Law School Discussion

Law Students => Job Search => Topic started by: harkkam on September 17, 2010, 02:36:24 AM

Title: Getting a Job with the Federal goverment
Post by: harkkam on September 17, 2010, 02:36:24 AM
How hard is it to secure a job with the federal Government fresh out of law shcool?
Title: Re: Getting a Job with the Federal goverment
Post by: john4040 on September 17, 2010, 01:04:15 PM
How hard is it to secure a job with the federal Government fresh out of law shcool?

Largely depends on the position you seek.
Title: Re: Getting a Job with the Federal goverment
Post by: Thane Messinger on September 17, 2010, 02:47:40 PM
How hard is it to secure a job with the federal Government fresh out of law shcool?

Largely depends on the position you seek.

 . . . and on your stats, both law school and class rank.  For Federal positions especially, getting a job is almost as difficult as with a law firm employer.  Some, for example "prestige" clerkship and DA positions and even JAG slots, go to graduates of top schools, with top credentials (sometimes moot court rather than law review).  The key is not to think of "government" as "easy."  Many advantages, at times, but not always easy.

Thane.
Title: Re: Getting a Job with the Federal goverment
Post by: haus on September 17, 2010, 07:49:31 PM
I work as a government contractor (InfoSec). Over the last decade or so one thing that I have noticed in regards to government hiring compared to private sector is that the process of acquiring a job is slower. From having interviews scheduled, to the follow up call, to the actual presentation of an offer, it just takes longer. This may not seem like a big deal, but playing the waiting game when one is looking for a job can really try one's patience.
Title: Re: Getting a Job with the Federal goverment
Post by: louiebstef on September 27, 2010, 10:56:28 PM
As a retired officer, let me share the links for the various service branches JAG Corps:

NAVY:  http://www.jag.navy.mil/careers_/index.html (http://www.jag.navy.mil/careers_/index.html)
ARMY: http://www.goarmy.com/jag.html (http://www.goarmy.com/jag.html)
AIR FORCE: http://www.jagusaf.hq.af.mil/ (http://www.jagusaf.hq.af.mil/)

You wonder about compensation?  I started in the early 1980's as an enlisted man, and
retired 22 years later as a Warrant Officer.  My final annual salary(plus benefits) was in excess of $100K

I now receive about $35K annually in retirement, plus medical benefits. Did I mention that this began
at age 42?

Not a bad option for some.
Title: Re: Getting a Job with the Federal goverment
Post by: Thane Messinger on September 28, 2010, 11:48:47 AM
You wonder about compensation?  I started in the early 1980's as an enlisted man, and
retired 22 years later as a Warrant Officer.  My final annual salary(plus benefits) was in excess of $100K

I now receive about $35K annually in retirement, plus medical benefits. Did I mention that this began
at age 42?

Not a bad option for some.

Thank you for the sites.  ("Cites" works well too.)  The military is an excellent option, and not just for a strict JAG focus.  Sadly, large portions of society are far removed from military service as an option (much less, a civic duty), that the professional benefits are hidden in full view.

For any not yet in law school unsure of their goals or true desires, a few years in the service will sharpen both.
Title: Re: Getting a Job with the Federal goverment
Post by: Morten Lund on September 29, 2010, 10:51:55 AM
Did anyone post this yet?

http://jobsearch.usajobs.gov/search.aspx?jbf571=10&FedEmp=N&FedPub=Y&sort=rv,-dtex&vw=b&re=134&caller=basic.aspx (http://jobsearch.usajobs.gov/search.aspx?jbf571=10&FedEmp=N&FedPub=Y&sort=rv,-dtex&vw=b&re=134&caller=basic.aspx)
Title: Re: Getting a Job with the Federal goverment
Post by: marcus-aurelius on September 29, 2010, 05:52:39 PM
Sorry to hijac the thread, but Thane I firmly believe you are correct.  Military was something I was looking into near the end of high school. I was talked out of it by "you are too smart to go into the military."  In hindsight, I wish I had for I feel it would have built the personal growth it took me 8 years to achieve in a shorted time period in which I served my country
[/quote]

Thank you for the sites.  ("Cites" works well too.)  The military is an excellent option, and not just for a strict JAG focus.  Sadly, large portions of society are far removed from military service as an option (much less, a civic duty), that the professional benefits are hidden in full view.

For any not yet in law school unsure of their goals or true desires, a few years in the service will sharpen both.
[/quote]
Title: Re: Getting a Job with the Federal goverment
Post by: louiebstef on October 01, 2010, 04:56:51 PM
Thane and Marcus,

Your comments give mine a welcome legitimacy.  While the military, of course, is not for everyone, it can be quite an excellent option for some.  I believe, maybe in error, that some high school guidance counselors may be swayed by their OWN politics.  That is sad, because some young folks that have potential are sometimes lost to the streets because of this.

Not every student has the preparation, maturity, or finances to attend college immediately after high school.  The military can be a conduit to provide those very things.
Title: Re: Getting a Job with the Federal goverment
Post by: haus on October 01, 2010, 09:12:13 PM
It should be said that the military has changed over the last thirty years. Some of these changes for the better (e.g. greatly improved GI Bill), and some for the worse (e.g. deployment rate is through the roof).

While I was in the Corps back in the 90's (enlisted) I made a point that I would not even consider getting into a relationship as the operation tempo was too high, and too unpredictable for a young family to deal with. It did not help that the pay was poor and housing was simply bad (I remember when I joined my unit I was moved into an open squad bay that had been condemned over a year before my arrival).

Many of my fellow junior Marines went on to get married and start families, and a disturbingly high percentage of these families failed to cope with the stress that came with the job.

Spending time in the Military can be a good experience, but it is important to keep in mind that it is a commitment that far exceeds most other types of employment. When one is considering signing on the dotted line, it can be very hard to imagine the extent which it can impact your life.
Title: Re: Getting a Job with the Federal goverment
Post by: louiebstef on October 02, 2010, 03:43:31 AM
Haus,

Very good observations.  I can attest to many of those difficulties, making 8 deployments in my 22 years.  Like any serious undertaking in life, it tends to have challenges.  I think the best characterization of successful service would be resiliency.  What doesn't knock you out does tend to make you stronger.  The good news is that enlistees can vote with their feet (as you did) at the end of their enlistments.

That said, what I was really talking about was a single enlistment as just one possible alternative for young people.

In terms of serving as a commissioned officer in the JAG Corps, I do have a strong opinion.  JAGs (in general) serve in about the best conditions possible in the military.  Barring any moral objections, a young (or new) attorney that feels that the demands of a JAG would be just "too much" for them should probably not look to being an associate in a large firm either.  I would think 100 hour work weeks are presumably not for those with weak constitutions.
Title: Re: Getting a Job with the Federal goverment
Post by: louiebstef on October 02, 2010, 03:53:34 AM
Haus,

Just an aside--I really wasn't taking a potshot at the Corps from a comfy armchair in the wardroom.  I was originally an RP, humped through ITS and enjoyed some of the very same wonderful Corps hospitality that you did. The old-timers didn't nickname it "The Crotch" for nothing, LOL. 

Title: Re: Getting a Job with the Federal goverment
Post by: Thane Messinger on October 03, 2010, 01:48:02 AM
In terms of serving as a commissioned officer in the JAG Corps, I do have a strong opinion.  JAGs (in general) serve in about the best conditions possible in the military.  Barring any moral objections, a young (or new) attorney that feels that the demands of a JAG would be just "too much" for them should probably not look to being an associate in a large firm either.  I would think 100 hour work weeks are presumably not for those with weak constitutions.


Quite right. To anyone who thinks "Wow, this is just too much" (with any law job), it's good to heed the word here and by Morten Lund and, yes, me . . . the practice of law, while ego-boosting and sometimes thrilling, is also draining and even consuming, especially if one wants to extract the superstar salaries that endlessly attract students like moths to financial flames.

This is not to be negative . . . that's not in our bones . . . but as a fair, unwavering heads-up.

Thane.
Title: Re: Getting a Job with the Federal goverment
Post by: Thane Messinger on October 03, 2010, 01:52:56 AM
Not every student has the preparation, maturity, or finances to attend college immediately after high school.  The military can be a conduit to provide those very things.


How about mandating two years of military or community service for everyone, and prohibiting college immediately after high school for anyone?

Oops.  Did I just type that?

= :   )
Title: Re: Getting a Job with the Federal goverment
Post by: Morten Lund on October 03, 2010, 11:03:03 AM

How about mandating two years of military or community service for everyone, and prohibiting college immediately after high school for anyone?

Oops.  Did I just type that?

= :   )

Ironically, a permanent draft tends to reduce the value of military service (IMO), for better or worse.  In countries where the vast majority of (male) citizens serve in the military, the experience can be watered down.  There is a certain value to volunteering for something.  I generally see no particular increased maturity in "veterans" from draft countries compared to those from the same country who skipped military service - certainly nothing like the transformation that is relatively common among American servicemen. 

Perhaps it has more to to with American culture than the draft itself, but my experience has been that draftees in universal service systems tend to view it more as just another requirement, like math class, that has to be completed.
Title: Re: Getting a Job with the Federal government
Post by: Thane Messinger on October 03, 2010, 12:50:27 PM

How about mandating two years of military or community service for everyone, and prohibiting college immediately after high school for anyone?

Oops.  Did I just type that?

= :   )

Ironically, a permanent draft tends to reduce the value of military service (IMO), for better or worse.  In countries where the vast majority of (male) citizens serve in the military, the experience can be watered down.  There is a certain value to volunteering for something.  I generally see no particular increased maturity in "veterans" from draft countries compared to those from the same country who skipped military service - certainly nothing like the transformation that is relatively common among American servicemen. 

Perhaps it has more to to with American culture than the draft itself, but my experience has been that draftees in universal service systems tend to view it more as just another requirement, like math class, that has to be completed.


Aloha, Morten & All -

Funny you write this, as it reminds me of a conversation years ago with an orthodox Jewish fellow who had served, cautiously, in the Israeli Army years before.  He recounted adventure after adventure avoiding serious ways of harm.  On the other hand, a recent busines article surmised that the success of Israeli technology firms derives from the Israeli military's unique culture, rewarding competence and innovation and eschewing authority based merely on rank, as in most other militaries. 

One can also look to U.S. history and point to the enlistments in World War II (which were hardly as clockwork as in modern service) as an important ingredient in social and economic growth thereafter.  One might wonder whether the economic expansion of the post-War period (and, while we're at it, the Civil Rights movement) would ever have happened without the defining culture of military service (and loss) among broad swaths of U.S. society during those earlier years.

Like math, what seems to happen is that a few stars are born (possibly more than would be discovered otherwise), many muddle through gaining bits and pieces here and there, and some scrape by or worse.  Perhaps, as with math, the challenge is to have done it.

Thane.

PS:  No comments out there about prohibiting college immediately after high school?   How about comments about prohibiting law school immediately after college?  = :   )
Title: Re: Getting a Job with the Federal government
Post by: Morten Lund on October 03, 2010, 01:14:17 PM

Funny you write this, as it reminds me of a conversation years ago with an orthodox Jewish fellow who had served, cautiously, in the Israeli Army years before.  He recounted adventure after adventure avoiding serious ways of harm. 
...

PS:  No comments out there about prohibiting college immediately after high school?   How about comments about prohibiting law school immediately after college?  = :   )

Fair caveat - I would think that any military experience that involves serious risk would impart learning.  Israel may be an anomaly in this regard - compare to China or most European countries, for instance.  Regular folk in these military operations are perfectly safe (barring a significant conflict), and it is easy to avoid learning anything if one is not motivated.

Prohibiting law school after college?  If that is necessary, then I think the better fix is to make college more useful.  There has to come a point when the coddling stops and the real world sets in, and I am not sure we should seek to postpone that point further than we already have.
Title: Re: Getting a Job with the Federal government
Post by: louiebstef on October 03, 2010, 03:49:17 PM
There has to come a point when the coddling stops and the real world sets in, and I am not sure we should seek to postpone that point further than we already have.

Morten and Thane,

AMEN!

We do have the benefit of hindsight in this discussion.  I think SOME sort of mandatory national service wouldn't be a bad idea.

We should STOP THE CODDLING much earlier in the educational process, maybe even in the home.  Not EVRYONE is a winner.  Yes, Johnny, there really ARE people who lose!  This is a part of LIFE.  We do a disservice to our youth by instilling in them a mountain of unrealistic expectations.
Title: Re: Getting a Job with the Federal government
Post by: Thane Messinger on October 03, 2010, 04:38:40 PM
Fair caveat - I would think that any military experience that involves serious risk would impart learning.  Israel may be an anomaly in this regard - compare to China or most European countries, for instance.  Regular folk in these military operations are perfectly safe (barring a significant conflict), and it is easy to avoid learning anything if one is not motivated.

Prohibiting law school after college?  If that is necessary, then I think the better fix is to make college more useful.  There has to come a point when the coddling stops and the real world sets in, and I am not sure we should seek to postpone that point further than we already have.


I can't disagree, Morten. 

I suppose the point made--a bit off the original point, admittedly--is that nearly everyone would benefit from service of some kind (not to mention those who would benefit directly).  Whether one will benefit greatly or modestly, like math it IS something we will use.  Military service obviously adds quite an organizational and hierarchical component, to be sure.  Those who object might work in a school, forest, prison, what have you.  Nothing like getting your hands dirty (or getting yelled at) to add that extra little bit of perspective--and, yes, CEOs should serve as janitors (ground-floor bathroom duty) one day per year. 

As to coddling, as someone who's also been part of the academic-industrial complex, my own view is perhaps a bit counter-revolutionary: it is the schools that are a large part of the coddling, mixed with and exacerbating a social impulse.  Thus, quite right that college is a good place to start.  How about Monday?

All right then.  That was a fun excursion.  = :   )

Thane.
Title: Re: Getting a Job with the Federal government
Post by: Thane Messinger on October 03, 2010, 04:53:35 PM
A counter-counterpoint to ours:  those currently in search of employment are certainly not being coddled.  A douse of ice water of reality after high expectations, to be sure, but it's hardly their fault.  Indeed, one unfairness is that few who benefit from good times have any real sympathy--or even awareness--of just how different the deal is during bad times.  So, those who joined firms in robust times (and who've avoided the thinning recently) are sometimes callous--often inadvertently--towards those whose dreams are being dashed.  It's a hard and harsh line to navigate, to be sure. 

As louiebstef states, Morten and I have a luxury that makes this perhaps a too-harsh aside commentary given the market realities now.

Just wanted to state this to those out there looking for work that, yes, there are many who do know and care.  And, yes, it will get better.  In the meantime, try like hell to figure out what you like (it might not be what you assume you'll like, and it's almost certainly not what everyone else assumes they'll like) . . . and try even harder to find some toehold in that realm.  This might well include a cozy government office (or a not-so-cozy one), but it might also include, say, entrepreneurship.  If ever there were an antidote towards coddling, whining, inactivity, defeatism, you name it, that it is.  Or teach English abroad for a year.  That will change your life, guaranteed.  Or, ahem, if you still can, join the military.  It's not just a job . . . .

Best of luck, sincerely.

Thane.


There has to come a point when the coddling stops and the real world sets in, and I am not sure we should seek to postpone that point further than we already have.

Morten and Thane,

AMEN!

We do have the benefit of hindsight in this discussion.  I think SOME sort of mandatory national service wouldn't be a bad idea.

We should STOP THE CODDLING much earlier in the educational process, maybe even in the home.  Not EVRYONE is a winner.  Yes, Johnny, there really ARE people who lose!  This is a part of LIFE.  We do a disservice to our youth by instilling in them a mountain of unrealistic expectations.
Title: Re: Getting a Job with the Federal government
Post by: Thane Messinger on October 04, 2010, 02:19:36 AM
Prohibiting law school after college?  If that is necessary, then I think the better fix is to make college more useful.  There has to come a point when the coddling stops and the real world sets in, and I am not sure we should seek to postpone that point further than we already have.


Morten -

Didn't mean to imply that you were stating more than you were.  The thought occurred to me that I might have been insensitive in raising the point (and in arguing it further).

Thane.
Title: Re: Getting a Job with the Federal goverment
Post by: Specks on December 09, 2010, 10:40:00 AM
Two Questions:

(1) What is the difference between the three JAG corp branches,

(2) what kind of personality would you guys say it takes to make it through the military. One of the reasons I'm looking into government jobs is because I hate the pandering and politicking that goes along with firm jobs. I know you still have to do it, but I'm told it's to a lesser degree. Thoughts?

Also, I hear horror stories about certain contracts clauses not being disclosed and people being roped into more years of service than they originally signed up for etc. Is this true? If so, what are the general pitfalls to watch out for?
Title: Re: Getting a Job with the Federal goverment
Post by: louiebstef on December 09, 2010, 04:38:57 PM
Specks,

One thing that is different is that you will be "lawyering" under the auspices of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, 10 U.S.C. Ch. 47.  It is, as they say, a horse of an entirely different color.

That said, I can only speak as a former "collateral duty" legal officer in the Navy.  That function is delegated to certain officers at smaller commands that do not have a JAG Corps officer assigned.  Even though not a JAG officer myself, I did interact with them often.

In the Navy JAG Corps (which also provides attorneys to the Marine Corps and Coast Guard), most junior officers are assigned to what is called Naval Legal Service Offices (NLSOs).  What do you suppose happens when you gather a gaggle of attorneys all under one roof?  Politics, as usual.  Please be advised that there are power plays made and political gaming scenarios aplenty in the military.  The upside to serving is that at least (for the most part) you are not politicking for professional survival, as you would be as an associate in a BIGLAW firm.   

Why are you worried about being "hoodwinked" in your accession to the military?  Are you not a law student?  Read the contract.  There is quite a bit of disinformation out there regarding fraudulent enlistments.  While faux pas have occurred, there are actually quite rare.  You simply have to do your due diligence before approaching a recruiting officer.  Read everything that the military provides in terms of literature. 

I recommend you pay a courtesy visit to the military base nearest you.  Chances are, they will have a JAG Corps officer assigned somewhere.  Ask them about their typical "day in the life."  See if you think it would be a fit for you.  A good place to start would be to inquire at the Public Affairs Office at the Base Headquarters.

A word of caution.  Be advised that even though lawyers are "administrative" in nature, they are considered to be combatants, and are worldwide assignable.  Yes, you could find yourself wearing cammies and carrying a sidearm in Afghanistan.

I hope this has helped.  While I know little about the Army and even less about the Air Force, I suspect that service with those elements is somewhat similar.  At the very least, you are still dealing with military courts/tribunals and the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

louiebstef
CWO4, USN (ret.) 
Title: Re: Getting a Job with the Federal goverment
Post by: Specks on December 10, 2010, 08:56:29 AM
Thank you for the reply. I will definitely look into the public affairs office. I've spoken to one JAG recruiter but, as is his job, he only highlighted the good things about his job so I am hoping to get a good idea of the pitfalls in the job so that I might make an intelligent decision.

As for the hoodwinked, I honestly don't think it's intentional. But sometimes time etc. is counted differently depending on whether a person is serving etc. Like you said, probably reading up on the literature will be what is most helpful.

Do you think there's any marked difference between basic attitudes/ personalities between the three branches?
Title: Re: Getting a Job with the Federal goverment
Post by: Thane Messinger on December 10, 2010, 12:48:42 PM
Do you think there's any marked difference between basic attitudes/ personalities between the three branches?

Excellent reply by louiebstef.  As to different attitudes and personalities, what comes to mind is a conversation with a Navy JAG officer, who sat next to me during the bar exam.  She remarked during break that the Air Force JAG folk came to the Navy for advice on trials involving various brands of misbehavior.  Seems the girls and boys in (light) blue didn't have nearly as much fun.  [Insert favorite branch joke relating to telling time, chewing and walking, etc.]
Title: Re: Getting a Job with the Federal goverment
Post by: louiebstef on December 10, 2010, 01:27:41 PM
What?!?!

We sailors are well known for being above reproach!
When we aren't helping widows and orphans, we are building rural schools overseas---the lighthouses of knowledge....

Burrrrp!

 ;)

Title: Re: Getting a Job with the Federal goverment
Post by: CoxlessPair on January 03, 2011, 06:06:32 AM
I'm an active duty Air Force JAG in my third year.

TLS has a huge JAG thread that is worth reading: http://www.top-law-schools.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=31543

There is also a great AF specific thread on AirForceOTS but it requires registration.

Title: Re: Getting a Job with the Federal goverment
Post by: cathy45ianni on May 10, 2011, 04:45:50 AM
Different jobs have different requirements and different responsibilities. A job in defense  services or military comes with great responsibilities which is much more than any thing.