Public Interest Salary Trajectory

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folktheorem
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Joined: Mon Oct 05, 2009 10:29 pm

Public Interest Salary Trajectory

Postby folktheorem » Thu Jun 24, 2010 1:39 pm

Hey guys,

I'm really interested in going into public interest work after law school, and I've been trying to find some information on the salary trajectory for some public interest jobs to determine how much LRAP will help me/how much I should be expecting to pay back in debt. I'm particularly interested in public defender's positions and DOJ/USAO (though I understand that they don't really hire entry level) in CA. I've been able to find starting salaries, but I was wondering if anyone knows what the typical raise each year is for those in some of these government public interest positions? Thanks in advance for any help!

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nealric
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Re: Public Interest Salary Trajectory

Postby nealric » Thu Jun 24, 2010 1:42 pm

DOJ hires entry level through its honors program.

Starting is GS-11 (around 65k), but you quickly rise to GS-13 (a bit over 100k). Top out is at GS-15, which is around 150k unless you end up a political appointee or qualify for a "senior" level pay grade (rare).

ohnowtf
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Re: Public Interest Salary Trajectory

Postby ohnowtf » Thu Jun 24, 2010 2:48 pm

Most of this information should be published. Do google searches for the cities/counties you are interested in working. Type in the name of a local newspaper + "public employee salaries". I'm interested in becoming a PD as well, and for the big 2 counties in the Minneapolis/St. Paul metro they cap at around 120k a year...I would imagine larger cities would pay more.

where i got my info http://ww3.startribune.com/dynamic/sala ... _code=Rams

westbayguy
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Re: Public Interest Salary Trajectory

Postby westbayguy » Thu Jun 24, 2010 5:22 pm

What did Connie do wrong- or is this gender bias at work? Or was she awaiting bar results?

Name Salary year Job title Year hired Base pay Overtime pay Other pay Total pay
Michael Finnegan 2007 Asst Public Defender 4 - Uncl 112,514 0 112,514
David Gill 2007 Asst Public Defender 4 - Uncl 112,514 0 112,514
James T Hankes 2007 Chief Public Defender-Uncl 118,372 0 118,372
Connie S Iversen 2007 Asst Public Defender 4 - Uncl 102,410 0 102,410
Patrick A Kittridge 2007 Asst Public Defender 4 - Uncl 2006 112,060 0 112,060

About the data

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ozarkhack
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Re: Public Interest Salary Trajectory

Postby ozarkhack » Thu Jun 24, 2010 5:32 pm

That you mentioned LRAP but not IBR requires me to urge you to look into IBR. Unlike LRAP, it's not dependent on income. There can be significant drawbacks, but if you're 100% on making a career in PI/govt, you really must consider IBR and how it might help you.

/IBR trolling

As said, lots of info is out there online.

For one: Yolo County, Calif., posts salaries of all its employees online. I don't have the link handy and don't want to pull it up just now. But I recall seeing a couple weeks back that a recent Davis grad started out as an ADA at roughly $50k. Within 4-7 years he was up to like $80k or something (having risen through 3-4 ADA classifications). I'm sure results vary, of course. But other similarly situated hires saw pretty hefty jumps as well.

sarahd
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Re: Public Interest Salary Trajectory

Postby sarahd » Thu Jun 24, 2010 5:43 pm

ozarkhack wrote:That you mentioned LRAP but not IBR requires me to urge you to look into IBR. Unlike LRAP, it's not dependent on income. There can be significant drawbacks, but if you're 100% on making a career in PI/govt, you really must consider IBR and how it might help you.


IBR = Income Based Repayment. It is ENTIRELY dependent on income.

http://www.ibrinfo.org/index.php
http://studentaid.ed.gov/PORTALSWebApp/ ... BRPlan.jsp

folktheorem
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Re: Public Interest Salary Trajectory

Postby folktheorem » Mon Jun 28, 2010 6:32 pm

Thanks for the responses. So it sounds like with some public interest jobs, you can get pretty substantial raises pretty quickly... I found this on the DOJ Honors Program website: "It is possible for attorneys starting at the GS-11 grade level to reach the GS-15 level in three and one-half years." I also looked up salary info for the county that I'm interested in and it looks like public defenders start out at around 90k and get to around 160k in 6 years. This seems a bit high to me (as did the Yolo County info), but mirrors the DOJ Honors salary scale if it's accurate (promotion to around 150/160k in about 5/6 years). Is this concurrent with the general knowledge about public interest jobs? Looking at the stats from my law school, it seems as if the median salary for graduates entering public interest is 55k. But if the previous info is true then it sounds as if you would get phased out of most LRAP programs pretty quickly (at least in CA or DOJ)...

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underdawg
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Re: Public Interest Salary Trajectory

Postby underdawg » Tue Jun 29, 2010 12:30 am

no. fed gov pays more than actual PI. i'm shocked that PD's can make that much though, good for them. maybe it's just the nyc supply/demand but lots of PI type lawyers start out at like 40k. i mean prosecutors start out at 55k here...

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enygma
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Re: Public Interest Salary Trajectory

Postby enygma » Tue Jun 29, 2010 8:52 pm

underdawg wrote:no. fed gov pays more than actual PI. i'm shocked that PD's can make that much though, good for them. maybe it's just the nyc supply/demand but lots of PI type lawyers start out at like 40k. i mean prosecutors start out at 55k here...


someone once told me that PDs and prosecutors have to be paid the same. false?

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underdawg
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Re: Public Interest Salary Trajectory

Postby underdawg » Tue Jun 29, 2010 10:34 pm

enygma wrote:
underdawg wrote:no. fed gov pays more than actual PI. i'm shocked that PD's can make that much though, good for them. maybe it's just the nyc supply/demand but lots of PI type lawyers start out at like 40k. i mean prosecutors start out at 55k here...


someone once told me that PDs and prosecutors have to be paid the same. false?

i think thats cali. i don't think that's true at all in nyc. from what i understand, pd's make 40kish. and people have told me about the cali thing in the "hey did you know?!?!" context

if you take personal preference out of the equation, i thought everyone thinks prosecutor is a better job-money and hours. could be wrong though.

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Patriot1208
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Re: Public Interest Salary Trajectory

Postby Patriot1208 » Wed Jun 30, 2010 12:21 am

folktheorem wrote:Thanks for the responses. So it sounds like with some public interest jobs, you can get pretty substantial raises pretty quickly... I found this on the DOJ Honors Program website: "It is possible for attorneys starting at the GS-11 grade level to reach the GS-15 level in three and one-half years." I also looked up salary info for the county that I'm interested in and it looks like public defenders start out at around 90k and get to around 160k in 6 years. This seems a bit high to me (as did the Yolo County info), but mirrors the DOJ Honors salary scale if it's accurate (promotion to around 150/160k in about 5/6 years). Is this concurrent with the general knowledge about public interest jobs? Looking at the stats from my law school, it seems as if the median salary for graduates entering public interest is 55k. But if the previous info is true then it sounds as if you would get phased out of most LRAP programs pretty quickly (at least in CA or DOJ)...


I work for the DOJ so i'll give you some insight. First, the AUSA jobs are very hard to get through the honors program. Secondly, it is POSSIBLE but not probable you will go from 11-15 in 3 1/2 years and will usually take significant amount of time longer. It is also possible that you never make gs-15, so you can't count on that. Also, government payscale depends on where you live, the gs scale is a base pay system with percentages added on for region of the country you live in. Also, if you do make GS-15, there is very little room for improvement if you stay on as an AUSA as there are not very many senior executive service (pay scale above GS) jobs.

articulably suspect
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Re: Public Interest Salary Trajectory

Postby articulably suspect » Wed Jun 30, 2010 11:14 pm

underdawg wrote:
enygma wrote:
underdawg wrote:no. fed gov pays more than actual PI. i'm shocked that PD's can make that much though, good for them. maybe it's just the nyc supply/demand but lots of PI type lawyers start out at like 40k. i mean prosecutors start out at 55k here...


someone once told me that PDs and prosecutors have to be paid the same. false?

i think thats cali. i don't think that's true at all in nyc. from what i understand, pd's make 40kish. and people have told me about the cali thing in the "hey did you know?!?!" context

if you take personal preference out of the equation, i thought everyone thinks prosecutor is a better job-money and hours. could be wrong though.


I don’t know if it’s just California, but the salary scales and their corresponding levels ( ie 1, 2, 3 etc.) are the exact same for public defenders and prosecutors. The starting salaries for these positions (ie level 1) generally ranges from mid-50k to mid-60K in the area I’m familiar with, not LA or Bay Area.

I can state this much, in one case, the attorney’s climbed from 1-4 in about 4 or 5 years. An attorney at one of the offices started as a prosecutor (right out of law school) and was making slightly over 100K 5 years out. I don’t think she was an exception. This is of course just one county, I don’t know if all other counties have the same policy in which the attorney moves up a level each year. The more senior prosecutors and public defenders are making 130-140K in the area I’m referring to.

I was surprised to learn that the starting salaries for NYC prosecutors is so low, given the COL where I’m at is significantly higher.




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