DOJ Antitrust

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kenson
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DOJ Antitrust

Postby kenson » Sat Apr 24, 2010 9:49 pm

Hey, I've recently begun looking into doj antitrust law.. it seems like a fascinating subject that would compliment my finance major in progress. I've read that the doj doesn't hire first year attorneys except for the few selected into the AG honors program.

Does anyone have any tips/info on what I should be doing to prepare or find out more info on the field?

Much thanks.

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vanwinkle
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Re: DOJ Antitrust

Postby vanwinkle » Sun Apr 25, 2010 4:21 am

For DOJ Honors, school prestige and your grades are going to matter a lot. Top people from top schools usually get those things. The very top people at some lower T1/T2 schools can also get in, but that's harder. DOJ Honors is highly competitive and not something even people at top schools can just assume they'll be able to get.

However, there is a silver lining, and that's that the DOJ often does hiring of experienced attorneys. They value federal clerkship experience, so that's something to focus on if possible (keeping in mind that federal clerkships are themselves extremely competitive). Also, a corporate law background would be helpful for getting into Antitrust; because they focus on investigations into corporations, some familiarity with corporate transactions is highly valuable. As a result it could be a good idea to aim for BigLaw as an associate when you graduate, with the intention of applying for the DOJ jobs as soon as you're eligible.

I've heard that it can take several tries to get into the DOJ. Many people who get hired there do so on their third or fourth application. This isn't something meant to discourage but to encourage you, by pointing out that failing to get in the first time doesn't mean you can't get in and that persistence pays off.

Finally, consider that the DOJ is just one of many such jobs that would be good with your background. You could get a similar regulatory job working for the FTC or the SEC; your finance background could be a real asset in getting the BigLaw associate job in the first place that gives you the experience to jump to one of those competitive federal organizations. You may discover as an associate that you like working for a law firm instead. You may even discover, in law school or after you graduate, that you want to do some kind of law you didn't even realize existed yet, or at least didn't realize was so fascinating to you. But fortunately so much of the things that benefit you most in getting a job at a place like the DOJ (going to the best possible school, doing well there, clerking if possible) are the same things that will make you competitive for other jobs. Even if it turns out you don't want to work for the DOJ you haven't been wasting your time.

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kenson
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Re: DOJ Antitrust

Postby kenson » Sun Apr 25, 2010 5:33 am

Thank you for your thoughtful reply, I'm somewhat shocked I didn't get immediately flamed :P

The wording on the doj website didn't make it entirely clear to me whether the AG honors program admitted students immediately after law school / bar acceptance or if a judicial clerkship was a necessary component.

You seem to have offered very good advice. I'm going to aim for the sky as far as grades, internships, etc. but I still realize its early to convince myself of practicing in one area.

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vanwinkle
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Re: DOJ Antitrust

Postby vanwinkle » Sun Apr 25, 2010 12:41 pm

kenson wrote:The wording on the doj website didn't make it entirely clear to me whether the AG honors program admitted students immediately after law school / bar acceptance or if a judicial clerkship was a necessary component.

Honors program is only for people who have just graduated law school, but I think you're still eligible to apply after a clerkship if the clerkship was done immediately after graduation. Someone I spoke to who works for the DOJ talked about applying to both Honors and as an experienced attorney after her clerkship was up, so I think that's the case. (Clerking counts as "years of legal experience" when applying to the DOJ and many other places.) Many people get in through the experienced attorney route by either doing BigLaw or working as a big-city prosecutor first. There are many different paths into the DOJ, not getting Honors doesn't shut you out.

kenson wrote:You seem to have offered very good advice. I'm going to aim for the sky as far as grades, internships, etc. but I still realize its early to convince myself of practicing in one area.

Like I said, the things that will benefit you in one practice area will benefit you in others, so it doesn't matter too much. You'll have plenty of time while you're in law school to sample different areas of the law and see what you really like, but the things that matter early on in shooting for a place like the DOJ (getting into the best school possible, trying to get the best grades, building up connections with professors with an eye toward clerkship LORs) will also be the things that help you no matter where you end up wanting to work. All this stuff is very hard to do and very competitive, but trying for it will still leave you in a pretty good place with good options even if you can't quite get there.

Esc
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Re: DOJ Antitrust

Postby Esc » Sun Apr 25, 2010 12:47 pm

I agree with everything Vanwinkle said. I'm gonna add that, according to a DOJ lady who came to a career day at my school and was involved in their hiring process, your dedication to public service and public interest is also important. From the way she described it, they want to see some sort of substantial public interest or pro bono work on your resume, even if it isn't necessarily law-related - IE, first summer with a non-profit, volunteering throughout the school year, previous non-profit work, etc.

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Re: DOJ Antitrust

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jul 14, 2010 2:35 am

Esc wrote:rything Vanwinkle said. I'm gonna add that, according to a DOJ lady who came to a career day at my school and was involved in their hiring process, your dedication to public service and public interest is also important. From the way she described it, they want to see some sort of substantial public interest or pro bono work on your resume, even if it isn't necessarily law-related - IE, first summer with a non-profit, volunteering throughout the school year, previous non-profit work, etc.


TCR! A lot of people overhype the difficulty of government jobs. Yes, they are few and far between, so they are hard to get. However, that's often because those people aren't directing their time in law school towards getting a government job. Far too many people fall into BigLaw/OCI and only when they don't get a job there or when they get no-offered do they begin to consider government. If you plan to get into government when you enter law school and you do things like public service, public interest, you'll definitely have a shot.

Of course, the better the school and the better the grades, the easier it is. However, government is one place where if you have top-notch grades and a top notch school, you can get rejected if you don't show interest in public service for your three years of law school.

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Re: DOJ Antitrust

Postby 270910 » Wed Jul 14, 2010 8:14 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Esc wrote:rything Vanwinkle said. I'm gonna add that, according to a DOJ lady who came to a career day at my school and was involved in their hiring process, your dedication to public service and public interest is also important. From the way she described it, they want to see some sort of substantial public interest or pro bono work on your resume, even if it isn't necessarily law-related - IE, first summer with a non-profit, volunteering throughout the school year, previous non-profit work, etc.


TCR! A lot of people overhype the difficulty of government jobs. Yes, they are few and far between, so they are hard to get. However, that's often because those people aren't directing their time in law school towards getting a government job. Far too many people fall into BigLaw/OCI and only when they don't get a job there or when they get no-offered do they begin to consider government. If you plan to get into government when you enter law school and you do things like public service, public interest, you'll definitely have a shot.

Of course, the better the school and the better the grades, the easier it is. However, government is one place where if you have top-notch grades and a top notch school, you can get rejected if you don't show interest in public service for your three years of law school.


There might be a kernel of truth in there, but I highly doubt DoJ antitrust is going to be looking for you to have worked in the public defenders office 3 years as opposed to getting corporate experience... the government might be more picky about the attitudes of the people it hires, but it also takes TONS of biglaw castoffs later down the river, so I'm not buying the whole 'public service dedication required for government' thing. For a prosecutors office, maybe. For the department of energy? Probably less critical.

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Re: DOJ Antitrust

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jul 15, 2010 1:09 am

disco_barred wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Esc wrote:rything Vanwinkle said. I'm gonna add that, according to a DOJ lady who came to a career day at my school and was involved in their hiring process, your dedication to public service and public interest is also important. From the way she described it, they want to see some sort of substantial public interest or pro bono work on your resume, even if it isn't necessarily law-related - IE, first summer with a non-profit, volunteering throughout the school year, previous non-profit work, etc.


TCR! A lot of people overhype the difficulty of government jobs. Yes, they are few and far between, so they are hard to get. However, that's often because those people aren't directing their time in law school towards getting a government job. Far too many people fall into BigLaw/OCI and only when they don't get a job there or when they get no-offered do they begin to consider government. If you plan to get into government when you enter law school and you do things like public service, public interest, you'll definitely have a shot.

Of course, the better the school and the better the grades, the easier it is. However, government is one place where if you have top-notch grades and a top notch school, you can get rejected if you don't show interest in public service for your three years of law school.


There might be a kernel of truth in there, but I highly doubt DoJ antitrust is going to be looking for you to have worked in the public defenders office 3 years as opposed to getting corporate experience... the government might be more picky about the attitudes of the people it hires, but it also takes TONS of biglaw castoffs later down the river, so I'm not buying the whole 'public service dedication required for government' thing. For a prosecutors office, maybe. For the department of energy? Probably less critical.


Yeah, you're definitely right that they won't care all that much if you work in the public defender's offices during your summers because the work isn't relevant. But in the same vein, if you do corporate transactional work in a firm, it probably won't help all that much either.

Showing interest in government/public service gets you bonus points on top of whatever else you have going for you. Also, different agencies have different feelings on this matter. For some agencies, working for a private firm will pretty much brand you as unqualified. For others though, they couldn't care less so long as you can do the work. You're right that claiming a desire to do "public interest" alone won't help you much. You need to also have experience in the field. It's really about finding the right mix.

Re: the BigLaw castoffs, you're right that the government takes such people and in fairly large numbers. However, the competition is stiff. Those BigLaw castoffs fall into two categories. (1) People with mega credentials (e.g. COA/Sup.Ct. clerks) and (2) BigLaw people who worked against the government people (e.g. Antitrust practice in a private firm). The problem is that it's not always easy to be (2) because you may not get to work in the area OR you may work in the area but not have very much experience outside of doc review. It's not like it gets so much easier later on. Just as being in public service alone won't get you into a govt agency, nor will just being in a big law firm.

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Re: DOJ Antitrust

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jul 15, 2010 1:25 am

I know a COA clerk who is finishing up his term this year and headed to the DOJ. He had top 10% grades at a good school, was articles editor on his school's law review, and, as stated earlier, had a COA clerkship. These factors give you a SHOT at working for the DOJ. (I know fed district clerks who have been rejected, although they were top 10% at top 10 schools and were on law review.)

The DOJ also gave a presentation at my school. I gathered that clerkships are practically a requirement to be eligible for working the DOJ; although the panel did not explicitly state so, all of them had clerked and they mentioned that they primarily recruit from those clerking. Fwiw, the panel never emphasized the importance of public service.

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Re: DOJ Antitrust

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Aug 24, 2012 2:13 am

I came across this thread while Googling for any unturned stones of insight about my 2012 HP app, and I just have to say that there is A LOT of bad information in this thread, particularly about the Antitrust Division. I'm not going into everything, but here's the two biggest things:

Antitrust Division absolutely do not want to see corporate transactions. If it's not public service, it better at least be litigation because that is the bulk of what the Division does. I hope no one followed that advice because it is dead wrong. You want an economics background if you're still in undergrad thinking about this. Otherwise, any kind of business background (very different from spending your law school time doing corporate transactions) or antitrust experience will be good, also.

In general, I think that DOJ takes the public service thing much more seriously-- for the HP-- than it is suggested above. All the hiring attorneys I've spoken with really emphasized it. One specifically told me that after the "first cut," then it's about your commitment to public service, and if they don't see it or believe you, that's it. I think it is essentially correct what the person above said regarding BigLaw castoffs. They seem to see right through the people who strike out at OCI or get no-offered or want to use government as a training ground (because you get to do so much more so much earlier), as well as the people who make it up that they want to practice X area of law and serve the public interest. Also, DOJ is far more competitive than most law firms, so I don't know why those people who wanted firm jobs and did not get them are surprised when DOJ doesn't want them either.




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