career opportunities

Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Positions

The USAO-DC continually seeks qualified attorneys who are currently working for the federal government to be detailed to this Office as Special Assistant United States Attorneys (SAUSAs), either a) to the Superior Court Division: or b) to the Civil Division. These are details (that is, fixed term appointments) from other federal agencies, not positions for which persons outside the federal government can be hired.

A. Superior Court Division

The detail to the Superior Court Division typically is to prosecute criminal misdemeanors, and lasts six months. Attorneys selected for this program are assigned to either the Misdemeanor Unit of the General Crimes Section, or the Domestic Violence Unit of the Sex Offense and Domestic Violence Section. The Misdemeanor Unit handles many different types of serious misdemeanor offenses under Title 22 of the District of Columbia Code. The charges most commonly prosecuted are drug possession, stranger on stranger assaults, weapons possession and theft-related offenses. The Domestic Violence Unit prosecutes all forms of domestic violence including spousal abuse, partner abuse, intrafamily child abuse, and elder abuse. Detailees have the opportunity to gain immediate, extensive and intense trial experience.

SAUSAs need not have prior criminal law experience, although it is helpful. SAUSAs, like our permanent AUSAs, undergo extensive training before entering on duty. They are required to be citizens of the United States, to be attorneys, to be currently employed with the federal government, to have a current U.S. Government background check, and to be admitted to practice law somewhere in the United States.

To apply to be a SAUSA in the Superior Court Division, send an email and resume to:
Ann H. Petalas
Director of Training
United States Attorney's Office
District of Columbia
501 3rd Street, NW, Room E5104
Washington, D.C. 20530
Email: Ann.Petalas@usdoj.gov

Inquiries should be directed to Ann H. Petalas at 202-252-7807

B. Civil Division

The Civil Division represents the United States and its departments and agencies at both the trial and appellate levels in civil actions filed in this jurisdiction. The activities of the Civil Division primarily involve defensive civil actions in the United States District Court and United States Court of Appeals. The types of cases handled by the Civil Division include allegations of discrimination; suits under the Federal Tort Claims Act; challenges to agency actions and government procurement under the Administrative Procedure Act; requests for access to and/or the amendment of records under the Freedom of Information Act and Privacy Act; and the defense of government officials sued in their individual capacities. The Division also brings civil actions to recover money owed the United States Government by those who submit false claims or commit fraud against the government.

The Civil Division seeks qualified U.S. Government attorneys to be detailed to this Office as SAUSAs for six to twelve months. During that period, a SAUSA will receive intensive litigation experience including brief writing, deposition taking and defending, and, based on ability, opportunity for oral argument and second-chairing a trial.

To apply to be a SAUSA in the Civil Division, send an email and a resume to:

Daniel VanHorn
Chief, Civil Division
United States Attorney's Office
District of Columbia
555 Fourth St., N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20530
Email: Daniel VanHorn

Inquiries should be directed to Daniel VanHorn at 202-252-2506.

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