Opportunities in New York City’s Office of Administrative Tribunals and Hearings (OATH)

OATH is New York City’s central, independent administrative law court. From disciplinary matters involving city employees to civil summonses for various violations, OATH typically conducts more than 200,000 hearings and trials annually, making it one of the busiest tribunals in the country.  OATH’s mission is to ensure that everyone who appears before it receives both a fair opportunity to be heard and a timely resolution of their case.  It is a unique place within City government and a wonderful place to work.  You can learn more about OATH here.

And OATH is hiring!  OATH has a broad range of opportunities available for lawyers, from junior level attorney positions to Administrative Law Judge positions for seasoned professionals.  They have positions in the General Counsel unit for individuals interested in in-house work, adjudicator positions for those who want to serve as neutrals in the Hearings Division, as well as specialist positions such as those in the new Special Education Hearings Division.  A full list of openings can be found here on OATH’s website.

OATH also has a pro bono program that pairs volunteer lawyers with legal service organizations to provide free representation to indigent respondents who appear before OATH.  More information is available here.

Questions? Direct them to [email protected]

AABANY’s Judiciary Committee Presents “The Road to the Bench: Administrative Law Judge” on June 24

On June 24, AABANY’s Judiciary Committee hosted a virtual discussion on how to become an administrative law judge (ALJ), as part of the Committee’s Road to the Bench series. Panelists included Hon. Kenneth Chu, Administrative Law Judge at the National Labor Relations Board; Hon. Grace E. Lee, Administrative Law Judge at the New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance; Hon. Christopher P. Lee, Retired Administrative Law Judge of the Social Security Administration; and Rena Malik, Principal Law Clerk at the New York State Supreme Court and Co-Chair of AABANY’s Judiciary Committee. The panel was moderated by Mark Son, Associate Court Attorney at the Bronx County Criminal Court.

The roundtable discussion began with a question from Mark asking the panelists to describe their path towards becoming an ALJ. Judge Grace Lee shared how her passion for justice and public service inspired her to take on various roles in government and public policy, which ultimately led her to taking the Civil Service Exam and landing her current position as an ALJ at the NYS Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance. Judge Chu spoke about his longtime interest in employment and labor law and how he applied for the ALJ position at the National Labor Relations Board while serving as an administrative judge at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Judge Chris Lee detailed the seven year process he underwent when applying for the ALJ position because he missed the deadline to apply in 1987 and had to wait until 1994 for a new position opening.

The remainder of the roundtable discussion focused on questions about the ALJ application process. Previously, all applicants applied through the Office of Personnel Management, but after changes enacted under the Trump Administration, applicants now apply through individual agencies’ vacancy announcements. Judge Grace Lee explained the process of completing the Civil Service/Legal Specialities Exam, a questionnaire where applicants can explain their skills and experiences for agencies to review. Asked about the skills and experiences ALJ applicants should have, the panelists agreed that it is important to be able to process a lot of information quickly, while also being detail-oriented and conscientious about due process. It is also helpful for applicants to have litigation experience.

The discussion concluded with Rena sharing how the AABANY Judiciary Committee can assist interested candidates. A main goal of the Judiciary Committee is to advance Asian American and Pacific Islander attorneys onto judgeship positions in all levels of the benches, and the Committee can assist applicants by providing a recommendation letter or connecting applicants with current employees at agencies. To learn more about AABANY’s Judiciary Committee, click here.