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Author Topic: 3.2 at T15 - Interested in Criminal Law (prosecution and defense)  (Read 3758 times)

passerby

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Has anyone else noticed that there are very few entry-level opportunities for those interested in criminal law?  Since I went to a T15, virtually everyone wants (and gets) the biglaw jobs.  Most of the prosecution jobs available in my state (Texas) are in rural areas that I am not interested in living.  Criminal defense firms rarely post job openings in the bulletins much less interview on campus.  Any suggestions?

Naked Promise

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Just say you went to UT. Stop trying to beat around the bush with the 'T15' business.

vap

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How many DA offices have you sent your resume to?

Is hanging a shingle an option?

What about a clerkship with Court of Criminal Appeals or other state courts?

jacy85

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There are lots of opportunities, but you need to be willing to either sacrifice or know how to network.

The DA openings are almost always in rural areas because the prosecutors who cut their teeth in those rural areas are the ones with the experience necessary to get the more highly coveted metro-area jobs.  That's pretty much how it works everywhere.  Some possible exceptions are positions in solicitor's offices or positions that handle only misdemeanors.  Barring this, you need to be willing to spend a few years getting experience in a more rural office and wait for an opportunity to open up in a metro office.

As for defense firms, start networking.  These firms almost never interview on campus because they don't care to pay the fees charged by schools for the privilege of getting a room for OCI.  Instead, start going to local bar events, especially those for the criminal division.  

dischord

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Tag.

There are lots of opportunities, but you need to be willing to either sacrifice or know how to network.

The DA openings are almost always in rural areas because the prosecutors who cut their teeth in those rural areas are the ones with the experience necessary to get the more highly coveted metro-area jobs.  

Is the same true of defenders' offices? 
At least I can f-ing think.

Miss P

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Is the same true of defenders' offices? 

Not really.  In a lot of states, there are barely any public defender offices in rural areas, and those that exist are often staffed by old-timers with few openings.  (One exception is Kentucky, which always seems to be hiring in rural offices.)   There are a dozen or so big metro-area PDs who hire out of law school and do national searches.  My best advice is for you to try to get experience at one of them next summer -- PDS seems like the best choice for you -- and to work at PCS if you can during the school year.  You're off to a good start already!
That's cool how you referenced a case.

Quote from: archival
I'm so far from the end of my tether right now that I reckon I could knit myself some socks with the slack.

dischord

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Huh.  So . . . why do rural DAs always have openings?  I mean, I guess they just have more openings generally but it's surprising to me that the difference is that stark.
At least I can f-ing think.

Miss P

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Huh.  So . . . why do rural DAs always have openings?  I mean, I guess they just have more openings generally but it's surprising to me that the difference is that stark.

Aside from the general (huge) funding disparities between prosecution and indigent defense, there are structural differences.  DA's always have state funding and usually have a statewide infrastructure; defenders are often funded by local governments, and a lot of rural areas don't have institutional providers.
That's cool how you referenced a case.

Quote from: archival
I'm so far from the end of my tether right now that I reckon I could knit myself some socks with the slack.

dischord

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Well yeah I know how the funding works, but really figured that would only explain why there are more positions in total, not necessarily why there are more openings . . . I mean, I wouldn't imagine that there are that many DA positions in total in rural areas even if there are many times more DA jobs than defender jobs.  And even if they're better funded, I doubt they're constantly expanding, especially given state budget woes. 
At least I can f-ing think.

Miss P

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Well yeah I know how the funding works, but really figured that would only explain why there are more positions in total, not necessarily why there are more openings . . . I mean, I wouldn't imagine that there are that many DA positions in total in rural areas even if there are many times more DA jobs than defender jobs.  And even if they're better funded, I doubt they're constantly expanding, especially given state budget woes. 

You're right. I really think it's more about the fact that lots of rural areas don't have institutional indigent defense providers and instead contract out cases to private attorneys. 
That's cool how you referenced a case.

Quote from: archival
I'm so far from the end of my tether right now that I reckon I could knit myself some socks with the slack.