DOJ Honors --> AUSA

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Anonymous User
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DOJ Honors --> AUSA

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Nov 14, 2012 10:22 pm

How does Main Justice fare for AUSA prospects as compared to tip-top firms? I'm thinking of firms like Wachtell, Williams & Connolly, Morvillo, Keker, etc - firms that are known to allow young attorneys to get substantive experience early on. Does it depend on whether you're in a criminal or civil component?

My initial thought is that DOJ Honors has to be better given that candidates have already spent 3-4 years demonstrating commitment to public service and working for the federal government.

But I've also been told that getting an AUSA job is heavily based on connections, and it seems like firms will be more connected to the USAO in their city than say, senior attorneys in the Civil Rights Division or ENRD.

I'd especially be interested in attorneys currently in private practice that are thinking about moving over to a USAO and how that process has been working for them.

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

Re: DOJ Honors --> AUSA

Postby anon168 » Thu Nov 15, 2012 12:08 am

Anonymous User wrote:How does Main Justice fare for AUSA prospects as compared to tip-top firms? I'm thinking of firms like Wachtell, Williams & Connolly, Morvillo, Keker, etc - firms that are known to allow young attorneys to get substantive experience early on. Does it depend on whether you're in a criminal or civil component?

My initial thought is that DOJ Honors has to be better given that candidates have already spent 3-4 years demonstrating commitment to public service and working for the federal government.

But I've also been told that getting an AUSA job is heavily based on connections, and it seems like firms will be more connected to the USAO in their city than say, senior attorneys in the Civil Rights Division or ENRD.

I'd especially be interested in attorneys currently in private practice that are thinking about moving over to a USAO and how that process has been working for them.


Depends on the component, and depends on what USAO you ultimately want to work at.

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Re: DOJ Honors --> AUSA

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Nov 15, 2012 12:13 am

anon168 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:How does Main Justice fare for AUSA prospects as compared to tip-top firms? I'm thinking of firms like Wachtell, Williams & Connolly, Morvillo, Keker, etc - firms that are known to allow young attorneys to get substantive experience early on. Does it depend on whether you're in a criminal or civil component?

My initial thought is that DOJ Honors has to be better given that candidates have already spent 3-4 years demonstrating commitment to public service and working for the federal government.

But I've also been told that getting an AUSA job is heavily based on connections, and it seems like firms will be more connected to the USAO in their city than say, senior attorneys in the Civil Rights Division or ENRD.

I'd especially be interested in attorneys currently in private practice that are thinking about moving over to a USAO and how that process has been working for them.


Depends on the component, and depends on what USAO you ultimately want to work at.


When you say component: do you mean that criminal is better than civil, and getting trial work is better than not? I'd imagine Criminal Tax is particularly good for both, and everything else is a mixed bag. But in any component, HP hires can do a 6-month USAO rotation. So given an ability to demonstrate a commitment to public service, interest in criminal work, and trial experience regardless of the component, why would component matter?

Re: which USAO - are there USAOs that are (today) known for preferring firm lawyers?

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

Re: DOJ Honors --> AUSA

Postby anon168 » Thu Nov 15, 2012 12:22 am

Anonymous User wrote:
anon168 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:How does Main Justice fare for AUSA prospects as compared to tip-top firms? I'm thinking of firms like Wachtell, Williams & Connolly, Morvillo, Keker, etc - firms that are known to allow young attorneys to get substantive experience early on. Does it depend on whether you're in a criminal or civil component?

My initial thought is that DOJ Honors has to be better given that candidates have already spent 3-4 years demonstrating commitment to public service and working for the federal government.

But I've also been told that getting an AUSA job is heavily based on connections, and it seems like firms will be more connected to the USAO in their city than say, senior attorneys in the Civil Rights Division or ENRD.

I'd especially be interested in attorneys currently in private practice that are thinking about moving over to a USAO and how that process has been working for them.


Depends on the component, and depends on what USAO you ultimately want to work at.


When you say component: do you mean that criminal is better than civil, and getting trial work is better than not? I'd imagine Criminal Tax is particularly good for both, and everything else is a mixed bag. But in any component, HP hires can do a 6-month USAO rotation. So given an ability to demonstrate a commitment to public service, interest in criminal work, and trial experience regardless of the component, why would component matter?

Re: which USAO - are there USAOs that are (today) known for preferring firm lawyers?


Well let's say you were in DOJ Antitrust -- not attractive to USAO because antitrust cases are usually (if not always) handled by Main Justice.

Every year there are hundreds of DOJ attorneys who try to flee the beltway to a local USAO and fail. When I was on the hiring committee, I would say about 1/3 of the applicants were from DOJ. After a while, it really wasn't that big of a selling point. Sure, it helped, but it didn't seal the deal in your favor.

The bottom line with getting a gig at the USAO? Getting your application noticed, and actually reviewed. You do that with connections to the particular office you are applying to -- whether those connections are ex-AUSAs at a firm, or DOJ Section Chiefs who have contacts at the USAO.

Anonymous User
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Re: DOJ Honors --> AUSA

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Nov 15, 2012 12:47 am

anon168 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
anon168 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:How does Main Justice fare for AUSA prospects as compared to tip-top firms? I'm thinking of firms like Wachtell, Williams & Connolly, Morvillo, Keker, etc - firms that are known to allow young attorneys to get substantive experience early on. Does it depend on whether you're in a criminal or civil component?

My initial thought is that DOJ Honors has to be better given that candidates have already spent 3-4 years demonstrating commitment to public service and working for the federal government.

But I've also been told that getting an AUSA job is heavily based on connections, and it seems like firms will be more connected to the USAO in their city than say, senior attorneys in the Civil Rights Division or ENRD.

I'd especially be interested in attorneys currently in private practice that are thinking about moving over to a USAO and how that process has been working for them.


Depends on the component, and depends on what USAO you ultimately want to work at.


When you say component: do you mean that criminal is better than civil, and getting trial work is better than not? I'd imagine Criminal Tax is particularly good for both, and everything else is a mixed bag. But in any component, HP hires can do a 6-month USAO rotation. So given an ability to demonstrate a commitment to public service, interest in criminal work, and trial experience regardless of the component, why would component matter?

Re: which USAO - are there USAOs that are (today) known for preferring firm lawyers?


Well let's say you were in DOJ Antitrust -- not attractive to USAO because antitrust cases are usually (if not always) handled by Main Justice.

Every year there are hundreds of DOJ attorneys who try to flee the beltway to a local USAO and fail. When I was on the hiring committee, I would say about 1/3 of the applicants were from DOJ. After a while, it really wasn't that big of a selling point. Sure, it helped, but it didn't seal the deal in your favor.

The bottom line with getting a gig at the USAO? Getting your application noticed, and actually reviewed. You do that with connections to the particular office you are applying to -- whether those connections are ex-AUSAs at a firm, or DOJ Section Chiefs who have contacts at the USAO.



OK. So then the main reason the component would matter is because some components have more former AUSAs (or connections to USAOs) than others ?

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

Re: DOJ Honors --> AUSA

Postby anon168 » Thu Nov 15, 2012 12:56 am

Anonymous User wrote:OK. So then the main reason the component would matter is because some components have more former AUSAs (or connections to USAOs) than others ?


No, because that's a variable that you cannot control.

The component matters because of the skill set you are going to develop. Most USAO are focused primarily on criminal prosecutions, and depending on what part of the country it can range from immigration to white collar to Tribal crimes.

If you want to make yourself attractive to USAOs, try to find a component that will develop a skill set of a prosecutor. Whether it's doing proactive investigations with the GJ, or drafting T3 applications or SWs, or being able to trial work. Some components at DOJ (e.g. crim fraud) naturally lend themselves to this -- others, not so much (e.g. civil rights, etc.)

And, lastly, you should also pick a component that actually interests you. Because there's a good chance you may not have any exit opportunities -- USAO or otherwise. So you may be "stuck" there for a while, or forever.

Anonymous User
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Re: DOJ Honors --> AUSA

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Nov 15, 2012 1:04 am

anon168 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:OK. So then the main reason the component would matter is because some components have more former AUSAs (or connections to USAOs) than others ?


No, because that's a variable that you cannot control.

The component matters because of the skill set you are going to develop. Most USAO are focused primarily on criminal prosecutions, and depending on what part of the country it can range from immigration to white collar to Tribal crimes.

If you want to make yourself attractive to USAOs, try to find a component that will develop a skill set of a prosecutor. Whether it's doing proactive investigations with the GJ, or drafting T3 applications or SWs, or being able to trial work. Some components at DOJ (e.g. crim fraud) naturally lend themselves to this -- others, not so much (e.g. civil rights, etc.)

And, lastly, you should also pick a component that actually interests you. Because there's a good chance you may not have any exit opportunities -- USAO or otherwise. So you may be "stuck" there for a while, or forever.



All of this is understood.

However, my initial question was comparing Main Justice to a firm. Your initial answer was that it depended on the component. My point was that regardless of component, HP hires will get at least 6 months more of criminal prosecution experience than anyone at any firm. So while I see that Crim Tax or Crim Fraud is better than Antitrust when comparing components to each other, it makes far less sense to me why component is so important when comparing Main Justice to firms.

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

Re: DOJ Honors --> AUSA

Postby anon168 » Thu Nov 15, 2012 1:16 am

Anonymous User wrote:
anon168 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:OK. So then the main reason the component would matter is because some components have more former AUSAs (or connections to USAOs) than others ?


No, because that's a variable that you cannot control.

The component matters because of the skill set you are going to develop. Most USAO are focused primarily on criminal prosecutions, and depending on what part of the country it can range from immigration to white collar to Tribal crimes.

If you want to make yourself attractive to USAOs, try to find a component that will develop a skill set of a prosecutor. Whether it's doing proactive investigations with the GJ, or drafting T3 applications or SWs, or being able to trial work. Some components at DOJ (e.g. crim fraud) naturally lend themselves to this -- others, not so much (e.g. civil rights, etc.)

And, lastly, you should also pick a component that actually interests you. Because there's a good chance you may not have any exit opportunities -- USAO or otherwise. So you may be "stuck" there for a while, or forever.



All of this is understood.

However, my initial question was comparing Main Justice to a firm. Your initial answer was that it depended on the component. My point was that regardless of component, HP hires will get at least 6 months more of criminal prosecution experience than anyone at any firm. So while I see that Crim Tax or Crim Fraud is better than Antitrust when comparing components to each other, it makes far less sense to me why component is so important when comparing Main Justice to firms.


Not if you are in, say, Fed Programs or ENRD.

Firm associates can also get prosecutorial experience. I've seen more than a few resumes where the person has done a stint at a local prosecutor's office based on an arrangement between the firm and the prosdcutor's office. And honestly, you get more real trial experience as a DA than during a short detail with a USAO.

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

Re: DOJ Honors --> AUSA

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Nov 15, 2012 2:21 pm

anon168 wrote:
Not if you are in, say, Fed Programs or ENRD.

Firm associates can also get prosecutorial experience. I've seen more than a few resumes where the person has done a stint at a local prosecutor's office based on an arrangement between the firm and the prosdcutor's office. And honestly, you get more real trial experience as a DA than during a short detail with a USAO.


I have never heard of this type of arrangement but would love more details. I'm going to a firm in DC but would love to be in a USAO down the road (I know I am entirely unique in this).

How does such an arrangement work? What is the firm's motivation? Do you still get paid by the firm at 160+ or by the DA's office at >>>>>>160? Is this done at top litigation firms in DC? (like Kirkland, Covington, Hogan)

Thanks a lot.

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

Re: DOJ Honors --> AUSA

Postby anon168 » Thu Nov 15, 2012 2:45 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
anon168 wrote:
Not if you are in, say, Fed Programs or ENRD.

Firm associates can also get prosecutorial experience. I've seen more than a few resumes where the person has done a stint at a local prosecutor's office based on an arrangement between the firm and the prosdcutor's office. And honestly, you get more real trial experience as a DA than during a short detail with a USAO.


I have never heard of this type of arrangement but would love more details. I'm going to a firm in DC but would love to be in a USAO down the road (I know I am entirely unique in this).

How does such an arrangement work? What is the firm's motivation? Do you still get paid by the firm at 160+ or by the DA's office at >>>>>>160? Is this done at top litigation firms in DC? (like Kirkland, Covington, Hogan)

Thanks a lot.


Can you PM me? This is too detailed to get into without totally outing myself, if I haven't already done so.




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