How important is having a legal job for your 1L summer?

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Anonymous User
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How important is having a legal job for your 1L summer?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Apr 01, 2010 9:12 pm

I have an offer to work at the local county attorney's office, but am not sure I should take it because it might not be prestigious enough. Should I hold off and wait to see if I get another offer?

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WhiskeyGuy
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Re: How important is having a legal job for your 1L summer?

Postby WhiskeyGuy » Thu Apr 01, 2010 9:22 pm

Do you have pending applications anywhere else? If no, I'd take the offer you've got now.

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patrickd139
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Re: How important is having a legal job for your 1L summer?

Postby patrickd139 » Thu Apr 01, 2010 9:23 pm

To answer your topic question: it's very important. Necessary, some say.

To answer your post: you should take it under some circumstances, you should decline it under others. If your talking about a county attorney's office in the western half of Kansas where you hope to get a job some day, and it's your only offer, you should take it. On the other hand, if you're trying to get a biglaw job in New York City and the other offer you're considering is clerking this summer for Cravath, then you should turn it down for the more prestigious offer. Something tells me that's not the case, though. Which brings me to my next question...

What's the situation you're in? You're posting anonymously on an anonymous internet forum. Out with the details.

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Re: How important is having a legal job for your 1L summer?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Apr 01, 2010 9:26 pm

patrickd139 wrote:To answer your topic question: it's very important. Necessary, some say.

To answer your post: you should take it under some circumstances, you should decline it under others. If your talking about a county attorney's office in the western half of Kansas where you hope to get a job some day, and it's your only offer, you should take it. On the other hand, if you're trying to get a biglaw job in New York City and the other offer you're considering is clerking this summer for Cravath, then you should turn it down for the more prestigious offer. Something tells me that's not the case, though. Which brings me to my next question...

What's the situation you're in? You're posting anonymously on an anonymous internet forum. Out with the details.


I want to work in public interest, but prestigious (i.e., federal govt.). I have a bunch of federal job apps in, but no callbacks yet (who knows how long it takes for the feds to respond). No real desire to work biglaw hours. So, it's either take a gamble and wait to hear something good from the feds, or take the guaranteed job with the county.

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patrickd139
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Re: How important is having a legal job for your 1L summer?

Postby patrickd139 » Thu Apr 01, 2010 11:36 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I want to work in public interest, but prestigious (i.e., federal govt.). I have a bunch of federal job apps in, but no callbacks yet (who knows how long it takes for the feds to respond). No real desire to work biglaw hours. So, it's either take a gamble and wait to hear something good from the feds, or take the guaranteed job with the county.

Not sure if working in a county prosecutor's office would work significantly to either your advantage or disadvantage. At this point (and ITE), it's legal work for your summer. How long do you have before you need to let them know?

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Re: How important is having a legal job for your 1L summer?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Apr 01, 2010 11:48 pm

I gotta let them know by the end of next week. You think I should take the gamble and not take the county job to see if my other applications with the feds come through?

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rayiner
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Re: How important is having a legal job for your 1L summer?

Postby rayiner » Thu Apr 01, 2010 11:50 pm

Take it. It's getting late and you don't seem to have better alternatives.

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vanwinkle
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Re: How important is having a legal job for your 1L summer?

Postby vanwinkle » Thu Apr 01, 2010 11:52 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I want to work in public interest, but prestigious (i.e., federal govt.). I have a bunch of federal job apps in, but no callbacks yet (who knows how long it takes for the feds to respond). No real desire to work biglaw hours. So, it's either take a gamble and wait to hear something good from the feds, or take the guaranteed job with the county.

Working for a local prosecutor will be good experience on your resume for trying to eventually get a federal government job, especially if you're looking at DOJ work. They look for 1) legal experience (which is why working this summer is important) and 2) commitment to public interest/government work (which a local prosecutor's office shows). Yes, you could do something more prestigious, but that's not available to you now, so what you have won't hurt you and you should take it.

That said, you should be aware that federal jobs really are prestigious, and besides having some solid 1L job experience, you're going to need excellent grades and to be attending a top law school. It's always been competitive to get these kind of jobs, but it's much much moreso ITE. I just spoke to someone who is responsible for hiring in the DOJ a couple weeks ago and a very common career path for people to get to work there is to go work in another area for a few years and keep applying to get in as an experienced attorney. Many who are shooting for the DOJ's criminal or civil rights divisions work as local prosecutors or PDs in the interim.

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vanwinkle
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Re: How important is having a legal job for your 1L summer?

Postby vanwinkle » Thu Apr 01, 2010 11:53 pm

rayiner wrote:Take it. It's getting late and you don't seem to have better alternatives.

rayiner is always so succinct and yet so accurate.

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Re: How important is having a legal job for your 1L summer?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Apr 02, 2010 12:17 am

vanwinkle wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I want to work in public interest, but prestigious (i.e., federal govt.). I have a bunch of federal job apps in, but no callbacks yet (who knows how long it takes for the feds to respond). No real desire to work biglaw hours. So, it's either take a gamble and wait to hear something good from the feds, or take the guaranteed job with the county.

Working for a local prosecutor will be good experience on your resume for trying to eventually get a federal government job, especially if you're looking at DOJ work. They look for 1) legal experience (which is why working this summer is important) and 2) commitment to public interest/government work (which a local prosecutor's office shows). Yes, you could do something more prestigious, but that's not available to you now, so what you have won't hurt you and you should take it.

That said, you should be aware that federal jobs really are prestigious, and besides having some solid 1L job experience, you're going to need excellent grades and to be attending a top lawl skool. It's always been competitive to get these kind of jobs, but it's much much moreso when you're 16 and pregnant. I just spoke to someone who is responsible for hiring in the DOJ a couple weeks ago and a very common career path for people to get to work there is to go work in another area for a few years and keep applying to get in as an experienced attorney. Many who are shooting for the DOJ's criminal or civil rights divisions work as local prosecutors or PDs in the interim.


Thanks. What are the typical grade cutoffs for the feds? I'm at a tier 1 (non t-14).

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vanwinkle
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Re: How important is having a legal job for your 1L summer?

Postby vanwinkle » Fri Apr 02, 2010 12:26 am

Anonymous User wrote:Thanks. What are the typical grade cutoffs for the feds? I'm at a tier 1 (non t-14).

It depends on what you want. For DOJ Honors Program, top 10% at T14 is probably a minimum. (Honors Program is the only way directly into DOJ from law school.)

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Re: How important is having a legal job for your 1L summer?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Apr 02, 2010 1:32 pm

Thanks. You guys don't think employers will look down on having worked in a local pd's office?

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Ipsa Dixit
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Re: How important is having a legal job for your 1L summer?

Postby Ipsa Dixit » Fri Apr 02, 2010 1:52 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Thanks. You guys don't think employers will look down on having worked in a local pd's office?


The DA might, but that depends on the culture in the county. Otherwise, I don't know why anyone would look down on a student who worked at the PD's office.

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rayiner
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Re: How important is having a legal job for your 1L summer?

Postby rayiner » Fri Apr 02, 2010 1:57 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Thanks. You guys don't think employers will look down on having worked in a local pd's office?


Some might, but they'll look down on no doing substantive legal work even more.

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vanwinkle
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Re: How important is having a legal job for your 1L summer?

Postby vanwinkle » Fri Apr 02, 2010 4:38 pm

rayiner wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Thanks. You guys don't think employers will look down on having worked in a local pd's office?

Some might, but they'll look down on no doing substantive legal work even more.

This.

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underachiever
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Re: How important is having a legal job for your 1L summer?

Postby underachiever » Fri Apr 02, 2010 4:43 pm

Very. Law Firms are investing a ton of cash into you and they want to make sure your committed to the law. Furthermore, they want you to have legal experience outside of law school, doing "real" legal work, which you will get working at the local PD's office. In fact if its a small office you could get even more responsibility/do more substantial work and during OCR next year you could pitch that angle at firms during interviews.....Good luck and please make sure you have a legal job this summer

reverendt
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Re: How important is having a legal job for your 1L summer?

Postby reverendt » Fri Apr 02, 2010 6:10 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Thanks. You guys don't think employers will look down on having worked in a local pd's office?

I don't think so....you can't prosecute well unless you understand defense.
Take the job.

imchuckbass58
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Re: How important is having a legal job for your 1L summer?

Postby imchuckbass58 » Fri Apr 02, 2010 6:19 pm

Take the offer you have.

First off, it doesn't really matter what you do 1L year - not having legal experience is infinitely worse than having slightly "less prestigious" work experience.

Second, I'm pretty sure almost every federal government hiring component is done hiring. The ones that require security clearance (USAO, DOJ, etc.) certainly are. Interviews were mostly done in January and February and people I know have had offers for a long time.

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thuggishruggishbone
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Re: How important is having a legal job for your 1L summer?

Postby thuggishruggishbone » Sat Apr 03, 2010 12:24 am

I would take it. There's probably gonna be some firms or govt. agencies that are going to look down on you for having worked at the local pd's office, but it looks even worse if you do nothing.

ToTransferOrNot
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Re: How important is having a legal job for your 1L summer?

Postby ToTransferOrNot » Sat Apr 03, 2010 4:33 pm

It is too late in the game for you to be holding out for other offers which may, or may not, materialize. Take the sure thing and give yourself a shot at OCI next year: no 1L legal work = shut out at OCI, period.




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