3L Taking Questions on Finding a Job (

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Voyager
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3L Taking Questions on Finding a Job (

Postby Voyager » Sun May 09, 2010 8:24 pm

Hi. I used to come here quite a bit, but then began law school. Some of you may have used (and hopefully benefited from) my various LSAT guides.

I am about to graduate in 1 week and thought I could contribute one more useful guide to TLS: how to find a job.

I got a bunch of big law offers during OCI in 2008. Went to a biglaw firm last summer and then found myself with a permanent offer... only it was for 2011.

Afraid that the offer might become an "indefinite deferral" (as has happened to so many others), I began looking for a new job like my life depended on it. Also, I needed something to do for my deferral year in any case... something that paid as my firm was not providing a deferral stipend.

So I spent the last year exploring every possible job option I thought I had a shot at. I ended up getting several offers in rather different career tracks and eventually accepted an offer.

I worked for quite some time prior to law school and had already held several different careers, so I already had a good understanding of the basics. However, this "new economy" legal market is a different kind of beast and the position you are in as a 3L is tricky. I learned a ton about looking for a job as a 3L this past year and am happy to answer questions. First tip: if you have no offer to work with by EARLY fall (August/early September) of your 3L year it is time to scramble. Those in my class that waited until December/January got screwed.

Taking questions on how to interview, what the below employers are looking for, how to prepare for the interview, keeping your sanity while job searching with impending crushing debt, job searching while holding an offer from another employer etc...

Here are the positions I have explored:

Biglaw
Smaller firms
ADA
PMF(Presidential Management Fellowship Program)
Consulting
JAG
Federal Defender

EDIT: DOJ Honors program too! (although they reject the hell out of me, so I am probably the worng guy to ask about this).
Last edited by Voyager on Sun May 09, 2010 9:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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lostmyname
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Re: 3L Taking Questions on Finding a Job (

Postby lostmyname » Sun May 09, 2010 8:26 pm

Can you go into more detail about your experiences with PMF -- did you end up actually applying, what was the test like, did you make it as finalist, what kind of federal employers were interested in you, etc.? Thanks for starting this thread!

hubtubrub
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Re: 3L Taking Questions on Finding a Job (

Postby hubtubrub » Sun May 09, 2010 8:28 pm

how did you find a job in a horrid econ. after being deferred?

Also, would you want to go back to your old firm in 2011?

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wakefield
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Re: 3L Taking Questions on Finding a Job (

Postby wakefield » Sun May 09, 2010 8:29 pm

Did you have public interest experience before or during LS? How did you approach getting those types of jobs after being on the Biglaw track?

Anonymous User
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Re: 3L Taking Questions on Finding a Job (

Postby Anonymous User » Sun May 09, 2010 8:30 pm

if you don't mind me asking, where are you graduating from?

eth3n
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Re: 3L Taking Questions on Finding a Job (

Postby eth3n » Sun May 09, 2010 8:30 pm

What are the first steps you take when you have reached September of 3L September and you have no job offers?

ohmy212
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Re: 3L Taking Questions on Finding a Job (

Postby ohmy212 » Sun May 09, 2010 8:40 pm

I'd like to know more about the ADA application process. Thanks!

Voyager
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Re: 3L Taking Questions on Finding a Job (

Postby Voyager » Sun May 09, 2010 8:43 pm

lostmyname wrote:Can you go into more detail about your experiences with PMF -- did you end up actually applying, what was the test like, did you make it as finalist, what kind of federal employers were interested in you, etc.? Thanks for starting this thread!


Ok, so the first rule of looking for a job when you don't have one lined up (this includes you deferred kids! A job offer only counts when you are finally sitting at the desk!) is to APPLY FOR EVERYTHING.

So yes, I absolutely applied to the PMF. I applied to all of the jobs listed above.

The PMF looked pretty freaking great to me. As you know, it is a management fast track program for the U.S. Civil Service. After two years you are making ok money and are building towards a pension. Additionally, having spoken to several friends who worked with or in the civil service, I think that advancement is pretty quick if you are aggressive, hard working and competent.

I liked several agencies. DOD, department of state, DOJ (obviously) were my top choices.

I am quite good at these standardized multiple choice tests and felt pretty confident about the PMF one... but I still worked hard to prepare. I read Strunk and White many many times, made grammar flash cards, reviewed LSAT logic, etc...

The test seemed rather easy but that was because I treated like the LSAT and put a ton of effort into preparation. I was desparate this past year and HIGHLY motivated to find something. Many (most?) PMF applicants put in very little prep work, I think... so if you DO prepare you should do well.

I was a finalist in the end, but accepted a different offer as the pay was much higher, the work seemed more interesting and the exit options were spectacular.

I did NOT go to the job fair due to the other offer. PMF finalists wer encouraged to apply anywhere. HOWEVER, do NOT wait until the job fair to begin interviewing! You should reach out to agencies the SECOND you become a finalist. I spoke to a professor who had been in the DOD and who offered to help me get in. That is the ideal position to be in. However, even tcalling up the DOD recruiter before the fair would have a big impact on your chances. It shows initiative, assertiveness, and interest in the agency.

If you want to do this, you need to be get on the ball in September. Go to your public interst group and make sure the faculty knows you want to do PMF. Make sure you show up with REASONS. They only nominate a limited number of people and you don't want to be the clown who, on the last day the nominations are do walks in there and says "yeah, so I have no job, I want pmf".

For more pmf info, check out this site: --LinkRemoved--

EDIT: PMF UPDATE. THE TEST HAS CHANGED!!!! Now they focus on leadership and decision making with scenario based multiple choice questions. The grammar nonsense is gone! Those with leadership backgrounds (particularly former military) will do well. The rest of you had best read up on how to lead.
Last edited by Voyager on Mon Dec 27, 2010 1:19 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Cole S. Law
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Re: 3L Taking Questions on Finding a Job (

Postby Cole S. Law » Sun May 09, 2010 8:49 pm

I wasn't aware that the Federal Defender hired entry level attorneys. What was the process like? Were they recruiting or did you initiate contact? Did you give any consideration to a state-level clerkship as a one year stop-gap?

Voyager
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Re: 3L Taking Questions on Finding a Job (

Postby Voyager » Sun May 09, 2010 8:52 pm

hubtubrub wrote:how did you find a job in a horrid econ. after being deferred?

Also, would you want to go back to your old firm in 2011?


This also answers eth3n's question :
What are the first steps you take when you have reached September of 3L September and you have no job offers?


Answering all posters in order...

How did I find a job? FIRST I had to get my mind right... so I went through the following steps the day after I got the deferral news:

1) I decided that my firm could easily withdraw the offer.
2) I decided I needed a job
3) I decided that I was open to almost anything as long as it gave me (a) fun experiences (b) a career track that allowed me to grow into new positions with more responsibility and (c) a pay check, as long as that pay check was over $50,000.

After that, I sat down and brainstormed job ideas. I met with professors. I had professors put me in touch with their working lawyer friends. I spoke with my friends. I went to the public interest center at my school. I spoke with career services. I signed up for clinics to give me some credibility (this was huge for the ADA positions).

I got a ton of ideas and then I began pursuing ALL of them. Hard. Like my life depended on it. Any time I spoke to anyone who had even the remotest chance of helping me get any one of these various positions, I acted like THAT was the position that would make my life complete.

It was all I spoke about and thought about for six months.

I am not going back to my old firm. The position I found is vastly superior in every way (including pay, believe it or not).
Last edited by Voyager on Sun May 09, 2010 8:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Voyager
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Re: 3L Taking Questions on Finding a Job (

Postby Voyager » Sun May 09, 2010 8:56 pm

wakefield wrote:Did you have public interest experience before or during LS? How did you approach getting those types of jobs after being on the Biglaw track?


yes I did. military service.

Also, I worked in an USAO while in school.

That was huge in helping me become a PMF finalist and advance through all of the ADA interview rounds.

This is one of the many reasons all law students should do some public interest work while in law school. I think going to a US Attorney Office is the best call as it looks impressive to law firms as well.

One note on that: Federal Defenders HATED my prosecutorial experience. That was the only one of the above that I crashed on. Also, I was applying to an UNPAID position for deferred associates and they STILL rejected me! That's right, they were better off with an extra 18 cubic feet of empty air than me! Hilarious.
Last edited by Voyager on Mon Dec 27, 2010 1:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.

TheOpossum
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Re: 3L Taking Questions on Finding a Job (

Postby TheOpossum » Sun May 09, 2010 8:57 pm

I'm not yet in law school, but will be attending Davis, and I am very interested in being an ADA (though the current hire freeze has me shitting bricks). I was wondering if you could share some tips about what I should focus on early in LS and maybe if you got the feel for it, how competitive are these positions.

Voyager
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Re: 3L Taking Questions on Finding a Job (

Postby Voyager » Sun May 09, 2010 8:57 pm

Anonymous User wrote:if you don't mind me asking, where are you graduating from?


Heh. No I don't mind. Frankly, between my previous posts here (stated my school several years ago) and the information I have already given, outing me would be a trivial process.

I am graduating from Columbia.

Voyager
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Re: 3L Taking Questions on Finding a Job (

Postby Voyager » Sun May 09, 2010 9:01 pm

Cole S. Law wrote:I wasn't aware that the Federal Defender hired entry level attorneys. What was the process like? Were they recruiting or did you initiate contact? Did you give any consideration to a state-level clerkship as a one year stop-gap?


Just to knock this one out: Yes, you are right. They don't.

I was applying to a non-paying program for deferred associates. Because I was open to any possibility.

There were recruiting. As in all of the other options listed I initiated contact by calling the dude in charge.

I did think about state-level clerkship and it is the one option I just did not pursue. I encourage anyone else in my position to do so. I just got burned out in my job search and did not want to got through the hassle of trying to be a state clerk. That was a lazy attitude. Don't do that.

Anonymous User
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Re: 3L Taking Questions on Finding a Job (

Postby Anonymous User » Sun May 09, 2010 9:04 pm

I'm guessing you are doing consulting. Whats the recruiting like for consulting firms? What type of background do you need other than solid law school credentials (I assume these are inconsequential to some extent)
Last edited by Anonymous User on Sun May 09, 2010 9:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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soundgardener
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Re: 3L Taking Questions on Finding a Job (

Postby soundgardener » Sun May 09, 2010 9:06 pm

I completely understand if you don't want to say, but what route did you end up choosing? From the info you've given it sounds like a pretty sweet gig. Also, did you pursue the DOJ, and if so what was your experience in that endeavor?

EDIT: Also, what does it take as a law student to get hired by a consulting firm?

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Lonagan
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Re: 3L Taking Questions on Finding a Job (

Postby Lonagan » Sun May 09, 2010 9:10 pm

Do you have any advice for how to engage professors and / or career services? I am entering law school in the fall and would like to start building this kind of groundwork from day 1 in order to put myself int he best possible position should it become necessary to scramble. Do you just go into career services / professor's offices and say "advice please" or what?

Voyager
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Re: 3L Taking Questions on Finding a Job (

Postby Voyager » Sun May 09, 2010 9:17 pm

ohmy212 wrote:I'd like to know more about the ADA application process. Thanks!


heh. that is a broad question.

Ok. So the application process actually begins your 2L year. Why? Because you need to lay some groundwork that shows you are committed to prosecution and public service.

A clinic, work at an DA's office, even a job at the USAO are all good.

Actually, the best thing to do is, starting fall of 3L get a job with a DA's office in which they will let you prosecute cases. That is a GREAT experience. A ton of fun and it teaches you a great deal. The Queen's Domestic Violence unit offers such a progam. I did that early this spring for my pro bono requirement.

You should also go speak with your public interest center. They will be able to tell you what the DA offices are looking for, how to write a good cover letter etc...

Next, you need to contact all of the DA offices you are open to. These are very difficult positions to get. The hiring process is highly competitive. So you need to apply to as many offices as you are open to.

Additionally, the offices want you to be interested in PROSECUTION, not just being Jack MacCoy in Manhattan... so it actually HELPS to tell DA interviewers that you are interviewing at a bunch of other prosecution offices.

Next you need to call every office you are applying to in order to figure out their specific application requirements/process. Some offices have strange requriements with regard to the bar (LA, for example), others require you to fill out application forms, others just want you to sed in a packet with a letter, transcript, resume and letters of rec.

AH! letters of rec! Right. GET ON TTHAT ASAP! Identify 3 people that will act as recommenders for you. They should be a MIX of professors and legal work supervisors.

Next you need to put together the application package (usual stuff).

FINALLY you are ready for the 1st round interview. The toughest part of this will involve legal scenario where you are a prosecutor and are confronted with a moral dilemma. In NY this usually means Rosario. Brady might be in there instead for some places. I dont know.

Anyway, think through interview quandries like that. Ask you public interest center for the types of interview questions to prepare for. Ask if they can put you in touch with alumni for interview prep. I did that. Actually, one of the people I spoke wo was a former deputy chief at a certain DA ofrfice. Having her recommendation I am sure was helpful.

The Second round interview is tougher. The interviewers are VERY aggressive. They are rude. They are mean. They question everything you say to the point that you begin to second guess yourself. STICK TO YOUR GUNS! Make sure your answers are thoughtful. The key is to not get flustered. Stay calm, smile and be respectful. This is a test: can you keep your composure and argue your side before an irate judge.

The final round is much more laid back but stay on your toes as many still get cut here as well.

Make sure you have stories to tell from your prior work life that demonstrates (committment to public service (b) diligence, (c) INTEGRITY (THIS IS KEYY for prosecutors)

The answer to any of the brady/rosario questions always involves making it clear that your reputation is critical as a prosecutor. That you recognize the huge amount of responsibility you have and that you would never betray it...

Broad answer for a broad question... have anything more specific?
Last edited by Voyager on Mon Dec 27, 2010 1:28 pm, edited 5 times in total.

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DerrickRose
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Re: 3L Taking Questions on Finding a Job (

Postby DerrickRose » Sun May 09, 2010 9:18 pm

I do not mean to demean the advice being given by Voyager in this thread, because it is really good stuff and I appreciate his sharing. However,
Voyager wrote:I am graduating from Columbia.


Everything he is saying needs to be viewed through that prism.

Voyager
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Re: 3L Taking Questions on Finding a Job (

Postby Voyager » Sun May 09, 2010 9:20 pm

DerrickRose wrote:I do not mean to demean the advice being given by Voyager in this thread, because it is really good stuff and I appreciate his sharing. However,
Voyager wrote:I am graduating from Columbia.


Everything he is saying needs to be viewed through that prism.


Oh, absolutely. I can only speak from my own experiences.

On the other hand, I don't think any thing I have said so far is Columbia specific. Any 3L in that position at ANY school should aggressively seek out work instanteously. Also, only ONE of the positions I looked at required a top degree.

All of the others are really open to anyone.

Renzo
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Re: 3L Taking Questions on Finding a Job (

Postby Renzo » Sun May 09, 2010 9:23 pm

DerrickRose wrote:I do not mean to demean the advice being given by Voyager in this thread, because it is really good stuff and I appreciate his sharing. However,
Voyager wrote:I am graduating from Columbia.


Everything he is saying needs to be viewed through that prism.

But when T6 kids are striking out or being indefinitely deferred, it's still important.

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A'nold
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Re: 3L Taking Questions on Finding a Job (

Postby A'nold » Sun May 09, 2010 9:25 pm

Hey voyager, I wasn't sure at first if it was you but after reading this thread, yep, it appears that at least one more LSP castoff has discovered TLS. :)

Voyager
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Re: 3L Taking Questions on Finding a Job (

Postby Voyager » Sun May 09, 2010 9:26 pm

TheOpossum wrote:I'm not yet in law school, but will be attending Davis, and I am very interested in being an ADA (though the current hire freeze has me shitting bricks). I was wondering if you could share some tips about what I should focus on early in LS and maybe if you got the feel for it, how competitive are these positions.


Sure. See above for a ton more on this.

Right now you should be looking for a way to work in a DA's office during the school year. If they know you, you will advance much more easily in the interviews.

Go to you public interest center and ask about which offices hire students. Which ones have Davis alumni? Could you speak with them? Etc...

Ideally you would find a place that actually let you prosecute cases (like Queens), but I imagine those are rare.

You should also consider a summer internship your 1L summer with a DA office. Again, much easier to get a permanent offer later.

The positions are difficult to get. California is in a financial poop storm (as you know) so I have no idea when or if they will be hiring again. I also know that some California offices require some years of experience before they will talk to you. SF DOES hire (I think) right out of school.


OH! Classes! 2L you need to take EVIDENCE in the fall. Seriously. From there, I would look at criminal procedure and then any other crim courses you like. However, you should ALSO consider other areas of the law! You never know where life will take you (or where you will take life) and you may decide you actuallly want to practice cow law (heh... just kidding... little Davis joke there... I grew up in the bay area)...
Last edited by Voyager on Mon Dec 27, 2010 1:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Voyager
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Re: 3L Taking Questions on Finding a Job (

Postby Voyager » Sun May 09, 2010 9:27 pm

A'nold wrote:Hey voyager, I wasn't sure at first if it was you but after reading this thread, yep, it appears that at least one more LSP castoff has discovered TLS. :)



LOL. Nice. Yeah, I actually used to post on here several years ago as well... I finished my last paper on Thursday and am now waiting for graduation. With some time on my hands, I thought I would try to help out again...

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A'nold
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Re: 3L Taking Questions on Finding a Job (

Postby A'nold » Sun May 09, 2010 9:33 pm

Voyager wrote:
A'nold wrote:Hey voyager, I wasn't sure at first if it was you but after reading this thread, yep, it appears that at least one more LSP castoff has discovered TLS. :)



LOL. Nice. Yeah, I actually used to post on here several years ago as well... I finished my last paper on Thursday and am now waiting for graduation. With some time on my hands, I thought I would try to help out again...


Congrats on your upcoming graduation! Funny that I knew you during your app. process, haha. I still talk to a few of those guys. Some of them post on BigLawBoard. That place is too bitter and emo for me. :)




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