Former AUSA taking questions

(On Campus Interviews, Summer Associate positions, Firm Reviews, Tips, ...)
Forum rules
Anonymous Posting

Anonymous posting is only appropriate when you are revealing sensitive employment related information about a firm, job, etc. You may anonymously respond on topic to these threads. Unacceptable uses include: harassing another user, joking around, testing the feature, or other things that are more appropriate in the lounge.

Failure to follow these rules will get you outed, warned, or banned.
anon168
Posts: 920
Joined: Mon Jul 02, 2012 10:36 pm

Former AUSA taking questions

Postby anon168 » Wed Aug 15, 2012 7:52 pm

Since I've gotten lots of PMs about being an AUSA, I thought I'd just open it up.

My background: Started at biglaw (V5), did a stint at a USAO for several years, recently left for private practice again.

If you've got questions about either getting a job as an AUSA, or what it's like as an AUSA, or "exit options" for an AUSA, I'd be happy to answer them to the extent I can.

r6_philly
Posts: 10707
Joined: Sat Dec 19, 2009 4:32 pm

Re: Former AUSA taking questions

Postby r6_philly » Wed Aug 15, 2012 8:25 pm

Thanks for taking questions!

What does it take to go from biglaw to AUSA? Do the criteria change with WE in biglaw?

User avatar
fatduck
Posts: 4186
Joined: Mon Sep 13, 2010 10:16 pm

Re: Former AUSA taking questions

Postby fatduck » Wed Aug 15, 2012 8:27 pm

what kind of work did you do at your first firm / did it help you get the AUSA job?

User avatar
Detrox
Posts: 411
Joined: Fri Aug 19, 2011 3:58 pm

Re: Former AUSA taking questions

Postby Detrox » Wed Aug 15, 2012 8:30 pm

Thanks for taking Q's! Some I've had:

How are the offices different between cities and how hard is it to get into major metropolitan offices versus "less desirable" ones? (e.g. SDNY vs. WDNY vs. DC vs. X etc.)

Were you civil or criminal division and was there often switch over of personnel between the divisions?

Besides strong grades + experience in biglaw, what are major hiring factors? Law Review? Demonstrated coursework & interest?

Finally, along the last line, how much can connections help in the hiring process with former AUSAs? Current AUSAs?

Thanks again!

anon168
Posts: 920
Joined: Mon Jul 02, 2012 10:36 pm

Re: Former AUSA taking questions

Postby anon168 » Wed Aug 15, 2012 9:24 pm

r6_philly wrote:Thanks for taking questions!

What does it take to go from biglaw to AUSA? Do the criteria change with WE in biglaw?


What it takes will vary from district to district. At major metro areas like NYC, Chicago, SF, LA, etc., having connections at biglaw helps. Working with former AUSAs is a prime example. Because half the battle of getting an interview with a USAO is getting your resume noticed amongst a big pile of equally stellar resumes.

While everyone seems to pay lipservice to "trial" work at biglaw as if that's some big key to getting an AUSA gig, it's pretty much overblown from my experience. First, it's just hard to get trial experience at biglaw. Second, most USAOs understand the first point. So to make yourself appealing, try to get as much hands-on experience as you can -- be it heading up a part of an internal investigation, doing depositions, motions practice, oral argument, etc.

And, sorry, I'm behind the times and probably a pretty big noob, but whats "WE"?

User avatar
fatduck
Posts: 4186
Joined: Mon Sep 13, 2010 10:16 pm

Re: Former AUSA taking questions

Postby fatduck » Wed Aug 15, 2012 9:25 pm

work experience (i.e., prior to law school)

err, actually i'm not sure how r6_philly is using it there.
Last edited by fatduck on Wed Aug 15, 2012 9:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.

anon168
Posts: 920
Joined: Mon Jul 02, 2012 10:36 pm

Re: Former AUSA taking questions

Postby anon168 » Wed Aug 15, 2012 9:26 pm

fatduck wrote:what kind of work did you do at your first firm / did it help you get the AUSA job?


Commercial litigation, FCPA and Healthcare fraud. Yes, it did help.

I was also very fortunate to have second-chaired two jury trials at my time in biglaw, and also second-chaired a bench trial. I was very luck in that respect, and it was probably unusual.

anon168
Posts: 920
Joined: Mon Jul 02, 2012 10:36 pm

Re: Former AUSA taking questions

Postby anon168 » Wed Aug 15, 2012 9:26 pm

fatduck wrote:work experience (i.e., prior to law school)

err, actually i'm not sure how r6_philly is using it there.


K-JD

anon168
Posts: 920
Joined: Mon Jul 02, 2012 10:36 pm

Re: Former AUSA taking questions

Postby anon168 » Wed Aug 15, 2012 9:32 pm

Detrox wrote:Thanks for taking Q's! Some I've had:

How are the offices different between cities and how hard is it to get into major metropolitan offices versus "less desirable" ones? (e.g. SDNY vs. WDNY vs. DC vs. X etc.)


This is hard for me to say because I only have personal experience in one district, and second-hand experience from a few others.

But if you are talking about your major markets like CDCA, NDCA, NDIL, EDNY, SDNY, etc., I can say that the work will vary depending on what city you are in. Currently, or at least before I left, DOJ had a strong emphasis on healthcare fraud, mortgage fraud and FCPA. Of course, if you are in a border state (e.g. Texas, AZ, CA) then immigration will be highly emphasized.

As to how hard it is to get in, it will depend on the slant that the USA for that particular office wants to take. Some are keen on Ivys, others like to hire from the DA or AG. It just depends. Some districts could care less about grades if you can show a commitment to public service.

Detrox wrote:Were you civil or criminal division and was there often switch over of personnel between the divisions?


I did both. And yes you can switch, as long as there are open FTIs to fill.

Detrox wrote:Besides strong grades + experience in biglaw, what are major hiring factors? Law Review? Demonstrated coursework & interest?


Connections (read: knowing the right people).

Detrox wrote:Finally, along the last line, how much can connections help in the hiring process with former AUSAs? Current AUSAs?


Alot. Probably more than is fair, or right. But such is life.


Detrox wrote:Thanks again!


You're welcome.

anon168
Posts: 920
Joined: Mon Jul 02, 2012 10:36 pm

Re: Former AUSA taking questions

Postby anon168 » Wed Aug 15, 2012 9:33 pm

fatduck wrote:work experience (i.e., prior to law school)

err, actually i'm not sure how r6_philly is using it there.


K-JD

User avatar
fatduck
Posts: 4186
Joined: Mon Sep 13, 2010 10:16 pm

Re: Former AUSA taking questions

Postby fatduck » Wed Aug 15, 2012 9:36 pm

is "trial experience" (or hands-on experience as you described) important enough to favor candidates from smaller, less leveraged litigation shops?

anon168
Posts: 920
Joined: Mon Jul 02, 2012 10:36 pm

Re: Former AUSA taking questions

Postby anon168 » Wed Aug 15, 2012 9:38 pm

fatduck wrote:is "trial experience" (or hands-on experience as you described) important enough to favor candidates from smaller, less leveraged litigation shops?


In my experience, ceteris peribus, yes. But again, this will vary from district to district.

User avatar
fatduck
Posts: 4186
Joined: Mon Sep 13, 2010 10:16 pm

Re: Former AUSA taking questions

Postby fatduck » Wed Aug 15, 2012 9:40 pm

thanks. this is a long shot, but do you have any experience with CHIP/CCIPS? any idea what a typical entry path might be?

anon168
Posts: 920
Joined: Mon Jul 02, 2012 10:36 pm

Re: Former AUSA taking questions

Postby anon168 » Wed Aug 15, 2012 9:46 pm

fatduck wrote:thanks. this is a long shot, but do you have any experience with CHIP/CCIPS? any idea what a typical entry path might be?


I think CHIP is pretty hard to crack via USAOs, best bet is to do it through Main Justice.

CHIP AUSAs at our office were not hired into CHIP, but transferred from other units, or were designated as such.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273601
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Former AUSA taking questions

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Aug 15, 2012 9:55 pm

1. How can you make the transition from big law to the U.S. Attorney's Office and take advantage of connections without burning bridges back at big law? I imagine firms see young attorneys as big investments, so I imagine it's hard even trying to broach the subject with anyone there who might be a former DOJ attorney. Also, I imagine that networking is hard with the long hours of big law.

2. What are the major differences between the US Attorney General's Office and some of the leading state AG offices, like California?

anon168
Posts: 920
Joined: Mon Jul 02, 2012 10:36 pm

Re: Former AUSA taking questions

Postby anon168 » Wed Aug 15, 2012 10:21 pm

Anonymous User wrote:1. How can you make the transition from big law to the U.S. Attorney's Office and take advantage of connections without burning bridges back at big law? I imagine firms see young attorneys as big investments, so I imagine it's hard even trying to broach the subject with anyone there who might be a former DOJ attorney. Also, I imagine that networking is hard with the long hours of big law.


Biglaw firms will want you to go to the USAO, and at worst are ambivalent about it. Connections work both ways. If biglaw does any type of white collar criminal defense work, or even FCA Qui Tam work, then they will want to know people on the inside, and that means "you" if you are considering leaving for the USAO. Plus, it's a great marketing tool for the firm to say that they are a "feeder" firm -- if not for clients, then definitely with law students (you know, people who troll these boards and care about "prestige"?).

Also, every partner that I have known, and those that have helped me get my gig, were nothing but supportive and encouraging with me when I told them I wanted to apply.

Anonymous User wrote:2. What are the major differences between the US Attorney General's Office and some of the leading state AG offices, like California?


What is "US Attorney General's Office"? Do you mean the "Office of the Attorney General" where you would be working for the Attorney General of the United States (currently, Eric Holder)? If so, it's more administrative and legal counsel work than actual prosecution.

I have no idea what it's like to work at the AG's office, California or anywhere else. I'd imagine the cases you'd be prosecuting, investigating, defending will be different.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273601
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Former AUSA taking questions

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Aug 15, 2012 10:52 pm

anon168 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:1. How can you make the transition from big law to the U.S. Attorney's Office and take advantage of connections without burning bridges back at big law? I imagine firms see young attorneys as big investments, so I imagine it's hard even trying to broach the subject with anyone there who might be a former DOJ attorney. Also, I imagine that networking is hard with the long hours of big law.


Biglaw firms will want you to go to the USAO, and at worst are ambivalent about it. Connections work both ways. If biglaw does any type of white collar criminal defense work, or even FCA Qui Tam work, then they will want to know people on the inside, and that means "you" if you are considering leaving for the USAO. Plus, it's a great marketing tool for the firm to say that they are a "feeder" firm -- if not for clients, then definitely with law students (you know, people who troll these boards and care about "prestige"?).

Also, every partner that I have known, and those that have helped me get my gig, were nothing but supportive and encouraging with me when I told them I wanted to apply.

Anonymous User wrote:2. What are the major differences between the US Attorney General's Office and some of the leading state AG offices, like California?


What is "US Attorney General's Office"? Do you mean the "Office of the Attorney General" where you would be working for the Attorney General of the United States (currently, Eric Holder)? If so, it's more administrative and legal counsel work than actual prosecution.

I have no idea what it's like to work at the AG's office, California or anywhere else. I'd imagine the cases you'd be prosecuting, investigating, defending will be different.


Thanks for the answers. I thought US Attorney General = US Attorney's Office.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273601
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Former AUSA taking questions

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Aug 15, 2012 10:56 pm

Hey Anon 168,

Im a newly appointed ADA in a large city. What can I do starting now to make myself competitive for a USAO position in my large city or in other USAO Offices?

anon168
Posts: 920
Joined: Mon Jul 02, 2012 10:36 pm

Re: Former AUSA taking questions

Postby anon168 » Wed Aug 15, 2012 11:05 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Hey Anon 168,

Im a newly appointed ADA in a large city. What can I do starting now to make myself competitive for a USAO position in my large city or in other USAO Offices?


If your city makes you start off with misdemeanors, try to get out of that unit as quickly as possible and start doing felonies, major felonies if at all possible.

Saying you've done trials as a DA when it comes time to interview with a the USAO, doesn't get you very far. It's expected, unlike with a biglaw associate. So you've got to demonstrate that you've done some major cases, and know how to proactively investigate, and prosecute, a case from beginning to end.

And try to figure out the types of cases that your USAO emphasizes. Drugs/OCDETF? Guns and violent crimes? White collar? Cybercrimes? Whatever it is, try to carve out a niche for yourself in that area.

Also, you better have a good stock answer why you want to leave to the DA for the USAO. Do you? (Other than that nebulous notion of "prestige"?)

Good luck.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273601
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Former AUSA taking questions

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Aug 15, 2012 11:26 pm

Thank you Anon.

Would time spent in the appeals bureau of my office also make me competitive? I understand that most USAOs require extensive writing experience?

Approximately how many years of experience in the DAs office to USAO is commonly accepted?
Did you know any AUSAs who came from DA's Offices? What were their backgrounds and experience like? How did they, or how can I, get my application noticed after i have carved out a niche area for myself and have adequate years of experience?

anon168
Posts: 920
Joined: Mon Jul 02, 2012 10:36 pm

Re: Former AUSA taking questions

Postby anon168 » Wed Aug 15, 2012 11:54 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Would time spent in the appeals bureau of my office also make me competitive? I understand that most USAOs require extensive writing experience?


It can if you want to go to the appellate section of the USAO. But if you want to be a line prosecutor, not very helpful (at least no in my experience).

Anonymous User wrote:Approximately how many years of experience in the DAs office to USAO is commonly accepted?


"Commonly accepted"? Hard to say, but I'd say that any DA that's lateraled over to our office has spent at least 5+ years.

Anonymous User wrote:Did you know any AUSAs who came from DA's Offices? What were their backgrounds and experience like?


Yes. Speaking only for my USAO, they were generally T3/T4, solid but not spectacular academic credentials, but had extensive and significant trial experience. Most were in their late 30s to early 40s when they made the move. They essentially made it clear that they knew their way around a courtroom, and could hit the ground running.

Anonymous User wrote:How did they, or how can I, get my application noticed after i have carved out a niche area for myself and have adequate years of experience?


Be active in the community (e.g. bar associations) and network.

User avatar
fatduck
Posts: 4186
Joined: Mon Sep 13, 2010 10:16 pm

Re: Former AUSA taking questions

Postby fatduck » Thu Aug 16, 2012 9:08 am

Only tangentially related to the topic but how did you choose your first firm?

anon168
Posts: 920
Joined: Mon Jul 02, 2012 10:36 pm

Re: Former AUSA taking questions

Postby anon168 » Thu Aug 16, 2012 12:29 pm

fatduck wrote:Only tangentially related to the topic but how did you choose your first firm?


People, type of work, and office.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273601
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Former AUSA taking questions

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Aug 16, 2012 12:35 pm

Have you seen JAGs make the jump to AUSA? I have quite a bit of trial experience (military) - Assault, Sexual Assault, Larceny, Attempted Murder etc. Does the AUSA favorably view that experience?

anon168
Posts: 920
Joined: Mon Jul 02, 2012 10:36 pm

Re: Former AUSA taking questions

Postby anon168 » Thu Aug 16, 2012 12:56 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Have you seen JAGs make the jump to AUSA? I have quite a bit of trial experience (military) - Assault, Sexual Assault, Larceny, Attempted Murder etc. Does the AUSA favorably view that experience?


Yes and yes.




Return to “Legal Employment”

Who is online

The online users are hidden on this forum.