How to become a DA

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BruceWayne
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How to become a DA

Postby BruceWayne » Fri Dec 03, 2010 5:35 pm

I don't know what's going on but my goals have gotten more altruistic sense entering law school; it seems like most people go in the opposite direction (start off wanting PI work and then going to work for a firm).

Anyway, I'm completely in the dark about this. How does one go about working as a DA straight out of law school? Do they even hire fresh grads or do they require WE? I assume that connections to the area help, and that places like NYC and DC are more competitive right?

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sanpiero
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Re: How to become a DA

Postby sanpiero » Fri Dec 03, 2010 5:47 pm

BruceWayne wrote:I don't know what's going on but my goals have gotten more altruistic sense entering law school; it seems like most people go in the opposite direction (start off wanting PI work and then going to work for a firm).

Anyway, I'm completely in the dark about this. How does one go about working as a DA straight out of law school? Do they even hire fresh grads or do they require WE? I assume that connections to the area help, and that places like NYC and DC are more competitive right?


BruceWayne wrote:Do they even hire fresh grads or do they require WE?


Fresh grads in NYS; no WE req.

BruceWayne wrote:I assume that connections to the area help, and that places like NYC and DC are more competitive right?


Absolutely, to both.

BruceWayne wrote:How does one go about working as a DA straight out of law school?


The obvious answer is: apply. My school has DA externships; landing one of these will certainly help your chances, if such opportunities exist at your school. I've also heard that DA offices love to see that you took courses in trial technique and participated in mock trial/moot court. As a final thought, if you have connections with local judges or - ideally - local prosecutors, now is the time to hit them up for LORs if you're applying to the DA's office.

FWIW, I know a ADA who is making ~55k here in upstate NY. He's been with the office for 2 years and works 9-5. Not a bad gig at all, if you want to do small-law lit someday.

bogart
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Re: How to become a DA

Postby bogart » Fri Dec 03, 2010 5:59 pm

55k in upstate, is this normal? I always thought an ADA started at like 42k ballpark. Mind sharing what city your friend works in?

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BruceWayne
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Re: How to become a DA

Postby BruceWayne » Fri Dec 03, 2010 6:45 pm

Thanks for the responses. Yeah 55K isn't bad, especially since my school's LRAP would completely pay for my loans.

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los blancos
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Re: How to become a DA

Postby los blancos » Fri Dec 03, 2010 9:27 pm

How important are grades?

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BrianGriffintheDog
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Re: How to become a DA

Postby BrianGriffintheDog » Fri Dec 03, 2010 9:36 pm

I'm guessing you gotta be American to work as DA?

Just out of curiosity, I heard/read somewhere that you the whole requirement for being American as a requirement varies by municipal/state/federal level. Can someone clarify this for me please?

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Unitas
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Re: How to become a DA

Postby Unitas » Fri Dec 03, 2010 9:49 pm

BruceWayne wrote:I don't know what's going on but my goals have gotten more altruistic sense entering law school; it seems like most people go in the opposite direction (start off wanting PI work and then going to work for a firm).

Anyway, I'm completely in the dark about this. How does one go about working as a DA straight out of law school? Do they even hire fresh grads or do they require WE? I assume that connections to the area help, and that places like NYC and DC are more competitive right?


Seriously, no one?


Get internships/externships with the DA if you can. If you mean a head prosecutor I believe that is political in most areas, so working the local scene is probably a good idea for a smaller area one and larger ones probably need to work your way up. Either way interships/externships are going to be very helpful.

Anonymous User
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Re: How to become a DA

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Dec 03, 2010 10:24 pm

BruceWayne wrote:Thanks for the responses. Yeah 55K isn't bad, especially since my school's LRAP would completely pay for my loans.



Depending on the city, some pay considerably well.
The office I'm interning at this summer starts at 80K. It's in California, so I'm not sure how far that goes.

cake
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Re: How to become a DA

Postby cake » Fri Dec 03, 2010 10:26 pm

BrianGriffintheDog wrote:I'm guessing you gotta be American to work as DA?

Just out of curiosity, I heard/read somewhere that you the whole requirement for being American as a requirement varies by municipal/state/federal level. Can someone clarify this for me please?

The ADA that writes http://daconfidential.blogspot.com/ grew up in England, so I guess he has dual-citizenship by now (LS in the states). Sending him an email would let you know about the Texas rules.

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XxSpyKEx
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Re: How to become a DA

Postby XxSpyKEx » Sat Dec 04, 2010 1:23 am

Anonymous User wrote:
BruceWayne wrote:Thanks for the responses. Yeah 55K isn't bad, especially since my school's LRAP would completely pay for my loans.



Depending on the city, some pay considerably well.
The office I'm interning at this summer starts at 80K. It's in California, so I'm not sure how far that goes.


California pay is not indicative of any other state employment though because Cali pays its employees way more than any other state. Cops in certain locations make over $100k /year (I still find this mind blowing that cops in cali make secondary market biglaw pay without the hours or education).

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Columbia Law
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Re: How to become a DA

Postby Columbia Law » Sat Dec 04, 2010 1:25 am

Wait a DA or ADA. I believe most DA's are elected.

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los blancos
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Re: How to become a DA

Postby los blancos » Sat Dec 04, 2010 2:47 am

Columbia Law wrote:Wait a DA or ADA. I believe most DA's are elected.



Pretty sure everyone's talking bout ADAs. Or ASAs. Or ACAs. Or Whatever the hell a given state calls them.

bogart
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Re: How to become a DA

Postby bogart » Sat Dec 04, 2010 2:33 pm

how difficult is an ADA job to get? I'm not looking for a big city, and I assume anything in NYC is tougher competition. But what about counties in NJ, PA and upstate. So far from what I've heard their more interested in commitment to area than grades. Anyone know if there is any truth to this?

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RonSantoRules
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Re: How to become a DA

Postby RonSantoRules » Sat Dec 04, 2010 11:10 pm

Currently doing a clinical at a DA's office. You would be wise to get any practical experience working in a DA's office, AG's office, or US attorney's office to demonstrate interest in being a prosecutor. I'm sure public defender work wouldn't hurt either if nothing else was available (as to get in court experience, lots of schools have "defenders" services that would let you get into court). I am on the only person working in my office who isn't planning on applying for a DA's position (have a firm gig), but I know interviewing season is coming up for DA's office (I think each office is different, and I am talking about 3L's applying for post-graduate jobs).

Many (most?) of the new ADA's (less than 1 year) at the office where I work did either a semester, summer, or entire school year working at the office where they prosecute (during school as either 1L summer, 2L summer or school year, or during 3L). DA's offices like people to hit the ground running since you get about 5 minutes worth of training and then are expected to take on cases (I know ADAs in my office have somewhere around 200 open cases at any time). If nothing else, if you want to prosecute in the area where you go to school, it would be beyond wise of you to figure out how to do a clinical or get any practical experience being in court any of the low level state courts. Some states let 2L/3L's stand up in court (provided that evidence or some combo of classes have been completed/are being completed), so you can actually get a bunch of experience before starting to work full time.

That's about all I got. Hope that is somewhat helpful. I have no idea about grades. Seemed to me that practical experience, plus a demonstrated interest in prosecuting (eg, don't take corporate law classes and work at law firms during the summer then expect to get hired as an ADA), trumps grades.




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