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Assistant District Attorney

Assistant District Attorneys (ADA) are the lawyers working under the supervision of the District Attorney. The Assistant district attorneys assist the District Attorney in all administrative and managerial functions of his office according to his direction. They are generally considered as the second-in-command for the office and usually report directly to the head prosecutor. They conduct prosecution in court on behalf of the city, state and central governments as required by the District Attorney.

Assistant district attorneys have a wide variety of responsibilities. It is their responsibility to ensure that the district attorney’s job is done properly and with precision. The most important duty of Assistant district attorney is to file charges against criminals and prosecuting them in court as required by District Attorney. In order to prosecute the criminals, they have to work with law enforcement officers (police departments and detectives) who have investigated the crime. Before filing charges against criminals they evaluate the criminal case presented by the law enforcement agency and determine whether there is sufficient evidence to prosecute. If there is sufficient evidence, then they file charges against the accused in the criminal court.

The Assistant district attorney prepares the case for trial and attends all pre-trial hearings (formal meeting between two parties in a case and the judge or a magistrate), preliminary hearing and trials. They are also responsible for obtaining warrants for searches, seizures and arrests. Their work also involves draft legal documents, organizes, examines, and coordinates materials and efforts in the prosecution. In addition to drafting legal motions and other trial work, ADAs help victims prepare for trial, work with law enforcement to help determine whether charges should be filed, negotiate plea deals with defendants, evaluate current trial procedures and help implement legal policy revisions.

The major duty of a District Attorney is to manage the prosecutor's office, investigate alleged crimes in cooperation with law enforcement, and file criminal charges or bringing evidence before the Grand Jury. The duties performed by the Assistant district attorneys involve:

  • • Managing the prosecutor's office by maintaining records and periodic managerial reports on organizational functions
  • • Assisting District Attorney on matters of policies and procedures
  • • Representing the District Attorney in their absence
  • • Investigating alleged crimes in cooperation with other law enforcement
  • • Advises and training law enforcement personnel on many issues, including obtaining the necessary evidence to prosecute crimes
  • • Filing criminal charges or bringing evidence before the Grand Jury.
  • • Interacting with clients, interviews victims and witnesses on criminal and civil cases
  • • Advising and training other governmental agencies, and private citizens seeking the issuance of criminal and civil complaints, as authorized by law
  • • Performing extensive legal research depending on each case.
  • • Speaking to private and public organizations on matters relating to the department
  • • Assisting in the preparation and monitoring of the budget; hiring of personnel and in developing performance evaluations

Assistant District Attorney is a non-gazetted and non-ministerial post belongs to general central civil services (group C). A career as an assistant district attorney is an excellent career option for lawyers who want to perform public service law while practicing criminal law and gaining extensive trial experience.

How to become an Assistant District Attorney


Qualifications required : To work as an Assistant District Attorney, one should possess a Bachelor of Law degree from any recognized University and should have enrolled as an Advocate under the Advocates Act 1961, and should have practice with Bar Council for minimum 2 years.

Specialization in criminal laws will be beneficial for those who aspire to be an Assistant District attorney. Participating in moot court competitions while studying will give them the opportunity to argue cases and learn about the judicial process. 75% of the posts of Assistant District Attorney's are filled by Direct recruitment through a competitive examination by Public Service Commission (PSC) and the remaining 25% percent by promotion. The candidates can appear for the competitive examination only in the state where they seek to practice. There will be two papers After the successful completion of the exam, the candidates are selected for viva voce test / interview. Final result of selection of candidates shall be prepared on the basis of the grand total of the marks obtained by the candidates in the written Competitive Examination and the Viva-Voce.

Skills Required: Assistant District Attorney should possess certain skill set to work in this field. Dedication, willpower, intelligence, preparation, attention to detail, problem solving etc are the essential skills required for an Assistant District Attorney. An excellent analytical skill and research skills are important for them to litigate cases in court. Communication skill is very essential for them not only to work with clients but also to interview the witnesses and argue cases in the court. They should possess good knowledge in criminal and civil law, including the rules of evidence and the principles of administration and supervision. Besides these, they should also requires ability to work for long hours, ability to organize and execute effective arguments, patience, proficiency in writing and speaking, etc.

Competitive Examination for Assistant District Attorney

A candidate can apply for the post of an assistant district attorney if he/she • Is a citizen of India • Have practiced as an Advocate in High Court or District Court for a period of not less than two years • Is not more than 40 years of age on the date of selection (Upper age limit in the case of candidates belonging to the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, Backward Classes and certain other Categories shall be as such may be fixed by Government from time to time.)

The object of the Competitive Examination is to shortlist candidates for interview. Competitive Examination for Assistant District Attorneys shall consist of two Papers of Multiple Choice Objective type questions (which can be scrutinized by computer). Each Paper shall consist of 100 questions and each question shall carry 2 marks (i.e 200 marks for 100 question). There will be no negative marking. The candidates shall be expected to have a general and basic overview of the above subjects and also the ability to answer questions based on practical application. The standard of questions shall be of graduate level. The minimum qualifying marks shall be 35% for General category and 30 % for all reserved category candidates.

No candidate shall be allowed to appear in the Interview unless he/she secures minimum 140 marks (for general category) and 120 marks (for all reserve category) in the competitive examination out of 400 marks. The marks obtained in the Competitive Examination shall be counted towards final Merit. The candidates not more than three times the number of vacancies shall be called for the interview. However, this number shall be subject to variation, if two or more candidates at the last number (the number at the end) get equal marks, then all of them shall be considered eligible, warranting the corresponding increase in the stipulated ratio.

Viva Voce (Interview) : The Viva-Voce shall carry 50 marks. The minimum pass marks in interview are 45 for general category and 35 marks for reserved category. The Viva-Voce shall relate to matters of general interest/ current affairs and law subjects and is intended to test the candidate's alertness, intelligence and general outlook. It shall be conducted in English.

The final result shall be prepared on the basis of the grand total of the marks obtained by the candidates in the written competitive examination and the viva-voce. Efficient Assistant District Attorneys with a minimum 5 years of work experience can be promoted to the post of Deputy District attorneys and after 3 years of service as Deputy District attorney can become District attorney.

Pay scale of Assistant District Attorneys : Assistant District Attorney is a public servant and is entitled to receive pay scales as prescribed by the government. Salary varies according to experience, length of service, location and the hiring entity.

Institutes :

  • • Bachelor of General Law (BGL)
  • • Bachelor of Law (LLB)



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