First-year prosecutor answering questions

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Anonymous User
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First-year prosecutor answering questions

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jul 05, 2010 3:40 pm

Since I see there are many topics on DA work, I thought I'd start a thread and see if I can answer questions you folks have about work/life as young Assistant DA.

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scribelaw
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Re: First-year prosecutor answering questions

Postby scribelaw » Mon Jul 05, 2010 3:44 pm

Thanks!

Can you describe a typical day? What are your pay and hours?

Also, any advice for 0Ls interested in trying to go the ADA or AUSA route?

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blurbz
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Re: First-year prosecutor answering questions

Postby blurbz » Mon Jul 05, 2010 3:46 pm

Thanks!

What is the stress level like? How do you handle your emotional connections to cases without letting them interfere with your work?

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Lonagan
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Re: First-year prosecutor answering questions

Postby Lonagan » Mon Jul 05, 2010 3:53 pm

Without disclosing more than you want to, are you federal, state, local? Large market / small market?

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Re: First-year prosecutor answering questions

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jul 05, 2010 3:55 pm

There's really no typical work day. I work at a very large urban DA's office, so we have a fairly structured schedule. About 2 or 3 days a week I'm designated to be in various courts or in intake writing up cases. The other days I have free time to interview witnesses and meet with police officers in my office, and write and respond to various motions/issues that come up. All of this can change in a second though. If one of my cases gets sent out to trial, I pretty much have to drop whatever I'm doing and take care of that. Likewise, if my officemate has a trial starting, I might have to cover her court assignment for the day. It's not always predictible, but it's never ever dull.

I usually work from around 9-9:30 until 6. On a quiet afternoon I might duck out at 5. If I'm on trial, I could be there until 10 or later. Pay is around $60k starting, with typical annual raises af about 8-12% depending on the budget, graduation year, etc.

I'd just recommend getting as much experience as possible. All DA's and USAO offices are different, and you get a feel for what kinnd of office you'd be most happy in. Also, the criminal law world is tiny, even in a big city. So the people you work with as an intern can really help you down the road.

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vale1rd
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Re: First-year prosecutor answering questions

Postby vale1rd » Mon Jul 05, 2010 3:55 pm

What size market are you in? and what LS stats/credentials did it take to get there?

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Re: First-year prosecutor answering questions

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jul 05, 2010 3:59 pm

blurbz wrote:Thanks!

What is the stress level like? How do you handle your emotional connections to cases without letting them interfere with your work?


Stress level varies. When I started I was pretty stressed about all my cases. Now, I'm much more at peace with both my own cases as well as handling various issues in court. I think most people who started my year have a fairly zen attitude by now. Cases with victims can be stressful, but keeping distance is critical, as hard as it might be.

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Re: First-year prosecutor answering questions

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jul 05, 2010 3:59 pm

Lonagan wrote:Without disclosing more than you want to, are you federal, state, local? Large market / small market?


State, large market.

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Re: First-year prosecutor answering questions

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jul 05, 2010 4:05 pm

vale1rd wrote:What size market are you in? and what LS stats/credentials did it take to get there?


The office I work at really doesn't seem to care too much about credentials. They want ties to the area, solid public service experience and interest, good performance in relevant classes like evidence, crim pro, and then the rest comes down to the interview rounds. We have former COA clerks from Harvard and people who were barely median at local schools. It's completely different from private sector recruitment.

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A'nold
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Re: First-year prosecutor answering questions

Postby A'nold » Mon Jul 05, 2010 4:07 pm

Great thread, I will be watching this closely. The pay and the pay raises sound very good, tbh.

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vale1rd
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Re: First-year prosecutor answering questions

Postby vale1rd » Mon Jul 05, 2010 4:07 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
vale1rd wrote:What size market are you in? and what LS stats/credentials did it take to get there?


The office I work at really doesn't seem to care too much about credentials. They want ties to the area, solid public service experience and interest, good performance in relevant classes like evidence, crim pro, and then the rest comes down to the interview rounds. We have former COA clerks from Harvard and people who were barely median at local schools. It's completely different from private sector recruitment.


Are Clinics important (especially the public service oriented ones) and what about Law Review? Another thread implied LR was pretty important in ADA/AUSA hiring, is this true in your opinion?

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Lonagan
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Re: First-year prosecutor answering questions

Postby Lonagan » Mon Jul 05, 2010 4:10 pm

Does course selection have much bearing on prosecutor hiring? I.e., would taking evidence, advanced crim procedure, etc. make one stand out when seeking such a job? How significant do you think criminal clinics are (and do you think it matters whether you do prosecution or defense, as long as you do a criminal clinic?)

ed. - it would appear others' fingers are faster than mine; sorry for redundancy.
Last edited by Lonagan on Mon Jul 05, 2010 4:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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KibblesAndVick
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Re: First-year prosecutor answering questions

Postby KibblesAndVick » Mon Jul 05, 2010 4:10 pm

What made you decide to be a prosecutor? Did you seriously consider private sector work? What about being a PD? Although I'm still a 0L the idea of working as a prosecutor is many times more appealing to me than Biglaw. I'm curious how you came to the conclusion that this is the area of the law you wanted to work in.

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Re: First-year prosecutor answering questions

Postby Tautology » Mon Jul 05, 2010 4:13 pm

If I think I'm interested in working in a DA or USA office, how much commitment do I need to show prior to that? Would working in another PI job (say the ACLU) after first year, and a firm after second, with perhaps a clinic with the DA or USA office while I'm at school be enough, or would I really need to work at an office during one of my summers? Also, is it hard to move into a DA or USA office after working a few years at a firm?

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Re: First-year prosecutor answering questions

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jul 05, 2010 4:13 pm

vale1rd wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
vale1rd wrote:What size market are you in? and what LS stats/credentials did it take to get there?


The office I work at really doesn't seem to care too much about credentials. They want ties to the area, solid public service experience and interest, good performance in relevant classes like evidence, crim pro, and then the rest comes down to the interview rounds. We have former COA clerks from Harvard and people who were barely median at local schools. It's completely different from private sector recruitment.


Are Clinics important (especially the public service oriented ones) and what about Law Review? Another thread implied LR was pretty important in ADA/AUSA hiring, is this true in your opinion?


Clinics are definitely important, since they give you great experience and give you a chance to talk about actually being in court. Law Review is useful in that it's a nice thing to have on your resume, but unless you're interested in the appeals bureau I don't see it really being a huge factor. But sure, it probably helps show that you're smart, hard working and detail-oriented.

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Re: First-year prosecutor answering questions

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jul 05, 2010 4:19 pm

Lonagan wrote:Does course selection have much bearing on prosecutor hiring? I.e., would taking evidence, advanced crim procedure, etc. make one stand out when seeking such a job? How significant do you think criminal clinics are (and do you think it matters whether you do prosecution or defense, as long as you do a criminal clinic?)

ed. - it would appear others' fingers are faster than mine; sorry for redundancy.


Certain classes like crim pro and evidence are expected (obviously not for 1Ls or even 2L internships). Extra crim-focused classes are helpful.

There's a range of opinions on the second part of your question. Some prosecutors offices really favor prosecution work. Others are fine with any criminal or public interest work, or even like to see criminal defense work. Everyone has their own views on this. But I think most offices think any experience in the criminal justice system is worthwhile and valuable for law students.

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DavidYurman85
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Re: First-year prosecutor answering questions

Postby DavidYurman85 » Mon Jul 05, 2010 6:04 pm

is seniority a factor in the types of cases that you are assigned?




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