First Year AUSA

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First Year AUSA

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 20, 2018 7:50 am

What does the day to day look like for a first year AUSA in SoCal/WDTX/NM/AZ without any prior courtroom experience? I want to know what to expect and dont have any AUSA friends, especially on this side of the country. I’m imagining a lot of immigration offenses, but how involved are these? What sorts of motions will I be filing? Any recommendations on how to prepare? I have no trial or criminal experience. Thank you!

andythefir

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Re: First Year AUSA

Postby andythefir » Thu Sep 20, 2018 12:49 pm

No criminal experience, no trial experience, and you’re starting in a border district where you’ll see the highest volume and therefore highest likelihood of going to trial. I’m not an ausa, but that seems like a bad fit that is setting you up to struggle.

JakeTappers

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Re: First Year AUSA

Postby JakeTappers » Thu Sep 20, 2018 1:08 pm

andythefir wrote:No criminal experience, no trial experience, and you’re starting in a border district where you’ll see the highest volume and therefore highest likelihood of going to trial. I’m not an ausa, but that seems like a bad fit that is setting you up to struggle.


So....the poster should rescind his acceptance? :lol: seems harsh. And the interviewers/USA apparently thought otherwise.

I clerked in a border district. Don’t despair despite this warning. There aren’t THAT many trials. And those cases that do go to trial as to border crimes, can be very simple. You’ll be second chair to start and be eased in. Read the ninth circuit criminal handbook if you can. That will give you some background as to a lot of the work you’ll be doing like grand jury, initial appearances, etc. the most difficult writing you’ll do to start is likely motions to suppress.

Anonymous User
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Re: First Year AUSA

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 20, 2018 4:34 pm

andythefir wrote:No criminal experience, no trial experience, and you’re starting in a border district where you’ll see the highest volume and therefore highest likelihood of going to trial. I’m not an ausa, but that seems like a bad fit that is setting you up to struggle.


OP here. Thanks for the concern. I am a bit concerned as well but ready to get into the courtroom. Do you have any recommendations on how I can best prepare? I know it will be a challenge

By the way, how’s Lubbock? Not to concern you, but your post history and username outs you. Not that you’ve posted anything unbecoming - just fyi

Anonymous User
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Re: First Year AUSA

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 20, 2018 5:33 pm

Okay, so first, the immigration offenses aren’t very involved. They’re good experience to learn how to run a case with, frankly, relatively low stakes. Even in a border district, volume isn’t comparable to being an ADA in a major city - the vast majority of defendants still plead, so while you will get to go to trial, you won’t be going to trial as frequently as state prosecutors seem to.

Second, offices that hire people out of the honors program (which is what I assume you’re talking about) know that those people are coming in without any experience, and are committed to training you. Actually, even if it’s not an honors position, if they’re willing to hire you without criminal/trial experience, they will understand the need to train you. (At least, enough people that you will be fine. You may encounter some curmudgeon who wants to grumble about bringing in know-nothings, but you can safely ignore them.) You should have a mentor, you will be walked through the steps of a case, and you won’t do anything substantive in court on your own for a while. You might actually first chair your first trial, but if so, you will have an experienced AUSA walking you through every step.

I agree that your most involved writing initially is likely going to be responding to motions to suppress. Also probably sentencing memos - the illegal reentry sentencings are much more straightforward now than they used to be, but you will still have a lot of sentencings and some will require work/research. Assuming you’ve clerked (mostly bc those offices usually require it of honors candidates) you won’t have any problem with the writing, and there are lots of go-bys for standard issues.

I won’t lie, without criminal/trial experience it is a steep learning curve. A lot of people won’t realize what you don’t know, so you will need to balance getting the information you need (if you know what to ask!) with not annoying people with constant questions. It may take a while before things click for you, but that’s okay. Personally I found it helpful to remind myself that no one is actually born knowing how to prosecute, that everyone has to learn how.

It’s a little hard to know what to recommend because, for me at least, it was hard to make sense of it all out of context - I had to learn by doing it. But depending on when you last took crim pro, maybe get hold of Dressler or something and review that. (If you didn’t take crim pro - neither did I. You can learn it.)

So tl;dr - it will probably be tough at first but you will learn and do fine. I know a bunch of honors people in your position who were fine.

Anonymous User
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Re: First Year AUSA

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 20, 2018 7:10 pm

I’m starting as well in a major district but with biglaw experience. Any other prep advice? I’ve got a few months. The criminal handbook is like 350 dollars lol

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Re: First Year AUSA

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Sep 22, 2018 12:27 pm

Bump



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