detrimental effect of withdrawing from target USAO?

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detrimental effect of withdrawing from target USAO?

Post by Anonymous User » Tue Jun 23, 2020 6:47 am

I am a 6th/7th associate in a fairly major metro area in a fairly competitive usao district at a market biglaw firm. I have I pretty good rep at my firm. I fedclerked in this district and also did a stint as a state prosecutor in the district.

My biglaw lit group is not large and has not promoted from within to partner in a long time. Still, I generally enjoy my experience there.

My dream job has always been to become an ausa in this district, though. However life recently happened and I now have two kids in daycare, the mortgage, etc. There is an opening in my target district (as there typically is every 1-2 years), but I do not think financially it’s a good time for my family to take that kind of income haircut. Last time there was a usao opening a couple years ago, I got two interviews deep then got rejected with a “come back with more experience” thing.

Question is this: my firm has not cut salaries or laid off thus far, but I am nevertheless aware of poor partnership prospects from getting promoted from within, my increasing expense to clients, and of course whatever is going on in this market. Most senior associates end up in-house, and I sense that they typically get at least softly pushed out. (FWIW, I have no desire for in house.)

Is there a downside to applying to the target ausa gig if there is a high likelihood that I withdraw my application after an interview or two? The purpose of course would be to put an iron in the fire at my dream job during this unpredictable time in biglaw. The concern is that doing so would be detrimental to my future prospects at this same USAO (looking to a time when I am really 100% ready to go, in maybe 2 more years).

My biggest fear is getting too senior in biglaw and getting pushed out on somebody else’s terms without a really good landing spot (and by really good, I almost exclusively mean ausa in this district). Still, there is no indication At this time that a push out is a possibility, as my evaluations are quite strong and I have good mentors.


Anonymous User
Posts: 359168
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: detrimental effect of withdrawing from target USAO?

Post by Anonymous User » Tue Jun 23, 2020 7:59 am

AUSA (but probably not in your target district). From what I’ve seen, I don’t think it would hurt you to withdraw, in that if you’re a good candidate at one point you’d still be a good candidate later (and frankly the problem is usually choosing between good candidates, not finding someone who qualifies at all, so a withdrawal doesn’t usually devastate us). But I think it helps to have a good reason. I’ve seen the withdrawal thing happen where 1) COVID and 2) the applicant had family timing constraints that turned out to be insurmountable; the second candidate got hired in a later round, and we’d definitely interview the first again.

Frankly, I don’t see the point in applying to “put an iron in the fire” if you know you’re almost certainly going to withdraw. You have some history there from your previous applications; that will show your interest. You can’t guarantee the same people (who remember you positively) will be involved in hiring when you next apply, but that’s the case whether you put the iron in the fire now or not. Or to put it another way, I don’t think applying yet again is going to achieve anything for your candidacy that you haven’t already achieved.

Obviously if you think you really would jump, of course apply. But you sound pretty committed to not jumping right now, and for reasons that are self-evident at the time of applying (money). I don’t think withdrawing before you get an offer is that big a deal (turning down an offer could be different), but it’s all kind of a big waste of your and their time and I really don’t see the point. If the goal is to set you up for a soft landing if pushed from your firm - I don’t think anything you could do during this job application round would create a job to be waiting for you if/when you leave your firm. From everything I’ve seen about how hiring works, there would still need to be an opening at the USAO and that would still be on the USAO’s timing, not yours. And I don’t think applying now but withdrawing is going to make you a stronger candidate for that ultimate job than you are now.


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Re: detrimental effect of withdrawing from target USAO?

Post by 12YrsAnAssociate » Tue Jun 23, 2020 4:20 pm

I almost applied to my target USAO in early 2018, but didn't. That was the first time the office had an opening since 2014, and the office hasn't had an opening since the 2018 one. Like you, I'm not sure I could/can afford the haircut. But I definitely wonder whether I made a mistake. Sounds like your office hires more regularly, though.

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