Pathway to USAO-SDNY

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Generic1L

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Pathway to USAO-SDNY

Postby Generic1L » Sun Jan 12, 2020 11:11 pm

My primary goal is to become an AUSA in SDNY. I realize that they participated in DOJ Honors this year, but I was unable to participate as I am between clerkships (non-SDNY District -> non-CA2 CoA). Assuming SDNY does not participate in DOJ Honors next year, does anyone have firsthand knowledge of what it takes to be a competitive/successful applicant?

All advice is welcome. That being said, I am especially curious if SDNY has a preference for those lateraling from BigLaw as opposed to from DOJ Honors. I talked to a former AUSA who was in the office from the 90s-00s who told me there was no upside to starting at DOJ Honors (at the time) but there was to starting at a large firm with a significant government investigations practice. Is this still the case?

Thanks in advance for any help y'all can provide.

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Re: Pathway to USAO-SDNY

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jan 13, 2020 12:23 am

Anon b/c I am an AUSA, though not in SDNY, so this is just anecdotal: lots of USAOs do prefer to hire line AUSAs from other districts, but my impression is that yes, SDNY would prefer a biglaw lateral to a lateral AUSA from a run-of-the-mill* district. (I don't think you'd really be seen as lateraling from the honors program; you'd be lateraling from whatever district you ended up in.) While I know a lot of AUSAs in non-SDNY districts who moved from another district, I don't know of anyone at SDNY with that experience. The vast vast majority are former biglaw associates, with a very few who went directly to SDNY via the honors program, and a few who have a detour along the way in some office in the NYC department of law (but they often also have biglaw experience).

In part, connections can be so important in getting you an AUSA gig (especially somewhere like SDNY), being in NYC and working with former AUSAs is probably pretty key to getting a job at SDNY.

(I mean no disrespect by run-of-the-mill; that's where my experience is. Just that's probably how SDNY would see it.)

Generic1L

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Re: Pathway to USAO-SDNY

Postby Generic1L » Mon Jan 13, 2020 12:47 am

Anonymous User wrote:Anon b/c I am an AUSA, though not in SDNY, so this is just anecdotal: lots of USAOs do prefer to hire line AUSAs from other districts, but my impression is that yes, SDNY would prefer a biglaw lateral to a lateral AUSA from a run-of-the-mill* district. (I don't think you'd really be seen as lateraling from the honors program; you'd be lateraling from whatever district you ended up in.) While I know a lot of AUSAs in non-SDNY districts who moved from another district, I don't know of anyone at SDNY with that experience. The vast vast majority are former biglaw associates, with a very few who went directly to SDNY via the honors program, and a few who have a detour along the way in some office in the NYC department of law (but they often also have biglaw experience).

In part, connections can be so important in getting you an AUSA gig (especially somewhere like SDNY), being in NYC and working with former AUSAs is probably pretty key to getting a job at SDNY.

(I mean no disrespect by run-of-the-mill; that's where my experience is. Just that's probably how SDNY would see it.)


Thank you! As for lateraling from Honors, I meant as someone who entered DOJ Honors through Main Justice in a litigating component (e.g., Criminal/Civil/Tax/Antitrust Division(s)) for 3-4 years and then lateraled to SDNY; this is considering the few slots directly available to USAOs through DOJ Honors and the chance that SDNY does not participate this year.

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Re: Pathway to USAO-SDNY

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jan 13, 2020 8:05 am

Oh, got it re: lateraling, I thought you were assuming getting a different USAO. I think I may have encountered one person who went from Civil Rights to SDNY, but I think biglaw —> SDNY is still much more common.

(You may have just meant this as shorthand rather than as a thing that has independent meaning, but again, I don’t think you’d be seen as lateraling from the honors program specifically; you’d simply be seen as lateraling from Main Justice.)

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