Criminal D straight from law school

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Criminal D straight from law school

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Oct 21, 2010 3:54 pm

Have a summer offer (1L) from a small crim defense shop that deals with serious felonies. What can I do if I want to parlay this into working in the field immediately after graduation? Is this even possible?

Also, what do these gigs usually pay new attorneys (we aren't talking 2000 dollar DUI's here, more like rape, murder, arson)?

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Tanicius
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Re: Criminal D straight from law school

Postby Tanicius » Thu Oct 21, 2010 4:23 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Have a summer offer (1L) from a small crim defense shop that deals with serious felonies. What can I do if I want to parlay this into working in the field immediately after graduation? Is this even possible?

Also, what do these gigs usually pay new attorneys (we aren't talking 2000 dollar DUI's here, more like rape, murder, arson)?


I guess I don't understand your question. Do you want to work for this firm after graduation? If so, that means what it means at any other SA position: impress them on both a performance and social level. I can't guarantee that will work, obviously, but it's just about the only thing I imagine could work This is assuming of course that you take relevant courses during the rest of your law school career and try to focus on not just litigation but criminal litigation (read: trial work - as many simulations and clinics as you can do well in at once). As with public defense offices, grades probably don't matter as much to these people as your ability to talk to a jury.

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Re: Criminal D straight from law school

Postby CanadianWolf » Thu Oct 21, 2010 4:28 pm

Wouldn't the more serious criminal offenses such as rape, murder & arson be less lucrative than a successful DUI or white collar criminal defense practice since many, if not most, serious violent offenses are defended by court appointed counsel ?

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Tanicius
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Re: Criminal D straight from law school

Postby Tanicius » Thu Oct 21, 2010 4:29 pm

CanadianWolf wrote:Wouldn't the more serious criminal offenses such as rape, murder & arson be less lucrative than a successful DUI or white collar criminal defense practice since many, if not most, serious violent offenses are defended by court appointed counsel ?


Not if this is a firm that specializes in such cases for wealthy clients. Obviously the market doesn't have a lot of room for these kinds of firms, but in big cities you better bet they exist.

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Re: Criminal D straight from law school

Postby CanadianWolf » Thu Oct 21, 2010 4:30 pm

Does such a firm exist ? The big money for criminal defense is, to the best of my knowledge & belief, in defending drug dealers & white collar crime typically in the federal courts.

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Tanicius
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Re: Criminal D straight from law school

Postby Tanicius » Thu Oct 21, 2010 4:39 pm

CanadianWolf wrote:Does such a firm exist ? The big money for criminal defense is, to the best of my knowledge & belief, in defending drug dealers & white collar crime & usually in the federal courts.


Unfortunately even rich people kill and rape each other. But most of the cases are things like allegations of sexual misconduct by a grown child, embezzlement from one's own company or franchise, criminal negligence, hit and run, assault, domestic assault, etc. Some degrees of all of these are felonies, and I can see small, micro-specialist firms existing in high wealth density areas like Manhattan, Miami, Vegas, LA, SD, SF, Chicago, etc.

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Re: Criminal D straight from law school

Postby Aqualibrium » Thu Oct 21, 2010 4:46 pm

Doesn't even have to be places we traditionally associate with wealth. Pretty much everywhere you go there are people who, for whatever reason, can't afford to go down on a dui or sexual harassment charge etc.... The places that I have seen that cater to those types are usually headed by a guy who was a cop for a bunch of years prior to law school, or who has some family tie to the local police force. Their rate ends up depending on how high up on their list of connections they need to go to get you off.

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Re: Criminal D straight from law school

Postby vanwinkle » Thu Oct 21, 2010 4:51 pm

Tanicius wrote:
CanadianWolf wrote:Does such a firm exist ? The big money for criminal defense is, to the best of my knowledge & belief, in defending drug dealers & white collar crime & usually in the federal courts.

Unfortunately even rich people kill and rape each other. But most of the cases are things like allegations of sexual misconduct by a grown child, embezzlement from one's own company or franchise, criminal negligence, hit and run, assault, domestic assault, etc. Some degrees of all of these are felonies, and I can see small, micro-specialist firms existing in high wealth density areas like Manhattan, Miami, Vegas, LA, SD, SF, Chicago, etc.

Example: http://www.brodenmickelsen.com/

Broden & Mickelsen wrote:Broden & Mickelsen represents clients charged in state courts throughout Texas from offenses ranging from DWI to capital murder. The firm also represents clients charged in federal courts throughout the nation in complex cases. In addition to representing clients at trial, Broden & Mickelsen has an active appellate practice in the courts of appeals and the United States Supreme Court that is unrivaled by most criminal defense firms. The partners have argued cases in numerous Texas appellate courts and have argued over forty cases before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.

They do white collar and fraud and things, but they also advertise themselves as the best assault/sexual assault/murder lawyers money can buy. They even warn people in their FAQ not to shop for lawyers based on price, because there are cheaper lawyers out there but you get what you pay for. And they've developed an appellate practice, so that if you're so loaded you can afford to keep appealing your sentence, they can do that for you too. And they're on the SuperLawyers list, which means you know they make lots and lots of money doing this.

Being the best defenders money can buy means making a lot of money when rich people commit crimes and would rather spend anything than plead guilty. That includes violent crimes and sex crimes just as much as it does white collar offenses. High-end criminal defense is not a large market, but it is lucrative for those who can break into it.

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Re: Criminal D straight from law school

Postby CanadianWolf » Thu Oct 21, 2010 5:03 pm

Intersting information, thank you. My experience shows that high-end criminal defense firms tend to be very small with respect to the number of attorneys in each firm. Some are solo practitioners who occasionally take on an associate or two. Some end up affiliating with commercial law firms that want to add a white collar criminal defense group.

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Re: Criminal D straight from law school

Postby vanwinkle » Thu Oct 21, 2010 5:05 pm

CanadianWolf wrote:Intersting information, thank you. My experience shows that high-end criminal defense firms tend to be very small with respect to the number of attorneys in each firm.

I do suspect that this is true. It's a lucrative market, but a relatively small one. Also, a lot of the people who end up doing this have previous criminal law experience, often starting out as DAs or PDs. I don't know how many such firms really would hire people straight out of law school, especially ITE when there are so many experienced job-seekers out there.

That much I have no info on. I just know such places exist. But if OP has a job at such a firm, that's an inroad that he should maintain as much as possible, since it at least gives him a better chance at it than if he didn't have that already.

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Re: Criminal D straight from law school

Postby CanadianWolf » Thu Oct 21, 2010 5:08 pm

I have dealt with some of the nation's most prestigious criminal defense attorneys & my recollection is that none had more than a handful of attorneys even though nationally renowned. They did, however, have lots of brilliant & eager law students wanting to clerk or intern for them.

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Re: Criminal D straight from law school

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Oct 21, 2010 5:14 pm

OP here, you are all correct, it is a very small firm but works for some very infamous clients (white collar is definitely the wrong word). FWIW, they seem to be quite profitable but they aren't really the size where I can reasonably expect that they would hire me after graduation (although one can hope). My problem is that I have no law enforcement background, I lucked into this gig.
Last edited by Anonymous User on Thu Oct 21, 2010 5:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Criminal D straight from law school

Postby CanadianWolf » Thu Oct 21, 2010 5:22 pm

An interesting attorney is our current FBI Director Robert Mueller who practiced in criminal law in a few capacities including a time with Hale & Dorr in Boston heading their white collar criminal defense section. Most of his experience is from working in US Attorneys offices. Another renowned criminal defense attorney from Jackson Hole, Wyoming seemed to make extensive use of paralegals, but he may be retired now.
Of the other five or six prominent criminal defense firms that I have had contact, none had any law enforcement background although all utilized private investigators who probably had law enforcement experience. The few that I am familiar with that were police officers prior to becoming defense attorneys get publicity from defending police officers on brutality or corruption claims.
Last edited by CanadianWolf on Thu Oct 21, 2010 5:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Criminal D straight from law school

Postby vanwinkle » Thu Oct 21, 2010 5:27 pm

Anonymous User wrote:My problem is that I have no law enforcement background, I lucked into this gig.

You don't need law enforcement background to get into criminal law practice, you just need to build up your resume as a criminal lawyer. You might want to spend next summer (and/or time during the school year next year) interning for a PD (or possibly a DA), and taking all the advanced criminal law classes you can. You could become a PD or DA when you graduate, since many offices do hire new grads, and then build up the experience to move to private practice later down the road.

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Re: Criminal D straight from law school

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Oct 21, 2010 5:31 pm

My problem is that I'm in at a school where, given median grades, I have some chance of landing "biglaw" so I'm not sure that I would want to give up that 2nd summer. I am willing to do either private D or biglaw but

A) Don't know if I'd really like working for the government

B) My state isn't really hiring.

That's why I want to see if there is anything I an do this summer (besides kickass work) that will put me in a good position to get a gig coming out, something that might affect whether I accept for the summer to begin with. Think of it as a backup option that might switch to a #1 option if I like it enough and can land something.

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Re: Criminal D straight from law school

Postby vanwinkle » Thu Oct 21, 2010 5:41 pm

Anonymous User wrote:My problem is that I'm in at a school where, given median grades, I have some chance of landing "biglaw" so I'm not sure that I would want to give up that 2nd summer. I am willing to do either private D or biglaw

Then do both. Kick ass so you have the best possible grades, and then find a BigLaw firm that does white collar D as part of their package, go there, and grab all the white collar work they can give you. That's private criminal defense, would give you experience doing criminal defense cases, and would set you up in a decent position to transition to private defense work later.

Also, while you're at your law firm, do criminal defense cases pro bono to get additional courtroom experience and an additional tool to sell yourself when you move out of BigLaw.

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Re: Criminal D straight from law school

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Oct 21, 2010 5:44 pm

vanwinkle wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:My problem is that I'm in at a school where, given median grades, I have some chance of landing "biglaw" so I'm not sure that I would want to give up that 2nd summer. I am willing to do either private D or biglaw

Then do both. Kick ass so you have the best possible grades, and then find a BigLaw firm that does white collar D as part of their package, go there, and grab all the white collar work they can give you. That's private criminal defense, would give you experience doing criminal defense cases, and would set you up in a decent position to transition to private defense work later.

Also, while you're at your law firm, do criminal defense cases pro bono to get additional courtroom experience and an additional tool to sell yourself when you move out of BigLaw.



Sure, but I want to use crim as a backup in case I strike out at biglaw. If I get biglaw, I'm not going to be terribly worried about getting into crim.

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Re: Criminal D straight from law school

Postby vanwinkle » Thu Oct 21, 2010 5:46 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Sure, but I want to use crim as a backup in case I strike out at biglaw. If I get biglaw, I'm not going to be terribly worried about getting into crim.

Well, BigLaw is all about 2L summer hiring anyway, and they do their summer hiring before most PDs and DAs do. If you can't get BigLaw 2L summer, go work for a PD or DA 2L summer. Then you're set up for that path. This 1L thing shouldn't close the door to either route, so go do it. But there's really no clear path to private D boutiques right out of law school, no matter what you do 2L summer. Is that what you wanted to know?

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Re: Criminal D straight from law school

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Oct 21, 2010 5:49 pm

vanwinkle wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Sure, but I want to use crim as a backup in case I strike out at biglaw. If I get biglaw, I'm not going to be terribly worried about getting into crim.

Well, BigLaw is all about 2L summer hiring anyway, and they do their summer hiring before most PDs and DAs do. If you can't get BigLaw 2L summer, go work for a PD or DA 2L summer. Then you're set up for that path. This 1L thing shouldn't close the door to either route, so go do it. But there's really no clear path to private D boutiques right out of law school, no matter what you do 2L summer. Is that what you wanted to know?


No, but it its what I feared.




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