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Legal Careers

Assistant United States Attorney (Appellate)

Hiring Organization
USAO Western District of Texas
Hiring Office
Austin, TX
Job ID
903 San Jacinto Blvd.
Austin, TX 78701 - United States
Application Deadline:
About the Office

Our mission is to enforce the law and defend the interests of the United States, provide Federal leadership in preventing and controlling crime, seek just punishment for those guilty of unlawful behavior, and to administer and enforce the Nation's laws to ensure fair and impartial administration of justice for all Americans. We strive to build a stronger office through recruitment efforts and maintain the high standards of the office by promoting professional development. We seek to build a legacy of excellence.

In all matters, it is our mission to represent the people of the United States in a manner that will instill confidence in the fairness and integrity of our office and the judicial system, and to conduct our work with the highest integrity. We strive to perform our mission in the most efficient and effective manner.

The Western District of Texas is a large complex district which includes 68 counties and approximately 93,000 square miles. Offices are located in San Antonio, Austin, El Paso, Del Rio, Midland, Waco, and Alpine/Pecos.


As the federal agency whose mission is to ensure the fair and impartial administration of justice for all Americans, the Department of Justice is committed to fostering a diverse and inclusive work environment. To build and retain a workforce that reflects the diverse experiences and perspectives of the American people, we welcome applicants from the many communities, identities, races, ethnicities, backgrounds, abilities, religions, and cultures of the United States who share our commitment to public service.

Job Description

This position is in the Appellate Section of the Criminal Division. The AUSA will represent the United States in cases before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit and will handle all aspects of affirmative and defensive appeals from criminal cases arising in the District. Responsibilities will include appellate briefs and oral arguments on constitutional, statutory, evidentiary, and procedural matters. The AUSA will also review draft briefs written by fellow AUSAs and participate in moot courts.

Aside from appellate litigation, the AUSA will advise the U.S. Attorney and fellow AUSAs on developments in the law and significant legal issues; handle specialized litigation in federal district court; and consult with the Solicitor General's Office and the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice regarding appeals, petitions for rehearing en banc, and litigation in the U.S. Supreme Court.

Responsibilities will increase and assignments will become more complex as your training and experience progress.


Required Qualifications

Applicants must possess a J.D. Degree, be an active member of the bar (any U.S. jurisdiction), and have at least one year post-J.D. legal experience (including any judicial clerkships).

United States citizenship is required.


Preferred Qualifications: 

Hiring for AUSA positions is highly competitive.  The U.S. Attorney's Office seeks a diverse complement of lawyers with keen intelligence, a wide range of exceptional skills and experiences, and a sincere commitment to the public interest.  Typically, an individual who joins the Appellate Section of a U.S. Attorney's Office has an exceptional academic record, experience as a federal judicial clerk, and significant appellate experience in private practice or government.  Experience as a federal judicial clerk at the appellate level or as a federal prosecutor working on appellate matters is highly desirable. 

Applicants must demonstrate fair and ethical judgment; superior writing, legal-research, and appellate-advocacy skills; the ability to articulate quickly, accurately, and precisely the critical issues in a case; the ability to distill voluminous factual records into a readily understood narrative; the ability to work in a supportive and professional manner with attorneys and support staff; and a demonstrated capacity to succeed with minimal guidance in a highly demanding environment.

Applicants must demonstrate an ability to do their own legal research and writing and to prepare their own correspondence and court filings. Applicants must also demonstrate excellent computer-literacy skills, including independent facility in legal research on the Internet, electronic court filing, and electronic e-mail and word-processing systems.

Most attorneys hired have several years of experience, although highly qualified recent graduates with some experience in practice or as a judicial clerk are also considered.

You must meet all qualification requirements upon the closing date of this announcement.


Application Process

Applications must be submitted online through the following link:  

All initial attorney positions to the Department of Justice are made on a 14-month (temporary) basis.




Assistant United States Attorney's pay is administratively determined based, in part, on the number of years of professional experience. The range of basic pay is $65,887.00 to $172,334.00 which includes 18.17% locality pay.

Number of Positions
1 -- As needed, additional positions may be filled using this announcement.
Occasional travel may be required to meet the mission of the office.
Relocation Expenses
Relocation expenses will not be authorized.

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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 race, color, religion, national origin, sex - including gender identity, sexual orientation, or pregnancy status - or because of age (over 40), physical or mental disability, protected genetic information, parental status, marital status, political affiliation, or any other non-merit based 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. For more information, please review our full EEO Statement.

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 disabilities are encouraged to contact one of the Department’s Disability Points of Contact (DPOC) to express an interest in being considered for a position. 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, 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, 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 their retirement was due to a permanent service-connected disability or that they were transferred to the permanent disability retired list (the statement or retirement orders must indicate that the disability is 10% or more).

USAO Residency Requirement:  Assistant United States Attorneys must reside in the district to which appointed or within 25 miles thereof.  See 28 U.S.C. 545 for district specific information.

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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.

Updated October 27, 2021