Special Assistant United States Attorney

Pittsburgh, PA
Federal Courthouse
700 Grant Street suite 4000
Pittsburgh, PA 15219
United States
About the Office: 

The United States Attorney's Office for the Western District of Pennsylvania (USAO) is an energetic and collegial office with 109 employees and contractors, which represents the United States in all criminal prosecution and civil and appellate litigation in the Western District of Pennsylvania.  The Western District of Pennsylvania consists of 25 counties in the western part of the state; its main office is in Pittsburgh, with staffed branch offices in Erie and Johnstown.  The USAO strives to provide an inclusive, rewarding work environment for employees of all backgrounds.  Additional information about the District can be found on our website at https://www.justice.gov/usao-wdpa/.

To learn more about what the area and what the State of Pennsylvania has to offer, please visit  https://www.visitpittsburgh.com/ and https://www.pa.gov/.

The United States Attorney's Office is a part of the Department of Justice (DOJ).  With a diverse and talented workforce of over 100,000 men and women, DOJ ensures the protection of all Americans while preserving their constitutional freedoms. You can be part of a dedicated team helping to enforce Federal criminal and civil laws that protect life, liberty and the property of citizens. If you are looking for an exciting and challenging legal career, this is the position for you!  For more information on the Department of Justice and the United States Attorney's Office, please visit http://www.justice.gov/careers/careers.html.

The United States Attorney's Office/Executive Office for United States Attorneys is a great place to work. The Department of Justice ranked #10 out of 17 large agencies and EOUSA/USAO ranked #77 out of 415 agency subcomponents in a study, "The Best Places to Work in the Federal Government, 2018 Ratings" published by the Partnership for Public Service.

Our office places a high value on diversity of experiences and perspectives and encourages applications from all qualified men and women from all ethnic and racial backgrounds, veterans, LGBT individuals, and persons with disabilities.
Job Description: 

Employment with the United States Attorney's Office offers a unique and challenging experience for highly motivated attorneys, including opportunities to work on their own caseload and handle their own trials. Uncompensated Special Assistant United States Attorneys (SAUSAs) will be assigned to the Civil and Criminal Divisions in the Wheeling Office, Clarksburg Office, or Martinsburg Office. A one-year employment commitment is required.


Candidates for the Civil Positions will have the opportunity to perform an important public service by representing the interests of the United States of America in civil actions brought by or against the United States in both federal and state courts of law.


Candidates for the Criminal Positions will be part of a dedicated team helping to enforce federal criminal laws. Assignments will include the investigation and prosecution of firearms, explosives, counterfeiting, fraud, immigration, drug trafficking, and other violent crimes.


The SAUSA will receive training in investigating and prosecuting federal crimes, and may have the opportunity to attend formal training or conferences with SAUSAs and Assistant United States Attorneys (AUSAs) from districts across the country.


This is a one or two-year appointment usually without compensation. Employee benefits for uncompensated positions are limited.


Applicants must possess a J.D. degree; be duly licensed and authorized to practice as an attorney under the laws of a State, territory, or the District of Columbia. Applicants must be active members in good standing of the bar (any U.S. jurisdiction) and have at least 1 year of post J.D. legal or other relevant experience.

United States Citizenship is required.

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

Following appointment, SAUSAs generally must reside in the district for which they are appointed or within 25 miles thereof. See U.S.C. § 545 for district-specific information.

Positions are primarily uncompensated.
The position is based at one of the district offices. Travel will occasionally be required.
Application Process: 

Please send cover letter, resume (with dates of JD, School, and bar information and dates included), date when first available to work, and telephone number(s) where they can be reached in the day and evenings to:




Resumes should include a detailed description of employment history, to include dates of employment (month/year).  This is an open continuous announcement to fill current and future vacancies in our Civil and Criminal Division. Please include the vacancy announcement number listed at the top of the announcement (20-PAW-SAUSA-01) on your resume and cover letter.

No telephone calls please.

This and other attorney announcements can be found at: http://www.justice.gov/careers/legal/attvacancies.html


Application Deadline: 
Wednesday, September 30, 2020
Relocation Expenses: 
Number of Positions: 
1 or more.
Updated October 8, 2019

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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, protected genetic information, pregnancy, status as a parent, or any other nonmerit-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, 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.