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Assistant United States Attorney

Criminal Division
DOJ/Office of the United States Attorney
880 Front Street, Room 6293
San Diego, CA 92101-8893
United States
About the Office: 

The United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of California is one of the largest in the country. The office prosecutes federal crimes and defends the interests of the United States Government in civil cases. The Southern District of California encompasses San Diego and Imperial Counties and includes a branch office located in El Centro, California.

The SDCA is home to the largest concentration of Navy and Marine Corps installations in the world. The entire Southern boundary of the District borders the Republic of Mexico. Contained within the district are international ports of entry at San Ysidro, Otay Mesa, Tecate, Calexico (two ports, East and West) and Andrade. The entire west boundary of the District lies on the Pacific Ocean, with a major port in San Diego.

Job Description: 

The U.S. Attorney's Office is currently seeking experienced attorneys for one or more positions as an Assistant U.S. Attorney ("AUSA") in the Criminal Division.

The Criminal Division is organized into six sections, which consist of the Major Crimes Section, the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF Section), the Major Frauds and Public Corruption Section,  National Security and Cybercrimes Section, the Financial Litigation and Asset Forfeiture Unit, and the Appellate Section.  (See the San Diego U.S. Attorney’s website www.justice.gov/usao-sdca for a detailed description of each section.)   

Commensurate with experience and needs of the Office, AUSAs may be assigned to different sections in the U.S. Attorney’s Office.  New hires are expected to start in the Major Crimes Section.  The Major Crimes Section is the largest section in the Criminal Division and accounts for approximately 95 percent of the cases prosecuted in the Southern District of California.  The Major Crimes Section handles a large volume of reactive cases that arise from policing the 141-mile long border between California and Mexico, six Ports of Entry, and the roughly 70 miles of coastline stretching from the U.S.-Mexico border to the northernmost tip of San Diego County. Cases commonly include illegal entry and reentry, drug importation and alien smuggling prosecutions.  This section consists of an Intake Team, Fast-Track Team, and four prosecution teams with specific areas of concentration.  These include violent crime and firearms, sex trafficking and child exploitation, border corruption, civil rights, drug trafficking including overdose death cases, alien smuggling.  Major Crimes Section attorneys try a large number of cases and often oversee the use of investigative tools like search and tracking warrants, undercover operations, confidential sources, grand jury investigations, and wiretaps.

Enclosed is a link to the Southern District of California's web page for more information about the office.



Required Qualifications: Applicants must possess a J.D. degree and must currently be an active member of a state bar in order to be considered. Proof of an active bar membership is required. One full year of post graduate legal experience is required.

Preferred Qualifications: Applicants must demonstrate a quick analytical ability and an aptitude for accurately articulating the critical issues in a case. Applicants must demonstrate superior oral and writing skills, as well as strong research and interpersonal skills and good judgment. Applicants must possess excellent communication and courtroom skills and exhibit the ability to work in a supportive and professional manner with other attorneys, support staff, and client agencies. Applicants must also have demonstrated excellent computer literacy skills, to include experience with automated research on the Internet, electronic court filing, and electronic e-mail and word processing systems.

AUSAs receive training by the U.S. Department of Justice and by the U.S. Attorney's Office. Appointment is subject to an FBI background investigation, including credit, arrest, and drug use inquiries.

Residency Requirements: Assistant United States Attorneys generally must reside in the district to which he or she is appointed or within 25 miles thereof. See 28 U.S.C. 545 for district-specific information.

United States Citizenship is required.

Assistant United States Attorney's pay is administratively determined based, in part, on the number of years of professional attorney experience. The range of basic pay $67,856.00 through $164,100.00 .
Occasional travel both within and outside the district may be required.
Application Process: 

Applications must be submitted through the following link:


You must provide a complete Application Package which includes:

-Required-Your responses to the Occupational Questionnaire Online (online or 1203-FX)

-Required-Your cover letter and resume showing relevant experience and dates of employment (include day, month, year)

-Required-if applicable- Veteran's Preference Documentation (see Benefits and Other Information Section on the job announcement on the link above for details)

-Required-You will have to upload two (2) Legal Writing Samples.  Please attach this document as an "Other" document.

-Required- The Assistant United States Attorney (AUSA) Application Form found at https://www.justice.gov/usao-sdca/assistant-u-s-attorney-positions

(Under the Application Form Section in Adobe Acrobat or Microsoft Word).  Please attach this document as an "Other" document.

The point of contact for this Vacancy Announcement is Nitza Williamson, who can be reached at 619-546-9273 or nitza.williamson@usdoj.gov

Application Deadline: 
Friday, June 29, 2018
Relocation Expenses: 
Relocation expenses will not be authorized.
Number of Positions: 
one (1) or more; As needed, additional positions may be filled using this announcement
Updated April 30, 2018

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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 resume@benderconsult.com and referencing "Federal Career Opportunities" in the subject line.  Additional information about the Bender Registry is available at www.benderconsult.com.  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. Congress generally prohibits agencies from employing non-citizens within the United States, except for a few narrow exceptions as set forth in the annual Appropriations Act (see, https://www.usajobs.gov/Help/working-in-government/non-citizens/). Pursuant to DOJ component policies, only U.S. citizens are eligible for employment with the Executive Office for Immigration Review, U.S. Trustee’s Offices, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Unless otherwise indicated in a particular job advertisement, qualifying non-U.S. citizens meeting immigration and appropriations law criteria may apply for employment with other DOJ organizations. However, please be advised that the appointment of non-U.S. citizens is 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. All DOJ employees are subject to a residency requirement. Candidates must have lived in the United States for at least three of the past five years. The three-year period is cumulative, not necessarily consecutive. Federal or military employees, or dependents of federal or military employees serving overseas, are excepted from this requirement. This is a Department security requirement which is waived only for extreme circumstances and handled 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, www.opm.gov/forms/pdf_fill/SF15.pdf 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.