USAO Interviews- Civil & Criminal

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USAO Interviews- Civil & Criminal

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Feb 16, 2011 2:23 am

I'm a 1L, top 10% at a T2, and I have on campus interviews on the same day next week for both the USAO civil and criminal divisions in my school's city. I'm not completely sure what area of law I want to pursue after graduation, but I'm leaning toward corporate work at a big law firm. While I'm not particularly considering criminal law or civil litigation, I know that both of these internships would be a great learning experience, and I would be glad to receive an offer from either division. That said, I am wondering if anyone else who has interviewed with both divisions has any advice. I don't want to be deceitful, but of course I will gear my answers toward the respective division and emphasize how I enjoyed my criminal law class for the crim interview and other classes like civil procedure for the civil division. Are the interviewers likely to talk to each other? Don't want to get myself in trouble for conflicting answers, but I also don't want to not sound enthusiastic about the position...

Thanks for any advice :D

Sup Kid
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Re: USAO Interviews- Civil & Criminal

Postby Sup Kid » Wed Feb 16, 2011 3:30 am

So you have a background of where I'm coming from, I worked civil side at a large USAO this past summer.

On the civil side you will mostly be drafting motions to dismiss, motions for summary judgment, and researching specific legal issues about a law the government is being sued under (FOIA for example) and then writing memos to the AUSAs. This is almost always just sitting at a desk researching and writing, and you will rarely see the inside of a courtroom.

On the criminal side you will do some writing, but a lot more organizing things for cases and accompanying the AUSAs to court. You will research some issues, but many of the cases are similar in nature and many of the motions and such are just forms that things are filled into. This is not to say that you won't be doing qualitative work, but it'll be more along the lines of preparing and helping for the many cases that are prosecuted and being in the courtroom vs. being at a desk on the civil side.

Neither of these positions are specifically helpful for a transactional practice, but I found that it was great during OCI to tell stories about some of the cases I worked on, how I was able to help pinpoint cases and issues for the attorneys I was working with, and using things I wrote over the summer as writing samples. End result = transactional 2L SA position at a V30 NY firm.

In answer to your specific question, I would say just be honest. They can see through any bull you try to throw at them, and during the interview they really just want to see if they can work with you for the summer. They know that its a 1L position and that you don't know much yet, and since they don't hire straight from LS, they will be focusing on what you can do this summer, not what you'll be doing long-term. HTH, and good luck!!

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Re: USAO Interviews- Civil & Criminal

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Feb 19, 2011 8:32 pm

Thanks for the response, anyone else have additional advice?

Anonymous User
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Re: USAO Interviews- Civil & Criminal

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Feb 21, 2011 12:53 pm

On the civil side you will mostly be drafting motions to dismiss, motions for summary judgment, and researching specific legal issues about a law the government is being sued under (FOIA for example) and then writing memos to the AUSAs. This is almost always just sitting at a desk researching and writing, and you will rarely see the inside of a courtroom.

On the criminal side you will do some writing, but a lot more organizing things for cases and accompanying the AUSAs to court. You will research some issues, but many of the cases are similar in nature and many of the motions and such are just forms that things are filled into. This is not to say that you won't be doing qualitative work, but it'll be more along the lines of preparing and helping for the many cases that are prosecuted and being in the courtroom vs. being at a desk on the civil side.


I did an internship at the criminal division of a large USAO office, and my experience was identical to your experience: I wrote legal research memos for attorneys, drafted a response to motion to dismiss an indictment, drafted a memorandum in support of jury instructions, etc. None of the interns in my office really spent much time organizing stuff for cases. However, the office also let us go to the courthouse to watch cases whenever we wanted, so we got good courtroom time as well.

So I think the real lesson here is that one's experience can vary greatly depending on what office one ends up at.




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