SAUSA positions

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Anonymous User
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Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

SAUSA positions

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Mar 26, 2011 8:20 pm

Not sure how many practicing attorneys, let alone prosecutors, there are on here, but...

I'm a midlevel attorney who badly wants to be a federal prosecutor. My law school (Stanford), federal district/circuit clerkships, and V5 firm experience are solid. But I don't have criminal practice experience. And of course, in this market, AUSA positions would be few and far between even if I'd been eating/breathing/sleeping criminal law all along. I could live on my savings for about a year and am willing to do so IF that would get me the paid position that I really want.

Enter the SAUSA option. For those who don't know, many USAOs have been "hiring" junior/midlevel attorneys for one-year unpaid stints, with (of course) no official guarantee of being hired afterwards. I'm told that although you generally can't be hired immediately by the office for which you "volunteered," many SAUSAs manage to move laterally to another USAO immediately after the SAUSA term. In the worst case scenario (not being hired at the end of the SAUSA term by a USAO), it seems as though the experience would likely make you quite competitive in a year or two, and would be "transferable" back to the private sector were it absolutely necessary to return there.

What I'm wondering: does anyone have concrete information on this? Is there anyone here who has done this, whose friends have done this, or who has worked (or externed) at a USAO and encountered individuals doing this? How have they been treated relative to other junior prosecutors in the office? Were they receiving good work and generally happy, apart from being impoverished? Where did they go at the end of the SAUSA term? Did the experience prove not to be worth it for the individuals involved? Any and all anecdotal information is welcomed, as is any speculation (but please label as speculation!) from students or attorneys with experience in criminal prosecution.

ETA To be clear, although I said "federal prosecutor" above, I would be delighted to work as a ADA as well. However, my state is more or less bankrupt/not hiring new ADAs, and for personal reasons I am unable to relocate out of state this year. But, to be clear, my commitment is to "prosecution," and I would happily apply to state positions if they became available. (I assume that a year as a SAUSA would be useful on that front, as well.)

Sup Kid
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Joined: Sat Oct 23, 2010 2:49 pm

Re: SAUSA positions

Postby Sup Kid » Sat Mar 26, 2011 11:19 pm

Two points. First, you may be disappointed to learn that many SAUSAs are part of the Presidential Management Fellowship Program (I interned at a large USAO my 1L summer and all 3 SAUSAs in my division were part of the program). Second, while working there, I also heard that many SAUSAs are from other government agencies that send young attorneys to a USAO to get trial experience. In both cases, the lawyers are paid through their original program, and are not "volunteer" positions. HTH, even though it's not what you probably wanted to hear.

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BruceWayne
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Re: SAUSA positions

Postby BruceWayne » Sat Mar 26, 2011 11:25 pm

Out of curiosity did you at least work in the White Collar/investigations group at your firm?

Anonymous User
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Re: SAUSA positions

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Mar 27, 2011 10:37 am

Sup Kid wrote:Two points. First, you may be disappointed to learn that many SAUSAs are part of the Presidential Management Fellowship Program (I interned at a large USAO my 1L summer and all 3 SAUSAs in my division were part of the program). Second, while working there, I also heard that many SAUSAs are from other government agencies that send young attorneys to a USAO to get trial experience. In both cases, the lawyers are paid through their original program, and are not "volunteer" positions. HTH, even though it's not what you probably wanted to hear.


I'm not disappointed to learn either, because you clearly haven't encountered what I'm talking about. I am looking at particular USAOs that I know for a fact have volunteer SAUSA positions for which they are "hiring" directly. This is an example of what I am talking about, although this is not the office I'm looking at. Although that office doesn't seem to be giving SAUSAs trial responsibilities, the offices in which I'm interested do so.

--LinkRemoved--

I'm aware that the SAUSA label is used for people who are brought into the office on different tracks and that some SAUSAs are compensated. But it turns out that there are more types of SAUSAs than you've "heard" about.

climber
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Re: SAUSA positions

Postby climber » Mon Mar 28, 2011 2:57 pm

Just be careful what type of SAUSA position you accept, as they are not created equal and most of them do not lead to laterals to an USAO or the DOJ.

For example, a few districts are known to hire temporary SAUSA to do the high volume immigration docket where they do quick 15 minute trials prior to deportation for illegal re-entry. There are illegal immigrants previously deported and are back in the U.S. illegally, which is actually a federal crime. The U.S. tries to get convictions, even though they are being deported again, to get a record that could be used for sentence enhancement should any of these folks return to the U.S. and commit a drug or firearms offense.

Or you can be stuck in a docket where you do traffic offenses in military bases or national parks, or other petty offenses.

They like giving SAUSA these types of work because regular AUSAs hate doing it and they don't require a lot of supervision. It's just the USAO is obligated to prosecute these crimes and don't have a lot of discretion like the typical investigations and trials that they do.

What I've seen is that most DOJ and USAO offices don't consider these things all that relevant to regular work that is done and won't give you much credit for it. It's still easier to go from a mid level at a state prosecutors office that does a lot of longer jury trials or a top litigation practice.

abl
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Joined: Mon Jan 19, 2009 8:07 pm

Re: SAUSA positions

Postby abl » Tue Mar 06, 2012 4:52 am

OP--did you ever find out information about SAUSA? PM me please!




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