rockstar4488 wrote:I currently work for the Department of Commerce so I believe I have some nsight as far as the federal hiring process. I don't work in HR and I'm not an expert, but here's roughly how it works...
- You go on usajobs.gov or another portal and apply for a position.
- Your application is then evaluated by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), who look at the requirements for the job and then qualify you or don't qualify you. This is where that list comes into play. Someone who is not interviewing you and has nothing to do with your potential job is just checking you against that list to make sure you're qualified.
- Assuming you qualify, you can then be interviewed by the people that want to hire you. This is where it matters as far as what the individual hiring manager is looking for.
- You get hired, work 37.5h a week, get non-competitive raises to 156k, get 5-6 weeks leave a year, your sanity, an early retirement age, and a pension!
Anyways, in all seriousness, I just want to emphasize the disconnect between the person judging whether you are qualified and the person hiring you.
The above shows why it's dangerous for OLs to try giving advice in this forum. This is not how *attorney* positions are filled, which typically fall under the Schedule A excepted service from the normal federal competitive hiring process. Under 5 CFR § 213.3102, OPM cannot determine or evaluate qualifications for attorney/law clerk trainee (the interim title for recent law school grads before they are admitted to a state bar) positions. Agencies are required to establish their own qualifications. They are not required to work with OPM at all, post attorney vacancies to usajobs.com (though an agency may make that a requirement of their hiring managers), or even publicly post the position.
The majority of attorney positions are filled directly with the agencies. Many agencies hire new law grads only through their annual Honors Programs, where the applications are typically collected at the agency's HQ and then forwarded to the hiring managers to select who they want to interview and hire. A hiring manager might also decide to post a job in just a couple of places to limit the number of applications. For example, my own office (not a HQ office), recently posted an attorney opening only with three local law schools (ranked in Tiers 1, 2, and 3) because the hiring manager felt that finding someone committed to staying at our office (rather than someone likely to transfer out or move elsewhere) was more important than school ranking. Also, if you see a position posted to usajobs.com with an extremely short application deadline, oftentimes the hiring manager already has a good idea of who they want to hire, but may be posting the job only as a formality.
Another point I'd like to add is that offices outside of DC (which is 85% of federal service!) tend to be less focused on law school rank and other "prestige" factors. This is especially true in areas that are not major legal markets. In my office, you'll find attorneys from schools in all tiers. Not a single one of our roughly 15 attorneys is a T14 grad.