So you want to do PI?

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kemosabe
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Re: So you want to do PI?

Postby kemosabe » Thu Feb 13, 2014 3:29 pm

worldtraveler wrote:
kemosabe wrote:I'm not sure if this has been answered elsewhere, and if so I apologize, but does anyone know if particular schools, firms, or NGOs are more likely to have associates lateral into the fed gov? I am interested in a fed gov position, especially DOJ or DOS, but maybe not immediately after law school. I know that since these positions are extremely competitive, it's a huge assumption to think it'd be on the table anyways.

In other words, how often do people go from biglaw or another organization to the fed gov? And are there particular schools, firms, or organizations that I should target if this is my goal?


Target the best schools and go to a firm first.


Thanks, I figured that'd be the traditional route. The top ranked school I've gotten into is Penn. I have other acceptances in the lower T14 and at a strong regional (BC). Do any schools in this range particularly stand out or am I looking at the basic equation of best chance at a firm for the best price? Will the school matter or are they all the same once you've been at a firm?

I already have GOV related work experience, so I'm particularly curious as to how the AJD from NU might fare on the hiring market. Any anecdotal information from you guys in the field?

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JCougar
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Re: So you want to do PI?

Postby JCougar » Thu Feb 13, 2014 4:41 pm

FWIW, the EEOC's hiring freeze has thawed as a result of the latest appropriations bill.

No word on the Honors Program being revived yet, but for the first time in like three years, there's job postings on USA Jobs...including some for attorneys with 1-year of experience.

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twenty
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Re: So you want to do PI?

Postby twenty » Fri Feb 14, 2014 1:51 am

EEOC always hired pretty heavily through honors -- I'd be very surprised to see them not return to that.

Thanks for the update JCougar.

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BlueLotus
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Re: So you want to do PI?

Postby BlueLotus » Wed Feb 19, 2014 11:42 pm

My CSO actually told me to make a 2 page resume...color me surprised!

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loomstate
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Re: So you want to do PI?

Postby loomstate » Sun Feb 23, 2014 1:44 am

What kind of grades do you need for fed. gov from T14's? Is there difference between the tiers (HYS - CCN)? About what percent of T14 students want Fed Gov and get it?

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JCougar
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Re: So you want to do PI?

Postby JCougar » Sun Feb 23, 2014 11:27 am

loomstate wrote:What kind of grades do you need for fed. gov from T14's? Is there difference between the tiers (HYS - CCN)? About what percent of T14 students want Fed Gov and get it?


This really depends on which agency. The answer varies from "it barely matters at all" to "top 20%."

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loomstate
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Re: So you want to do PI?

Postby loomstate » Sun Feb 23, 2014 11:51 am

so fairly easy to get a moderately desired agency from CNN or PBV? Assuming resume shows an interest in PI?

Why don't more from these schools go to bigfed?

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Nelson
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Re: So you want to do PI?

Postby Nelson » Sun Feb 23, 2014 11:54 am

loomstate wrote:so fairly easy to get a moderately desired agency from CNN or PBV? Assuming resume shows an interest in PI?

Why don't more from these schools go to bigfed?

Because it's not easy to get right out of school. Fedgov hires experienced attorneys.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: So you want to do PI?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Sun Feb 23, 2014 11:58 am

loomstate wrote:so fairly easy to get a moderately desired agency from CNN or PBV? Assuming resume shows an interest in PI?

Why don't more from these schools go to bigfed?


I really don't know the answer to your question wrt specific schools, but I don't know that I'd call fedgov jobs easy to get - there just aren't very many of them. Many agencies hire entry-level attorneys through their honors programs, which will get 1000+ applications to hire 4-8 people. This may be getting better (in terms of improvements in federal funding - for instance, DOJ just lifted its hiring freeze) so my pessimism may be becoming unwarranted, but I still don't think "fairly easy" is the right term. (Some agencies care more about grades than others, but that doesn't make grades sufficient.)

Also, what Nelson said about hiring experienced attorneys.

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spleenworship
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Re: So you want to do PI?

Postby spleenworship » Sun Feb 23, 2014 12:12 pm

Even if the situation with the Honors went back to pre-recession levels you are still looking at over a hundred people per job opening. If you look at their hire lists, it's mostly T14, but about a third of their hires come from TT and TTTs. Hell, I think thy even hired someone from Cooley once. You have to have good grades, be an editor of a journal or law review, and have strong PI credentials.

Literally only a single person from my class got DOJ honors, she had good grades, was EIC, had strong PI credentials, and happened to be a minority applying for a position that dealt with said minority.

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twenty
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Re: So you want to do PI?

Postby twenty » Sun Feb 23, 2014 1:27 pm

There are a couple of reasons people don't go to bigfed:

Comparatively, the pay is fairly bad. You usually start at a 9 (52k), in some cases, 11, (63k). After 4-5 years in the seat, even a top-level agency is going to max out in the 105k region. Most people realize they can make a lot more money at a mid-sized firm in a city they actually want to work in rather than doing what invariably ends up being "shitlaw" for the feds.

Speaking of shitlaw, the feds do a lot of it. I would venture to say more than half of the work done by our attorneys is in-house complaints and unfair labor practices. Of course, my agency is filled with whiners, but I'm sure that's not unique. Almost all of our honors-hire attorneys bail around year 4, much like in biglaw. The longest-serving attorney in Region 9 has been with us for almost 9 years, and that's a huge anomaly.

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worldtraveler
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Re: So you want to do PI?

Postby worldtraveler » Sun Feb 23, 2014 2:23 pm

You almost always can't get a bigfed job until 3L year. A lot of people have already committed to firm jobs by then. So unless your firm will extend your deadline to commit, you often have to risk being unemployed to go after a fed job.

indianahb85
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Re: So you want to do PI?

Postby indianahb85 » Sat Mar 01, 2014 1:12 am

0L here posting for the first time. As others have said, really appreciate this thread. Also appreciate the IHR thread, worldtraveler. Thanks, y'all.

While I'm 0L and know I have a lot to learn (hence my lurking on this and other TLS forums), I have 15 years experience in the nonprofit field. I wanted to add some anecdotal points on nonprofit PI and needing to attend a T14, T30, etc. to get a job. I suggest people look at the places they might imagine themselves working and look at the bios of the staff currently in the staff attorney, etc. positions you think you would be applying to. See where their degrees are from. See what kind of WE they had prior to their current position.

I was spurred to post here because I saw a comment that American should be avoided. While I am sure it hella easier to get a job from T14, I know two people who went to American (former colleagues). Small sample size, I know. But for what it's worth, both got jobs basically right out of school. One went on to work at ACLU (small state), moved from there to SEIU and then to Public Citizen. The other got a job with UNHCR where she worked for a few years in South America and Africa and is now Practitioner-in-Residence/Lecturer at a law school's Human Rights Clinic. These are only two people, and they both had great WE prior to law school, but I thought a few more data points could be useful to the conversation. As I am considering PI immigration law, I've looked at places like the National Immigrant Justice Center. While there are a few HLS, NYU and Boalt JDs there, there are also quite a few DePauls and Loyola Chicago folks as well as a couple IU Indy and Kent-Chicago lawyers there (see: http://www.immigrantjustice.org/nijc-staff).

FWIW, I totally agree with others who have said that top nonprofits like HRW, SPLC, ACLU national, etc. wouldn't be hiring DePaul lawyers.

I also want to echo what others have said about the value of networking and WE in the field you plan to go into, as I am sure that's what helped the folks from DePaul get a job at NIJC and the two American cases I cited above.

Before anyone goes TLS crazy on me, I am not suggesting people go to TT or TTT law schools, I am just suggesting they do research and look at the profiles of people in the positions they'd like to be in post-law school. And while many on these forums suggest you skip a cycle and re-take the LSAT so as to go to a better law school, in the case of PI, especially for 0Ls that would be K-JDs, equally good advice may be to take a year off and work in the field before going to law school.

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worldtraveler
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Re: So you want to do PI?

Postby worldtraveler » Sat Mar 01, 2014 1:21 am

The problem with looking at bios and making decisions on that is that many of those attorneys were hired in really different times. It used to be much, much easier to get a job in any kind of law. If it is a recent grad (maybe class of 2009 or later), it is definitely helpful. But it is not uncommon to have senior attorneys from lower ranked schools, but they don't hire out of those schools now. Half of my colleagues went to lower T1 schools, but we don't even look at resumes from there (weird, I know).

Part of this is just the trend to not to on the job training anymore, which is why fellowships are so important to get that first job.

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LSL
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Re: So you want to do PI?

Postby LSL » Sat Mar 01, 2014 12:46 pm

How much time do you generally have between taking the bar and starting work for gov't or PI? I'm guessing it depends, but I'd be interested in hearing the general consensus. Just wondering if there's a decent amount of time around then that I could hop away to brush up on my foreign language skills.

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BlueLotus
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Re: So you want to do PI?

Postby BlueLotus » Sat Mar 01, 2014 2:12 pm

LSL wrote:How much time do you generally have between taking the bar and starting work for gov't or PI? I'm guessing it depends, but I'd be interested in hearing the general consensus. Just wondering if there's a decent amount of time around then that I could hop away to brush up on my foreign language skills.


Wondering this too. A modest "bar trip" to a Spanish-speaking country/territory would be nice. :)

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worldtraveler
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Re: So you want to do PI?

Postby worldtraveler » Sat Mar 01, 2014 4:50 pm

LSL wrote:How much time do you generally have between taking the bar and starting work for gov't or PI? I'm guessing it depends, but I'd be interested in hearing the general consensus. Just wondering if there's a decent amount of time around then that I could hop away to brush up on my foreign language skills.


It entirely depends on the employer. Average is sometime in Semptember/October.

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LSL
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Re: So you want to do PI?

Postby LSL » Sat Mar 01, 2014 7:07 pm

worldtraveler wrote:
LSL wrote:How much time do you generally have between taking the bar and starting work for gov't or PI? I'm guessing it depends, but I'd be interested in hearing the general consensus. Just wondering if there's a decent amount of time around then that I could hop away to brush up on my foreign language skills.


It entirely depends on the employer. Average is sometime in Semptember/October.


Hm, okay thanks. Less time than I'd like, but good to know.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: So you want to do PI?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Sat Mar 01, 2014 7:31 pm

My starting date options were anywhere between October and December. However, I had PD friends who started two weeks after the bar exam.

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LSL
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Re: So you want to do PI?

Postby LSL » Sat Mar 01, 2014 7:47 pm

Thanks!

I guess you're not studying for the bar the whole time between when you graduate and the end of July right? If you spent all of May somewhere would that be pushing it? I honestly have no idea.

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worldtraveler
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Re: So you want to do PI?

Postby worldtraveler » Sat Mar 01, 2014 7:54 pm

LSL wrote:Thanks!

I guess you're not studying for the bar the whole time between when you graduate and the end of July right? If you spent all of May somewhere would that be pushing it? I honestly have no idea.


You could go to a cheap country and study for the bar there, so long as you can actually focus.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: So you want to do PI?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Sat Mar 01, 2014 7:58 pm

Depends when you graduate - I had 3 weeks before Barbri began at the end of May, the other regional school had graduation the Saturday before Barbri started. But I also did a live classroom course for various reasons. If you watch the videos online, you can be anywhere there's internet. (Or you could just not watch the videos, if lectures don't do it for you.) And while I wouldn't recommend blowing off June entirely, you don't need to do as much during June as you do in July (when the superhardcore studying begins).

Though honestly, I would rather go somewhere after the bar than before, if I had a choice. I didn't do a bar trip - just went to visit my mom three weeks after - and I regretted it; I spent at least the 10 days right after the bar constantly thinking I had to sit down to study and doing things like reviewing the elements of battery in my head. Going somewhere would have made me MUCH happier.

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LSL
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Re: So you want to do PI?

Postby LSL » Sat Mar 01, 2014 8:10 pm

Thanks to both of you, I really appreciate it. Yeah, should have looked at my graduation date closer. Wouldn't be able to spend all of May somewhere else. :lol:

Although I'd really love to wait until after the bar, my concern is that I might not be given much choice in when I would have to start. So, if there was a way to do it before, that'd be cool. Trying to focus in a different country during June might be too much, but maybe it'd work. At least if I went before and then had free time after I could go somewhere again (ya know cuz I've got gobs and gobs of PI money to spend :lol:)

vthokies88
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Re: So you want to do PI?

Postby vthokies88 » Sun Mar 02, 2014 12:06 am

indianahb85 wrote:0L here posting for the first time. As others have said, really appreciate this thread. Also appreciate the IHR thread, worldtraveler. Thanks, y'all.

While I'm 0L and know I have a lot to learn (hence my lurking on this and other TLS forums), I have 15 years experience in the nonprofit field. I wanted to add some anecdotal points on nonprofit PI and needing to attend a T14, T30, etc. to get a job. I suggest people look at the places they might imagine themselves working and look at the bios of the staff currently in the staff attorney, etc. positions you think you would be applying to. See where their degrees are from. See what kind of WE they had prior to their current position.

I was spurred to post here because I saw a comment that American should be avoided. While I am sure it hella easier to get a job from T14, I know two people who went to American (former colleagues). Small sample size, I know. But for what it's worth, both got jobs basically right out of school. One went on to work at ACLU (small state), moved from there to SEIU and then to Public Citizen. The other got a job with UNHCR where she worked for a few years in South America and Africa and is now Practitioner-in-Residence/Lecturer at a law school's Human Rights Clinic. These are only two people, and they both had great WE prior to law school, but I thought a few more data points could be useful to the conversation. As I am considering PI immigration law, I've looked at places like the National Immigrant Justice Center. While there are a few HLS, NYU and Boalt JDs there, there are also quite a few DePauls and Loyola Chicago folks as well as a couple IU Indy and Kent-Chicago lawyers there (see: http://www.immigrantjustice.org/nijc-staff).

FWIW, I totally agree with others who have said that top nonprofits like HRW, SPLC, ACLU national, etc. wouldn't be hiring DePaul lawyers.

I also want to echo what others have said about the value of networking and WE in the field you plan to go into, as I am sure that's what helped the folks from DePaul get a job at NIJC and the two American cases I cited above.

Before anyone goes TLS crazy on me, I am not suggesting people go to TT or TTT law schools, I am just suggesting they do research and look at the profiles of people in the positions they'd like to be in post-law school. And while many on these forums suggest you skip a cycle and re-take the LSAT so as to go to a better law school, in the case of PI, especially for 0Ls that would be K-JDs, equally good advice may be to take a year off and work in the field before going to law school.


Don't listen to people who incessantly talk trash about American. I'm a 2L there (part-time (I have a mortgage to pay) so I haven't gone through fall recruitment yet), but I know about 50 people who have gotten BigLaw job offers or summer associateship offers at firms like K&L Gates, Venable, Skadden, etc. While those jobs generally go to the top 15% and people on Law Review, I also know a number of people who have gotten PI jobs. The trick at American is doing well...if you work hard, you will be fine - there are plenty of people at AU who don't read and don't go to class that if you try, you'll be in at least the top 30-40%. But the statistics do speak for themselves...be in the bottom 50%, and you're screwed for life (assuming you want to be a lawyer--and if you don't want to be a lawyer but you will pay American's price tag, you're an idiot).

baloneydanza
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Re: So you want to do PI?

Postby baloneydanza » Sun Mar 02, 2014 3:18 am

Man, I wish I'd seen this thread before I applied. Anyway, a few questions

1) I'm very interested in PI (especially more policy-oriented work at a top non-profit like the ACLU), but I'm also the kind of person who likes to keep their options open. How difficult is it to get into PI from biglaw and vice versa? Including government jobs. Ultimately I see myself in PI, as I don't think my conscience could deal with biglaw forever, but if I have to bypass biglaw altogether to have a shot at something like the ACLU or SPLC, then I'd want to know.
1a) What kind of hustling would I have to do to get to a top non-profit?
2) So far, the highest ranking school I've been admitted to is Harvard. I've been awarded a little over half of my tuition costs from Penn, and I'm waiting to hear back from NYU and Yale. These are the 4 schools I'm most interested in. From a PI standpoint, which school would be best to attend if cost was no obstacle? And what if it is an obstacle?
3) Why isn't working for a union PI?




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