US Attorney

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Thanksinadvance
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US Attorney

Postby Thanksinadvance » Tue Jul 27, 2010 3:00 am

Wanted to gauge the employment prospects / exit opportunities / overall "prestige" of a job working for the US Attorney's office out of law school. The impression I seem to be getting from TLS is that Big Law is the golden standard to which all other post-law employment is judged by. Is landing a job with the US attorney's office as difficult as it is to get an offer from a big-law firm? Do you need to go to a t-14 school to have a shot? I know there's opportunities to go private after beginning with the US Attorney's office, but what about the other way around, do biglaw firms lose associates to the public sector?

Thanks for your input.

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Lonagan
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Re: US Attorney

Postby Lonagan » Tue Jul 27, 2010 3:11 am

My understanding is that one typically does not work for the USAO out of law school. The DoJ hires entry level attorneys through the DoJ Honors Program. These attorneys typically do not work in USAOs, but rather in places like the Civil Rights Division, Tax Division, Civil Division, etc. I believe these positions tend to be located in Washington, D.C. The current Honors Program page lists 2-3 positions available in a couple of California USAOs, however, it says in red letters that they will not consider applications from current law students. I think that means these are only open to recent graduates who are currently in judicial clerkships. The USAOs tend to hire experienced attorneys: either those who have gained experience with a state government or in the private sector, or people who lateral out of the Honors Program into one of the USAOs.

That being said, the Honors Program is highly competitive and prestigious. The consensus seems to be that school prestige is not an insignificant factor.

DoJ Honors Program

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deneuve39
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Re: US Attorney

Postby deneuve39 » Tue Jul 27, 2010 8:39 am

I think USAO might hire out of clerkships, but this may be wrong...Most AUSAs clerk, work for a couple years at a prestigious firm doing litigation, then go to the USAO.

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Grizz
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Re: US Attorney

Postby Grizz » Tue Jul 27, 2010 8:43 am

Lonogan's response is good.

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atkinsa
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Re: US Attorney

Postby atkinsa » Tue Jul 27, 2010 8:47 am

Exit opportunities are good. Lots of AUSAs move back to big firms, often at the partner level.

bree
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Re: US Attorney

Postby bree » Tue Jul 27, 2010 11:34 am

US Attorney's offices almost never hire out of law school. They did in the past, so older attorneys will sometimes tell you that they do hire out of law school. However, they rarely hire out of law school now. Occasionally, you'll see a few positions through the DOJ Honors Program, but these are unusual. The typical path for an AUSA is to (1) clerk for a year or two preferably in the district that you want to work, (2) work in a Big Law firm doing litigation (certain firms are known to be USAO feeders, so make sure you get into one of those), (3) get lucky because the USAO happens to be hiring.

The alternative path is to get into the DOJ Honors Program out of law school and then move into a USAO. This is often preferable as DOJ in DC works on the GS scale, so you'll be paid more. When you lateral into a USAO, you'll maintain the same pay and they'll adjust your grade accordingly. The advantage here is that if you develop working relationships with the USAOs, then they can often help you get into the office.

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spanktheduck
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Re: US Attorney

Postby spanktheduck » Tue Jul 27, 2010 11:50 am

According to AUSA's I have spoken with. There are 3 paths to being an AUSA

1/3 Biglaw
1/3 DA offices
1/3 Miscellaneous

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leobowski
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Re: US Attorney

Postby leobowski » Tue Jul 27, 2010 2:28 pm

Lonagan wrote:My understanding is that one typically does not work for the USAO out of law school. The DoJ hires entry level attorneys through the DoJ Honors Program. These attorneys typically do not work in USAOs, but rather in places like the Civil Rights Division, Tax Division, Civil Division, etc. I believe these positions tend to be located in Washington, D.C. The current Honors Program page lists 2-3 positions available in a couple of California USAOs, however, it says in red letters that they will not consider applications from current law students. I think that means these are only open to recent graduates who are currently in judicial clerkships. The USAOs tend to hire experienced attorneys: either those who have gained experience with a state government or in the private sector, or people who lateral out of the Honors Program into one of the USAOs.

That being said, the Honors Program is highly competitive and prestigious. The consensus seems to be that school prestige is not an insignificant factor.

DoJ Honors Program



I have heard that, but it seems like all kinds of schools are represented each year:

http://www.justice.gov/oarm/arm/hp/lawschools.htm

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Patriot1208
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Re: US Attorney

Postby Patriot1208 » Tue Jul 27, 2010 4:29 pm

leobowski wrote:
Lonagan wrote:My understanding is that one typically does not work for the USAO out of law school. The DoJ hires entry level attorneys through the DoJ Honors Program. These attorneys typically do not work in USAOs, but rather in places like the Civil Rights Division, Tax Division, Civil Division, etc. I believe these positions tend to be located in Washington, D.C. The current Honors Program page lists 2-3 positions available in a couple of California USAOs, however, it says in red letters that they will not consider applications from current law students. I think that means these are only open to recent graduates who are currently in judicial clerkships. The USAOs tend to hire experienced attorneys: either those who have gained experience with a state government or in the private sector, or people who lateral out of the Honors Program into one of the USAOs.

That being said, the Honors Program is highly competitive and prestigious. The consensus seems to be that school prestige is not an insignificant factor.

DoJ Honors Program



I have heard that, but it seems like all kinds of schools are represented each year:

http://www.justice.gov/oarm/arm/hp/lawschools.htm


Yes, but I would imagine it is slighlty easier, and more people are taken from better schools.

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leobowski
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Re: US Attorney

Postby leobowski » Tue Jul 27, 2010 7:47 pm

Patriot1208 wrote:Yes, but I would imagine it is slighlty easier, and more people are taken from better schools.



You're probably right. I have noticed that the local AUSAs are from some pretty prestigious schools, not necessarily T14 but usually T20-25. A lot of them did law review too.

keg411
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Re: US Attorney

Postby keg411 » Tue Jul 27, 2010 8:22 pm

atkinsa wrote:Exit opportunities are good. Lots of AUSAs move back to big firms, often at the partner level.


One of my cousins did this:
HLS ---> DC BigLaw (hated it) ---> USAO ----> V100 Partner

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kalvano
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Re: US Attorney

Postby kalvano » Tue Aug 03, 2010 2:30 pm

A couple friends of mine that are fairly recent law school grads have both told me that USAO almost never hires straight out of law school, and the best way is to work in a DA's office and gain real trial experience (3-5 years), then apply for open positions.

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Blindmelon
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Re: US Attorney

Postby Blindmelon » Wed Aug 04, 2010 11:24 am

spanktheduck wrote:According to AUSA's I have spoken with. There are 3 paths to being an AUSA

1/3 Biglaw
1/3 DA offices
1/3 Miscellaneous


Clerkships too. Fed district -> USAO happens a lot in certain districts.

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Onthebrink
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Re: US Attorney

Postby Onthebrink » Mon Feb 13, 2012 1:48 pm

"Every year the Department hires approximately 150-200 entry-level attorneys through the Honors Program"
http://www.justice.gov/careers/legal/entry.html

Unless I am mistaken, while it is extremely competitive, they do hire a significant number of entry-level hires. They specify that eligibility for the this Honors Program is based on time out of law school, clerkships or prestigious fellowships not exceed something like 9 months.

LawIdiot86
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Re: US Attorney

Postby LawIdiot86 » Mon Feb 13, 2012 6:48 pm

Onthebrink wrote:"Every year the Department hires approximately 150-200 entry-level attorneys through the Honors Program"
http://www.justice.gov/careers/legal/entry.html

Unless I am mistaken, while it is extremely competitive, they do hire a significant number of entry-level hires. They specify that eligibility for the this Honors Program is based on time out of law school, clerkships or prestigious fellowships not exceed something like 9 months.


Um, no. You are mistaken. Since the recession, DOJ have usually taken 50-60 entry-level attorneys through this program, not 150-200. And of those 50-60, about half are immigration attorneys. Most of the rest are not in U.S. Attorney Offices, but rather are in the trial divisions like Antitrust or the DEA. Last year 3-5 total were hired through that program into USAO offices and they were in CA, WV and OH. Further, in recent years, clerking out of law school or prior work as a DOJ SLIP are pretty much required to get a non-immigration honors attorney position. It just doesn't happen for people right out of law school to be hired into a USAO.




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