U.S. Attorneys

Better Models Can Reduce Resource Disparities Among Offices Gao ID: GGD-91-39 March 6, 1991

Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on the Department of Justice's (DOJ) process for allocating attorneys among the 94 U.S. Attorney offices.

GAO found that: (1) between 1980 and 1989, the number of criminal matters and cases U.S. Attorneys handled increased by 36 percent, and the number of civil matters and cases increased by about 7 percent; (2) the U.S. Attorneys' offices' time used in processing criminal and civil matters increased by 56 percent, from 1,694 attorney work years in 1980, to 2,650 attorney work years in 1989; (3) the Executive Office of U.S. Attorneys' process to allocate new positions did not adequately account for the complexity of case loads, did not adequately measure the work done by different offices, and used the number of judges as a predictor of the number of attorneys; (4) a GAO-developed work-load model suggested that staffing disparities existed among the U.S. Attorneys' offices; (5) for fiscal year 1989, the model determined that 44 offices spent significantly less attorney time than the model predicted for their criminal work loads and that 22 offices used significantly more time than predicted; (6) for the civil work load, there were 35 offices that took less time than predicted for their work loads and 37 that took more time than predicted; and (7) the allocation model showed a high level of agreement with the actual DOJ allocations but differed substantially for some offices.


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