3.4, 155/164 - Prosecution

(Rankings, Profiles, Tuition, Student Life, . . . )
kevinkgoertzen
Posts: 4
Joined: Sat Jan 02, 2010 2:53 am

3.4, 155/164 - Prosecution

Postby kevinkgoertzen » Wed Jan 06, 2010 12:57 am

Hey folks, my goal is to become a state prosecutor. I have no desire for big-law, corporate law, or anything that will actually make me money. I want a job I will enjoy, and right now I feel confident that a career in prosecution will provide that job satisfaction.

That being said I have been inundated with opinions from Big-law hopefuls. Up is down, red is Helen Keller, and unless I qualify for a T14, there is no way I will ever get a job.

I am curious and anxious to hear opinions from people who have pursued and/or are pursuing careers in prosecution/state defense, so that I know what is realistic and what is not. What schools would you recommend I consider?

IMO it would seem to behoove me more to obtain a full ride at a lesser school so that I was free of the student loan payments and able to survive in an initially low paying job. Am I wrong?

Some schools I have considered are:

Baylor
Utah
Connecticut
Oregon
UNLV
Washington & Lee

I have also applied to some higher tiered schools and some lower tiered schools.

I am married and expecting my first child, so where I attend school is important to me as I plan to reside in that state, post-JD. No big cities unless there is a more suburban/rural life nearby (I have moved 40 times in my life, one of the residences being NYC, and I know I don't want big city life.)

Sorry for all of the stipulations. I feel like I am getting older and I need to be a little bit more picky in my choices.

ps494
Posts: 141
Joined: Tue Jan 05, 2010 4:50 pm

Re: 3.4, 155/164 - Prosecution

Postby ps494 » Wed Jan 06, 2010 1:04 am

I also want to pursue prosecution. From what I have gathered, it makes most sense to go to a school that will result in the least amount of debt. Unless, however, you desire to work in a DA's office such as Manhattan (which you do not want to do). DA offices are apparently more concerned with clinics and externships/internships rather than school rank and grades. They mainly want to see that your passionate about this area of law.

Now if your ambitions are to be an AUSA then you might want to consider going to a higher ranked school.

kevinkgoertzen
Posts: 4
Joined: Sat Jan 02, 2010 2:53 am

Re: 3.4, 155/164 - Prosecution

Postby kevinkgoertzen » Wed Jan 06, 2010 1:12 am

ps494 wrote:I also want to pursue prosecution. From what I have gathered, it makes most sense to go to a school that will result in the least amount of debt. Unless, however, you desire to work in a DA's office such as Manhattan (which you do not want to do). DA offices are apparently more concerned with clinics and externships/internships rather than school rank and grades. They mainly want to see that your passionate about this area of law.

Now if your ambitions are to be an AUSA then you might want to consider going to a higher ranked school.


However, while recognizing I could be seriously deluded, DA offices exist in every state....right?...I wouldn't need to attend a prestigious school to obtain an internship to become a DA, would I?

I kind of figured shooting for some schools that are the only law school in their state might be a wise decision.

Also, not to be contrary, but I believe there are AUSA's that have earned that honor without the help of a T14 school. ;)

User avatar
kalvano
Posts: 11726
Joined: Mon Sep 07, 2009 2:24 am

Re: 3.4, 155/164 - Prosecution

Postby kalvano » Wed Jan 06, 2010 1:23 am

AUSA's are in a weird spot.

A higher-ranked school helps, but they also don't hire straight out of law school, so your skills and track record is important too.

ps494
Posts: 141
Joined: Tue Jan 05, 2010 4:50 pm

Re: 3.4, 155/164 - Prosecution

Postby ps494 » Wed Jan 06, 2010 1:30 am

kevinkgoertzen wrote:
ps494 wrote:I also want to pursue prosecution. From what I have gathered, it makes most sense to go to a school that will result in the least amount of debt. Unless, however, you desire to work in a DA's office such as Manhattan (which you do not want to do). DA offices are apparently more concerned with clinics and externships/internships rather than school rank and grades. They mainly want to see that your passionate about this area of law.

Now if your ambitions are to be an AUSA then you might want to consider going to a higher ranked school.


However, while recognizing I could be seriously deluded, DA offices exist in every state....right?...I wouldn't need to attend a prestigious school to obtain an internship to become a DA, would I?

I kind of figured shooting for some schools that are the only law school in their state might be a wise decision.

Also, not to be contrary, but I believe there are AUSA's that have earned that honor without the help of a T14 school. ;)


Yes, DA offices exist in every state, but they're not all called that.

As for your second question, from I understand you do not. Again you will need to go to a higher ranked school if you want to work in some select offices.

I'm shooting for a tier 2 school that has a good local reputation and that will be really cheap for me (scholarships).

The key is to keep debt to a minimum. The last thing you need is to be burdened by 100k of student loans when you only make 40k.

ps494
Posts: 141
Joined: Tue Jan 05, 2010 4:50 pm

Re: 3.4, 155/164 - Prosecution

Postby ps494 » Wed Jan 06, 2010 1:30 am

kalvano wrote:AUSA's are in a weird spot.

A higher-ranked school helps, but they also don't hire straight out of law school, so your skills and track record is important too.




I thought they did through the DOJ Honors program.

User avatar
wardboro
Posts: 108
Joined: Fri Dec 14, 2007 10:46 am

Re: 3.4, 155/164 - Prosecution

Postby wardboro » Wed Jan 06, 2010 1:32 am

Some career considerations--one way to get great experience that will allow you to pursue this path is to go the JAG route. Those guys get good experience that prepares them for prosecution and place pretty well upon completion. Another route is to get a job with a rural prosecutors office. You'll likely be one of two or so attorneys and you'll be doing serious and significant work right out of the gate.

See who gives you money. With your numbers UNLV might throw half-scholarship your way and allow you to get in-state tuition for your second year. After you graduate, they'll be begging you to come be a prosecutor in a small rural town in Nevada (think Elko) where you can get some great experience. This isn't an attractive option for a lot of TLS folks, but it is a valid path. Even in this recession our CSO gets job notices for small Nevada counties regularly. They said they'd even take you without a Nevada license if you commit to pass the Nevada bar your first year at work.

ps494
Posts: 141
Joined: Tue Jan 05, 2010 4:50 pm

Re: 3.4, 155/164 - Prosecution

Postby ps494 » Wed Jan 06, 2010 1:36 am

wardboro wrote:Some career considerations--one way to get great experience that will allow you to pursue this path is to go the JAG route. Those guys get good experience that prepares them for prosecution and place pretty well upon completion. Another route is to get a job with a rural prosecutors office. You'll likely be one of two or so attorneys and you'll be doing serious and significant work right out of the gate.

See who gives you money. With your numbers UNLV might throw half-scholarship your way and allow you to get in-state tuition for your second year. After you graduate, they'll be begging you to come be a prosecutor in a small rural town in Nevada (think Elko) where you can get some great experience. This isn't an attractive option for a lot of TLS folks, but it is a valid path. Even in this recession our CSO gets job notices for small Nevada counties regularly. They said they'd even take you without a Nevada license if you commit to pass the Nevada bar your first year at work.



I (not the OP) am not opposed to working in a rural area one bit, but I think there are many mid-west cities that will hire straight out of law school.

ps494
Posts: 141
Joined: Tue Jan 05, 2010 4:50 pm

Re: 3.4, 155/164 - Prosecution

Postby ps494 » Wed Jan 06, 2010 1:38 am

wardboro wrote:Some career considerations--one way to get great experience that will allow you to pursue this path is to go the JAG route. Those guys get good experience that prepares them for prosecution and place pretty well upon completion. Another route is to get a job with a rural prosecutors office. You'll likely be one of two or so attorneys and you'll be doing serious and significant work right out of the gate.

See who gives you money. With your numbers UNLV might throw half-scholarship your way and allow you to get in-state tuition for your second year. After you graduate, they'll be begging you to come be a prosecutor in a small rural town in Nevada (think Elko) where you can get some great experience. This isn't an attractive option for a lot of TLS folks, but it is a valid path. Even in this recession our CSO gets job notices for small Nevada counties regularly. They said they'd even take you without a Nevada license if you commit to pass the Nevada bar your first year at work.


I heard that the military has started paying for law school for those that go the JAG route. Is that true?

User avatar
wardboro
Posts: 108
Joined: Fri Dec 14, 2007 10:46 am

Re: 3.4, 155/164 - Prosecution

Postby wardboro » Wed Jan 06, 2010 1:40 am

Good to know. I don't know the midwest. I live farther west and Nevada seems to be a place that is regularly looking for new bodies to fill lawyer positions with smaller cities and counties. I'm sure that other states are similar at varying different levels.

I don't know about the JAG deal. My understanding is that if you were already an officer for a number of years they'll pay you to go. I don't know if there may be new payback deals to increase recruitment. If they exist, I would think these vary from service to service, and are subject to some restrictions on amount and other things.

User avatar
kalvano
Posts: 11726
Joined: Mon Sep 07, 2009 2:24 am

Re: 3.4, 155/164 - Prosecution

Postby kalvano » Wed Jan 06, 2010 11:24 am

ps494 wrote:
kalvano wrote:AUSA's are in a weird spot.

A higher-ranked school helps, but they also don't hire straight out of law school, so your skills and track record is important too.




I thought they did through the DOJ Honors program.



I don't believe so. I think you can work at the DOJ, but the USAO wants experience.

kevinkgoertzen
Posts: 4
Joined: Sat Jan 02, 2010 2:53 am

Re: 3.4, 155/164 - Prosecution

Postby kevinkgoertzen » Wed Jan 06, 2010 12:49 pm

So....the consensus is, don't worry about names, worry about internships, clinics, and trying to earn a spot in the DOJ Honors program...does that sound right?

Also, get scholarships!..Any other additions?

wired
Posts: 472
Joined: Tue Jun 23, 2009 2:29 pm

Re: 3.4, 155/164 - Prosecution

Postby wired » Wed Jan 06, 2010 2:52 pm

kalvano wrote:
ps494 wrote:
kalvano wrote:AUSA's are in a weird spot.

A higher-ranked school helps, but they also don't hire straight out of law school, so your skills and track record is important too.




I thought they did through the DOJ Honors program.



I don't believe so. I think you can work at the DOJ, but the USAO wants experience.


There are a few USAOs that hire through the DoJ Honors Program, but it varies year-to-year. This past year, the Southern District and Central District of California both hired one Honors Program eligible student through the program. It goes without saying that those hired through the program are highly qualified for the position - I would expect they had at least a federal district clerkship and would not be surprised if they both had federal appellate clerkships.

EDIT: WOOPS. You are both right and both wrong (and I was both right and wrong). Those USAOs did hire through the Honors Program, but they specifically stated that they would not accept current law students for the positions. That means they are definitely accepting only people who have done clerkships, fellowships, or pursued higher education. My guess is they went for clerks. Source: http://www.justice.gov/oarm/arm/hp/hpparticipatingcomp.htm. Also, the Puerto Rico office hired and they did NOT have the stipulation about law school.

User avatar
iShotFirst
Posts: 460
Joined: Thu Nov 12, 2009 2:13 am

Re: 3.4, 155/164 - Prosecution

Postby iShotFirst » Wed Jan 06, 2010 3:02 pm

What about FSU or Stetson? Good small schools that should give you some money at them, and they are ranked high enough (FSU) or prestigious enough in their market (Stetson) that you can still change your mind later and go into something different. In addition, They are both in smallish cities with rural atmosphere nearby (FSU more than Stetson though).

They are also both in Florida of course which is a nice state to live in (if you can handle the heat) and there are no T30 schools there so less competition, you will be well placed if you do well at either of them.

User avatar
kalvano
Posts: 11726
Joined: Mon Sep 07, 2009 2:24 am

Re: 3.4, 155/164 - Prosecution

Postby kalvano » Wed Jan 06, 2010 4:34 pm

wired wrote:
kalvano wrote:
ps494 wrote:
kalvano wrote:AUSA's are in a weird spot.

A higher-ranked school helps, but they also don't hire straight out of law school, so your skills and track record is important too.




I thought they did through the DOJ Honors program.



I don't believe so. I think you can work at the DOJ, but the USAO wants experience.


There are a few USAOs that hire through the DoJ Honors Program, but it varies year-to-year. This past year, the Southern District and Central District of California both hired one Honors Program eligible student through the program. It goes without saying that those hired through the program are highly qualified for the position - I would expect they had at least a federal district clerkship and would not be surprised if they both had federal appellate clerkships.

EDIT: WOOPS. You are both right and both wrong (and I was both right and wrong). Those USAOs did hire through the Honors Program, but they specifically stated that they would not accept current law students for the positions. That means they are definitely accepting only people who have done clerkships, fellowships, or pursued higher education. My guess is they went for clerks. Source: http://www.justice.gov/oarm/arm/hp/hpparticipatingcomp.htm. Also, the Puerto Rico office hired and they did NOT have the stipulation about law school.




Interesting.

I would love to work for the USAO, but I am planning on working for the DA for a few years to build the resume.

ps494
Posts: 141
Joined: Tue Jan 05, 2010 4:50 pm

Re: 3.4, 155/164 - Prosecution

Postby ps494 » Wed Jan 06, 2010 4:39 pm

Same, but getting a job at the USAO is like getting a job at a V10 firm.

kevinkgoertzen
Posts: 4
Joined: Sat Jan 02, 2010 2:53 am

Re: 3.4, 155/164 - Prosecution

Postby kevinkgoertzen » Wed Jan 06, 2010 4:56 pm

tjeffery wrote:What about FSU or Stetson? Good small schools that should give you some money at them, and they are ranked high enough (FSU) or prestigious enough in their market (Stetson) that you can still change your mind later and go into something different. In addition, They are both in smallish cities with rural atmosphere nearby (FSU more than Stetson though).

They are also both in Florida of course which is a nice state to live in (if you can handle the heat) and there are no T30 schools there so less competition, you will be well placed if you do well at either of them.


I did apply to Stetson, if only because they are ranked so well for Trial Advocacy. Also Florida is one of the many places I have lived and I enjoy it.

ps494 wrote:Same, but getting a job at the USAO is like getting a job at a V10 firm.


May as well shoot for the top!




Return to “Choosing a Law School”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google [Bot], jetaew, neptunian and 3 guests