The United States Attorney's Office for the Central District of California (USAO) is responsible for representing the federal government in virtually all litigation involving the United States in the Central District of California. This includes criminal prosecutions for violations of federal law, civil lawsuits by and against the government, and actions to collect judgments and restitution on behalf of victims and taxpayers. With an authorized strength of approximately 280 Assistant United States Attorneys (AUSAs), the USAO is the second largest in the country. The USAO is divided into four litigating Divisions (Criminal, National Security, Civil, and Tax). The USAO's main offices are in Los Angeles. The USAO's Criminal Division has branch offices in Santa Ana and Riverside.
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.
The office is interviewing for one (1) AUSA in the Criminal Appeals Section of the Criminal Division.
AUSAs in the Criminal Appeals Section supervise or handle all of the Office’s criminal matters before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals—including some 200 briefs and nearly 100 oral arguments each year. These cases involve some of the most challenging legal issues in criminal law, including constitutional challenges to criminal convictions, statutory issues of first impression, sentencing challenges, and appeals from substantial (and often high-profile) trials. AUSAs in the section also work closely with the Solicitor General’s Office to determine which cases raise significant legal issues that are worthy of government appeal, en banc rehearing, or Supreme Court review.
The position provides a unique opportunity to gain substantial experience before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Although AUSAs from other sections write and argue many of their own appeals, AUSAs from the Criminal Appeals Section have editorial control over all briefs, hold moot courts for all oral arguments, and write and handle their own appeals. In addition, they provide counsel to trial attorneys on difficult legal issues, developing significant expertise in criminal procedure and strategy.
Required qualifications: Applicants must possess a J.D. degree, be an active member of the bar (any jurisdiction), and have at least 3 years post-J.D. experience. If not already an active member of the California bar, any applicant hired will be required to take (prior to their entry on duty date) and subsequently pass the California bar exam. AUSAs must become active members of the California bar and maintain California bar membership.
Preferred qualifications: Hiring for AUSA positions within the USAO is highly competitive. The USAO seeks a diverse complement of lawyers with a wide range of exceptional skills and experience, unified by keen intelligence and sincere commitment to public interest. Litigation experience, superior academic record, excellent writing skills, impeccable character, demonstrated interest in public service, courtroom presence, and the ability to work with and relate to a wide variety of people are all taken into account. 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. Ties to the Central District of California will be considered.
All initial attorney appointments to the Department of Justice are made on a 14 month (temporary) basis pending favorable adjudication of a background investigation.
Attorneys seeking a position as an AUSA should complete TWO documents:
1. The application in native .pdf form (click here to reach application): APPLICATION FOR EMPLOYMENT AS AN ASSISTANT UNITED STATES ATTORNEY CENTRAL DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA; and
2. A second .pdf containing, in the following order, a cover letter to the attention of United States Attorney E. Martin Estrada, resume, law school transcript, and brief writing sample which demonstrates an ability to write persuasively.
a. The writing sample should be the independent work product of the applicant or contain only minimal edits by others;
b. Applicants are encouraged to include a cover page identifying which portions of the writing sample reflects the applicant’s independent writing and/or explaining the amount of revising or editing that was done by others; and
c. Judicial opinions are disfavored as writing samples.
The two PDFs should be e-mailed to USACAC.AUSAHiring@usdoj.gov (link sends e-mail). Please be sure to indicate that you are applying for the Criminal Appeals Section and include all jurisdictions in which admitted to practice law.
NOTE: The application must be submitted in a particular way in order to be uploaded successfully into our system. Specifically, it must remain in native .pdf format with the form fields intact to upload. If it cannot be uploaded, we will ask you to submit again. To submit the application correctly:
- Use a full version of Adobe Acrobat to fill out the application. Do not use simply the Viewer software.
- After you open the application, first download or “save as” the blank application to your computer/ desktop. Then, open it fresh into Adobe. You can then enter the data and save the application as a .pdf
- You do not need to manually or digitally sign the application; your name will fill in
- Do not save any attachments to the application .pdf
- Do not print to .pdf, or print, sign and scan the document to .pdf
This position is open until filled, but applications will be considered on a rolling basis until December 31, 2023. No telephone calls please.
Applicants should familiarize themselves and comply with the relevant rules of professional conduct regarding any possible conflicts of interest in connection with their applications. In particular, please notify this Office if you currently represent clients or adjudicate matters in which this Office is involved and/or you have a family member who is representing clients or adjudicating matters in which this Office is involved so that we can evaluate any potential conflict of interest or disqualification issue that may need to be addressed under those circumstances.