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Author Topic: Can't work at the DA's office this summer, now what?  (Read 3808 times)

MissNatalie

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Can't work at the DA's office this summer, now what?
« on: January 05, 2009, 10:06:42 PM »
So after I graduate I would like to work at the DA's office. I'm from California, but I'm attending school in New York.  I hoped to go to California for the summer to work at the DA's office but I recently learned that this is not possible, seeing as how you need to take Evidence to work as a summer intern.  Being a 1L, I obviously cannot take Evidence.  What jobs should I look into now? I can stay in New York and work at the DA's office, but I would rather get a job in California. Any ideas?
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jacy85

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Re: Can't work at the DA's office this summer, now what?
« Reply #1 on: January 06, 2009, 07:31:27 AM »
Agreed, try a different county, if possible.

SumDood

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Re: Can't work at the DA's office this summer, now what?
« Reply #2 on: January 06, 2009, 04:21:47 PM »
Also, I know you want to do DA's office post-grad, but taking a spin in the public defender's office would probably be invaluable.  You'll see how it looks from the other side, how the office functions, and build good connections.  It will be much easier to place yourself in opposing counsel's shoes if you've been there.  And you could sure as hell spin that in an interview wiht a DA's office.

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 ;-)

UnbiasedObserver

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Re: Can't work at the DA's office this summer, now what?
« Reply #3 on: January 06, 2009, 05:36:57 PM »
SumDood, you are full of crap. Not a clueless 0L/1L. You don't work in a death penalty clinic (duh), but this is California, not Texas. Working in the public defender's office is fine.  They want people who are interested in criminal law and have criminal law experience.  I know several PD/DA summer splits, and my pops did both at different points in his career.  Also, working with local judges would be helpful.  (Unless that would "taint" you too.)

I agree with you that, in at least some jurisdictions, a stint at a PD's office is invaluable.  I've heard this straight from a prosecutor's mouth. 


goaliechica

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Re: Can't work at the DA's office this summer, now what?
« Reply #4 on: January 06, 2009, 05:54:43 PM »
For some organizations (on both sides), it's problematic to do both prosecution and defense work. Some places think that you aren't really committed to the work if you've worked on the other side. Others think it's good experience. If the prosecutor at the place you want to work says they value defense experience, then it should be fine, but that's not true everywhere.
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SumDood

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Re: Can't work at the DA's office this summer, now what?
« Reply #5 on: January 06, 2009, 06:47:14 PM »
SumDood, you are full of crap. Not a clueless 0L/1L. You don't work in a death penalty clinic (duh), but this is California, not Texas. Working in the public defender's office is fine.  They want people who are interested in criminal law and have criminal law experience.  I know several PD/DA summer splits, and my pops did both at different points in his career.  Also, working with local judges would be helpful.  (Unless that would "taint" you too.)

I agree with you that, in at least some jurisdictions, a stint at a PD's office is invaluable.  I've heard this straight from a prosecutor's mouth. 


Oh well, I'm convinced... someone on the interwebs says they heard it from a prosecutor's mouth!

Reading comprehension appears to be a problem for you, no? There is a big difference between the work being "invaluable" from an experiential perspective and the impact it will have on your chances of getting hired as an ADA... and yes you are obviously a clueless 1L/0L, and no you won't get hired as an ADA after a summer at the PD's office.

Edit: Also, the anecdotal example of your "pops" doing both DA/PD work during his "career" really isn't terribly relevant to who would be hired straight out of LS as an ADA. You guys can convince the OP this is a good idea and screw him/her over, sure... but just know that that's what you're doing.

UnbiasedObserver

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Re: Can't work at the DA's office this summer, now what?
« Reply #6 on: January 06, 2009, 07:10:58 PM »

Oh well, I'm convinced... someone on the interwebs says they heard it from a prosecutor's mouth!

First, it's ironic that you state this.  Aren't you also making a statement on the interwebs?   :D

Secondly, why are you being antagonistic?  I didn't respond to be mean, but to give another viewpoint/"evidence."  The OP deserves that. 

Reading comprehension appears to be a problem for you, no?

Since you're going to "nitpick," I guess I should too, no?

There is a big difference between the work being "invaluable" from an experiential perspective and the impact it will have on your chances of getting hired as an ADA... and yes you are obviously a clueless 1L/0L, and no you won't get hired as an ADA after a summer at the PD's office.

Notice that I qualified my statement that in some jurisdictions it may be invaluable to landing an ADA job. 

Your blanket, unqualified statement is much more theoretically unsound than mine, which has a qualification that dilutes my premise. 



goaliechica

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Re: Can't work at the DA's office this summer, now what?
« Reply #7 on: January 06, 2009, 07:32:25 PM »
Yeah, well, in some jurisdictions being a woman or being black or wearing your hair the wrong way is enough to screw you over.  You can't please everyone.  However, most DAs are not the completely stupid numbnuts you're describing who only want people who drink the Kool-Aid. It's invaluable for building your skills, which is what I said, and I suggested that would be easy to spin in an interview.  Which it would be, as long as you're not interviewing with a moron.

Also, I'm a 2L but going into biglaw. Since my dad has been a DA and a public defender, however, I do think I'll believe my pops over the anonymous rude guy on the internet.

Weren't you the one who was all about selling your political interests down the river in order not to potentially ruffle any feathers when applying for Big Law? Just sayin'  ;)

I just want to reiterate that just because some people have done both prosecution and defense work (like your pops) doesn't mean it's definitely not a problem, and that someone would have to be a moron to see it that way. I have friends who work at prestigious appellate defense organizations who say it would be like death to even consider doing anything prosecution-related, let alone have done it in the past, and a San Francisco prosecutor who came to one of our career panels last year said that they didn't really care what kind of 1L job you had, except that they didn't like to see defense work, because it made them question your dedication. Whether that's fair or reasonable or not is one matter, but whether it's true is another. And it's definitely true for SOME DA's, PD's, and other types of crim law employers. Again, I think the OP's best bet would be to call or email someone in the DA's office where she wants to work, or another student who has worked there, and ask how they consider defense work.
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Miss P

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Re: Can't work at the DA's office this summer, now what?
« Reply #8 on: January 06, 2009, 11:26:46 PM »
Yeah, well, in some jurisdictions being a woman or being black or wearing your hair the wrong way is enough to screw you over.  You can't please everyone.  However, most DAs are not the completely stupid numbnuts you're describing who only want people who drink the Kool-Aid. It's invaluable for building your skills, which is what I said, and I suggested that would be easy to spin in an interview.  Which it would be, as long as you're not interviewing with a moron.

Also, I'm a 2L but going into biglaw. Since my dad has been a DA and a public defender, however, I do think I'll believe my pops over the anonymous rude guy on the internet.

Weren't you the one who was all about selling your political interests down the river in order not to potentially ruffle any feathers when applying for Big Law? Just sayin'  ;)

I just want to reiterate that just because some people have done both prosecution and defense work (like your pops) doesn't mean it's definitely not a problem, and that someone would have to be a moron to see it that way. I have friends who work at prestigious appellate defense organizations who say it would be like death to even consider doing anything prosecution-related, let alone have done it in the past, and a San Francisco prosecutor who came to one of our career panels last year said that they didn't really care what kind of 1L job you had, except that they didn't like to see defense work, because it made them question your dedication. Whether that's fair or reasonable or not is one matter, but whether it's true is another. And it's definitely true for SOME DA's, PD's, and other types of crim law employers. Again, I think the OP's best bet would be to call or email someone in the DA's office where she wants to work, or another student who has worked there, and ask how they consider defense work.

I entirely agree.  In some parts of the country, it's very normal to switch back and forth between DA and PD.  In other parts of the country/jurisdictions, it's unheard of.  OP, get to know people in the offices where you'd like to work so that you can learn their perspective.

ETA: In NYC, it's a county-by-county thing.  The PDs probably won't hire you straight out of law school if you have prosecution experience (possible exceptions: USA experience or white collar AG experience), but some of the local DAs (Queens, Bronx) will hire you with PD experience, depending on its extent and how you spin it.
That's cool how you referenced a case.

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MissNatalie

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Re: Can't work at the DA's office this summer, now what?
« Reply #9 on: January 07, 2009, 12:45:58 AM »
Goodness, I didn't mean to start a war! I appreciate everyone's advice.  I had looked into LA and San Diego county, and they both require evidence.  I do have a couple of other counties I could look into, there would just be a little more traveling involved. I had considered looking into the Public Defender's office and I brought this up to the Dean of Career Services at my school and she said to make sure I call the DA's office at whichever county I ultimately want to end up in and ask about this.  Apparently some DA's offices frown upon it, but I could totally understand why it would be helpful experience.  Either way, seeing as how I'm not totally positive about where I want to end up in the long run, I'm probably going to say away from the Public Defender's office. Thanks again!
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