The Office of General Counsel

The Office of General Counsel provides legal advice and counsel for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

The General Counsel is appointed by the Secretary of Commerce, with the approval of the President. The Office of the General Counsel provides legal service and guidance for all matters that may arise in the conduct of NOAA's missions. The Organization Chart provides additional information as to the Office's structure.

MISSION STATEMENT: The NOAA Office of the General Counsel is a team of professionals advancing the mission and objectives of NOAA by delivering legal services of the highest quality. We are committed to providing sound judgment, thoughtful analysis, and constructive advice through effective communication. In an environment fostering innovation and professional development, we apply the rule of law with integrity, respect for people, and commitment to excellence and the public trust.

VALUE STATEMENTS: Integrity, Innovation, Teamwork, Professional Excellence, Effective Communication, Public Service

GUIDANCE DOCUMENTS: On December 21, 2012, the NOAA Office of General Counsel issued NOAA-wide guidance on compiling Administrative Records.

VACANCIES: The Office of General Counsel periodically has legal job openings on a wide variety of issues involving preservation of coastal areas, marine sanctuaries and marine resources. NOAA General Counsel job announcements are made available through the USAJobs web site or NOAA's new NOAA Careers employment information web site.

THE OFFICE OF GENERAL COUNSEL'S ATTORNEY HONORS PROGRAM: The Office of General Counsel's Attorney Honors Program is designed to recruit highly-qualified law school graduates and judicial law clerks for entry-level attorney positions in our offices in the Washington, D.C., area and six regional offices in Seattle, WA; St. Petersburg, FL; Gloucester, MA; Long Beach, CA; Juneau, AK; and Honolulu, HI. We will accept applications (cover letter, resume and unofficial transcript) for these vacancies as described in the USAJOBS announcement posted at

EO 13924 Pre-Enforcement Rulings in response to COVID-19
Executive Order 13924, titled “Executive Order on Regulatory Relief to Support Economic Recovery,” directs federal agencies to develop procedures by which a regulated person or entity may receive a pre-enforcement ruling with respect to whether proposed conduct in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, including any response to legislative or executive economic stimulus actions, is consistent with statutes and regulations administered by the agency.

Accordingly, any person or entity regulated by NOAA may seek such a pre-enforcement ruling by submitting a written inquiry concerning whether proposed conduct in response to the COVID-19 outbreak complies with statutes and regulations administered by NOAA. Such inquiries should include the name and contact information of the requestor and may be submitted by email to