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Author Topic: What about government jobs?  (Read 6752 times)

Future JDJiver

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Re: What about government jobs?
« Reply #20 on: February 21, 2008, 02:14:47 PM »
Great post JDJiver, thanks for the helpful info. Obviously you got impressive offers coming out of school, did you demonstrate a "commitment to public service" while in law school? It seems that many govt job applications like to see a commitment to public service. Does this mean they do not like seeing you spend 2L summer at a big firm? Can you offset doing a summer associate position at a big firm by doing PI stuff during the school year?

Glad to help -- gov't jobs don't get nearly as much attention as they should on this board.

Obviously demonstrating a commitment to public interest is vital. It's absolutely important to do something related to the area you're interested in during your 1L summer. It doesn't have to be government, but should be something that gives you good practical experience. There were a ton of student orgs at my school that let you handle unemployment insurance hearings and family court divorce proceedings. I think those are a lot more valuable than advocacy or policy orgs simply because you're getting real experience it's just great stuff for interviews. Clinics are also great. Being able to have a clinical prof be a reference helps so much.

2L is tricky. I ended up splitting the summer with a DC firm and DOJ SLIP. I think spending part of the summer at the firm actually helped in my case, since I didn't go to a great school. In every office there are going to be some prestige whore types who may end up reviewing part of your app. If you went to a Harvard they're going to know you're smart enough. Splitting with a firm is a good way to get that BIGLAW stamp of approval but show that you're really committed to working after grad in the public sector. If you do work at a firm for the whole summer it's important to try to get as much pro-bono stuff in as possible and to start 3L strong with clinics and courses related to what you want to do. It's not a huge negative, but it's important to be prepared to address it.

christianlawyer09

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Re: What about government jobs?
« Reply #21 on: March 15, 2008, 02:57:37 PM »
What about NYC DA? I think I read somewhere about it being 2000:1 or 200:1??? Anyways, it being ridiculously super competitive but I could be recalling a bad dream ;)

I received offers from the Manhattan DA and the DOJ HP, but ultimately decided to defer the decision and do a clerkship. I did not go to a T14 but had pretty good grades.

The Manhattan DA is highly competitive, but I think people have a misguided sense of what competitive means in the government/prosecutorial context. While some agencies are really hung up on School/GPA (DOJ, FTC, etc.), most, including the Manhattan DA, aren't so. They are competitive in the sense that they're looking for people with great judgment, courtroom presence and trial skills in addition to intelligence. To steal a quote from someone, they are looking for lawyers who are just as good handling a 4th amendment suppression motion at 2pm as they are interrogating a murder suspect at a local precinct at 2am. It's one of the best jobs out there, but also one of the toughest. Manhattan ADAs often have 175-200 cases, and when they start out it's not uncommon to do several minor trials a week. It's very different from the typical fed or state job that involves more writing and research. One former ADA said he never wrote more than 5 pages during his 3-year tenure at the office.

Obviously the better the school and grades, the better your chances (The DA himself is a yale grad). Obviously a C+ in Crim Pro or Evidence is going to sting you, but they won't get hung up over a low grade in Trusts & Estates or something. Above all they're looking for smart people who have a fire in their belly but an even keeled head. They recognize that school and GPA aren't dispositive of that.

Hmmm...your previous posts indicate that you are currently a 2L at Fordham.  Seems like you're not being truthful somewhere.

christianlawyer09

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Re: What about government jobs?
« Reply #22 on: March 15, 2008, 03:10:04 PM »
2L is tricky. I ended up splitting the summer with a DC firm and DOJ SLIP. I think spending part of the summer at the firm actually helped in my case, since I didn't go to a great school. In every office there are going to be some prestige whore types who may end up reviewing part of your app. If you went to a Harvard they're going to know you're smart enough. Splitting with a firm is a good way to get that BIGLAW stamp of approval but show that you're really committed to working after grad in the public sector.

[/quote]

Actually, this is completely wrong.  I actually have been selected for DOJ SLIP for this upcoming summer, and everything I know about the process so far is that a demonstrated committment to public service is of the utmost importance.  They do let you split summers because they know there is no guarantee that you'll get a funnel offer for DOJ Honors and they also recognize that a lot of students need money.  But it has nothing to do with getting a "BIGLAW seal of approval".  This guy is pretending to be somebody he's not and doesn't know what he's talking about. Best advice would be to find someone on your faculty that has DOJ experience (bound to be at least 1) and see what insight they can give.  They'll likely be able to put you in touch with someone who knows even if they don't.

Betsy 1

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Re: What about government jobs?
« Reply #23 on: April 03, 2008, 10:33:50 AM »
I'm very interested in this as well.  Would I be better off doing the scholly at WUSTL and having a pretty teeny debt (relatively), or the partial tuition at Michigan w/LRAP?  My question is for the fed gov. positions, as with the DoJ, EPA, etc.  Anybody actually have any idea?

zdub378

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Re: What about government jobs?
« Reply #24 on: April 03, 2008, 10:47:26 AM »
Quote
Is there any reason to believe DOJ attorneys make any more than other attorneys in the federal government?

I'd doubt it-there are websites you can check, but my bet is that the staff counsel for House/Senate committees probably make more and/or get better benefits. I think I saw somewhere that the average salary for committee counsel was around $80-90 a year plus bonuses, and they may also get split salaries-some may come from a member's office. Senior staff on the Hill get treated pretty well, from what I've seen.

Of course, they also have much less job security than the average DOJ attorney. 

Yossarian

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Re: What about government jobs?
« Reply #25 on: April 03, 2008, 11:20:19 AM »
I'm very interested in this as well.  Would I be better off doing the scholly at WUSTL and having a pretty teeny debt (relatively), or the partial tuition at Michigan w/LRAP?  My question is for the fed gov. positions, as with the DoJ, EPA, etc.  Anybody actually have any idea?

I don't really know but I would guess by virtue of having greater prestige and being a public school Michigan would be the better choice. Please don't take my word for this, maybe someone with more experience could comment.
W&L '11

Betsy 1

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Re: What about government jobs?
« Reply #26 on: April 04, 2008, 07:31:17 AM »
Hmm, I hadn't thought of the public school angle...

zdub378

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Re: What about government jobs?
« Reply #27 on: April 04, 2008, 09:28:57 AM »
I don't think going to a state school matters that much, frankly.

Eugene Volokh's blog has a post on hiring patterns under the current administration-basically a critique of an NY Times article, but there are still some numbers and useful information in the comments section. 

http://volokh.com/posts/1181854141.shtml

observationalist

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Re: What about government jobs?
« Reply #28 on: April 13, 2008, 03:56:56 PM »
I'm very interested in this as well.  Would I be better off doing the scholly at WUSTL and having a pretty teeny debt (relatively), or the partial tuition at Michigan w/LRAP?  My question is for the fed gov. positions, as with the DoJ, EPA, etc.  Anybody actually have any idea?

I'm plugging Vandy again regarding connections to gov't/regulatory jobs in DC. The head of the Environmental/Regulatory Law programs was former chief of staff of the EPA, and his wife is a director at the Environmental Law Institute in DC and runs an externship program offered exclusively to Vanderbilt law students. They just had a conference on the Hill last Friday and it went very well, and I'm looking forward to working on it next year. The president of the Land Trust for Tennessee in Nashville (where at least three of us will be interning at between this summer and next fall... office is in a sweet refurbished building on Demonbreun) was general counsel of the EPA under Clinton, and her husband is a professor at Vanderbilt (teaching Internat'l Environmental Law) with current board positions at the WWF, NOAA, and prior work experience at the UN FAO.  Between those two super couples alone, you have direct connections into multiple federal agencies and legal institutes in Washington.  Out of the 1Ls we have people interning in various departments at the DoJ, at the FCC and other fed agencies, and multiple 3Ls that have done or are doing externships in DC this year. The Vanderbilt/DC connection is very strong right now and the Regulatory Law Program does a great job at preparing 1L students for seeking regulatory/gov't. work. In my interview I was able to speak at length about my understanding of administrative law thanks to having had Dean Rubin for the new Reg. State class last fall, which essentially puts us ahead of where most first-year students are on the regulatory front. And as the faculty continue to strengthen the program they've been very ambitious about promoting it to employers and helping us get into the jobs we want... the support I've received from all the aforementioned people has been amazing.

Also, it looks like we might have another student coming next year who just finished up a Peace Corps stint in Paraguay, and a second student who worked for IJM in D.C. and might be deferring for a year if they decide to work on an IJM project in Guatemala. It looks like you might have already dropped Vanderbilt from your list, but if you haven't I wanted you to know you'd be in good company if you came here. And for anyone else interested in the environmental/regulatory programs, PM me and I'll put you in touch w/ the director. He wants to speak with interested prospectives since he missed the chance at the last ASW.
Vanderbilt University Law School Class of '10

latinlord

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Re: What about government jobs?
« Reply #29 on: April 13, 2008, 04:21:39 PM »
Bump... intersting thread... especially since i'll be working for the DA's office this summer... haah
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