copyrights, trademarks, patents, trade secrets, and rights of publicity, and protect the Postal Service’s interests by drafting and negotiating licenses, prosecuting patents and trademarks before the United States Patent and Trademark Office, enforcing IP rights against infringers, and clearing IP for use in products and advertising. In addition, the Postal Service has a real estate portfolio of more than 31,000 leased and owned facilities to support postal operations, and the Facilities Law attorneys assist with a variety of real estate matters, including leasing, acquisitions, sales, swaps, property management, maintenance, planning, construction, environmental issues, historic preservation, and accessibility.
I began working for the Postal Service as a non-career attorney in 2003. In my 14 years of career service, I have worked on varied matters of increasing complexity, including litigating employment discrimination claims before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), litigating adverse action claims before the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB), partnering with the U.S. Attorney’s Office to defend against claims brought in federal court, advocating before Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the OSHA Review Commission, and providing advice and counsel to internal clients regarding various employment related matters, disciplinary actions, safety matters, and more. My experience has afforded me the opportunities to take a leadership role within our office in handling OSHA matters and to work with a team of attorneys in a high-profile matter defending against several heat stress citations before the OSHA Review Commission with nationwide implications.
-Heather L. McDermott, Attorney, Area Law Office
I have served in the position of attorney in the Postal Service Law Department since 2014, which began with my completion of a 3-year Honors Attorney program that allowed me to dive feet-first into a fast-paced litigation environment focused on Labor and Employment. Serving as an Honors Attorney for the Postal Service provided me with unique training and collaboration opportunities with colleagues around the country, as well as mentorship from senior attorneys that thoroughly prepared me to interface with high-level clients and independently litigate Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and Merit System Projection Board (MSPB) cases to completion within my first 3 years. My experience as an Honors Attorney continues to impact both my enthusiasm and confidence as a career attorney, resulting in leadership roles, diverse subject-matter expertise through work group participation, and handling increasingly complex advice and litigation.
-Rebecca Stephenson, Attorney, Area Law Office (Honors Attorney graduate)
I have served as an Honors Attorney with the Postal Service Law Department since 2018. Working within a field office has allowed me to practice different areas of the law and provide timely guidance on complex issues. From the start, I have been afforded the opportunity to litigate my own cases and interact directly with clients across multiple states.
-Richard Saliba, Honors Attorney, Area Law Office
The Honors Attorney Program prepared me for many of the challenges I would face, not only as a new attorney for a federal agency, but also as a new employee of a massive bureaucracy. It comforted me that I was part of a group of new attorneys scattered across the country that were all going through the same things together. I will take the principles I learned and the friendships I made through the Honors Attorney Program with me throughout my career with the Postal Service.
-Sion New, Attorney, Area Law Office (Honors Attorney graduate)
I have been fortunate enough to work as an Integration and Support Specialist for Business Services/Integration and Support. Doing work that I enjoy, with an amazing team all while systematically progressing my career over the years has been a very rewarding experience. I’m thankful that the Law Department prioritizes employee appreciation and recognition from the highest levels of leadership.
-Natalie Hunter, Integration and Support Specialist
I have been an attorney with USPS since 2012, starting as an Honors Attorney. The Law Department offered me a chance to do meaningful attorney work straight out of law school. The Law Department works hand-in-hand with its internal agency clients to ensure efficient delivery of the mail. We do interesting legal work while supporting a valuable public service.
-Alex Rivera, Attorney, MSPB Unit (Honors Attorney graduate)
I have been working in employment law at the Postal Service since 2007. The best part of being an attorney with the Postal Service is the opportunity to help managers and supervisors solve workplace issues to ensure that the Postal Service has a great workforce and employees are treated fairly. It is a pleasure to serve our clients!
-Theresa Gegen, Attorney, MSPB Unit
I’ve been with the Postal Service since 2015, and I can say these have been the best years of my legal career which has included working at big firms and small firms. I work with great people and great lawyers. We all work together to provide the best legal services to the Postal Service.
-Mark Manta, Attorney, NELU/OSHA Unit
I began my Postal career in 2019 with the Postal Service Law Department as an Executive Administrative Assistant which has allowed me to acclimate myself with the various sub-groups of law and the Postal Service as a whole. Since that time, I’ve been promoted to Government Information Specialist which has provided the opportunity for me to not only further advance in my career, but to use prior legal knowledge and research abilities to effectively complete my work. My experience has been rewarding and continues to benefit me each day, especially with team members who share the same work ethic and attitude as myself!
-Tai Thompson, Government Information Specialist
I am a Government Information Specialist with the Postal Service Law Department since April 2021. I thoroughly enjoy working with my team members in such a collaborative atmosphere. The training provides the best platform to enhance knowledge and skills, and I look forward to being a part of this organization for a long time to come.
-Tawanna Allum, Government Information Specialist
Unlike most legal employers who treat work-life balance as some noble, yet ultimately unrealistic aspiration, the USPS Law Department actually makes it a priority for its employees. The work is still interesting, challenging, and provides ample opportunities for professional growth, but it takes place in an environment where management understands that I have a life outside of legal practice… because they actually have one too!
-James Tucker, Attorney, Ethics and Compliance
I have served as an attorney working in the First Opportunity Risk Evaluation Unit (FORE) unit for the last three years of my over twenty years in the Law Department. Although the work is focused on the informal EEO complaint process, the cases are varied and require me to use all of my legal skills - including research, writing, effective communication, and advocacy in a fast paced, but collegial environment. The primary challenge is to recognize potential legal liability in the early stage of the litigation process at a time when it is possible to preserve the employment relationship, advise the client about future best practices and avoid unfavorable legal outcomes.
-Elaine Rogers, FORE Attorney
I have been a member of the National Tort Center since 2003. I joined the NTC as a Paralegal Specialist adjudicating tort claims and providing support for tort litigation matters before becoming the Supervisor, Tort Claims Examiner/Adjudicator in 2011. In the supervisor role, I continue to adjudicate claims as well as supervise a team of adjudicators, paralegal specialists, and legal administrative assistants. Despite the heavy workload and many challenges that go along with supervising a team carrying a heavy load of claims and litigation support, rarely a day goes by that I do not learn something new or step into a claim that is completely outside of the box.
-Kim Herbst, Supervisor, Tort Claims Examiner/Adjudicator
I have worked for the Postal Service Law Department since graduating law school in 2018. My supervisors and coworkers have worked to ensure that I had a wide variety of experiences, and I have been able to work on a range of matters including policy analysis, lease and contract disputes, and a wide variety of appellate litigation. The Postal Service Law Department invests in its employees, and is a great place to learn and develop.
-Michael Weaver, Honors Attorney, Legal Strategy
I joined the Law Department in 2018 after years in private practice. I really enjoy working with all of my Postal Service clients throughout several industry areas, and the fact that I learn something new here every day. The work we do for the Postal Service truly matters.
-Rob Dietz, Attorney, Procurement and Property Law
I am a current honors attorney who joined the Postal Service’s Procurement and Property Law team in 2019. In my time here, I have gained experience in a wide variety legal work. Along the way, I have benefited from the Law Department’s collegial environment and the wealth of experience that my fellow attorneys have been happy to share with me.
-Jeff Boblick, Honors Attorney, Procurement and Property Law