AUSA in Non-Major District-->Major Market BigLaw

(Advantages vs Disadvantages, Big Law, Work-Life Balance, Hiring Practices, Company Culture, Hours and Compensation, Private Sector Firm Reviews & Experiences)
Anonymous User
Posts: 350768
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

AUSA in Non-Major District-->Major Market BigLaw

Post by Anonymous User » Fri Jun 19, 2020 11:30 am

I'm currently a summer associate for a national law firm that I quite like. However, I'm interested in white collar litigation, so I feel like it would be ideal to get federal government work experience before transitioning back to private practice. After I graduate I will be clerking in a non-major district that is relatively close to a major market (think E.D. Penn., D. NJ, D. Wash., D. Md.) with a judge with strong connections to the local U.S. Attorney's office. I'm planning on applying as broadly as the DOJ Honors program allows, but I figure I would have the best shot in the district where I'm clerking. I know that it's a long shot to get an entry-level position in FedGov, and would be happy to return to my firm if thing's don't pan out, but it's a career path I'd like to try, at the very least.

TL;DR: What's the portability of an AUSA position in a non-major district?

Anonymous User
Posts: 350768
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: AUSA in Non-Major District-->Major Market BigLaw

Post by Anonymous User » Fri Jun 19, 2020 11:55 am

Current AUSA. I don’t think those are non-major districts, just for the record. Non-major would be like D. Kan or D. S.D. (which I say with all respect to those districts).

Except through the honors program, you’re not likely to get an AUSA gig out of clerking, at least not in any of those districts (you might possibly in a border district). But portability of an AUSA gig depends almost entirely on what kinds of cases you do (the rest is probably connections). For instance, EDPA does a ton of gun cases. Biglaw won’t care about gun cases. All districts have a lot of drug cases. Biglaw won’t care about drug cases. You’ll need to get onto large scale white collar investigations to really be able to parlay an AUSA gig into biglaw, and it’s hard to guarantee when/how you’ll be able to do that, depending on the district and the experience you bring to the table.

I think you’d be better served doing this the other way around. Go back to your firm, do traditional biglaw stuff for a while, get some good experience, then try for an AUSA gig and stick around long enough and get experience that will make you appealing to biglaw at the partner level.

The other issue with the way you’ve proposed doing this is that being an AUSA for a few years and then going biglaw doesn’t fit the associate promotion ladder at all. To get the kind of AUSA experience that would be valuable, you’d end up coming in at a class year that wouldn’t fit your experience at all. You kind of need to be an AUSA for long enough to hit partner level.

andythefir

Silver
Posts: 652
Joined: Mon Jul 05, 2010 1:56 am

Re: AUSA in Non-Major District-->Major Market BigLaw

Post by andythefir » Fri Jun 19, 2020 4:50 pm

You could also try to leverage a less desirable USAO satellite (Del Rio, Laredo, San Diego) into a job with their main office (San Antonio, Houston, LA), then try to leverage that into biglaw in the town where the main office is. Laredo>SDNY is not likely, but Laredo>Houston is.

User avatar
joeshmo39

Silver
Posts: 540
Joined: Tue Jun 09, 2009 5:15 am

Re: AUSA in Non-Major District-->Major Market BigLaw

Post by joeshmo39 » Tue Jul 07, 2020 10:14 am

Just in general, the path to White Collar Big Law is usually:

4/5 years at a firm (including clerkship) --> 5+ years as an AUSA --> Back to a firm in some sort of senior counsel position with a two year tryout for partner. If you spend a ton of time as an AUSA you may be able to come in as a partner.

Want to continue reading?

Register now to search topics and post comments!

Absolutely FREE!


Post Reply Post Anonymous Reply  

Return to “Big Law/Private Practice Jobs”