Assistant United States Attorney

Washington, DC 20530
United States
About the Office: 
Job Description: 

About the Office: The Office of the United States Attorney for the District of Columbia (USAODC) is unique among the 94 United States Attorneys' Offices across the nation by virtue of its size and its varied responsibilities. It is the largest United States Attorney's Office with up to 350 Assistant United States Attorneys and 350 support personnel. The size of this Office is the result of the breadth of our responsibility for criminal law enforcement and our location in the nation's capital. We are responsible not only for the prosecution of all federal crimes, but also for the prosecution of all serious local crimes committed by adults in the District of Columbia. In addition, we represent the United States and its departments and agencies in civil proceedings filed in federal court in the District of Columbia. As the principal prosecutor for all criminal offenses in this jurisdiction, and as the principal litigator for the United States in the nation's capital, this Office offers extensive litigation experience before over 100 judges in the federal and local courts and unique opportunities for important public service.


Criminal Assignments


As a general rule, during their first four years of service with this Office, Assistant U.S. Attorneys "rotate" through a series of assignments, each of which is of several months duration. However, Assistants who join the Office with particular expertise may be eligible for acceleration through the rotation process; also, Office needs and Assistant skill and development may result in an adjustment from the general schedule. The rotation of assignments provides training in criminal investigation, allows Assistants to develop their trial and oral advocacy skills, and offers exposure to the myriad issues raised by the wide variety of cases the Office handles. The first assignment in the rotation is normally to the Appellate Division or to the Misdemeanor Unit in either the Sex Offense and Domestic Violence Section or the Felony Major Crimes Trial Section. If an Assistant starts in Appellate, he/she will then rotate to one of the Misdemeanor Units.

Following the Assistant's tenure in Misdemeanors, he/she moves to the Felony Major Crimes Trial Section. Following this assignment, a number of things may occur: Assistants may move to the Felony Unit of the Sex Offense and Domestic Violence Section to prosecute domestic violence felony cases; Assistants may transfer to the U.S. District Court Criminal Division to serve in one of its specialized sections in a rotational assignment; Assistants may return to the Felony Major Crimes Trial Section after completing an assignment in another Section or Division of the Office; or an Assistant may transfer into a specialized or "senior" assignment in the Office. The order and length of any Assistant's assignment depends upon the staffing needs of the Office.

Qualifications: The ideal candidate will have outstanding legal ability, high moral character, mature judgment, a keen desire for public service, and an exceptional aptitude for litigation. Selections are made of the most highly qualified attorneys who apply, without regard to race, sex, creed, color, national origin, handicap, age, or political affiliation. Although experience in the criminal justice system as either a prosecutor or defense attorney is not necessary, we do require at least one year of legal experience following admission to the Bar.

Interested applicants must possess a J.D. degree, be duly licensed and authorized to practice as an attorney under the laws of any state, territory of the United States, or the District of Columbia, and have at least one year post J.D. legal experience. Applicants must be an active member of the bar in good standing.

United States citizenship is required. Applicants should review D.C. Bar Opinion 210 and ascertain whether they have a conflict of interest that they need to address.

Type of Position: All initial attorney appointments to the Department of Justice are made on a 14-month (temporary) basis pending favorable adjudication of a background investigation.

Location: The United States Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia is located at 555 4th Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. The office is a few blocks from Capitol Hill and close to the National Mall and the downtown area.

Relocation Expenses: Relocation expenses will not be paid.

Application Process and Deadline Date: An application package for a position with this Office should include a letter of application, resume, legal writing sample and an official law school transcript. The writing sample selected for submission should be the applicant's exclusive work product. If the writing sample was edited, or if there were other contributors, applicants are expected to identify those portions of the writing sample not exclusively their own work product and the extent of editing done by others. Applicants may also submit letters of reference from persons recommending appointment.

All applications and supporting documentation for Criminal AUSA positions should be mailed to:

Vincent H. Cohen, Jr.
Principal Assistant United States Attorney
United States Attorney's Office
District of Columbia
555 Fourth St., N.W., Room 5810
Washington, D.C. 20530

No telephone calls please. Position is open until filled, but no later than Wednesday, December 31, 2014.

Security Requirements: Initial appointment is conditioned upon a satisfactory pre-employment adjudication. This includes fingerprint and credit checks, and drug testing. In addition, continued employment is subject to a favorable adjudication of a background investigation.

Internet Sites:

This and other attorney vacancy announcements can be found at:

Assistant United States Attorneys' pay is administratively determined based, in part, on the number years of professional attorney experience. The range of basic pay is $71,531 to $138,162 which includes 24.22% locality pay.
There is little to no traveling required.
Application Process: 

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Department Policies

Equal Employment Opportunity:  The U.S. Department of Justice is an Equal Opportunity/Reasonable Accommodation Employer.  Except where otherwise provided by law, there will be no discrimination because of color, race, religion, national origin, political affiliation, marital status, disability (physical or mental), age, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, genetic information, status as a parent, membership or non-membership in an employee organization, on the basis of personal favoritism, or any other non-merit factor.  The Department of Justice welcomes and encourages applications from persons with physical and mental disabilities. The Department is firmly committed to satisfying its affirmative obligations under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, to ensure that persons with disabilities have every opportunity to be hired and advanced on the basis of merit within the Department of Justice.

Reasonable Accommodations:  This agency provides reasonable accommodation to applicants with disabilities where appropriate. If you need a reasonable accommodation for any part of the application and hiring process, please notify the agency.  Determinations on requests for reasonable accommodation will be made on a case-by-case basis.

Outreach and Recruitment for Qualified Applicants with Disabilities:   The Department encourages qualified applicants with disabilities, including individuals with targeted/severe disabilities to apply in response to posted vacancy announcements.  Qualified applicants with targeted/severe disabilities may be eligible for direct hire, non-competitive appointment under Schedule A (5 C.F.R. § 213.3102(u)) hiring authority.  Individuals with targeted/severe disabilities are encouraged to register for the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Shared List of People with Disabilities (the Bender Disability Employment Registry) by submitting their resume to and referencing "Federal Career Opportunities" in the subject line.  Additional information about the Bender Registry is available at  Individuals with disabilities may also contact one of the Department’s Disability Points of Contact (DPOC).  See list of DPOCs.    

Suitability and Citizenship:  It is the policy of the Department to achieve a drug-free workplace and persons selected for employment will be required to pass a drug test which screens for illegal drug use prior to final appointment.  Employment is also contingent upon the completion and satisfactory adjudication of a background investigation. Only U.S. citizens are eligible for employment with the Executive Office for Immigration Review and the United States Attorneys' Offices. Unless otherwise indicated in a particular job advertisement, non-U.S. Citizens may apply for employment with other organizations, but should be advised that appointments of non-U.S. Citizens are extremely rare; such appointments would be possible only if necessary to accomplish the Department's mission and would be subject to strict security requirements.  Applicants who hold dual citizenship in the U.S. and another country will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Veterans:  There is no formal rating system for applying veterans' preference to attorney appointments in the excepted service; however, the Department of Justice considers veterans' preference eligibility as a positive factor in attorney hiring. Applicants eligible for veterans' preference must include that information in their cover letter or resume and attach supporting documentation (e.g., the DD 214, Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty and other supporting documentation) to their submissions. Although the "point" system is not used, per se, applicants eligible to claim 10-point preference must submit Standard Form (SF) 15, Application for 10-Point Veteran Preference, and submit the supporting documentation required for the specific type of preference claimed (visit the OPM website, for a copy of SF 15, which lists the types of 10-point preferences and the required supporting document(s). Applicants should note that SF 15 requires supporting documentation associated with service- connected disabilities or receipt of nonservice-connected disability pensions to be dated 1991 or later except in the case of service members submitting official statements or retirement orders from a branch of the Armed Forces showing that his  or her retirement was due to a permanent service-connected disability or that he/she was transferred to the permanent disability retired list (the statement or retirement orders must indicate that the disability is 10% or more).


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This and other vacancy announcements can be found under Attorney Vacancies and Volunteer Legal Internships. The Department of Justice cannot control further dissemination and/or posting of information contained in this vacancy announcement. Such posting and/or dissemination is not an endorsement by the Department of the organization or group disseminating and/or posting the information.