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Special/Assistant U.S. Attorney Hiring

Members of this Office are frequently in a position to recommend an applicant for a position as an AUSA or a SAUSA. The hiring procedures for AUSAs and SAUSAs are set forth below.


Eligibility Criteria:

This Office seeks attorneys who are citizens of the United States and have outstanding legal ability, high moral character, mature judgment, a keen desire for public service, and an exceptional aptitude for litigation. Selections are made of the most highly qualified attorneys who apply, without regard to race, sex, creed, color, national origin, handicap, age, or political affiliation. Although experience in the criminal justice system as either a prosecutor or defense attorney is not necessary, we do require at least one year of legal experience following admission to the Bar. To be considered for a Civil Division vacancy, however, an applicant should have at least two years of civil litigation experience.

Admission to the Bar is a requirement for employment with this Office. Moreover, although admission to the District of Columbia Bar is not a prerequisite for consideration, it is expected that attorneys to whom employment offers are made will immediately seek admission to the District of Columbia Bar. Also, newly appointed Assistant United States Attorneys are expected to obtain admission to the United States District Court for the District of Columbia and to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

Application Requirements:

An application for a position with this Office should include a letter of application, resume, legal writing sample and an official law school transcript. The Standard Form 171 is no longer required, but may still be submitted. Alternatively, a newly developed optional form entitled Optional Application for Federal Employment (OF612) is also available for your use. The writing sample selected for submission should be the applicant's exclusive work product. If the writing sample was edited, or if there were other contributors, applicants are expected to identify those portions of the writing sample not exclusively their own work product and the extent of editing done by others. A copy of the OF 612 form may be obtained from this Office or from the personnel office of any Federal agency. Applicants may also submit letters of reference from persons recommending appointment. Applicants interested in being considered for a position with the Civil Division of this Office should so specify in the letter forwarding their application.

Possible Conflicts of Interest:

Depending upon the nature of your practice, your application to this Office may create the possibility of a conflict of interest. If you handle any cases -- criminal or civil -- in which this Office represents an adverse interest, it is incumbent upon you immediately to advise your client of the fact that you are seeking employment here and obtain his consent to your continued representation. It may also be necessary for you to advise the court that you have applied for a position here. If you are handling any cases in which a conflict may exist, you will be expected to provide this Office with a written waiver of the potential conflict signed by your client before you will be interviewed. Furthermore, if you are a resident of the District of Columbia and you are called for jury duty in the Superior Court or U.S. District Court after you have submitted your application for a position here, you must make the fact of your application known during voir dire in any case in which this Office represents a party.

Interviewing Procedures:

Interviews are scheduled when actual vacancies occur. Because we receive a very large number of applications, it is impossible to interview all who apply. Our objective, however, is to give full and fair consideration to each applicant and make hiring commitments to the most highly qualified.

The first step of the hiring process is an initial review of all applications. Upon the completion of this initial review, a limited number of applicants are scheduled for interviews. The first series of interviews is conducted by five or six senior attorneys. Based upon the recommendations made by the initial panel of interviewers, an interview may be scheduled with the United States Attorney. After the completion of all interviews, final hiring decisions are made following an analysis of writing samples, consideration of letters of recommendation, and a thorough reference check.

Employment Offers:

All employment offers are made subject to successful completion of an FBI background investigation, a drug test, and the normal budgetary constraints of the Department of Justice. At the time an employment offer is made, a prospective Assistant United States Attorney will be advised of a precise starting date, generally within six to eight weeks following the date of the offer.

FBI Background Investigation:

The Federal Bureau of Investigation conducts an extensive background investigation of each applicant who receives an employment offer. In addition, during the interviewing process, applicants will also be asked questions concerning their background. Any applicant who may be concerned about his or her background is encouraged to discuss the matter with the Principal Assistant United States Attorney.

Four-Year Commitment and 60-Day Notice Requirement:

As a prerequisite to employment, attorneys are asked for a commitment that they will serve with the Office for a period of not less than four years. Assistant United States Attorneys must also agree to provide at least 60 days' notice before resignation.

Residence Requirements:

Pursuant to the requirements of 28 U.S.C. § 545, Assistant United States Attorneys for the District of Columbia must reside within the District of Columbia or within 25 miles thereof.

Starting Salaries and Benefits:

Assistant United States Attorney positions are in the "Excepted Service," and entering salaries are established by the Department of Justice based upon each applicant's pre-employment qualifications and amount of legal experience. Salaries are not established within the "GS" schedule. Applicants with specific questions concerning entering salaries should contact the Principal Assistant U.S. Attorney. Questions concerning health insurance, life insurance, and retirement programs may be directed to the Personnel Office within the United States Attorney's Office.

All applications and supporting documentation should be mailed to:

Principal Assistant United States Attorney
United States Attorney's Office
District of Columbia
601 D St., N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20001

Inquiries may be directed to Felicia Taylor


The United States Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia continually seeks qualified U.S. Government attorneys to be detailed to this office as Special Assistant United States Attorneys. The typical detail is for six months.

Attorneys who are chosen to participate in the Special Assistant United States Attorneys Program serve in the Misdemeanor Section or the Domestic Violence Unit of the Office. The Misdemeanor Section prosecutes, in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia, all serious misdemeanor offenses under Title 22 of the District of Columbia Code. The charges most commonly prosecuted are drug possession, stranger on stranger assaults, sexual abuse, weapons possession and theft-related offenses. The Domestic Violence Unit prosecutes all forms of domestic violence including spousal abuse, partner abuse, intrafamily child abuse, and elder abuse. Detailees have the opportunity to gain immediate, extensive and intense trial experience.

Special Assistant United States Attorneys need not have prior criminal law experience, although it is certainly helpful. Special Assistant United States Attorneys, like our permanent Assistants, undergo an extensive regimen of training before they enter on duty. They are required to be citizens of the United States, to be currently employed as an attorney with the federal government, to have a current U.S. Government security clearance, and to be admitted to practice law somewhere in the United States.

To apply to be a Special Assistant United States Attorney in the Misdemeanor Section, send a brief letter, resume, and verification of a completed security clearance to:

Director of Training
Office of Professional Development
United States Attorney's Office
District of Columbia
601 D St., N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20001

Inquiries should be directed to Jean Sexton

Updated December 19, 2022

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