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Legal Careers

Special Assistant United States Attorney-Compensated

Hiring Organization
USAO Northern District of Iowa
Job ID
Special Assistant United States Attorney - Compensated
Linn County Attorney's Office
Cedar Rapids, IA 52401 - United States
Application Deadline:
About the Office

The United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Iowa (“USAO”) prosecutes federal criminal offenses and defends the interests of the United States in civil cases.  The Northern District of Iowa spans 52 of the state’s 99 counties.  The USAO headquarters is located in the eastern Iowa community of Cedar Rapids, with a branch office located on the western border of Iowa in Sioux City.

More information on the U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Iowa can be found at

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

The United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Iowa has a criminal attorney vacancy to be filled in our Cedar Rapids office. The attorney filling this position will be assigned a variety of narcotics and narcotics-related criminal investigations and prosecutions under the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) initiative. 

This is a non-federal position and the employer is the Linn County (Iowa) Attorney’s Office.  The terms, conditions and salary of this position will be administered by the county.  The selectee will be cross-designated as a Special Assistant United States Attorney (SAUSA).  The position does not confer status as a federal employee.  The expected duration of this position is two years, but it may be extended without further competition.  More than one position may be filled from this announcement.

Cedar Rapids is Iowa's second largest city. Adjacent to Iowa City, the area's population is near 266,000. There are other small towns all within a 20-minute drive, offering a laid-back style with affordable housing and close proximity to amazing culture, dining, and entertainment options. Downtown Cedar Rapids is booming with new construction, featuring a renovated convention center, a collection of locally owned restaurants, markets, quirky shops, theaters, breweries, and entertainment venues. Cultural and recreational opportunities abound. For more information on the area, visit:  


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-JD professional legal experience as of the closing date of the announcement.  Applicants will be expected to do their own legal research and writing, and must be substantially self-sufficient in preparing day-to-day correspondence and pleadings. Applicants must be proficient in the use of computers.

Preferred Qualifications:  Preferred applicants will possess significant experience, skills, and/or interest in prosecuting federal narcotics and narcotics-related crimes.  Preferred applicants will demonstrate excellent oral and written advocacy skills.  Preferred applicants will have excellent interpersonal skills, including experience working with multi-agency task forces and other law enforcement officials.  Preferred applicants will have experience and familiarity with federal grand jury practice.  Preferred applicants will have experience in preparation of appellate briefs and presentation of appellate arguments.

United States citizenship is required.

Note: Employees of the Department of Justice, including Special Assistant United States Attorneys, may not engage in the compensated practice of law outside the office.  Attorneys are not eligible to serve as Special Assistant United States Attorneys if they have had an employment offer deferred by a law firm and received a payment for the period of their deferral with the expectation of future employment with the law firm, or if they will receive any payment from a law firm during their employment with the Department of Justice.  In addition, contractors, including employees of contractors who do business with the Department of Justice, and who are attorneys, are not eligible to serve as Special Assistant United States Attorneys.

Application Process

Interested persons should direct cover letters and resumes to:

Scott McNamar

Human Resources Specialist

United States Attorney’s Office

111 7th Ave SE, Box 1

Cedar Rapids, IA 52401


No phone calls please.  Hand-carried applications must be received by 5:00 pm Central Time on Friday, September 3, 2021; mailed applications must be postmarked by Friday, September 3, 2021.

Applications may also be emailed to


Persons applying by email are responsible for ensuring that email and any attachments are received no later than 11:59 pm Central Time on Friday, September 3, 2021.  (Note: The Northern District of Iowa cannot be responsible for lost/misrouted/delayed email transmissions.)



The annual salary for this position will be commensurate with experience and dependent on funding availability. Salary and benefits will be administered by the Linn County (Iowa) Attorney’s Office.

Number of Positions
One (1). As needed, additional SAUSA positions may be filled from this vacancy announcement.
The SAUSA may be required to travel within and outside the District.
Relocation Expenses
Relocation expenses will not be paid.

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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 August 17, 2021