Meet Our Security Clearance Attorneys
John Griffith - Security Clearance Attorney
  • United States Army Veteran
  • U.S Army Achievement Medal
  • U.S. Army Commendation Medal

John Griffith is a veteran of the United States Army and travels nationwide representing fellow service members and government contractors in National Security Clearance matters. A native of Texas, Mr. Griffith moved to San Diego California to pursue a career in law after completing his military service. Early in his career he became the managing partner of a well known National Security Clearance law firm and decided to branch out and found Security Clearance Law Group with partners Catie Young and Amy Lass with a mission to provide excellent representation at an affordable rate. Mr. Griffith has represented members of virtually every government agency and employees of most major government contracting firms in national security clearance cases. If you need skilled and competent representation protecting your security clearance call John Griffith today.

Contact John
john@keepyourclearance.com
(844) 887-0433

Catie Young

Catie Young graduated from the University of California Santa Barbara with a B.A. in Political Science and Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego California before becoming a member of the California State Bar. She became versed in National Security Clearance Law while working for one of the largest National Security Clearance law firms on the west coast. Ms. Young is an expert in adjudicative mitigation and is well versed in all security risk guidelines. She has represented hundreds of clients in drafting written responses to statement of reasons and letters of intent and handles Security Clearance Law Group’s administrative hearings in the Southwest Region. Ms. Young has great success obtaining favorable decisions for the vast majority of her clients at the written response level and is skilled in the courtroom when called to represent her clients at the administrative hearing level. Whether you need advice on how to answer a question on an SF-86, or need assistance responding to a Statement of Reasons, Catie Young can help.

Contact Catie
catie@keepyourclearance.com
(844) 887-0433

Amy Lass

Amy Lass was born in New York and raised in San Diego, California. Ms. Lass graduated from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo in 2003 with a B.S. in Economics with a concentration in Enterprise Accounting. She went on to earn her law degree from Thomas Jefferson School of Law and graduated cum laude in 2006. During her time at Thomas Jefferson, she spent a summer semester in Nice, France studying comparative constitutional law under Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg. Ms. Lass is a passionate advocate for due process rights in the context of government related employment. She is an expert in legal research as well as law and motion practice and leads Security Clearance Law Group’s litigation support team.

Contact Amy
amy@keepyourclearance.com
(844) 887-0433

Gabriel Pene

Gabriel was born in Romania before emigrating to the Philadelphia, PA area in the early 1990’s. He earned his B.A. from Temple University, with a concentration on English/Modern Literature, before beginning his legal education and ultimately graduating from the Drexel University School of Law in 2010. During law school he gained valuable and practical experience clerking for a Philadelphia Common Pleas Criminal Court judge as well as a summer position with Philadelphia public defender’s office.

After graduating from law school, Gabriel packed up his car and drove cross-country before finally settling in San Diego, CA. Since beginning his legal career in San Diego County, Gabriel has worked for several established firms, gaining experience in a variety of fields including National Security Law, Immigration Law, Civil litigation, and some limited criminal law. Gabriel strives to treat every client, and handle each case, in the thoughtful and dedicated manner that these important issues deserve.

Contact Gabe
gabe@keepyourclearance.com
(844) 887-0433

Shirin Shokrollahi

Attorney Shirin Shokrollahi has a broad spectrum legal experience and has handled matters in family law, criminal law, business law, and national security law. Shirin studied law at The University of San Diego School of Law and earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Philosophy with an Emphasis in Political Science from San Diego State University. During law school, Shirin interned at the San Diego Volunteer Lawyer Program, where she assisted with the drafting and filing of restraining orders and highly contested child custody and visitation matters, with the Office of the Family Law Facilitator, where she gained insight into the inner workings of the Family Court system, and as a Judicial Intern for the Honorable Tamila E. Ipema.

Shirin is active in the legal community and is a member of the American Bar Association, the San Diego County Bar Association, the Iranian American Bar Association, and the Lawyers Club of San Diego. Shirin is a San Diego native and is fluent in Farsi. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, cooking, and spending quality time with family and friends.

Contact Shirin
shirin@keepyourclearance.com
(844) 887-0433

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I would fully recommend these services to anyone who has problems getting a government security clearance. They understand the inter-workings of the clearance process and can get you a favorable decision. They guided me every step of the way and now I have my security clearance! Frank Z. Chicago, IL
Frequently asked questions

A security clearance is the determination made by federal government that a person is eligible for access to classified information and suitability for employment. A security clearance is granted only after a personnel security background investigation has been conducted into the applicant’s personal and professional history.

The purpose of the background investigation is to determine whether the applicant has the ability and ability to protect and safeguard classified material. If the federal government is not confident in the applicant’s character and fitness, it has the exclusive right to deny applicant a security clearance.

The security clearance process is initiated by the agency or government contractor after the applicant accepts a conditional offer of employment from that agency. Typically the applicant will be directed to complete a Standard Form 86 (SF 86) , or the electronic web based version, e-QIP (Electronic Questionaire for Investigative Processing).

There are various levels of a security clearance an applicant can acquire. The level depends on the sensitivity of the information being accessed by the applicant. For all levels the applicant must display loyalty, reliability, trustworthiness and an overall good character.

Each agency has established its own unique adjudication process. However, The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) conducts the vast majority of all personnel background investigations for the Federal Government. Agencies periodically conduct reinvestigations of individual’s suitability every 5 years.

An interim clearance is granted on a temporary basis, after minimum investigative requirements have been met by the applicant. Most applicants find that they are granted an interim clearance relatively quick. However, an interim clearance can be revoked or denied at any time pending the completion of the full background investigation. Generally interim clearances are denied in instances where the government has discovered unfavorable information either on the SF 86 Form or at any time throughout the investigation.

Caveat: An applicant is not afforded the same due process rights as an interim clearance holder. This means, the government does not have to provide you a reason for denial of the interim clearance or allow you an opportunity to defend the unfavorable information. This is why it is so important to seek advice if you have any questions with respect to filling out your SF-86.

It is not uncommon for your security clearance to be delayed, denied, revoked, or suspended when unfavorable information is listed on the applicant’s SF 86 Form or discovered during the investigation process. In fact, most agencies, not all, use similar guidelines, which can be found in the DOD Directive. Those factors include:

  • Guideline A: Allegiance to the United States:
  • Guideline B: Foreign Influence:
  • Guideline C: Foreign Preference:
  • Guideline D: Sexual Behavior:
  • Guideline E: Personal Conduct:
  • Guideline F: Financial Considerations:
  • Guideline G: Alcohol Consumption:
  • Guideline H: Drug Involvement:
  • Guideline I: Psychological Conditions:
  • Guideline J: Criminal Conduct:
  • Guideline K: Handling Protected Information:
  • Guideline L: Outside Activities:
  • Guideline M: Use of Information Technology Systems:

An agency may issue an applicant a set of interrogatories, requesting the applicant to respond and explain further discrepant or unfavourable information.

It is absolutely imperative that the applicant take this seriously and it is highly recommended that you seek an attorney to assist you in your responses because the applicant can provide mitigating information directed at addressing and potential government concern. This may keep you from being issued a Statement of Reasons.

Yes, the applicant is entitled to his or her investigative file pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). Upon written request, the government must disclose all relevant records, unless they can be lawfully withheld (i.e. confidential information of third parties, etc.). The burden is placed on the government to substantiate why it cannot release certain documents.

When your background investigation is complete and the government has determined you not suitable for a security clearance, you will be notified of the reason for the denial. Typically the applicant will receive either a Statement of Reasons (SOR) or a Letter of Intent (LOI).

Each agency has its own appeal process, however generally the SOR or LOI will contain specific instructions regarding the appeal process and applicable deadlines. For instances, some agencies give you an opportunity to request a hearing in front an administrative judges while others request only a response to the SOR/LOI and supporting and/or mitigating documentation from the applicant.

If a hearing is requested, the government will set a hearing date for the applicant and government counsel. It is similar to a court proceeding in that live testimony is accepted. This means that both the applicant and government counsel will have an opportunity to present its case, offer witness testimony have the opportunity to cross examine witnesses. Following a hearing, the Administrative Judge will issue a written decision.

The Administrative Judge’s decision can be appealed to the DOHA Appeal Board. The Appeal Board’s decision is generally final. However, the Appeal Board can remand the case to the Administrative Judge for further review and proceeding.

Title 5 Code of Federal Regulations Part 731(5 CFR 731) governs federal employment suitability standards and procedures. If a federal agency intends to withdrawal their offer of employment for a competitive service position due to the suitability criteria, that agency is required to notify applicant, in writing, the reasons it believes applicant is not suitable. This is similar procedure security clearance matters, wherein applicant is given an opportunity to respond to the allegations by admitting or denying each allegation in full or part.

If the agency makes a final adverse suitability decision, the agency must notify you in writing of their decision and inform you of your right to appeal the decision to the Merit System Protection Board (MSBP).

An MSBP appeal can become complex cases requiring undivided attention and experience. There are numerous procedural deadlines that cannot be overlooked without the possibility of the MSPB losing jurisdiction over your matter, including, jurisdictional issues, discovery, conference meetings, etc. For more information on MSPB appeals, please visit our web page dedicated specifically to such matters.

If you are interested in discussing the security clearance process in further detail or need assistance with your security clearance matter or MSPB appeal, please contact us at 1-844-887-0433 to speak to an experienced National Security Clearance attorney. The attorneys and staff at Security Clearance Law Group are dedicated to serving our clients with excellence.

If you are interested in discussing the security clearance process in further detail or need assistance with your security clearance matter or MSPB appeal, please contact us at 1-844-887-0433 to speak to an experienced National Security Clearance attorney. The attorneys and staff at Security Clearance Law Group are dedicated to serving our clients with excellence.

The worst mistake that you can make when faced with a revocation or denial of your national security clearance is to underestimate the value of experienced representation in this area.

One of the greatest values lies in understandings the expectations imposed on a security clearance holder. The attorneys at Security Clearance Law Group provide you with the knowledge and representation that you need to obtain and/or keep your clearance.

At Security Clearance Law Group we recognize that our clients must work within a budget and we work with our clients to come up with an affordable flat fee retainer and installment plans.

When you become a client of Security Clearance Law Group you will receive the expertise of a security clearance law firm with the personal touch of a small firm that cares about the outcome of every case. We have a reputation for having great personal relationships with our clients because we offer great value in the services that we offer.

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