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Legal Careers

Uncompensated Special Assistant United States Attorney (SAUSA) - Criminal

Hiring Organization
USAO Northern District of Iowa
Job ID
600 4th Street, Suite 670
Sioux City, IA 51101 - United States
Application Deadline:
About the Office

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

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

Sioux City is located on the Missouri River and is approximately half-way between Minneapolis and Kansas City. Twice named an All-American City by the National Civic League, Sioux City serves as a regional hub for business, employment, industry, retail trade, medical care, educational opportunities and tourism in Northwest Iowa, Southeast South Dakota and Northeast Nebraska. More than 140,000 people live in this tri-state metropolitan area. For more information about Sioux City, visit:

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 U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Iowa is seeking attorney applicants who are willing to accept an unpaid temporary position that offers a valuable opportunity to gain exposure to the office while also obtaining litigation experience. An appointment with the U.S. Attorney's Office offers unique and challenging experiences for the highly motivated attorney. The responsibilities of the SAUSA will include: researching legal issues; drafting legal memoranda, pleadings, and briefs; drafting and responding to discovery requests; case document review and organization; and appearing in various federal court actions. Individuals selected for this uncompensated Special Assistant United States Attorney (SAUSA) will be assigned to the Criminal Division and will be assigned matters with responsibility for investigating and prosecuting a variety of cases, including those involving firearms, immigration, narcotics trafficking, child exploitation, and/or white collar crime.

This is a temporary uncompensated Special Assistant U.S. Attorney position not-to-exceed 1 year. This position may be extended beyond 1 year without further competition if needed. More than one position may be filled under this announcement.

The SAUSA will not be automatically hired by this office as an Assistant U.S. Attorney if a position becomes available, but the SAUSA may apply for any AUSA position in this office, or any office within the Department of Justice.


Required qualifications: Applicants must possess a J.D. degree and be an active member of the bar (any U.S. jurisdiction). Applicants will be expected to do their own legal research and writing and shall be substantially self-sufficient in preparing day-to-day correspondence and pleadings.

Preferred qualifications: Applicants should have at least one year post-J.D. experience and must possess superior oral and written communication skills as well as strong interpersonal skills, exhibit good judgment, and function with minimal guidance in a highly demanding environment. Prior litigation experience is preferred but the position is open to lawyers who are finishing one-year judicial clerkships. Recent law school graduates who have passed the bar should include a copy of their law school transcript with their application.

United States citizenship is required.

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

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, April 24, 2015; mailed applications must be postmarked by Friday, April 24, 2015. 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, April 24, 2015. (Note: The Northern District of Iowa cannot be responsible for lost/misrouted/delayed email transmissions.)

As multiple vacancies (different locations and specialties) are open simultaneously, interested persons must submit a separate application for each position which clearly indicates (in either a cover letter or email message) to which announcement he/she is applying.


None - this is an uncompensated position. Employee benefits for this position will be limited.

Number of Positions
One (1). More than one position may be filled under this 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 April 7, 2016