law schools for someone interested in FBI / CIA?

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[Amanda!]
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law schools for someone interested in FBI / CIA?

Postby [Amanda!] » Wed Oct 29, 2008 11:27 pm

Hey everyone. Sorry if this is a question that's been asked but I searched around the board and didn't really find much related to my exact question. Though I did find out a lot of good general information which has shaped my questions here.

So, after about a year of consideration I've settled on the idea of using my prospective law degree to go to work for the FBI or CIA. In particular, I am interested in criminal law such as homicide, child pornography, and human trafficking, human rights issues, and any legal concerns surrounding the internet and internet communities (not IP law). Of course, I know that a fresh law school graduate does not jump into these cases right away but that's what I would like to work my way towards in the long run.

In any case, I recently got my LSAT score back and while I'm definitely retaking (I messed up in my own prep on something that is very fixable) it has made me rethink which schools I should consider attending. Are high-ranking schools (t14 and up) a necessity for FBI / CIA legal work or considering low salaries and the relative debt load, would lower ranked schools (t14 and down) be a better idea without hurting my chances at a career with either of these agencies?

For reference, here are my stats:

State College - Sociology major / linguistics and Japanese minor
3.7 (3.9 in my major) at current school but my lsac gpa will probably turn out around 3.5
163 LSAT (I'm guessing I can correct my error for a 5 - 7 point jump)
Some softs (not sure how important any of these are):
- internships with the local public defender and the UN
- taking at least one undergrad paper to conference in the spring

Any advice on law schools for me to consider, ect would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks! :mrgreen:

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shanana
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Re: law schools for someone interested in FBI / CIA?

Postby shanana » Wed Oct 29, 2008 11:34 pm

look at GWU, American, and GULC (though you will need an improved score- and it may prove to be to pricey). Their DC location and curriculum/ specialties makes them great schools for an FBI/CIA future.

[Amanda!]
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Re: law schools for someone interested in FBI / CIA?

Postby [Amanda!] » Wed Oct 29, 2008 11:55 pm

Shanana -

Thanks. Actually, that's really nice to hear since I've gotten the impression that American would be a good choice that is already attainable for me. GW and GULC were two I was also looking towards, hopefully I can make that score jump and be a better fit as well. It's nice to hear someone echoing what I was thinking myself.

[Amanda!]
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Re: law schools for someone interested in FBI / CIA?

Postby [Amanda!] » Thu Oct 30, 2008 8:21 pm

Bump?

Pretty please with sugar on top?

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dudeman101
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Re: law schools for someone interested in FBI / CIA?

Postby dudeman101 » Fri Oct 31, 2008 1:00 am

W&L and Mason are closer to Quantico then DC schools. the proximity does not make ANY difference anyways, especially for the FBI where you can be an agent anywhere in the country (and nowadays, almost the world as the Bureau is putting more and more subunits within embassies). you need a law degree from an accredited law school to apply (that route, there are tons of others) to the Academy. that is it. does anything matter beyond that? sure, but not as much as other jobs.

If you don't want to be an agent but more like a legal counsel type figure... the best school you can possibly get into is what you want. those are truly hard to get jobs. yale, berkeley, harvard, uva (Mueller) type schools (ie t-14)

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dpw4040
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Re: law schools for someone interested in FBI / CIA?

Postby dpw4040 » Fri Oct 31, 2008 11:38 am

GULC with their Foreign and Security Studies Program would seemingly be a good route. I hear a lot of intelligence people come out of tufts too. Columbia for the same reasons as GULC. I've researched this a lot so if you'd like to talk more about it just PM me as the in depth stuff would be way too much to put in one post.

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dpw4040
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Re: law schools for someone interested in FBI / CIA?

Postby dpw4040 » Fri Oct 31, 2008 11:39 am

^ To be clear I was referring to dual degree programs.

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A'nold
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Re: law schools for someone interested in FBI / CIA?

Postby A'nold » Sat Nov 01, 2008 1:18 am

dpw4040 wrote:^ To be clear I was referring to dual degree programs.




Don't they not let you in if you like, new a guy who smoked weed 10 years ago? :)

LSATfromNC
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Re: law schools for someone interested in FBI / CIA?

Postby LSATfromNC » Thu Nov 06, 2008 2:03 pm

No, your only eligible to be president :)

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lale
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Re: law schools for someone interested in FBI / CIA?

Postby lale » Thu Apr 23, 2009 5:11 pm

bumping this old thread up cause i'm too lazy to make a new one. Hypothetically speaking, can I not be in the CIA/FBI at all if I did anything illegal in my past? (I'm not talking about being arrested/having felonies)

hopingtogo
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Re: law schools for someone interested in FBI / CIA?

Postby hopingtogo » Thu Apr 23, 2009 6:01 pm

From the OP's post it sounds like she(?) is interested in law enforcement issues more than intelligence related issues. My uncle is a special agent and a large number of the new agents he trains are former attorneys. The FBI has a special agent entry program for lawyers. You must have three years of professional work experience before you can apply for a position as a special agent, so you could probably work for a few years at a firm, clerk for a judge, etc. while you prepare for the other entry requirements (i.e. physical fitness test).

As far as working for the CIA, there are many, many career options which you can explore. They have positions for intelligence analysts, field operatives, support personnel, practically anything you can imagine. And, in my opinion, a legal education will prepare you for most of these roles (maybe not so much for careers in the Directorate of Science and Technology).

If you are interested in working as an attorney for the CIA, the Office of General Counsel does have a summer law clerk program for second year law students in which they spend the summer working in the different Directorates of the CIA. I have heard that the program is very competitive though, as they only take a handful of students (less than 10) every summer. They also have an Honors Attorney program for recent law school graduates.

Based on conversations with my uncle and various attorneys working in the intelligence community, it does not seem like you absolutely have to have a degree from a T14 law school in order to work for one of these agencies. Of course, there are people with degrees from the top schools, but I have met many individuals who received their JD from Tulane, William and Mary, UNM, USD, Boston U, etc., and they are doing just fine at the FBI/CIA. So I don't think attending a lower ranked law school would hurt your chances of employment at one of these agencies. Your background will provide a boost because it shows that you have an interest in critical areas (like languages) which the intelligence community looks for in prospective employees. As long as you continue to show that interest in law school (through related courses/organizations etc.) and maintain a decent GPA I think you will be a competitive candidate for a career in either of those agencies.

Oh, and for both agencies you have to be able to pass a polygraph test and a very comprehensive background check, which can take several months and sometimes up to a year in advance of employment, so I would suggest applying for these positions early if you are interested.

Sorry this post is so long but I was excited to discover someone who is interested in working for one of these agencies because I too am interested in this type of work! For more information, check out the links to the websites:

http://www.fbijobs.gov/111.asp

https://www.cia.gov/offices-of-cia/gene ... index.html

Hope this helps!

hopingtogo
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Re: law schools for someone interested in FBI / CIA?

Postby hopingtogo » Thu Apr 23, 2009 6:15 pm

lale wrote:bumping this old thread up cause i'm too lazy to make a new one. Hypothetically speaking, can I not be in the CIA/FBI at all if I did anything illegal in my past? (I'm not talking about being arrested/having felonies)


I think this presents more of a problem for the FBI than the CIA. The FBI is very strict when it comes to those things. I know a guy who applied for a position as a special agent and he was rejected because he smoked pot back when he was in high school (like seven years ago!). But as far as the CIA my impression is as long as you don't have any felonies and things of that nature, you should be okay. Things from your past like smoking pot, illegally downloading music, buying bootlegged DVDs is on the small end of the spectrum to them, as long as it wasn't done in large amounts or if you aren't still doing it. The best policy is to be totally honest in your disclosure, because being dishonest, even about something small, will make you look worse.

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Kompressor
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Re: law schools for someone interested in FBI / CIA?

Postby Kompressor » Thu Apr 23, 2009 6:36 pm

hopingtogo wrote:From the OP's post it sounds like she(?) is interested in law enforcement issues more than intelligence related issues. My uncle is a special agent and a large number of the new agents he trains are former attorneys. The FBI has a special agent entry program for lawyers. You must have three years of professional work experience before you can apply for a position as a special agent, so you could probably work for a few years at a firm, clerk for a judge, etc. while you prepare for the other entry requirements (i.e. physical fitness test).


I want to work for the FBI myself (POSSIBLY CIA), likely as an analyst, and preferably in counter-terror. I had the opportunity to go in and speak with an agent a few weeks ago. I inquried about a number of things and, I just wanted to say that I was told the FBI now wants 5 years of work experience for special agent. However, individuals with law degrees have a number of options outside of special agent within the CIA. A JD is one of the best, if not the best, grad degree to have for the FBI. If you're not applying for special counsel, then I got the impression you don't need to be in or even near the T-14. The first thing you have to consider is how many people with law degrees even want to work for the FBI as, say, an analyst? Since a JD is a preferred degree in that area, you're already at an advantage. I was also told that grades are not an overly important aspect for these types of positions. That's not to say that someone who comes in with a 2.7 is going to have difficulties, but if you're above the 3.0 range, you should be fine.

Once thing that is very valuable, however, is work experience. Luckily, I have 3 years already, and will have an internship this summer. Even with positions like analysts, I got the impression that having at least a year or two of work experience is an important element of the application process. These types of government agencies really value maturity and life experience. That's not to say that a 25 year old graduating law school can't be mature, but there are certain elements of maturity that really do usually only come with work experience. I can't tell you how much more mature I was after 3 years at an office than I was before, so there really is something to it. Work experience is also important for the pay-scaling, if you want to start making more than, say 45-50k coming out of school. Although 45-50k in the FBI can turn into six figures relatively quickly, so I would certainly encourage you to take such a salary if it was offered. Another great thing about the FBI is the flexibility it offers. If you sign up as, say, a research analyst and don't like your job, there are plenty of other jobs within the FBI that you can probably work your way in to, all while increasing your pay scale and contributing to your pension (which is amazing,btw).

To be honest, I'm really surprised more people in the law school field aren't like you in me in their interest here. I think the FBI offers so much more than BigLaw and still offers financial security for the rest of your life. That doesn't mean I won't still be tempted by BigLaw, but I'm confident I'd end up in the FBI if it comes down to one or the other.

Being in DC definitely helps, but it's certainly not a requirement. Working somewhere like Boston or NY or Chicago or anywhere near a big city gives you plenty of opportunities to get your foot in the door, which is really all you need to do. My best advice is to get into the best school you can and to go there, unless you get into a school that's not too much better than somewhere like American. Good luck!

I think this presents more of a problem for the FBI than the CIA. The FBI is very strict when it comes to those things. I know a guy who applied for a position as a special agent and he was rejected because he smoked pot back when he was in high school (like seven years ago!). But as far as the CIA my impression is as long as you don't have any felonies and things of that nature, you should be okay. Things from your past like smoking pot, illegally downloading music, buying bootlegged DVDs is on the small end of the spectrum to them, as long as it wasn't done in large amounts or if you aren't still doing it. The best policy is to be totally honest in your disclosure, because being dishonest, even about something small, will make you look worse.


Are you sure he was rejected only because he smoked pot once? It's possible, but I do wonder if that was part of a larger problem. Also, don't be worried about stuff like underaged drinking. Just be honest and you're fine on that, as long as you didn't do something incredibly stupid. Illegally downloading music is probably in the same category. Who didn't do these two things in college, you know? Just be honest, and you should be fine. Pot is different, though. If you've done your share of this (especially recently), you'll have problems.

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triplecats
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Re: law schools for someone interested in FBI / CIA?

Postby triplecats » Mon Sep 14, 2009 11:32 pm

Is significant pre-law-school employment in your general area of interest required? I would love to work at the CIA, and if given the choice I'd take that over any other job on earth (okay, maybe President) but it seems impossible to get into unless you can speak Mandarin, or Farsi, or an Afghan tongue...

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pu_golf88
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Re: law schools for someone interested in FBI / CIA?

Postby pu_golf88 » Tue Sep 15, 2009 12:15 am

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Last edited by pu_golf88 on Wed Jan 06, 2010 3:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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WassAnch
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Re: law schools for someone interested in FBI / CIA?

Postby WassAnch » Tue Sep 15, 2009 1:21 am

edit
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the lantern
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Re: law schools for someone interested in FBI / CIA?

Postby the lantern » Tue Sep 15, 2009 7:54 am

I have heard/read that pot is ok (as long as you haven't smoked in the past year), but if you've done coke or anything harder it has to be at least 7 years in the past (the number might be wrong but it was a long time). My main source of this was a report in the news and on NPR about the government loosening the rules on past drug use because they were having to turn too many qualified people away. Either way, having been in the military I know that they want to know every single thing about your entire life if you join. I have a secret clearance and they asked me about all my drug history including number of times I've used the drugs I've done and approximate dates and reasons why. They will also do a background check which includes talking to family, friends, neighbors, former teachers, etc., so it would quite risky to lie (or fail to disclose). I think it is a shitty policy, but they have their reasons.




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