An AUSA attorney is a civil servant with the U.S. Department of Justice. This is a career civil service position under the U.S. Attorneys in each federal judicial district. This position involves a range of responsibilities, including litigation and client representation. There are a variety of pathways to becoming an AUSA attorney.
In an interview for an AUSA attorney position, you will be asked a series of questions. These questions are intended to assess your knowledge, skills, judgment, ethics, and commitment to public service. They also include hypothetical problems that you must solve. The questions will help determine your ability to perform the responsibilities of an AUSA attorney in the Northern District of Georgia. The interview process typically takes thirty to forty minutes.
One of the most common questions you will likely face in an interview for an AUSA attorney position concerns your experience as an assistant district attorney. You should be able to answer questions related to how you handled a case – whether it was successful or unsuccessful. If you were an assistant district attorney, you might also be asked how often you updated the judge on a case. This is a question that will be important to your interviewer as they want to see that you respect the authority of the judge.
Experience is an important prerequisite for becoming an AUSA attorney. AUSA attorneys are responsible for a large docket of criminal cases. They investigate cases thoroughly and prepare them for trial. While most of the cases they handle will end in plea deals, they may have a few cases go to trial. A new AUSA may handle five or six trials per year. Senior AUSAs will handle fewer trials. Depending on the jurisdiction, a new AUSA may handle more cases than someone with a more senior position.
In addition to criminal prosecutions, AUSAs work on a wide range of civil cases. Some of these cases involve the prosecution of military contractors, former members of Congress, and other government entities. Others may be involved in prosecuting healthcare fraud, exposing Medicare fraud, or combating predatory lending.
Common routes to becoming an AUSA attorney
While many law firms and corporations hire attorneys to be AUSAs, there are other ways to become an AUSA. Typically, AUSAs are hired straight out of law school or a clerkship, but the U.S. Attorney’s Office (USAO) also hires attorneys who have experience in other legal settings. AUSA positions are not open to everyone, and each USAO has its own preferences when it comes to hiring attorneys.
Careers as an AUSA involve the investigation of criminal cases and drafting indictments, negotiating plea deals, appearing in court, and arguing appeals. Cases typically involve a wide range of statutory and evidentiary issues. AUSAs also work with the Solicitor General’s Office to determine which cases merit government appeals and whether they warrant en banc rehearing and Supreme Court review.
Some AUSAs have experience in federal court as judicial clerks. This experience is highly beneficial, as it provides an individual with exposure to trial and prosecution proceedings, as well as substantive criminal and civil law. Additionally, federal clerkships often give candidates more time in the courtroom than four or five years as litigation associates.