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Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Positions

The USAO-DC continually seeks qualified attorneys who are currently working for the federal government to be detailed to this Office as Special Assistant United States Attorneys (SAUSAs).  SAUSA applicants must hold a law degree from an accredited law school; be a current, active member of the bar in any jurisdiction in the United States; and be currently employed with the federal government with a current U.S. Government background check.  These are fixed-term appointments from other federal agencies, not positions for which persons outside the federal government can be hired.


We have recently made some exciting changes to the SAUSA detail opportunity.  We now offer two standard options, both of which start on April 6, 2020; July 6, 2020; and October 5, 2020:



The first option is a split detail. The detail begins with the same rigorous three-week Basic Training course that our incoming AUSAs also attend which is an excellent blend of intense academic classes (e.g., evidence, discovery), trial skills (direct and cross examinations, openings, closings), and hands-on experience, including court observation ("shadowing"), evidence workshops, and several days of mock motions hearings and trials that are critiqued by seasoned Assistant United States Attorneys with years of trial experience.  DOJ’s National Advocacy Center (NAC) and most state Bar agencies have approved the training for over fifty hours of CLE credit.  At the conclusion of Basic Training, SAUSAs are assigned to either our Misdemeanor Section or our Domestic Violence Misdemeanor Section in the Superior Court Division.  While in the Superior Court Division, SAUSAs will handle their own caseloads; argue bond and suppression motions; conduct numerous bench trials; advocate at sentencings; etc.  There is no difference between a regular AUSA and a SAUSA in terms of duties, responsibilities, and training.  Because the U.S. Attorney’s Office also serves as the local prosecutor for the District, we prosecute thousands of cases each year.  Our misdemeanor-level caseloads can include simple assaults; threats; possession of prohibited weapons; drug possession; assaults on police officers; theft; destruction of property; hate/bias crimes; child abuse; credit card fraud; etc.  We do not handle traffic; DUI; or juvenile cases. 


After the first 3 ½ months of the detail, the SAUSA and his/her agency has the option to choose one of several opportunities:

·      Continue the detail in the Superior Court Division with more advanced litigation opportunities, to include second chairing one or more jury trials in the Division’s Felony Trial or Major Crimes Unit; handling preliminary hearings; assisting in investigating felony offenses; and/or presenting cases to the grand jury as part of the Division’s Case Initiation Unit.

·      Transfer to the Criminal Division, if the SAUSA meets the requisite DOJ security clearance requirements.  At the discretion of the Chief of the Criminal Division, the SAUSA can transfer to the Violent Crime & Narcotics Trafficking Section; Cyber Crimes Section; Fraud & Public Corruption Section; or the National Security Section.  Although jury trial opportunities in the Criminal Division would be rare, the SAUSA may assist with the investigation and/or trial preparation of federal cases; draft and litigate motions; handle preliminary hearings; and/or assist with grand jury presentments. 

·      Transfer to the Civil Division

·      Transfer to the criminal Appellate Division

·      Transfer to the criminal Special Proceedings Division



The second option is a shorter (3 ½ months) detail.  This program begins the same way as the seven month split detail with our three-week, CLE-approved, Basic Training program followed by assignments to either our Misdemeanor Section or our Domestic Violence Misdemeanor Section.  While SAUSAs in the shortened detail will receive the same training and handle the same types of cases as the SAUSAs in the seven month split detail, the more advanced litigation opportunities (i.e., jury trials; preliminary hearings; and grand jury presentments) are not part of this program.


Finally, although we have flexibility in terms of when SAUSAs start, all SAUSAs (and regular AUSAs) go through our Basic Training program before appearing in Superior Court.  We have programs that begin on April 6, 2020; July 6, 2020, and October 5, 2020.  If a SAUSA starts before a Basic Training class, they assist with case processing/intake; shadow other attorneys; draft motions, etc. until the class starts.


If you have additional questions about our program, please reach out to either Jean Sexton, our Director of Professional Development and Training, at, (202) 252-7735, or Alan Boyd, our Assistant Director of Professional Development and Training, at, (202) 252-7269.  Written supervisory approval; a joint Memorandum of Understanding; and verification of security clearance will be required.  This is a non-reimbursable detail; the SAUSA’s agency will continue to pay the SAUSA’s salary and benefits. 

Updated January 8, 2020

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