Does law school location make a huge difference for PD jobs?

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HanShotFirst
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Does law school location make a huge difference for PD jobs?

Postby HanShotFirst » Mon Dec 23, 2013 4:00 am

For example, if I wanted to work in the Bay Area, would I be better off at Hastings/Davis or at UCLA/USC? (Other employment opportunities -- or lack thereof -- aside)

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Black Hat
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Re: Does law school location make a huge difference for PD jobs?

Postby Black Hat » Sat Dec 28, 2013 12:05 am

Are public defender jobs really that tough to get?

UnderrateOverachieve
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Re: Does law school location make a huge difference for PD jobs?

Postby UnderrateOverachieve » Sat Dec 28, 2013 12:18 am

Black Hat wrote:Are public defender jobs really that tough to get?


Yes.

lmr
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Re: Does law school location make a huge difference for PD jobs?

Postby lmr » Sat Dec 28, 2013 1:14 am

HanShotFirst wrote:For example, if I wanted to work in the Bay Area, would I be better off at Hastings/Davis or at UCLA/USC? (Other employment opportunities -- or lack thereof -- aside)


Alameda and/or contra costa won't even look at you if you didn't intern there during law school. LA PD is really difficult to get hired and their internship program doesn't allow you to speak on the record. If you go to UCLA/USC you'll have to summer intern at contra costa or alameda but i don't think one summer is going to be enough when they have students from local law schools interning there year round. I'm at a PD's office where the majority of hires are from a local crap school-so prestige doesn't matter for PDs it's location/work experience and networking w the people that matter.

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Black Hat
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Re: Does law school location make a huge difference for PD jobs?

Postby Black Hat » Sat Dec 28, 2013 2:07 am

UnderrateOverachieve wrote:
Black Hat wrote:Are public defender jobs really that tough to get?


Yes.



Maybe is California.

I feel like I just read something about how it was 'hard' to get people to fill PD positions on in the South, E.g. Georgia, South Carolina, Mississippi, etc.

Correct?

UnderrateOverachieve
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Re: Does law school location make a huge difference for PD jobs?

Postby UnderrateOverachieve » Sat Dec 28, 2013 3:23 am

Black Hat wrote:
UnderrateOverachieve wrote:
Black Hat wrote:Are public defender jobs really that tough to get?


Yes.



Maybe is California.

I feel like I just read something about how it was 'hard' to get people to fill PD positions on in the South, E.g. Georgia, South Carolina, Mississippi, etc.

Correct?



Can confirm. California.

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twenty
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Re: Does law school location make a huge difference for PD jobs?

Postby twenty » Sat Dec 28, 2013 3:34 am

Law school location makes a huge difference because you're simply not going to be able to put in the face time at a position that's five hours away from your school. If you want LA PD office, do USC/UCLA. If you want SF, guess I'd say Hastings.

Regardless, don't go to either school at anything close to sticker if you want a PD office.

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deadpanic
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Re: Does law school location make a huge difference for PD jobs?

Postby deadpanic » Sat Dec 28, 2013 11:17 am

Black Hat wrote:
UnderrateOverachieve wrote:
Black Hat wrote:Are public defender jobs really that tough to get?


Yes.



Maybe is California.

I feel like I just read something about how it was 'hard' to get people to fill PD positions on in the South, E.g. Georgia, South Carolina, Mississippi, etc.

Correct?


I'm a Southerner from one of those states and can say that is not true. Those places simply don't have the funds to be hiring PDs. It is not like there are a bunch of openings in these states and law grads are saying, "Meh, I'll pass on the public defender job."

Although not the South, if you look at the PD thread, you will see tons of people discussing how bad they want to work at a PD office and how difficult it is. These are people willing to go to rural & small communities in NH, PA, CO, AK, etc. There are just not a lot of PD openings anywhere. Gov't hiring is tough, man.

rad lulz
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Re: Does law school location make a huge difference for PD jobs?

Postby rad lulz » Sat Dec 28, 2013 11:31 am

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Last edited by rad lulz on Sat Sep 10, 2016 11:46 am, edited 1 time in total.

timbs4339
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Re: Does law school location make a huge difference for PD jobs?

Postby timbs4339 » Sat Dec 28, 2013 4:56 pm

It definitely helps to actually intern at the place you want to work during the year, not just toss a summer application at them like hundreds of other people looking to fill out the resume. That being said, you'll also get a general bump from interning at other PD offices or related PI organizations. For this, it helps to be located in any urban area since they have larger offices and more of them.

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Black Hat
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Re: Does law school location make a huge difference for PD jobs?

Postby Black Hat » Sat Dec 28, 2013 8:37 pm

So below is a link to Gideon's army. If you haven't seen it I would recommend watching.

Seems to fly in the face of what you all are saying. Not saying a documentary is 'valid' per se.

Watch it and then check back.


http://ffilms.org/gideons-army-2013/

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Does law school location make a huge difference for PD jobs?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Sat Dec 28, 2013 8:40 pm

Black Hat wrote:So below is a link to Gideon's army. If you haven't seen it I would recommend watching.

Seems to fly in the face of what you all are saying. Not saying a documentary is 'valid' per se.

Watch it and then check back.


http://ffilms.org/gideons-army-2013/

I've seen it. It doesn't suggest that PD jobs are easy to get; it doesn't show anything about getting a PD job. It's about what it's like to have the job once you're in it, and the difficulty people face staying in the job. But saying it's a hard job to stay in doesn't mean it's an easy job to get.

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Black Hat
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Re: Does law school location make a huge difference for PD jobs?

Postby Black Hat » Sat Dec 28, 2013 8:46 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:
Black Hat wrote:So below is a link to Gideon's army. If you haven't seen it I would recommend watching.

Seems to fly in the face of what you all are saying. Not saying a documentary is 'valid' per se.

Watch it and then check back.


http://ffilms.org/gideons-army-2013/

I've seen it. It doesn't suggest that PD jobs are easy to get; it doesn't show anything about getting a PD job. It's about what it's like to have the job once you're in it, and the difficulty people face staying in the job. But saying it's a hard job to stay in doesn't mean it's an easy job to get.


Granted and I agree completely with what you said. However, they do say that people continue to leave their offices for higher paying jobs in firms. This would seem to indicate that there is a high turnover rate with openings that are difficult to fill. It seems like those who are getting out of law school would be willing to take a low paying PD job and then leave after a year or so after they have gotten some experience, the film seemed to buttress this contention.

Just the feeling I got from the film.

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ggocat
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Re: Does law school location make a huge difference for PD jobs?

Postby ggocat » Sat Dec 28, 2013 11:46 pm

Biglaw has high turnover. I hear those jobs are easy to get.

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Black Hat
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Re: Does law school location make a huge difference for PD jobs?

Postby Black Hat » Sun Dec 29, 2013 12:22 am

ggocat wrote:Biglaw has high turnover. I hear those jobs are easy to get.


They also don't pay 45k a year.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Does law school location make a huge difference for PD jobs?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Sun Dec 29, 2013 12:28 am

It's not so much that getting a PD job is harder than getting other kinds of legal jobs, it's that there really aren't any legal jobs that are easy to get these days. Now, it may be that there are understaffed, especially low-paying offices in certain parts of the country that are less competitive than in other parts of the country. But that still doesn't make getting the job easy; there are lots of people looking to become PDs, and as people have pointed out, a lot of offices don't have a lot of money to hire people.

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Borhas
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Re: Does law school location make a huge difference for PD jobs?

Postby Borhas » Mon Dec 30, 2013 6:50 pm

Black Hat wrote:So below is a link to Gideon's army. If you haven't seen it I would recommend watching.

Seems to fly in the face of what you all are saying. Not saying a documentary is 'valid' per se.

Watch it and then check back.


http://ffilms.org/gideons-army-2013/


thanks for the link

I don't really think it has anything to do with your point, but still good to watch

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Black Hat
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Re: Does law school location make a huge difference for PD jobs?

Postby Black Hat » Tue Dec 31, 2013 2:30 am

Borhas wrote:
Black Hat wrote:So below is a link to Gideon's army. If you haven't seen it I would recommend watching.

Seems to fly in the face of what you all are saying. Not saying a documentary is 'valid' per se.

Watch it and then check back.


http://ffilms.org/gideons-army-2013/


thanks for the link

I don't really think it has anything to do with your point, but still good to watch


I've watched it around 5 times, it is pretty good.

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rftdd888
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Re: Does law school location make a huge difference for PD jobs?

Postby rftdd888 » Tue Dec 31, 2013 8:22 pm

it's like Black Hat really wanted us all to agree that PD jobs arent hard to get for some reason

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Black Hat
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Re: Does law school location make a huge difference for PD jobs?

Postby Black Hat » Wed Jan 01, 2014 9:27 pm

rftdd888 wrote:it's like Black Hat really wanted us all to agree that PD jobs arent hard to get for some reason


No, "its like" that is what all of the facts seem to point to.

PD jobs are some of the lowest paid, i.e. least desirable.

Let's be serious, most (I'd venture to say all) go to law school to make more money than they would have otherwise. Really this is the point for seeking higher education at all.

So, if we 'all' go to law school to make a good living, and PD jobs are some of the lowest paid then logically this would make being a PD less desirable, and THUS more generally available because no one wants to do their job.

This film which showcases PD's buttresses this contention. With 6 figure debt one cant survive on 40k a year for long. Eventually people want to have a house, kids, a good car, savings for retirement, or a boat perhaps. Even if one gets past the student debt it is still hard to live a good life on such a low salary. For Christ's sake one of those ladies on there couldn't afford to put gas in her car! Whilst having her 'clients' threatening her life and such. You cant tell me with a straight face that people are busting down the PD's office door for that job. We are talking about highly educated people with 7 years post secondary education. I am inclined to believe that those who are PD's do it because they don't have any other options, and jump ship the moment one presents itself. AGAIN, a contention which is buttressed by the documentary.

Moreover, it is said SEVERAL times in the film that PD's are continually/constantly leaving for better firm jobs. So, if they are leaving someone has to be filling their shoes, which means the jobs are available.

Now that I have broken down this very rudimentary logic and held your hand(s) like a small child perhaps you can understand. It is sad how this very basic logical reasoning has escaped many who have posted here.

Finally, I am NOT saying that PD jobs are particularly "easy" to get. However, what I am saying is getting into a job that pays 40K a year is EASIER than getting a job that pays 140k a year. Who could even argue that ... seriously?

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Does law school location make a huge difference for PD jobs?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Wed Jan 01, 2014 9:46 pm

Black Hat wrote:Finally, I am NOT saying that PD jobs are particularly "easy" to get. However, what I am saying is getting into a job that pays 40K a year is EASIER than getting a job that pays 140k a year. Who could even argue that ... seriously?

No one is arguing that (although someone who gets the $160K associate job may well not be able to get a PD job). Your original question was, "Are public defender jobs really that tough to get?" People ITT have pointed out that they are. None of us said anything about whether that makes them easier to get than a biglaw job. But nice job moving the goalposts.

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kershka
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Re: Does law school location make a huge difference for PD jobs?

Postby kershka » Wed Jan 01, 2014 9:55 pm

I'm sorry, I know that I'm feeding a troll but I can't resist here. (edit: I apologize. I shouldn't have called you a troll. You seemed relatively reasonable until your most recent post. It's likely you were just getting frustrated by the discussion).

Really? Low-paying legal jobs are all easier to get than high-paying ones? So, what, all those people in PI gigs are there because they fail at life? And Federal Clerkships are for suckers who failed out of law school? All those attorneys at the ACLU/Innocence Project/NAACP etc. all secretly wish they had gotten those Big Law jobs instead but they just couldn't hack it at OCI?

Also, I don't know about everyone else, but I want to go to law school to be a lawyer. If I had just wanted to make lots of money, I probably would have gone and worked on Wall Street or basically any other profession where graduates actually get, you know, jobs. But that's just me.

And PD gigs are similar to ER gigs in that it is an incredibly demanding job thus the high burnout rate. Of course, there is also a high burnout rate in BigLaw but whatever, I guess.

Note: I say all this as someone who has worked closely with a former PD and several attorneys at a national non-profit.

To the OP: for just about any job, having ties to the area where you want to work is important. Going to school nearby and networking during school, interning at that PD office,etc. are all good ways to increase your chances of snagging a PD job but understanding what a competitive field it is, you should also be considering a school which can place you into other legal jobs. As someone noted earlier, there are a lot of people who enter law schools with dreams of being a PD so be aware of how hard you will have to work to achieve your goals.

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Black Hat
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Re: Does law school location make a huge difference for PD jobs?

Postby Black Hat » Wed Jan 01, 2014 10:24 pm

kershka wrote:
Really? Low-paying legal jobs are all easier to get than high-paying ones? So, what, all those people in PI gigs are there because they fail at life? And Federal Clerkships are for suckers who failed out of law school? All those attorneys at the ACLU/Innocence Project/NAACP etc. all secretly wish they had gotten those Big Law jobs instead but they just couldn't hack it at OCI?

Also, I don't know about everyone else, but I want to go to law school to be a lawyer. If I had just wanted to make lots of money, I probably would have gone and worked on Wall Street or basically any other profession where graduates actually get, you know, jobs.


"All those attorneys at the ACLU/Innocence Project/NAACP etc. all secretly wish they had gotten those Big Law jobs instead but they just couldn't hack it at OCI?"

So yeah pretty much. Don't get me wrong, I get the whole public service calling touchy feely crap. I am a prior Marine who signed on to put foot to ass for my country. I live and breath public service and I have given more than the MAJORITY of Americans. I love the idea of helping people and I would LOVE to be a prosecutor OR LOVE to help defend a TRULY innocent person from a corrupt sham trial.

But ...

The desire to help people is what draws people in, but lack of anything better is what keeps people there.

The desire to feed my family, have a house, be able to retire before I am dead, and put gas in my damn car by far come first. SO, if I had to choose between 160k a year or 40k a year I would take the 160k in a heartbeat and I don't know ANYONE (especially in law school) that would do any different.

I am a realist and pretending anything than what I just said is reality is just sick self loathing fantasy.

Even if one does PI work for a few years to satisfy that public service "need" crap and then moves on to something better, this would still buttress my contentions above. That PD jobs are more readily available, generally speaking. Not "easy" by any stretch of the imagination but certainly more easily attainable than "biglaw."



"Also, I don't know about everyone else, but I want to go to law school to be a lawyer. If I had just wanted to make lots of money, I probably would have gone and worked on Wall Street or basically any other profession where graduates actually get, you know, jobs."

Don't give me that personal statement violin playing crap. I like the idea of being a lawyer too; I want to be a lawyer as well. But if I couldn't make more money doing this than I could doing something else I was interested in (for me police work/military) I wouldn't be doing it.

It is important to be doing something you love, but one has to feed their families and have a place to live as well.

It is important to believe in public service and want to help people. But the bills have to get paid! children need sustenance!

So again, don't try and con me with that whole phony public service "I want to help people" punch line. It is awfully tired and very blatantly phony.

I am not wasting 3 years of my life and lots of money to be stuck making 30k a year for the rest of my life, and neither is anyone else here. Saying otherwise makes you sound like a jackass.

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Bildungsroman
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Re: Does law school location make a huge difference for PD jobs?

Postby Bildungsroman » Wed Jan 01, 2014 10:31 pm

Black Hat wrote:
kershka wrote:
Really? Low-paying legal jobs are all easier to get than high-paying ones? So, what, all those people in PI gigs are there because they fail at life? And Federal Clerkships are for suckers who failed out of law school? All those attorneys at the ACLU/Innocence Project/NAACP etc. all secretly wish they had gotten those Big Law jobs instead but they just couldn't hack it at OCI?

Also, I don't know about everyone else, but I want to go to law school to be a lawyer. If I had just wanted to make lots of money, I probably would have gone and worked on Wall Street or basically any other profession where graduates actually get, you know, jobs.


"All those attorneys at the ACLU/Innocence Project/NAACP etc. all secretly wish they had gotten those Big Law jobs instead but they just couldn't hack it at OCI?"

So yeah pretty much. Don't get me wrong, I get the whole public service calling touchy feely crap. I am a prior Marine who signed on to put foot to ass for my country. I live and breath public service and I have given more than the MAJORITY of Americans. I love the idea of helping people and I would LOVE to be a prosecutor OR LOVE to help defend a TRULY innocent person from a corrupt sham trial.

But ...

The desire to help people is what draws people in, but lack of anything better is what keeps people there.

The desire to feed my family, have a house, be able to retire before I am dead, and put gas in my damn car by far come first. SO, if I had to choose between 160k a year or 40k a year I would take the 160k in a heartbeat and I don't know ANYONE (especially in law school) that would do any different.

I am a realist and pretending anything than what I just said is reality is just sick self loathing fantasy.

Even if one does PI work for a few years to satisfy that public service "need" crap and then moves on to something better, this would still buttress my contentions above. That PD jobs are more readily available, generally speaking. Not "easy" by any stretch of the imagination but certainly more easily attainable than "biglaw."



"Also, I don't know about everyone else, but I want to go to law school to be a lawyer. If I had just wanted to make lots of money, I probably would have gone and worked on Wall Street or basically any other profession where graduates actually get, you know, jobs."

Don't give me that personal statement violin playing crap. I like the idea of being a lawyer too; I want to be a lawyer as well. But if I couldn't make more money doing this than I could doing something else I was interested in (for me police work/military) I wouldn't be doing it.

It is important to be doing something you love, but one has to feed their families and have a place to live as well.

It is important to believe in public service and want to help people. But the bills have to get paid! children need sustenance!

So again, don't try and con me with that whole phony public service "I want to help people" punch line. It is awfully tired and very blatantly phony.

I am not wasting 3 years of my life and lots of money to be stuck making 30k a year for the rest of my life, and neither is anyone else here. Saying otherwise makes you sound like a jackass.

tl;dr. Nobody wants to hear your manifesto on the legal job market, 1L.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Does law school location make a huge difference for PD jobs?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Wed Jan 01, 2014 10:33 pm

Black Hat, there are plenty of people on this site who do genuinely want to be PDs and are going to school to be PDs. There are plenty of people who spend their career as PDs. There are also lots of people who start in biglaw at $160K but leave after a few years because the lifestyle is incompatible with - guess what - having a family.

That's great that you have your priorities clear and there's nothing wrong with them, but don't project them onto other people. Doing so makes you sound like a jackass.




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