FBI Work after JD?

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thelawschoolproject
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FBI Work after JD?

Postby thelawschoolproject » Sun Jul 31, 2011 12:23 am

I'm very interested in working for the FBI post-law school. Does anyone have any information on which law schools feed into the FBI? I've been trying to find information on this, and as far as I can tell there isn't one school that has prime access to the FBI. However, my research could always be faulty and I'd greatly appreciate any advice the world of TLS could offer me!

Also, on a side note, as a part of working for the FBI does anyone know what kind of work people with joint JD/Criminology degrees get? I heard those from UPenn usually go into academia, but I'd love to get a second opinion!

Thanks for your help!

lawgod
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Re: FBI Work after JD?

Postby lawgod » Sun Jul 31, 2011 12:25 am

On the other hand, it's probably a decent soft if you do it before law school

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bk1
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Re: FBI Work after JD?

Postby bk1 » Sun Jul 31, 2011 12:26 am

Wanted to point out that Penn is definitely not known for legal academia.

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booboo
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Re: FBI Work after JD?

Postby booboo » Sun Jul 31, 2011 12:27 am

From my understanding, there are many, many applications for the JD associated positions at the FBI. It is a difficult gig to get, I'd gauge. I'd presume a HYS would be the only true possible feeders for the FBI in that respect, or the CIA/State Department for that matter.

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thelawschoolproject
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Re: FBI Work after JD?

Postby thelawschoolproject » Sun Jul 31, 2011 12:27 am

bk1 wrote:Wanted to point out that Penn is definitely not known for legal academia.




Definitely hear you on that.


The only reason I mentioned it is because that's what the UPenn Admissions Rep at the Chicago Law Forum told me last Saturday . . . although I got the distinct impression that he had no idea what I was talking about!

Thanks for your help!

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Glock
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Re: FBI Work after JD?

Postby Glock » Sun Jul 31, 2011 1:36 am

FBI uses candidate based recruiting. The prestige of school matters a lot less than in the legal world. They are not really interested in having lawyers per se, you are not a lawyer for them. They are looking for the investigative/analytical mind. I have heard they love hiring JD's and a friend of mine went FBI after getting a JD at USC.

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Re: FBI Work after JD?

Postby pacers3177 » Sun Jul 31, 2011 4:09 am

I'm in a very similar position as you. My cousin's good friend is an FBI agent and was also a lawyer and I have talked to him about the application process. I'm assuming you're talking about becoming a special agent. To become a special agent, you need a prereq such as legal experience, accounting degree, language fluency, police experience, computer skills, etc...

Taking the legal track, you need to get a J.D. and have at least two years of full time litigation work to apply. From what I've heard, lawyers tend to go to the front of the application pile. It is much easier to get into as a lawyer than say a cop or soldier. The school you attend doesn't matter nearly as much as it would in finding a legal job. Any accredited school would do fine, but obviously a T1/T2 would look much better than a T4, both due to school name and that school's ability to provide those 2+ years of work experience.

There may be other ways to work for the FBI out of law school but you won't become an agent that way. Also, you don't work as a lawyer when you become an FBI agent. A legal education is very valuable in investigation though so its not like you are wasting your time with law school if you want this track. Obviously those with computer skills and accounting degrees will work more with cyber crimes and white collar crimes, and linguistics will do more interrogation, but from what I have heard being a law applicant is a bit of a wildcard.

And besides the whole legal experience aspect, you obviously need to pass all of the other potentially disqualifying criteria listed on their website.

On the other hand, the Secret Service has both an agency division and their own legal team, which also requires several years of experience before being able to apply.

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Re: FBI Work after JD?

Postby Patriot1208 » Sun Jul 31, 2011 8:46 am

pacers3177 wrote:I'm in a very similar position as you. My cousin's good friend is an FBI agent and was also a lawyer and I have talked to him about the application process. I'm assuming you're talking about becoming a special agent. To become a special agent, you need a prereq such as legal experience, accounting degree, language fluency, police experience, computer skills, etc...

Taking the legal track, you need to get a J.D. and have at least two years of full time litigation work to apply. From what I've heard, lawyers tend to go to the front of the application pile. It is much easier to get into as a lawyer than say a cop or soldier. The school you attend doesn't matter nearly as much as it would in finding a legal job. Any accredited school would do fine, but obviously a T1/T2 would look much better than a T4, both due to school name and that school's ability to provide those 2+ years of work experience.

There may be other ways to work for the FBI out of law school but you won't become an agent that way. Also, you don't work as a lawyer when you become an FBI agent. A legal education is very valuable in investigation though so its not like you are wasting your time with law school if you want this track. Obviously those with computer skills and accounting degrees will work more with cyber crimes and white collar crimes, and linguistics will do more interrogation, but from what I have heard being a law applicant is a bit of a wildcard.

And besides the whole legal experience aspect, you obviously need to pass all of the other potentially disqualifying criteria listed on their website.

On the other hand, the Secret Service has both an agency division and their own legal team, which also requires several years of experience before being able to apply.

To address a few things

1) Yes you will have to have work experience after your JD, but it dies not need to be lit. True most lawyers who make the jump were DA's or the like but I know at least one big lawyer corporate lawyer who made the jump.

2) No, it is not easier to get in as a lawyer than a cop. Probably 75-80% of agents are ex cops or military. If all you want to do is become an agent and not practice than law school is a WASTE of your time and money. Nothing you learn in law school is helpful in law enforcement, let alone practicing law. Everything you'd need to know you will be taught. Not to mention that you must practice first, which means you need to be able to get a good legal job, which is hard to do ITE.

3) A big part of the reason it's not easier to get in as a lawyer is because education is not all that valued. Harvard grads don't necessarily have a leg up on STTTate school because they care more about what relevant experience you have. This is why cops, military personnel, border patrol, IRS agents, etc are the vast majority of hires. Same goes for the fact that advanced degrees, unless they are in a few disciplines and are coupled with relevant experience, don't really matter either.

4) It is appreciably easier if you are a woman.

5) Secret Service is consistently voted at the bottom of federal law enforcement jobs to work at in terms of quality of life, even below park rangers who live on their own in compounds hours away from civilization.

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wolf
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Re: FBI Work after JD?

Postby wolf » Sun Jul 31, 2011 9:03 am

Pretty much everything Patriot said was spot on. Although it is not 85% cops and ex-military. That is a little inflated. The easiest way is to walk into your interview as a Marine Captain. I mean come on it is not like they train close to Quantico or anything. The second easiest way would be to be a CPA. Oh and he is right, if you are a female and a minority you go into a very short and non-competitive applicant pile.

An advanced degree reduces your needed relevant experience by one year, from three to two. There is no reason since the 90's to get a JD to specifically go into the FBI. If you already have one and hate being an attorney that is a different story. Go to law school to be a lawyer. If you want to be in the FBI become a military officer or get into another federal agency and then transfer. Then if you do not get in your are already in a good fallback job and you haven't wasted 100k and three years of time in law school. Also a GS-10 to start is not the best pay when compared to Biglaw.

Oh yeah the Silly Service (Secret) does suck ass . They travel all the time, and during election years oh my god. Do not go there unless you are single or you soon will be.

pacers3177
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Re: FBI Work after JD?

Postby pacers3177 » Sun Jul 31, 2011 12:09 pm

Patriot1208 wrote:
pacers3177 wrote:I'm in a very similar position as you. My cousin's good friend is an FBI agent and was also a lawyer and I have talked to him about the application process. I'm assuming you're talking about becoming a special agent. To become a special agent, you need a prereq such as legal experience, accounting degree, language fluency, police experience, computer skills, etc...

Taking the legal track, you need to get a J.D. and have at least two years of full time litigation work to apply. From what I've heard, lawyers tend to go to the front of the application pile. It is much easier to get into as a lawyer than say a cop or soldier. The school you attend doesn't matter nearly as much as it would in finding a legal job. Any accredited school would do fine, but obviously a T1/T2 would look much better than a T4, both due to school name and that school's ability to provide those 2+ years of work experience.

There may be other ways to work for the FBI out of law school but you won't become an agent that way. Also, you don't work as a lawyer when you become an FBI agent. A legal education is very valuable in investigation though so its not like you are wasting your time with law school if you want this track. Obviously those with computer skills and accounting degrees will work more with cyber crimes and white collar crimes, and linguistics will do more interrogation, but from what I have heard being a law applicant is a bit of a wildcard.

And besides the whole legal experience aspect, you obviously need to pass all of the other potentially disqualifying criteria listed on their website.

On the other hand, the Secret Service has both an agency division and their own legal team, which also requires several years of experience before being able to apply.

To address a few things

1) Yes you will have to have work experience after your JD, but it dies not need to be lit. True most lawyers who make the jump were DA's or the like but I know at least one big lawyer corporate lawyer who made the jump.

2) No, it is not easier to get in as a lawyer than a cop. Probably 75-80% of agents are ex cops or military. If all you want to do is become an agent and not practice than law school is a WASTE of your time and money. Nothing you learn in law school is helpful in law enforcement, let alone practicing law. Everything you'd need to know you will be taught. Not to mention that you must practice first, which means you need to be able to get a good legal job, which is hard to do ITE.

3) A big part of the reason it's not easier to get in as a lawyer is because education is not all that valued. Harvard grads don't necessarily have a leg up on STTTate school because they care more about what relevant experience you have. This is why cops, military personnel, border patrol, IRS agents, etc are the vast majority of hires. Same goes for the fact that advanced degrees, unless they are in a few disciplines and are coupled with relevant experience, don't really matter either.

4) It is appreciably easier if you are a woman.

5) Secret Service is consistently voted at the bottom of federal law enforcement jobs to work at in terms of quality of life, even below park rangers who live on their own in compounds hours away from civilization.


My point with the secret service comment was to demonstrate that there are federal organizations that have actual legal teams other than becoming a federal prosecutor. A Secret Service lawyer is not the same as an agent and is usually stationed in one place, unlike the agents who move 40+ times a year.

As of right now higher education applicants are much more preferred than ex-cops/military. This is coming from two active agents who I have spoken to within the last year and a half.

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The Valkyrie
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Re: FBI Work after JD?

Postby The Valkyrie » Sun Jul 31, 2011 12:10 pm

Wait, so agents move 40 times a year? So most weeks they are moving?

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Re: FBI Work after JD?

Postby pacers3177 » Sun Jul 31, 2011 12:19 pm

The Valkyrie wrote:Wait, so agents move 40 times a year? So most weeks they are moving?
That was secret service agents I was referring to. And its not actually that much, but they do move a ton, and about ten years into your career you will most likely have called about 50 different locations your home.

FBI agents move several times. You get assigned to a field office out of the academy (and most likely not where you want to be. They purposely don't place you where you applied out of). After about a year or two you get transferred to one of their big offices (NYC, DC, LA, etc...), then you move a third time to another field office, more likely one of your choice and this is where you will most likely be stationed for your career unless you place a transfer request.

The FBI has waiting lists for location transfers, so if you do want to transfer again, you can put your name on the list for the your preferred location you want to work in, and when an opening comes up you will have "first dibs" on that spot.

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The Valkyrie
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Re: FBI Work after JD?

Postby The Valkyrie » Sun Jul 31, 2011 12:21 pm

Oh ok. So it's actually not 40 times in one year, but 50 times in 10 years.

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Re: FBI Work after JD?

Postby Patriot1208 » Sun Jul 31, 2011 12:25 pm

pacers3177 wrote:
Patriot1208 wrote:
pacers3177 wrote:I'm in a very similar position as you. My cousin's good friend is an FBI agent and was also a lawyer and I have talked to him about the application process. I'm assuming you're talking about becoming a special agent. To become a special agent, you need a prereq such as legal experience, accounting degree, language fluency, police experience, computer skills, etc...

Taking the legal track, you need to get a J.D. and have at least two years of full time litigation work to apply. From what I've heard, lawyers tend to go to the front of the application pile. It is much easier to get into as a lawyer than say a cop or soldier. The school you attend doesn't matter nearly as much as it would in finding a legal job. Any accredited school would do fine, but obviously a T1/T2 would look much better than a T4, both due to school name and that school's ability to provide those 2+ years of work experience.

There may be other ways to work for the FBI out of law school but you won't become an agent that way. Also, you don't work as a lawyer when you become an FBI agent. A legal education is very valuable in investigation though so its not like you are wasting your time with law school if you want this track. Obviously those with computer skills and accounting degrees will work more with cyber crimes and white collar crimes, and linguistics will do more interrogation, but from what I have heard being a law applicant is a bit of a wildcard.

And besides the whole legal experience aspect, you obviously need to pass all of the other potentially disqualifying criteria listed on their website.

On the other hand, the Secret Service has both an agency division and their own legal team, which also requires several years of experience before being able to apply.

To address a few things

1) Yes you will have to have work experience after your JD, but it dies not need to be lit. True most lawyers who make the jump were DA's or the like but I know at least one big lawyer corporate lawyer who made the jump.

2) No, it is not easier to get in as a lawyer than a cop. Probably 75-80% of agents are ex cops or military. If all you want to do is become an agent and not practice than law school is a WASTE of your time and money. Nothing you learn in law school is helpful in law enforcement, let alone practicing law. Everything you'd need to know you will be taught. Not to mention that you must practice first, which means you need to be able to get a good legal job, which is hard to do ITE.

3) A big part of the reason it's not easier to get in as a lawyer is because education is not all that valued. Harvard grads don't necessarily have a leg up on STTTate school because they care more about what relevant experience you have. This is why cops, military personnel, border patrol, IRS agents, etc are the vast majority of hires. Same goes for the fact that advanced degrees, unless they are in a few disciplines and are coupled with relevant experience, don't really matter either.

4) It is appreciably easier if you are a woman.

5) Secret Service is consistently voted at the bottom of federal law enforcement jobs to work at in terms of quality of life, even below park rangers who live on their own in compounds hours away from civilization.


My point with the secret service comment was to demonstrate that there are federal organizations that have actual legal teams other than becoming a federal prosecutor. A Secret Service lawyer is not the same as an agent and is usually stationed in one place, unlike the agents who move 40+ times a year.

As of right now higher education applicants are much more preferred than ex-cops/military. This is coming from two active agents who I have spoken to within the last year and a half.


The FBI has legal counsel, so does basically every federal law enforcement agency. They are not prosecutors. Your posts keep having tons of factual inaccuracies. Also, I'm going to assume you meant traveling, not moving. I have no idea what the average secret service agent does in terms of traveling, but I can promise you it's not 40 weeks a year.

Also, unfortunately, a lot of agents are completely misinformed on the recruiting process because they don't have any exposure to it. And the agents who work in recruiting are usually there because they fucked up. For instance the recruiter in my area served three warrants in a week at wrong addresses, then he was reassigned. To understand why lawyers don't get "moved to the head of the pile" you have to understand how the hiring process is done. Essentially each applicant is awarded points for things. Points for investigative experience, points for having conducted raids, points for serving warrants, for a masters degree, language proficiency, etc. Because of this the points are vastly skewed towards those with previous law enforcement work and they don't differentiate between schools based on rankings. This takes much of the human element out of the recruiting process. Now there is still a human review, but it's worth much less than straight credentials.

Occasionally they do switch up from the normal recruiting method because they feel a need for certain experience. But this is again for relevant experience, not "people with higher education". I'm talking computer science professionals, cpa's, language skills, etc. Being a practicing lawyer doesn't provide any added benefit as that isn't a skill set that the FBI is missing. Going to law school to become an 1811 is a bad idea. Personally, i'd join Border patrol, they are hiring like crazy, teach you Spanish for free, high turnover and the ability for promotion within a year, and you get to start your clock for federal retirement right away. Plus border patrol agents end up with the FBI, ATF, DEA, etc all the time.

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Re: FBI Work after JD?

Postby Patriot1208 » Sun Jul 31, 2011 12:38 pm

The Valkyrie wrote:Oh ok. So it's actually not 40 times in one year, but 50 times in 10 years.

The average succesful agent probably moves 4 or 5 times in a career. Once after the academy, generally once after that before a supervisory role, once when getting promoted to a supervisory role, and once after a few years in a supervisory role if you can move into a better spot. And then maybe again to a place they want to be. Some will move more because they chose to do overseas work in different areas or got an SES position. And the one thing Pacer got right is that there is a list for preferred station, but if you come up you either have to move or you move back to the end of the list. Most people will come up once later in their career.

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A'nold
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Re: FBI Work after JD?

Postby A'nold » Thu Nov 10, 2011 12:49 pm

Patriot- I would guess that the number of ex-cop/ex-military applicants FAR exceeds JD w/ work experience applicants. Wouldn't that help support the poster's "move to the front of the pile" assertion?

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Opie
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Re: FBI Work after JD?

Postby Opie » Thu Nov 10, 2011 5:13 pm

Asha from Yale admissions was an FBI agent. You might search her blog for more info. She did work for the FBI before getting her JD though.

Also, the fact that you want to do FBI work is WAY HOT, LSP. Just sayin.

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mattviphky
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Re: FBI Work after JD?

Postby mattviphky » Sat Nov 12, 2011 12:19 pm

3) A big part of the reason it's not easier to get in as a lawyer is because education is not all that valued. Harvard grads don't necessarily have a leg up on STTTate school because they care more about what relevant experience you have. This is why cops, military personnel, border patrol, IRS agents, etc are the vast majority of hires. Same goes for the fact that advanced degrees, unless they are in a few disciplines and are coupled with relevant experience, don't really matter either.


They are probably the vast majority of hires because they are the vast majority of applicants. I'm willing to bet more vets turn in FBI apps than law school grads....this observation was made possible by lsat studies

03121202698008
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Re: FBI Work after JD?

Postby 03121202698008 » Sat Nov 12, 2011 12:23 pm

There are two different kinds of JD jobs at the FBI. There are actual agents (many of which have JDs) and there are non-agent support personnel. The selection criteria for both is so selective that I doubt your school comes into play at all. It also takes a ton of time....like over a year without any criminal history and with plenty of accessible references just to get through the hiring process.

MrAnon
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Re: FBI Work after JD?

Postby MrAnon » Sat Nov 12, 2011 12:25 pm

I agree with the poster who said if you want FBI then law school is a roundabout and expensive way to maybe or maybe not get there.

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Re: FBI Work after JD?

Postby 03121202698008 » Sat Nov 12, 2011 12:28 pm

MrAnon wrote:I agree with the poster who said if you want FBI then law school is a roundabout and expensive way to maybe or maybe not get there.


There are stringent criteria to even apply. Unless you have any advanced degree in a few specialities or are a veteran...you're not even eligible to start an application. JDs and Accounting are the most common qualifying degree, followed by language specialties. I agree that I would definitely not go to LS just to join...as the odds are about that of getting into Yale.

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Re: FBI Work after JD?

Postby TwelveBeeSicks » Sat Nov 12, 2011 12:55 pm

I worked at the state dept prior to law school and I actually have/had the option of going back to intern during law school, which would more than likely lead to full-time employment. So did a friend of mine who went to a TTT, I believe she is going back after law school, I'm not. She goes to a TTT and I go to a T25, so it really is not relegated to the HYS. In fact, the DOS is more concerned about the people they hire and having prior experience with said folks because of previous hirings with people who couldn't hack it or turned out to be terrible employees.

So, I would say that, out of everything you could do (if you could order them), it'd be most important to intern there before so that they have some experience with you.

In terms of the FBI: One of my recommenders for law school was in for over 30 years. If you have an undergrad prof or know someone that was, try to get some face time with them. They usually can really help get your foot in the door.

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Re: FBI Work after JD?

Postby 03121202698008 » Sat Nov 12, 2011 1:25 pm

TwelveBeeSicks wrote:I worked at the state dept prior to law school and I actually have/had the option of going back to intern during law school, which would more than likely lead to full-time employment. So did a friend of mine who went to a TTT, I believe she is going back after law school, I'm not. She goes to a TTT and I go to a T25, so it really is not relegated to the HYS. In fact, the DOS is more concerned about the people they hire and having prior experience with said folks because of previous hirings with people who couldn't hack it or turned out to be terrible employees.

So, I would say that, out of everything you could do (if you could order them), it'd be most important to intern there before so that they have some experience with you.

In terms of the FBI: One of my recommenders for law school was in for over 30 years. If you have an undergrad prof or know someone that was, try to get some face time with them. They usually can really help get your foot in the door.


The FBI doesn't work this way...at least for agents. I have dozens of agent friends and have served as a recommender and reference for many of them. An internship would help only marginally in that your recommender would be an agent (presumably). In this sense, you're correct that an FBI recommender is better than a non-agent. However, the vast majority of people get eliminated before they ever get to the point they look to recommenders based upon the various hurdles you have to jump through. Even more then get eliminated based upon various tests before the academy. And then the pass rate for the academy has to be taken into account. It may help marginally more for support positions but I doubt it.

I think it'd be most important to actually learn what they do in the FBI. 99% of what you think they do, they don't. And it recent years, the vast majority of agents work on the NatSec side which isn't what most people want to do.

The only internships that help are more akin to joint task forces. E.g. http://www.fbijobs.gov/043.asp For those positions, it helps a great deal but you must already be in some law enforcement role and even then...the selection odds are in the single digits.

Really OP, picking a LS based upon going to the FBI is like picking a prep school to go to Yale. I don't think you're grasping the odds of actually being hired and making it through the academy.

Edit: I should also note a criminology degree will be of little help either in hiring or work. They don't assign work based upon your background other than accounting/language and even then its all by team. By the time you complete the academy, everyone will be on the same level as far as law/criminology is concerned. (Alright, a JD may understand the rationale behind better but EVERYONE will know how to apply the law and the CrimPro standards.) The parts a JD would be helpful for (structuring investigations for prosecution, etc.) are actually done by the USAO. The assigned US Atty is heavily involved in directing the investigation and determining how it will be conducted.
Last edited by 03121202698008 on Sat Nov 12, 2011 1:46 pm, edited 4 times in total.

TwelveBeeSicks
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Re: FBI Work after JD?

Postby TwelveBeeSicks » Sat Nov 12, 2011 1:38 pm

blowhard wrote:
TwelveBeeSicks wrote:I worked at the state dept prior to law school and I actually have/had the option of going back to intern during law school, which would more than likely lead to full-time employment. So did a friend of mine who went to a TTT, I believe she is going back after law school, I'm not. She goes to a TTT and I go to a T25, so it really is not relegated to the HYS. In fact, the DOS is more concerned about the people they hire and having prior experience with said folks because of previous hirings with people who couldn't hack it or turned out to be terrible employees.

So, I would say that, out of everything you could do (if you could order them), it'd be most important to intern there before so that they have some experience with you.

In terms of the FBI: One of my recommenders for law school was in for over 30 years. If you have an undergrad prof or know someone that was, try to get some face time with them. They usually can really help get your foot in the door.


The FBI doesn't work this way...at least for agents. I have dozens of agent friends and have served as a recommender and reference for many of them. An internship would help only marginally in that your recommender would be an agent (presumably). In this sense, you're correct that an FBI recommender is better than a non-agent. However, the vast majority of people get eliminated before they ever get to the point they look to recommenders based upon the various hurdles you have to jump through. Even more then get eliminated based upon various tests before the academy. And then the pass rate for the academy has to be taken into account. It may help marginally more for support positions but I doubt it.

I think it'd be most important to actually learn what they do in the FBI. 99% of what you think they do, they don't. And it recent years, the vast majority of agents work on the NatSec side which isn't what most people want to do.

The only internships that help are more akin to joint task forces. E.g. http://www.fbijobs.gov/043.asp For those positions, it helps a great deal but you must already be in some law enforcement role and even then...the selection odds are in the single digits.


Good post! I'm not particularly familiar with the FBI outside of my experience with my prof. but this was very helpful.




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