Recruitment and Selection of Hearing Examiners; Continuing Training for Government Attorneys and Hearing Examiners; Creation of a Center for Continuing Legal Education in Government

Recommendation

A.  Recruitment and Selection of Hearing Examiners

1. The Civil Service Commission should enlarge the base of recruitment and the number of qualified candidates available for appointment to hearing examiner positions by recognizing trial experience as one basis for qualification.

2. The Civil Service Commission should depart experimentally from the selective certification system as now practiced in the appointment of hearing examiners. Instead, it should develop a system under which the number of candidates qualified for hearing examiner positions is enlarged through the use of a general register for all agencies, with additional credit for specific relevant professional experience or selective certification for those agencies which demonstrate to the Civil Service Commission’s satisfaction a current need for personnel possessing a specific background. The purpose of this experiment should be to permit meaningful comparative evaluation with the system now in effect. A report should be made to the Administrative Conference after 3 years of experience.

To aid the Civil Service Commission in effectuating the objective of this part of the recommendation, the Chairman of the Administrative Conference should appoint special committees from time to time to evaluate the standards of specific relevant professional experience proposed to the Civil Service Commission by any agency as being required for its work. Present selective certification agreements should continue until new standards have been adopted by the Civil Service Commission.

3. The Civil Service Commission should study and, if practicable, should institute an experimental intern program to supplement the direct appointment of hearing examiners from the register. Without finally deciding the issue, the Conference urges the Commission to consider anew whether successful interns should automatically be placed in hearing examiner positions.

4. The Veterans Preference Act should be amended to permit the selection of examiners for each vacancy from the top 10 available persons then appearing on the register, determined on the basis of examination and ranking without reference to veterans preference.

B.  Continuing Training for Government Attorneys and Examiners

1. Agencies employing attorneys and hearing examiners should encourage their participation in programs of continuing legal education. Budgets should include adequate funds for personnel so that attorneys and examiners may be released for reasonable periods of time to accomplish added training. Agencies should take all suitable steps to assure wide knowledge of training opportunities.

2. Agencies should also explore ways in which they can support the professional training activities of the Federal Trial Examiners Conference, bar associations, foundations, the Civil Service Commission, law schools, the individual agencies with parallel legal interests, and other institutions offering appropriate training for attorneys and examiners.

3. The feasibility of short-term exchange assignments of experienced attorneys in higher grades among agencies should be considered, in order to enhance the insight and effectiveness of government lawyers by exposing them to varied aspects of legal problems with which they may deal.

C.  Creation of a Center for Continuing Legal Education in Government

1. A Center should be established in the Washington area for the continuing legal education of Government lawyers, hearing examiners, and private attorneys practicing before Government agencies. The Center should also promote coordinated programs within the Government and with specialized segments of the organized bar; stimulate and engage in the preparation of manuals, research materials, and other publications in support of such continuing legal education; and provide a mechanism for the exchange of information concerning professional problems of Government attorneys. The Center, under the direction of lawyers, should be oriented toward applied legal problems. The Civil Service Commission should make available to it the benefit of the Commission’s experience in establishing and operating Federal Executive institutes and centers. The Federal Administrative Justice Center proposed by the American Bar Association in a resolution adopted by the American Bar Association’s House of Delegates in January 1969, as an example, would serve the purpose of the present recommendation.

2. The establishment of the Center should not diminish each agency’s present responsibility to provide continuing legal education for its own lawyers through “in-house” training programs, but the Center should support and assist all agencies in maintaining these programs at a high level of effectiveness.

 

Citations:

38 FR. 19785 (July 23, 1973)

1 ACUS 30

Note:  Recommendation 92-7 has, in part, superseded this recommendation.

Citation:

Park, Robert E.  Several Matters in Regard to Examiners and Government Attorneys.  1 ACUS 381 (1971).