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Merit Selection of Federal Administrative Law Judges

NCJ Number
Judicature Volume: 70 Issue: 4 Dated: (December-January 1987) Pages: 216-222
A T Sharon; C B Pettibone
Date Published
7 pages
A new method of evaluating Federal administrative law judges (ALJ's), developed in 1984, helps to ensure that ALJ's have the requisite skills, knowledge, experience, and temperament.
ALJ's preside at formal administrative hearings to resolve disputes and act as trial judges where adjudicatory power rests with a Federal agency. The U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) recruits and examines ALT's. In 1979 as the first step in revising the ALT selection process, the OPM conducted a job analysis to determine what knowledge, skills, abilities, and other personal characteristics are required for effective ALT performance. The 18 ALT qualifications identified became the basis for revising the ALT selection process and the development of a job-related, content-valid examination. Applicants must have a minimum of 7 years of formal administrative law or trial experience. Applicants with this minimum qualification are rated on experience through their written descriptions of achievements which indicate their degree of possession of five types of critical knowledge and ability. Applicants' references complete forced-choice questionnaires listing 10 categories of job-related behaviors. Applicants write responses to essay questions designed as a work sample. Finally, applicants respond to a standard group of job-related hypothetical questions asked< by a panel of experts. Applicants are assigned a final numerical rating based on the sum of the scores for each of the four parts. 10 footnotes and 2 figures.