The Civil Division handles both affirmative and defensive civil litigation in both trial and appellate courts. The applicant selected will represent the U.S. Government as an Assistant United States Attorney (AUSA) in a wide range of defensive civil cases, including cases that are unique and complex.
The Civil Division does not have formal subcomponents, so Civil AUSAs may be assigned all types of cases and may remain responsible for all proceedings in their assigned cases from inception until final resolution, including trials and appeals.
Approximately seventy percent of the Civil Division’s defensive case docket consists of cases brought under the Freedom of Information Act, the Administrative Procedure Act, and the federal employment discrimination laws, and the immigration laws. Other kinds of defensive cases, including Federal Tort Claims Act cases and Privacy Act cases, account for smaller percentages.
Civil AUSAs must serve as effective and dedicated advocates for the government’s interests, timely and efficiently pursue the just resolution of their assigned cases, and make sound and legally supportable decisions toward those ends. They must possess the foresight and organizational and legal skills needed to manage a large and diverse caseload that involves lengthy and difficult litigation. They must be able to identify the relevant legal and factual issues in their assigned cases, and to develop and implement effective strategies for all proceedings in those cases, including motions practice, discovery, alternative dispute resolution, trial and appeal. They must be able to work well with colleagues, supervisors, support staff, and other participants in litigation such as court personnel, opposing counsel, and parties’ agency counsel, and witnesses. They must have strong legal research skills, be able to produce high quality written work even under deadline pressure, and be persuasive oral advocates. Newly hired civil AUSAs are expected to quickly develop subject matter expertise in all areas in which the Civil Division regularly practices, and to possess or rapidly acquire expert-level knowledge of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure, and the Federal Rules of Evidence.