Because of an editing error, a Federal Report column yesterday incorrectly listed six acting assistant attorneys general as having resigned or intending to resign. In fact, they are serving as a result of others' resignations. The acting replacements are Richard K. Willard, J. Paul McGrath, Phillip D. Brady, James M. Spears, Ralph W. Tarr and Anthony Liotta. The status of Justice Department officials J. Paul McGrath and Anthony Liotta was incorrectly described in a correction yesterday. McGrath, who is assistant attorney general in charge of the Antitrust Division, has announced his resignation, effective April 1. Liotta, who was assistant attorney general in charge of the Justice Management Division, resigned Friday.

Two top Justice Department officials have been meeting regularly at the White House with counselor Edwin Meese III to prepare him for the day in the near future when he is expected to become attorney general.

Associate Attorney General D. Lowell Jensen and William Bradford Reynolds, assistant attorney general for civil rights, have been talking to Meese about forthcoming legislation, the functions of each departmental division and important issues and cases before the department.

The briefings, department attorneys said, are similar to ones given whenever an attorney general takes office.

Meanwhile, department attorneys will bid farewell to Attorney General William French Smith at a party Friday. Meese is expected to arrive at the department the following week, assuming the Senate confirms him this Tuesday or Wednesday.

The department shows signs of the transition: Of the 11 assistant attorneys general, six have left or have announced that they intend to resign.

They include Richard K. Willard of the Civil Division, J. Paul McGrath of the Antitrust Division, Phillip D. Brady of the Legislative and Intergovernmental Affairs Division, James M. Spears of the Office of Legal Policy, Ralph W. Tarr of the Office of Legal Counsel and Anthony Liotta, head of the Justice Management Division.

Of the 52 deputy assistant attorney general positions, 11 are vacant, according to Public Affairs director Thomas P. DeCair, who said he also plans to leave. NEGATIVE VIEW? . . .

Department employes took down the agency's portrait of former attorney general Ramsey Clark last month after it was discovered that an epithet had been scrawled on it.

An artist is restoring the portrait. Department spokesman Judith Pond said it should be ready to rehung outside the offices of the Criminal Division later this month. MAKING THE LIST . . .

The Federal Bureau of Investigation named convicted murderer Lohman Ray Mays Jr. to its "Ten Most Wanted" list late last week. Mays, 41, escaped from a Tennessee prison last year. Previously, he had escaped from a North Carolina prison, where he had been serving a sentence for murder. Since his latest escape, Mays has been charged with bank robberies in South Carolina and Vermont, the FBI said.