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US Department of Education Principal Office Functional Statements
Office of the General Counsel

Functional Statements > Office of the General Counsel

C. Departmental Law and PostSecondary Service

The Departmental Law and Postsecondary Service is under the direction of a Deputy General Counsel who reports directly to the General Counsel. The Deputy General Counsel supervises and coordinates the work of two Divisions, each of which is headed by an Assistant General Counsel:

Business and Administrative Law Division; and
Postsecondary Education Division.

Business and Administrative Law Division

The Business and Administrative Law Division provides legal services to Department officials concerning business management and administrative activities throughout the Department, including contracts, grants, procurement, standards of conduct, labor relations, appropriations, budget, compensation, employment and travel; the Freedom of Information Act, the Privacy Act, the Federal Advisory Committee Act, the Government in Sunshine Act, the Hatch Act, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, and the Equal Access to Justice Act. The Division also provides advice and representation regarding organizational matters involving the Department, the Department's Federal Surplus Property Program, and claims by and against the Department.

In performing its responsibilities, the Division:

  • Provides services required by the Department in connection with court litigation, including development of litigation positions, preparation of documents for submission in court, and explanation of cases to the Department of Justice (This does not preclude the Inspector General from performing that officer's functions under Section 4(d) of the inspector General Act of 1978.).
  • Provides formal and informal legal advice to officials of the Department.
  • Drafts or reviews drafts of legislation, regulations, preambles, responses to public comment, and other supporting documents, and participates in public hearings necessary for the development of regulations for the Department.
  • Provides legal services required by the Department relating to the conduct of administrative proceedings (such as audit appeals, contested contracts, and personnel actions), including presentation of cases before Administrative Law Judges, the General Services Administration Board of Contract Appeals, the Merit Systems Protection Board, and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

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Postsecondary Education Division

The Postsecondary Education Division provides legal services for postsecondary education programs administered by the Assistant Secretary for Postsecondary Education.

In performing its responsibilities, the Division:

  • Provides services required by the Department in connection with court litigation, including development of litigation positions, preparation of documents for submission in court, and explanation of cases to the Department of Justice (This does not preclude the Inspector General from performing that officer's functions under Section 4(d) of the Inspector General Act of 1978.).
  • Provides formal and informal legal advice to various units in the Office of the Secretary, the Office of Postsecondary Education (including its regional offices) and other units within the Department.
  • Drafts or reviews drafts of legislation, regulations, preambles, responses to public comment, and other supporting documents, and participates in public hearings necessary for the development of regulations for the Department.
  • Provides legal services required by the Department relating to the conduct of administrative proceedings (such as audit appeals and limitation, termination, and suspension proceedings), including presentation of cases before the Administrative Law Judges or other responsible presiding officers.
  • Provides advice and serves as a special resource with respect to individual student loan default cases and bankruptcy cases.

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Last Modified: 03/14/2011