The Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) is an appellate-level court that hears certain cases on employment issues brought by government employees. An employee needs to receive permission to bring a case before the MSPB. Permission is usually given after several decisions have been made against the employee. Once an employee is given permission to file the case with the MSPB, he or she does so by filling out a very long form.
If you are planning on hiring an attorney for your MSPB appeal, let your attorney fill out the form. For attorneys who routinely handle MSPB cases, there are issues of trial strategy that may be decided with the responses entered on this form. For example, in a case where there are no witnesses and only a disagreement as to documentation, the attorney may want to submit briefs and paper evidence to the judge, instead of having an actual, expensive, in-person trial.
Make no mistake; the MSPB is a real trial. The difference is that the MSPB appeal goes faster than most trials. In a very short amount of time after filing the completed form with the MSPB, the judge assigned to the case will call several pretrial conferences. Discovery, submission of evidence, and depositions are completed in a much shorter time period than in a civil or criminal trial. It is not unusual for an MSPB trial to begin within a few months of the form being filed.
It is common for the MSPB trial to end with the judge asking each side to submit a final argument brief within thirty to ninety days. After that, the parties will wait several months for a written decision. An MSPB trial is a lot of work for a knowledgeable attorney and probably is not something that should be done by someone without legal assistance.