Path to AUSA Position

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Anonymous User
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Re: Path to AUSA Position

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Sep 11, 2017 11:50 pm

My agency has a relationship with our local AUSA office where some of our attorneys work as special assistant u.s. attorneys. I imagine that it would make them a shoe-in if they wanted to jump ship.

JakeTappers
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Re: Path to AUSA Position

Postby JakeTappers » Wed Sep 13, 2017 2:04 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:One got hired as a permanent AUSA in the same office where they were a SAUSA, one got hired as a permanent AUSA in a different office from where they were a SAUSA, one is in a temporary (but paid) AUSA position in a different office.


What is the deal with these temporary AUSA positions anyways? I've been seeing a lot of 36-month term positions that may be extended. Is it likely that they are truly just 36 months? And if so, what is the logic behind it?

andythefir
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Re: Path to AUSA Position

Postby andythefir » Wed Sep 13, 2017 3:28 pm

JakeTappers wrote:
A. Nony Mouse wrote:One got hired as a permanent AUSA in the same office where they were a SAUSA, one got hired as a permanent AUSA in a different office from where they were a SAUSA, one is in a temporary (but paid) AUSA position in a different office.


What is the deal with these temporary AUSA positions anyways? I've been seeing a lot of 36-month term positions that may be extended. Is it likely that they are truly just 36 months? And if so, what is the logic behind it?


To be lawyerly you get more robust job protections once you've been there for so long, and I don't think term folks ever get those protections even if they get multiple term appointments.

The real answer is $. There's just no way to tell what kind of funding will be available when and where.

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Re: Path to AUSA Position

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 15, 2017 3:18 pm

JakeTappers wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I would like to be an AUSA. I have had interviews without any luck.

I have big law and clerkship experience (I am currently clerking). I am considering trying to be an ADA to get trial experience, but I have no desire to be a career ADA. I am concerned that I would be unable to go back to private practice if I am an ADA. I am also considering trying to be a SAUSA, but I have the same concerns about being unable to go back to private practice.

Ultimately, my top goal is to be an AUSA or to return to private practice. I fear that returning to private practice would not make me a more competitive AUSA applicant.

Can anyone offer some advice?


Hate to hijack (but not so much that i will refrain) but care to share any tips for getting interviews and and getting to final round and/or what has precluded you from getting past the final round? This comes with the caveat that I am likely your competition. 3.5 years biglaw then dual clerkships. Starting to apply now, planning on hitting all AUSA offices I can and then biglaw apps next month or so. Thus far, one bite in a major market and not much else.



I'm at what one would call a "prestigious" U.S. Attorney's office. I did the HYS >> Clerk >> firm route.

1. You should have a clear reason why you want to be at a U.S. Attorney's Office that is credible. If you're saying that you're committed to public service, then your resume should show that. If you say that you've always wanted to be an AUSA, then your resume should show that you interned or summered in a prosecutor's office.

2. You should be prepared to show a commitment to whatever office you're at. U.S. Attorney's Offices want people who are going to stay for a while even in the big cities. Most will have you sign a 3 or 4 year commitment, but the interviews will probe your level of commitment.

3. In interviews, you should show a relaxed but firm personality. People who are too nice or agreeable don't make good prosecutors. Agents, defendant, defense counsel and others will just run you over. You have to be able to stand up to people, lead people, say no to people. You don't have to be a jerk, but you have to have a firm personality. By the same token, you have to be someone that other AUSAs will want to work with and that agents will want to bring cases to. Its a delicate balance...but I say, in interviews, push back when people challenge you.

4. Don't be political. Don't name drop.

5. Have a clearly defined idea about what unit you want to be in. If you're a prosecutor from DANY having done nothing but violent crime, don't go into your SDNY interview talking about you want to do Financial Crime. You might be able to get into the Securities and Financial Fraud Unit after you do your time in the training unit, but you're better off telling them that you've been doing felonies, and now want to prosecute larger scale organized and violent crime.

6. Be open-minded about where you end up especially if you have somewhat weaker qualifications. Yeah, white plains sucks and not being in Brooklyn stinks, but if you're willing to go to WP or Central Islip, you could increase your odds for SDNY and EDNY. You can always make your way to Manhattan or Brooklyn after a reasonable time paying your dues.

7. Be patient. The process takes a while - - many months. Just be patient. People can shoot themselves in the foot by how they react to the fact that a decision takes a good amount of time.

8. Talk about your work, but be mindful of confidentiality. A lot of the things you will work on at a USAO will be sensitive, so how you discuss your work will be important to your interviewers. Somewhat relatedly, do not talk poorly about individuals (like partners) in interviews.

9. If you're 3-4 years out, be honest about where you are and how you're trying to develop as a lawyer. If you're 5-7 years out, be a superstar already.

10. If they ask you why not be an ADA, writing is always the safe answer. Never put down ADAs and what they do though. AUSAs do a fair amount of motion practice that ADAs don't do, and that's fair. While we're on that topic, make sure your writing sample is polished with proper citations and authorities and demonstrates both a command of facts and law. It does not have to be a writing sample on a criminal law issue, however.

11. Be confident. You're going to be asked to stand in front of judges and juries and make persuasive arguments by yourself. If you're nervous after the first five minutes, its going to hurt you. Shake off the nerves and show that you can be trusted to get the job done if you're asked to speak in front of a group of people. An conversation among people who thought enough of your resume that they wanted to meet you for a potential opportunity is child's play compared to some of the pressure the judge's will put you under.

12. Do your homework, especially for the final round with the USA. No telling what (s)he will ask. Btw, it is not a mere formality if you make it that far. At every office I am aware of, SDNY, EDVA, EDNY, NDIL, NDCA . . . you can still get rejected after meeting the U.S. Attorney.

13. Reapply if you don't get it. Sometimes the timing isn't right. Don't sweat it if you don't get in the first time.

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Re: Path to AUSA Position

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 15, 2017 5:09 pm

How important are connections in getting an interview? If you're a strong candidate (T14 top 5%, DCt/CoA, multiple externships with USAOs) is it reasonable to expect to pick up interviews in major cities even if no one on the inside is going to bat for you?

andythefir
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Re: Path to AUSA Position

Postby andythefir » Fri Sep 15, 2017 7:35 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I'm at what one would call a "prestigious" U.S. Attorney's office. I did the HYS >> Clerk >> firm route.



Thanks for taking the time to answer questions. In your district, would a regular AUSA from a nearby district be more or less competitive than a SAUSA from within the district? How often does your office hire? How much influence can someone within the office be on an application?

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Re: Path to AUSA Position

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Sep 16, 2017 7:45 am

Anonymous User wrote:How important are connections in getting an interview? If you're a strong candidate (T14 top 5%, DCt/CoA, multiple externships with USAOs) is it reasonable to expect to pick up interviews in major cities even if no one on the inside is going to bat for you?


Yes, you should be able to pick up interviews. How quickly you get a first round interview after you apply, however, can be influenced by who you know. But as long as offices are actively hiring, I'd expect you to pick up interviews with those credentials.

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Re: Path to AUSA Position

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Sep 16, 2017 7:51 am

andythefir wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I'm at what one would call a "prestigious" U.S. Attorney's office. I did the HYS >> Clerk >> firm route.



Thanks for taking the time to answer questions. In your district, would a regular AUSA from a nearby district be more or less competitive than a SAUSA from within the district? How often does your office hire? How much influence can someone within the office be on an application?


A SAUSA will generally have the edge if they have done good work, but most offices will not hire SAUSA's immediately after they finish their detail. The exception is EDVA which will, rarely, hire SAUSAs to be full-time AUSAs after their detail is completed.

My office hires with some regularity.

Connections matter, but I think most people internally respect the process. I think connections can help you get an interview, but I don't know that anyone has ever been heavy handed in trying to get the committee to move someone through the rounds. You just have to convince your panel at each stage.

The truth is, budget decides everything. Most of the people who get interviews are exceptional (i think) so it becomes like splitting hairs when the powers to be decide who gets a spot.

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Re: Path to AUSA Position

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Sep 16, 2017 12:35 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:How important are connections in getting an interview? If you're a strong candidate (T14 top 5%, DCt/CoA, multiple externships with USAOs) is it reasonable to expect to pick up interviews in major cities even if no one on the inside is going to bat for you?


Yes, you should be able to pick up interviews. How quickly you get a first round interview after you apply, however, can be influenced by who you know. But as long as offices are actively hiring, I'd expect you to pick up interviews with those credentials.


Thanks! With these creds, for SDNY/EDNY/EDVA USAOs, would it be better to do DOJ honors after clerking and go to a litigating component (federal programs maybe) or shoot for a boutique/firm? Which path would be looked on more favorably?

royale with cheese
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Re: Path to AUSA Position

Postby royale with cheese » Sun Sep 17, 2017 7:35 pm

I am an AUSA in Florida. I would not do the ADA or SAUSA route. If you're not applying everywhere in the country, I would do that. Some offices are extremely picky, others less so. Make sure you highlight trial experience, public service experience, legal writing experience, and anything else particularly relevant to the position in your resume. In your interviews, be confident and try to make yourself seem like someone the others in the office would want to work with. IME, my office has rejected people who on paper were highly qualified but who came off as a bad cultural fit for the office, or who had an overly inflated sense of their own importance.

royale with cheese
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Re: Path to AUSA Position

Postby royale with cheese » Sun Sep 17, 2017 7:39 pm

Also, WRT those asking why you'd want to be an AUSA, it's an amazing job. I worked biglaw for almost 9 years before transitioning out. I make about 1/3 of what I made before, but my hours are amazing, my cases are really interesting, I really like my colleagues, and my overall life satisfaction is so much higher now.

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los blancos
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Re: Path to AUSA Position

Postby los blancos » Tue Sep 19, 2017 12:03 am

royale with cheese wrote:I am an AUSA in Florida. I would not do the ADA or SAUSA route. If you're not applying everywhere in the country, I would do that. Some offices are extremely picky, others less so. Make sure you highlight trial experience, public service experience, legal writing experience, and anything else particularly relevant to the position in your resume. In your interviews, be confident and try to make yourself seem like someone the others in the office would want to work with. IME, my office has rejected people who on paper were highly qualified but who came off as a bad cultural fit for the office, or who had an overly inflated sense of their own importance.


I mean...

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Re: Path to AUSA Position

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 19, 2017 8:15 am

los blancos wrote:
royale with cheese wrote:I am an AUSA in Florida. I would not do the ADA or SAUSA route. If you're not applying everywhere in the country, I would do that. Some offices are extremely picky, others less so. Make sure you highlight trial experience, public service experience, legal writing experience, and anything else particularly relevant to the position in your resume. In your interviews, be confident and try to make yourself seem like someone the others in the office would want to work with. IME, my office has rejected people who on paper were highly qualified but who came off as a bad cultural fit for the office, or who had an overly inflated sense of their own importance.


I mean...


There's a total Catch 22 in AUSA interviews. I think I have a lot of stand up experience for a biglaw associate, but my AUSA interviews all go to shit when it comes to the stand up experience section.

I've even thought about trying to start like a mock trial club or something like that in the D.C. area just so I could be like "ya after drafting motion and fucking with discovery every day I went and did this so maybe you'd give me a shot."

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Re: Path to AUSA Position

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 19, 2017 9:14 am

I am a new district court clerk being around AUSA's in court for the first time and it seems like an amazing job. So, I am entertaining the thought of being an AUSA for the first time. I am going to a biglaw job after my clerkship in the same state (different judicial district), and that's where I want to live long term.

Can anyone shed some light on what pay is like in these positions? For example, looking at a vacancy now, it says the range is between $63,161 and $161,800. I have looked at the chart and still have a hard time understanding. How much money would someone with a clerkship and ~5 years legal experience make?

Also, is there generally a difference in competitiveness between criminal/civil divisions? Is it common/possible to transfer between divisions? And is it unrealistic to hope to land an AUSA spot in a specific office? It's not a big market.

I just looked up SAUSAs after never hearing of them before. How on earth do people work unpaid jobs for 2 years at a time? Do people really do that? Why would anyone do that?

I know I'm super ignorant here, but would appreciate any info you can send my way.

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Re: Path to AUSA Position

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 19, 2017 10:12 am

1) pay can vary a lot by office - it often depends on how a given USA decides to allocate funds. Your AD grade is based on years of legal experience. I have 5 years of legal experience (including clerkship) and I make just about $90k (in a low COL area, but it's actually a higher locality rate), which is on a theoretical scale of $60,411 to $102,699 (theoretical because that's not including locality pay). My experience has been that people are paid somewhere between the midpoint and 75th percentile of the range for their years of experience, but I can't guarantee that's the case for all offices or even all AUSAs within an office. (Your raises also depend somewhat on your annual performance evaluations.)

2) there are usually far fewer civil positions than criminal. So my sense is that they're a little less competitive, but they also don't come open as often. (I think they're less competitive generally because if you want to do that kind of work you can work for a firm and make more money; if you want to do criminal stuff your alternatives tend to pay less. But this is just an impression, nothing I can back up scientifically.) People do switch between the two, but the people I know who have have been with the office for a while. (Most criminal people have no desire at all to do civil.)

3) It is very hard to target a specific office. Now, if you're in the market, it's small, and you get to know people it can help a lot - you have a better shot if you're local than if you're not. But it will be tough, in part because it's difficult to know when/if openings will arise - they just may not hire anyone for a while.

4) The people I know who did the unpaid SAUSA positions (as opposed to the positions where they're detailed from another state/federal agency) worked biglaw first and saved up money to afford to do it. They did it because they really wanted to be an AUSA and hoped that the unpaid gig would make them competitive for a permanent gig. I know 3 people who did them and 2 are now in permanent AUSA gigs and the 3rd is in a term AUSA position.

JakeTappers
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Re: Path to AUSA Position

Postby JakeTappers » Mon Sep 25, 2017 3:56 pm

As far as the current listings (this is my first time applying) does referred really mean anything? Or does everyone with minimum qualifications get referred?

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Re: Path to AUSA Position

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Sep 25, 2017 4:14 pm

Yes, referred just means you have the JD and requisite years of experience, nothing more. Sorry.

royale with cheese
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Re: Path to AUSA Position

Postby royale with cheese » Sun Nov 05, 2017 9:43 am

Anonymous User wrote:
los blancos wrote:
royale with cheese wrote:I am an AUSA in Florida. I would not do the ADA or SAUSA route. If you're not applying everywhere in the country, I would do that. Some offices are extremely picky, others less so. Make sure you highlight trial experience, public service experience, legal writing experience, and anything else particularly relevant to the position in your resume. In your interviews, be confident and try to make yourself seem like someone the others in the office would want to work with. IME, my office has rejected people who on paper were highly qualified but who came off as a bad cultural fit for the office, or who had an overly inflated sense of their own importance.


I mean...


There's a total Catch 22 in AUSA interviews. I think I have a lot of stand up experience for a biglaw associate, but my AUSA interviews all go to shit when it comes to the stand up experience section.

I've even thought about trying to start like a mock trial club or something like that in the D.C. area just so I could be like "ya after drafting motion and fucking with discovery every day I went and did this so maybe you'd give me a shot."


Get trial experience through pro bono work. I had two criminal trials and two administrative/bench type trials on my resume.

royale with cheese
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Re: Path to AUSA Position

Postby royale with cheese » Sun Nov 05, 2017 9:46 am

Anonymous User wrote:I am a new district court clerk being around AUSA's in court for the first time and it seems like an amazing job. So, I am entertaining the thought of being an AUSA for the first time. I am going to a biglaw job after my clerkship in the same state (different judicial district), and that's where I want to live long term.

Can anyone shed some light on what pay is like in these positions? For example, looking at a vacancy now, it says the range is between $63,161 and $161,800. I have looked at the chart and still have a hard time understanding. How much money would someone with a clerkship and ~5 years legal experience make?

Also, is there generally a difference in competitiveness between criminal/civil divisions? Is it common/possible to transfer between divisions? And is it unrealistic to hope to land an AUSA spot in a specific office? It's not a big market.

I just looked up SAUSAs after never hearing of them before. How on earth do people work unpaid jobs for 2 years at a time? Do people really do that? Why would anyone do that?

I know I'm super ignorant here, but would appreciate any info you can send my way.


In my office, it's very difficult to transfer from civil to criminal.

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Re: Path to AUSA Position

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Nov 06, 2017 10:37 pm

Anyone here at NDIL, or interviewed there before, or trying for the current wave?




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