Cap Hill Job?

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Pastels
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Cap Hill Job?

Postby Pastels » Tue Apr 27, 2010 9:56 pm

I would assume that the best way to get a job on Capitol Hill would be to go to Georgetown or some other DC school? or is it the more prestigious the better?

lawduder
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Re: Cap Hill Job?

Postby lawduder » Tue Apr 27, 2010 10:00 pm

Yale would probably be the best.

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nattybro
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Re: Cap Hill Job?

Postby nattybro » Tue Apr 27, 2010 10:23 pm

Each member's office does their own hiring, so my guess is that personal connections and networking would be considerably more important here than for other types of government work. That might give Georgetown an edge over some higher ranked schools if you are prepared to use those 3 years to make as many connections as possible. Just my take as an uninformed 0L so take it for what its worth.

270910
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Re: Cap Hill Job?

Postby 270910 » Wed Apr 28, 2010 8:39 am

First, 70-80% of those getting capitol hill jobs don't have a JD. It may even be better to work there prior to starting law school, because the pay is always crap until you've been there for years and years (at which point the pay is crap compared to the $$$$ you could get in the private sector).

Second, the hiring is NOT done based on grades, prestige of school, etc. I mean, those are factors, but the #1 factor is who do you know and the #2 factor is are you a constituent. While Georgetown might give you better access, and Harvard might be a better school, the job will still go to the local person at the shitty law school who knows the person doing the hiring or is otherwise politically connected. It's just the nature of the beast, the meritocratic structure of capitol hill hiring is somewhere between weak and entirely absent.

So, if it's a dream, Network! Find people you know who know people who know people, and start pounding flesh and sending out resumes. It's a very achievable goal, but not in the conventional legal manner (which is best school possible + best grades possible = jobs).

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TTH
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Re: Cap Hill Job?

Postby TTH » Wed Apr 28, 2010 8:53 am

disco_barred wrote:First, 70-80% of those getting capitol hill jobs don't have a JD. It may even be better to work there prior to starting law school, because the pay is always crap until you've been there for years and years (at which point the pay is crap compared to the $$$$ you could get in the private sector).

Second, the hiring is NOT done based on grades, prestige of school, etc. I mean, those are factors, but the #1 factor is who do you know and the #2 factor is are you a constituent. While Georgetown might give you better access, and Harvard might be a better school, the job will still go to the local person at the shitty law school who knows the person doing the hiring or is otherwise politically connected. It's just the nature of the beast, the meritocratic structure of capitol hill hiring is somewhere between weak and entirely absent.

So, if it's a dream, Network! Find people you know who know people who know people, and start pounding flesh and sending out resumes. It's a very achievable goal, but not in the conventional legal manner (which is best school possible + best grades possible = jobs).


Credited. Go to the flagship state school of your home state and get involved with the local party.

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sky7
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Re: Cap Hill Job?

Postby sky7 » Wed Apr 28, 2010 9:01 am

One of the perks of going to law school in DC is that if you AREN'T connected, you can reasonably easily become connected (not in the "I'm set for life" way but in the "I know some people who might be able to put in a good word for me" way).

How? Internships DURING the semester. The competition for internships during the summer draws a nationwide pool. Good luck with that.

But being an intern during the school year (and getting credit for it) can really set you up well for the Hill if you play your cards right.

270910
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Re: Cap Hill Job?

Postby 270910 » Wed Apr 28, 2010 9:03 am

sky7 wrote:One of the perks of going to law school in DC is that if you AREN'T connected, you can reasonably easily become connected (not in the "I'm set for life" way but in the "I know some people who might be able to put in a good word for me" way).

How? Internships DURING the semester. The competition for internships during the summer draws a nationwide pool. Good luck with that.

But being an intern during the school year (and getting credit for it) can really set you up well for the Hill if you play your cards right.


Smart and correct. A bad reason to go to law school though, as i pointed out above it ain't worth the tuition $$$ for a JD if you want to do entry level hill work.

Spun another way, entry level hill work can be a great resume line item looking into lobbying (tons of firms in DC have lobbying shops).

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sky7
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Re: Cap Hill Job?

Postby sky7 » Wed Apr 28, 2010 9:21 am

Disco - we meet again!

What's the best way to get a Hill job? Apply to lots of them, and target geographical ties - law school not necessary. If you want to be a staffer, you're probably better off just doing it and forgetting law school; with that being said, if you think you might like law school (which I do), go and see where it brings you. I'd say that most of the time (with a sensible amount of debt aversion), law school really isn't a bad investment.

Again, lots of people go the JD -> Hill route, but by no means is a JD a prerequisite. It may not be a good "reason" to go to law school, but then again it's not the worst alternative to soul sucking Big Law work.

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Anastasia Dee Dualla
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Re: Cap Hill Job?

Postby Anastasia Dee Dualla » Wed Apr 28, 2010 9:28 am

Hill jobs are all about who you know. So, just go somewhere where you can network with relevant parties.

270910
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Re: Cap Hill Job?

Postby 270910 » Wed Apr 28, 2010 9:41 am

sky7 wrote:Disco - we meet again!

What's the best way to get a Hill job? Apply to lots of them, and target geographical ties - law school not necessary. If you want to be a staffer, you're probably better off just doing it and forgetting law school; with that being said, if you think you might like law school (which I do), go and see where it brings you. I'd say that most of the time (with a sensible amount of debt aversion), law school really isn't a bad investment.

Again, lots of people go the JD -> Hill route, but by no means is a JD a prerequisite. It may not be a good "reason" to go to law school, but then again it's not the worst alternative to soul sucking Big Law work.


Hooray we agree on everything!

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sky7
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Re: Cap Hill Job?

Postby sky7 » Wed Apr 28, 2010 12:09 pm

You are way cooler now that you have a cool disco-ball 'tar.

NeXP
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Re: Cap Hill Job?

Postby NeXP » Wed Apr 28, 2010 12:25 pm

After 3 years here, I can say unequivocally: connections matter. Going to school in DC does not. The JDs in our office came from: Yale, Yale, Harvard, BC, Penn, Hastings, American, UVA, and one or two others. On this side of the hill, I'd say most people in policy positions have either JDs or graduate degrees in their field of expertise. If this is what you want, an internship/fellowship is a must. If the office likes you, they may consider you for a position if one opens up, or help you get interviews in other offices. If you come here as a newly minted JD without any connection: good luck. You'd be overqualified for the work you'd probably not even be considered for (responding to constituent letters for $35,000 a year). There really aren't terribly many jobs here that are purely law oriented, and certainly not many for new JDs with 0 experience.

Go to the best school you get into, and try and do a summer fellowship. Some people even do a fellowship after graduating, to get a foot in the door. Granted a connection helps for even getting the fellowship, but it can be done solely on an impressive resume/school.

If you want more, PM me.




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