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Legal Careers

Uncompensated Special Assistant United States Attorney

Hiring Organization
USAO Western District of Virginia
Job ID
310 First Street., Suite 906
Roanoke, VA 24011 - United States
Application Deadline:
About the Office

The United States Attorney's Office, Western District of Virginia, covers 52 of the state's counties and employs approximately 25 Assistant United States Attorneys over four staffed offices. The main office is located in Roanoke, Virginia, with branch offices in Abingdon, Charlottesville and Harrisonburg. The United States Attorney's Office prosecutes federal criminal offenses and represents the U.S. government's interest in civil cases both affirmatively and defensively.

The Criminal Division investigates and prosecutes federal cases arising from a wide array of criminal activity. The typical criminal caseload for a attorney may involve major drug cases, gang-related violent crimes, other crimes of violence, computer crimes including child pornography, and sophisticated white collar offenses.

More information on the Office 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 Office of the United States Attorney for the Western District of Virginia is seeking applications from attorneys who are willing to accept an unpaid, temporary, position that offers a valuable opportunity to gain exposure to the federal judicial system and obtain litigation experience. Successful applicants will serve as a Special Assistant U.S. Attorney (SAUSA) with responsibilities that include researching legal issues, drafting briefs, conducting hearings and trials, and attending judicial proceedings.

SAUSA positions in the United States Attorney's Office for the Western District of Virginia require a minimum service commitment of one year.

Currently, applications are being considered for one position in the Roanoke, VA office.

Please note that SAUSAs will not be hired by this office as Assistant U.S. Attorney at the conclusion of their SAUSA terms. However, they may apply for future AUSA positions in the office after completing their service as SAUSA.


Applicants must possess a J.D. degree, be an active member of the bar (any jurisdiction), and have at least 1 year post-J.D. experience.

Only applicants with outstanding academic records and superior legal research and writing skills will be considered. Any applicant invited for an interview will be required to submit a writing sample. Recent law school graduates should include a copy of their law school transcript with their application.

Applicants must be United States Citizens.

Attorneys are not eligible to serve as SAUSAs if they have been deferred by a law firm and received a payment for the period of their deferral, or if they will receive any payment from a law firm during their unpaid employment with the Department of Justice.

Attorneys are eligible if they have received severance or other one-time payment before becoming a SAUSA, or if they have an unpaid, future commitment to join a law firm.

Application Process

Interested applicants should send a resume, cover letter, and writing sample to:

United States Attorney's Office - WDVA
ATTN: Personnel / Admin
P.O. Box 1709
Roanoke, VA 24008

Or by email to:

Applications should be received by close of business, Friday, Interested applicants should send a resume, cover letter, and writing sample to:

United States Attorney's Office - WDVA
ATTN: Personnel / Admin
P.O. Box 1709
Roanoke, VA 24008

Or by email to:

Applications should be received by close of business, Friday, February 13, 2015.

No telephone calls please.


This is a one-year appointment without compensation. Employees including uncompensated SAUSAs, may not engage in the compensated practice of law outside of the office.

Number of Positions
Travel, both within and outside the District, may be required depending on the needs of a particular case. On average, 1 to 5 days a month is typical.
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 April 7, 2016