Law School Discussion

Career--CIA attorneys

Re: Career--CIA attorneys
« Reply #10 on: March 01, 2006, 08:00:48 PM »
Public Interest jobs suck as well!

Southeastern Legal Foundation
Starting salary: $40,000
Top salary: $78,000

Charlottesville, Va.
Southern Environmental Law Center
Starting salary: $38,000
Top salary: $89,000

New York
American Civil Liberties Union
Starting salary: $33,000
Top salary: $77,250

Center for Constitutional Rights
Starting salary: $35,000
Top salary: $60,000
Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund
Starting salary: $47,000
Top salary: $80,000

Washington, D.C.
Center for Individual Rights
Starting salary: $40,000
Top salary: $120,000

Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights
Starting salary: $39,450
Top salary: $85,418

Re: Career--CIA attorneys
« Reply #11 on: March 02, 2006, 05:18:31 AM »
Well, serving as a lawyer in the federal government may not provide as large a salary as a major metropolitan law firm, but it offers a salary that is competitive with many public service opportunities.

College graduates with a 4-year degree typically enter the system at GS-5 or GS-7. Master's level graduates usually enter at a GS-9 or higher, depending upon number of years of work experience. Special rules allow agencies to pay attorneys more, so law school graduates usually start at GS-11 or GS-12, depending on whether the applicant is entering an honors program or has experience from a clerkship. This means a starting salary somewhere between $47,000 and $62,000.

For certain hard-to-fill positions, departments and agencies may be able to offer a "special pay rate" that allows them to increase salaries for potential recruits. Examples of such departments include SEC, Department of Justice, IRS, GAO, DoC, DoD, Army and Air Force JAG, HUD, and HHS.

Department of Justice
« Reply #12 on: March 02, 2006, 05:30:32 AM »
The Attorney General's Honors Program is the Department's recruitment program for entry-level attorneys and is the only way the Department hires graduating law students. The Honors Program is highly competitive, the Department reviews many elements of a candidate's background before selecting him for employment, including: academic achievement, law review experience, moot court competition, legal aid and clinical experience, and summer or part-time employment. The Department also considers specialized academic studies (including undergraduate and post-graduate degrees), work experience, and extracurricular activities that directly relate to the work of the Department.

An experienced attorney who is an active member of the bar (any jurisdiction) and has at least one year post-J.D. experience can apply for a position as an experienced attorney. You can work for the Department of Justice in a broad range of opportunities. Approximately 50% of the more than 600 experienced attorneys hired by Department each year join one of the 94 U.S. Attorneys' Offices. The remainder of the positions are likely to be in the larger Department organizations that account for significant portions of attorney hiring. Those organizations are:

Antitrust Division
Civil Division
Civil Rights Division
Criminal Division
Environment and Natural Resources Division
Tax Division
Federal Bureau of Prisons
Executive Office for Immigration Review
United States Trustees' Offices

Many of the smaller offices also hire experienced attorneys, but generally on a less frequent basis and/or in far fewer numbers than the larger organizations mentioned above. Attorneys at the Department are paid under one of two salary structures - the General Schedule (GS) or the Administratively Determined (AD) pay scale - depending on the organization for which they work. Assistant U.S. Attorneys (AUSAs) are paid under the AD pay scale. The vast majority of other attorneys at the Department are paid under the General Schedule. Experienced attorneys under the General Schedule are hired in the GS-11 to GS-15 range, depending on the nature of the position to be filled, an attorney's years of experience, and the hiring component's policies.

Attorneys may be considered for promotion from their current GS level (e.g., GS-13) to the next highest GS level (e.g., GS-14) once they have served the requisite minimum time-in-grade. The following chart summarizes the promotion eligibility schedule for experienced attorneys under the General Schedule:

Grade Level       Minimum Waiting Time for Consideration
GS-11 to GS-12    6 months
GS-12 to GS-13    6 months (if hired at the GS-12 level: otherwise 1 year)
GS-13 to GS-14    1 year
GS-14 to GS-15    1 year (with outstanding performance appraisal); otherwise, 18 months

It is thus possible for attorneys starting at the GS-12 grade level, for example, to reach the GS-15 level in only 2 1/2 years. However, that some organizations may require longer waiting periods or restrict the grade level to which non-supervisory attorneys may be promoted. Assistant United States Attorneys receive an annual pay review that may lead to an increase in basic pay, based on the attorney's performance rating, current pay and pay range, and years of experience as an attorney.

Only U.S. citizens are eligible for employment with the Executive Office for Immigration, Review (EOIR), FBI, U.S. Attorneys Offices', and the U.S. Trustee Program. Non-U.S. citizens may apply for employment with other Department components (unless otherwise indicated in a vacancy announcement), but should be advised that appointments of non-U.S. citizens are extremely rare. Such appointments are considered only if necessary to accomplish the Department's mission, and are subject to strict security requirements. Dual citizens of the U.S. and another country will be considered on a case-by-case basis.


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Re: Career--CIA attorneys
« Reply #13 on: March 02, 2006, 05:33:55 AM »
I am currently a GS-9.  I entered my agency as a 7 upon college graduation.  This year, I will promote to a GS-11 and in 2007 I will get promoted to GS-12.  At that point it becomes competitive in that only so many GS-13's and above exist.  However, at my particular agency GS-13 is pretty much guaranteed for me in 2008.

That means, when I graduate law school I will be a GS-13 with some steps under my belt.  The government cannot lower your salary once you have held a particular grade, so if I go and practice as an attorney for my agency or any other I will maintain my roughly 75-85K salary that I would be earning otherwise.  With my agency in particular, should I choose to remain with them as a lawyer I will likely be promoted to GS-14.

That being said, not all government work is low paying.  I will happily take 85-100K per year to work less hours in a less stressful environment where I have more responsibility than I ever would in the private sector.  Simply stated, if you do your time in the government you WILL reap the benefits.

Re: Career--CIA attorneys
« Reply #14 on: March 02, 2006, 07:03:05 PM »
Very informative thread!

Re: Career--CIA attorneys
« Reply #15 on: March 03, 2006, 01:23:42 AM »
Plus you get to wear a tuxedo to court!  8)

Re: Career--CIA attorneys
« Reply #16 on: March 10, 2006, 06:31:46 AM »
I understand this has not to do what the thread's topic, but I wanted to say that it;s pretty much the same deal with other federal government branches. SEC, for instance, through its Advanced Committment Program provides opportunities for current 3d year students, LLMs, and judicial law clerks to secure entry-level attorney positions after they graduate. Applicants must have a B average in law school to apply, previous relevant employment, writing/research abilities as demonstrated by law review/other publication, extracurricular activities (moot court/legal aid/clinical experience).

Non-US citizens interested in the program must be citizens of an allied country. Opportunities for entry-level positions in Regional and District Offices are primarily in New York and Chicago regional offices. Attorneys in the regional offices concentrate in enforcement matters, conduct investigations and litigate cases they file or institute.

Re: Career--CIA attorneys
« Reply #17 on: March 14, 2006, 04:51:17 AM »
Very good information. Again.

Re: Career--CIA attorneys
« Reply #18 on: March 14, 2006, 02:19:46 PM »


Applicants must have a B average in law school to apply, previous relevant employment, writing/research abilities as demonstrated by law review/other publication, [...]

You can't have a B average and be in law review .. and what this other publication can be?


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Re: Career--CIA attorneys
« Reply #19 on: March 14, 2006, 02:21:50 PM »
Sure you can have a B average and be on a journal.  Some journals are weighted, i.e. 70% grades and 30% writing and others you can just write during the journal competition. 

However, I assure you, with crap grades, you won't get a job with the CIA or any government agency.  In my federal position they interviewed over 500 people, gave 28 second interviews, and hired 7 of us.