Tip:Avoid the legal tangles

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Trading places

When leaving a federal job, a visit with the agency's lawyer may be a good idea.

For many government workers, there are restrictions on where they can work and what they can do when they leave a government job, said S.W. "Woody" Hall, who recently made the transition from the Homeland Security Department to Science Applications International Corp.

"Know the ethics rules," said Hall, former chief information officer for DHS' Bureau of Customs and Border Protection. "Know what your restrictions are so you don't get yourself in a bind about what you can't do."

Hall cannot conduct business with his former agency for a year, which will end in November. Until then, he is steering clear of DHS and helping SAIC consult on other issues.

"I left as a senior official with a lot of post restrictions," Hall said. "Everyone is aware of that and supportive with that. No one has asked me to compromise my position."

He asked others who went before him for advice about navigating his way to a private-sector job.

"Negotiating a new job and all the various aspects of the compensation in the private sector [are] very different than the government," he said. "Most of us don't have a clue."

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