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Author Topic: Becoming a Prosecutor or Public Defender  (Read 2687 times)

mcleod13

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Becoming a Prosecutor or Public Defender
« on: February 17, 2008, 11:25:21 AM »
O.k. I want to be a Prosecutor or Public Defender. I originally wanted to go back in the military however I suffer from Acid Reflux and that is a permanent disqualifier for military service.
Anyway, because I want to be a Prosecutor or PD and do not, I repeat, I DO NOT want to live in the Southern Illinois Area, what is the easiest way to become a SA or PD in TX, FL, AZ, CA, or something like that. I want to live somewhere warm. My career services office is not too helpful when dealing with leaving the area..
How competitive is it to get a job that far away from Southern Illinois.

Anyone?

jacy85

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Re: Becoming a Prosecutor or Public Defender
« Reply #1 on: February 17, 2008, 02:45:15 PM »
I don't know if you mentioned it before, but are you a 2L or 3L?

If you have no local ties to the community, it may be a bit more difficult to find a job in any specific area.  This isn't a huge obstacle, though, as I have a friend who got a few offers from PD offices in areas in which he had absolutely no connections.

One thing that seems to be important for both PDs and DAs is that you have prior experience via internships or volunteer work.  This comes down to showing that you have a proven commitment to the job.  Some offices may be more tied to this "requirement" than others, though.  One potential positive for your situation, I've noticed there's a pretty high prevalence of ex-military at a lot of DA offices.  It's possible that some people would interpret your past military service as akin to the commitment to public service shown by internships, etc. w/ the DA's office.

Another factor is whether you'd be willing to live in a more rural area.  DA/PDs in large and medium-sized metro areas are going to be more competitive/selective, and may require some combo of local ties, proven commitment/experience, and/or decent grades.  More rural areas are less competitive just because not a lot of people aren't interested in living in a county where livestock may outnumber people.

So there are a lot of variables to consider, and a lot that's dependent on what your resume/background includes.

mcleod13

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Re: Becoming a Prosecutor or Public Defender
« Reply #2 on: February 17, 2008, 05:26:39 PM »
Jacy,
Thanks for the response. I am a 2.5L... (Sounds so much better than 2L. I feel closer to graduating) I plan on interning this summer at the local SA or PD office. I was clerking for Judges over the past year however I had to quit because I enrolled into ROTC and now I likely can't participate. I am hoping to start making my package and getting experience in areas to help me in the SA or PD job hunt. I have found more info here than I have at my school.

jacy85

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Re: Becoming a Prosecutor or Public Defender
« Reply #3 on: February 17, 2008, 05:31:40 PM »
I think interning w/ a judge will be helpful, as well as doing something this summer w/ the prosecutor's office or a PD's office.  It will be good experience to have on your resume.

You may also want to look into whether your school has an internship or field placement program, and whether your state has a Third year practice act.  You may be able to get some additional experience as well as credit.

I have no doubt you can find a job that you'd love if you're a little flexible in locations.  The only tough part about trying to go right in after graduation is you may have to wait until you get your bar results before you can get hired.  But aside from that, I'm sure you'll find what you're looking for!

mcleod13

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Re: Becoming a Prosecutor or Public Defender
« Reply #4 on: February 17, 2008, 05:40:36 PM »
Jacy,
Thanks, I am flexible. We do have a Third Year practice called 711 license. I hope to be doing that this summer and next year. The only thing that sucks about trying to do what I want to do is that it is hard to know where to sign up for the bar if I don't know where I am going. I REALLLLLY want to go to the Jacksonville FL area. I love it there. I am not too picky though...... I know that it is hard to go to FL..

jacy85

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Re: Becoming a Prosecutor or Public Defender
« Reply #5 on: February 17, 2008, 08:43:03 PM »
Yeah, I'm not quite sure how people deal with the whole bar/moving thing.  I think people working for the state-wide PD may have a better go of it, as many states/counties seem to hire before graduation.  My friend got and accepted an offer with enough time to get his app in for that state's bar.  I know people that want to stay in state and work for a DA's office, however, and they weren't able to find jobs until after the bar.

I'd maybe start making phone calls next fall or winter to areas you're interested in, and see what the hiring climate is in offices and counties you'd be willing to work in.  You may be able to get an idea of areas that will be more receptive to hiring than others, and make a decision that way.  You could also try to find alums of your school that went into prosecution or defense right after school, and find out how they managed their job search. 

And have fun with the third year practice stuff.  I've been doing it all year, and it's great experience!

mcleod13

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Re: Becoming a Prosecutor or Public Defender
« Reply #6 on: February 17, 2008, 08:49:32 PM »
I can't wait for it. I am actually excited about it. I noticed that some SA and PD offices start hiring in the fall so I am going to start inquiring now and asking general questions like "what would make a candidate most competitive" and stuff like that so I can start networking. The only thing that sucks is I don't have moot court or law journal experience. I wasn't able to try out for them because my wife was sick and I missed an entire month of school to take care of her. i still passed but I didn't have any extra time to do the extra work.

mcleod13

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Re: Becoming a Prosecutor or Public Defender
« Reply #7 on: February 18, 2008, 03:53:10 PM »
I contacted one of my ex-deans who is at Florida Coastal. She gave me some great advice. Apparently there isn't too much competition to become a SA or PD..

red

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Re: Becoming a Prosecutor or Public Defender
« Reply #8 on: February 18, 2008, 10:34:45 PM »
I know that the Dade County State Attorney's office interviews out of state, as they came to my school's OCI.  You may want to consider sending them an application, even if they don't come to your school specifically.

mcleod13

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Re: Becoming a Prosecutor or Public Defender
« Reply #9 on: February 18, 2008, 10:37:38 PM »
Thanks, I will look into it. I appreciate it.

I wonder how far a state attorney's salary would go in Miami?