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Author Topic: Can't work at the DA's office this summer, now what?  (Read 3672 times)

jacy85

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Re: Can't work at the DA's office this summer, now what?
« Reply #10 on: January 07, 2009, 07:41:57 PM »
I would call these offices and ask anyway.  I just had a thought reading your update - I don't think I know of ANY 1L who can take evidence; if they do, I think it's really rare.  Many DA offices require evidence because if there is a third year practice act in your state, you can appear in court and practice law under the supervision of an attorney. This type of act/law usually applies to rising 3Ls (summer after 2L), so that requirement may be geared towards those types of interns.

If a DA office takes a rising 2L intern, you likely will obvserve in court, but probably wouldn't be doing much else.  You'd be doing other things to help out in cases.

So as a 1l, you should call each office and see if they take 1L interns, and if so, is evidence required.

NYC3L

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Re: Can't work at the DA's office this summer, now what?
« Reply #11 on: January 08, 2009, 11:26:46 AM »

I rarely post here, but had to chime in after reading this. This is TERRIBLE advice. This is either flame or just pulled from the butt of a clueless/stupid 0L or 1L. If you want to become an ADA, DO NOT do work such as PD summer internships, death penalty clinics, etc.. Believe it or not, you'll be considered tainted and they won't want to touch you.

They want the true believers only ;-)

As a 3L recently hired as an Assistant DA, this is absurd. Any decent DA's office is looking to hire good people with demonstrated commitment to public service -- people committed to doing justice and getting it right in every single case. The director of legal hiring at my office spent both summers in law school at a public defender's office, and many, many, many of recently hired ADAs have done public defense work and clinical work in law school.

In fact, as someone who's resume reads "prosecutor, prosecutor, prosecutor," I was grilled about why I hadn't worked in indigent criminal defense. In many of the interview rounds they asked me if I was applying to public defenders offices, and if not, why? They are skeptical of people who say things like "I knew I wanted to be a prosecutor since I was 14..." In fact, 2 of the 5 elected DAs here (NYC) worked as public defenders before becoming ADAs or running for office.

I will say that the reverse is not true, though. Many public defender's offices, for better or worse, will not consider someone who has a DA or USAO on their resume.

That said, if you have any questions about DAs offices in NY and the surrounding areas, feel free to PM me. I was in your shoes 2 years ago, and I'd be happy to provide any inside info I have on internship opportunities here.

Miss P

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Re: Can't work at the DA's office this summer, now what?
« Reply #12 on: January 08, 2009, 03:06:10 PM »
As a 3L recently hired as an Assistant DA, this is absurd. Any decent DA's office is looking to hire good people with demonstrated commitment to public service -- people committed to doing justice and getting it right in every single case. The director of legal hiring at my office spent both summers in law school at a public defender's office, and many, many, many of recently hired ADAs have done public defense work and clinical work in law school.

In fact, as someone who's resume reads "prosecutor, prosecutor, prosecutor," I was grilled about why I hadn't worked in indigent criminal defense. In many of the interview rounds they asked me if I was applying to public defenders offices, and if not, why? They are skeptical of people who say things like "I knew I wanted to be a prosecutor since I was 14..." In fact, 2 of the 5 elected DAs here (NYC) worked as public defenders before becoming ADAs or running for office.

I will say that the reverse is not true, though. Many public defender's offices, for better or worse, will not consider someone who has a DA or USAO on their resume.

That said, if you have any questions about DAs offices in NY and the surrounding areas, feel free to PM me. I was in your shoes 2 years ago, and I'd be happy to provide any inside info I have on internship opportunities here.

First, congrats on your offer!

Everything you say about why prosecutors should be willing to hire people who have worked as public defenders is entirely true.  I just want to reiterate that, in practice, it really depends on the culture of the office or jurisdiction.  You must know this since you work in NYC.  You can't get a job in NY or Richmond County with PD stuff on your resume.  Hynes and Johnson are obviously of a different mold -- and the prosecutors in their offices are probably better in some ways as a result.  Still, I bet some prosecutors ask questions about why you haven't worked in a public defender office in part to test your response, not because they necessarily think it is a great idea.

The bottom line is that if you want to be a prosecutor or a public defender, it's really important to figure out what the offices in places you might want to work want.  If you don't know where you want to work, you may not want to do anything that might foreclose opportunities at the more narrow-minded offices.

And you're right: public defenders are probably more hesitant to hire prosecutors than vice versa.  There's a good reason for this.  Dealing with indigent clients is really difficult and people who aren't empathetic and intensely committed to indigent defense tend to burn out very quickly.  Also, experience in a public defender office really matters a lot: prosecutors don't work directly with or on behalf of clients, don't conduct investigations themselves, and generally have a different relationship to the people they serve and to the community than other attorneys in public service.  Many of the skills required to be a good public defender are more similar to those of a civil legal services attorney than they are to those of a prosecutor. 
That's cool how you referenced a case.

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NYC3L

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Re: Can't work at the DA's office this summer, now what?
« Reply #13 on: January 08, 2009, 03:58:31 PM »
This seems entirely reasonable, though I'd personally be hesitant to work for an office that was so stead-fast against PD experience. And who'd want to work in Staten Island anyways...