Celebrating 10 years! 2007-2017

USA Jobs and U.S. Attorneys Office

I am curious if any of you have ever gotten an interview for a8464811/01/17
I have never applied for one but know a few. If you have burneremail11/01/17
Can't speak to getting an interview, but everyone that I've t3success11/01/17
Got an interview and ultimately an AUSA gig via USA Jobs. claptrap11/01/17
Congrats, what type of resume did you have beforehand? t3success11/02/17
Attended a third (fourth?) tier law school. Graduated top 5- claptrap11/02/17
Hey Claptrap, Thanks for sharing. What type of work did y a8464811/04/17
The former career path is rare enough for a prosecutor that claptrap11/06/17
a84648 (Nov 1, 2017 - 12:56 am)

I am curious if any of you have ever gotten an interview for the U.S. Attorney's Office (for an attorney gig) by applying from USA jobs website.

I have just started applying and am wondering if this is a fruitless endeavor.

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burneremail (Nov 1, 2017 - 1:22 am)

I have never applied for one but know a few.

If you have prior trial experience, big law or a states AG for example, that’s a big plus. They are generally regarded as quite prestigious.

If you want better information I’d check the top law school forum.

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t3success (Nov 1, 2017 - 5:38 am)

Can't speak to getting an interview, but everyone that I've seen transfer in has had legitimate biglaw litigation experience or state felony prosecution experience. If you have that just keep trying.

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claptrap (Nov 1, 2017 - 11:44 pm)

Got an interview and ultimately an AUSA gig via USA Jobs.

Was for an office in a state I wasn't practicing in when I applied, so didn't have any connections or anything to separate me from the masses.

So it can happen! Good luck.

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t3success (Nov 2, 2017 - 5:34 am)

Congrats, what type of resume did you have beforehand?

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claptrap (Nov 2, 2017 - 9:39 am)

Attended a third (fourth?) tier law school. Graduated top 5-10%.

3-5 years as a state prosecutor with felony and misdemeanor trial experience and a ton of motions practice.

Had prior career before becoming a lawyer that dovetailed well with the particular area they were looking for an AUSA in.

I suspect the last was really what got me in the door. The grades and the experience just checked boxes but weren't anything outstanding, especially in light of where I went to school.

I also got along really well with just about all the people who interviewed me, which always helps.

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a84648 (Nov 4, 2017 - 6:39 pm)

Hey Claptrap,

Thanks for sharing. What type of work did you do prior to law school? My guess is it must have been in the financial world.

I am also interested in knowing if there is a huge difference in the type of work you are doing at the U.S. Attorney's Office and what you did as a State Prosecutor. Is it that much harder or something else? Any insight you could share would be great.

Thanks for contributing.

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claptrap (Nov 6, 2017 - 1:28 am)

The former career path is rare enough for a prosecutor that I worry going into any detail would potentially out me. That said, if you're curious because you're in a similar-ish spot and looking for a data point I'd be happy to provide more info via email.

In a lot of ways the fed gig is similar to the state gig but there are a lot of differences as well. There are definitely things to recommend both jobs.

On the fed side, it's really the only legitimate game in town if you are looking to prosecute certain types of cases (which dovetail with my former career path). The scale and severity of those types of cases also dwarf anything you can find at the state level, assuming you could find any at all. That said, in my experience so far the margin for error is much, much less, and the bench is overall far less willing to cut you any slack if you make a mistake. And the bureaucracy involved in getting things done here can be pretty mind-boggling, coming from a state DA gig.

On the state side, you'll get trial and motions experience much, much faster, and quick thinking will sometimes save you from the consequences of a mistake that would cook you on the fed side. (N.B: I'm sure there are variations on both sides based on the makeup of your bench. These are just my observations based on where I practiced as a state DA and where I practice now as an AUSA.) You also have a lot more authority as a state DA and can make more decisions quickly and unilaterally, whereas pretty much anything of consequence on the fed side has to be run up the chain first.

It goes without saying that your caseload will be exponentially heavier as a state prosecutor. That said, however, the level of prep that is required for fed cases (and, again, the lack of tolerance for mistakes, at least on the government side) ultimately results in an equivalent or greater workload, at least in my experience.

There are definitely things I miss about being a state DA, but I would say overall the AUSA gig was a good move for me. I am working on cases now that would simply not have been possible on the state side, and while the size of the federal government inherently brings with it a lot of inefficiencies, the training and the resources I now have access to in order to do my job are night and day from the things I had access to before.

At the end of the day, I think one spot isn't inherently better--they are just different. I know some people see a crim AUSA gig as the be-all-end-all of a prosecution career, and I think that's a mistake. I've worked with phenomenal state prosecutors who would be miserable as AUSAs, and vice versa. Both career options are truly fantastic and I feel really fortunate to have worked on both sides of the fence.

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