Law Enforcement and Other Career Paths after JD

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Lawquacious
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Law Enforcement and Other Career Paths after JD

Postby Lawquacious » Sun Jan 02, 2011 6:40 am

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Last edited by Lawquacious on Tue Jan 04, 2011 2:44 am, edited 1 time in total.

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dextermorgan
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Re: Law Enforcement and Other Career Paths after JD

Postby dextermorgan » Sun Jan 02, 2011 10:46 am

For what it's worth I know a PD investigator who works for one of those holistic offices. Her primary job is to ensure that clients and their families have supports throughout the process. She is a JD, but tells me that she feels that a MSW would do her as much, if not more, good. Her office also hires straight MSWs for investigator positions.

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Lawquacious
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Re: Law Enforcement and Other Career Paths after JD

Postby Lawquacious » Sun Jan 02, 2011 6:40 pm

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Last edited by Lawquacious on Tue Jan 04, 2011 2:44 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Law Enforcement and Other Career Paths after JD

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jan 02, 2011 10:12 pm

OP, I work for a federal law enforcement agency and i'll do my best to answer your questions.

1) Being a prosecutor is not a law enforcement position, it is a legal position. The DOJ (federal prosecutors) is extremely competitive as well are the top DA offices.
2) If you have a for sure disqualifier, a JD isn't helping you get around it. The only agency that (officially) gives polygraph waivers is the DEA. The FBI (again, officially) states that they will not, under any circumstances, waive the requirement that you pass the polygraph. Now, I know for a fact that the FBI does waive it occasionally, but not for some run of the mill JD. It's usually for people with very specialized experience like (the one example I know of) a special forces bomb technician. Now, if it is something that happened a long time ago (like juvenile drug use) you may get a pass if you are honest. But, this will depend on the severity of what you did and how recently it was.
3) Everyone is on the GS pay scale. As a JD you will probably still come in as a GS-9, which is around 50k adjusted for overtime and locality pay. You may come in as a GS-11 depending on after JD work experience, but unlikely.
4) Of the JD's I personally know that have been hired recently, one was a biglaw lawyer who had corporate transactional W/E and was assigned to the financial investigations division. The other was in Jag and had attended Harvard. I also know an older agent who was an ADA. I know ZERO JD's who got hired without actual work experience in the legal force first. In fact, I know two JD's who went to top schools, struck out at OCI, and have been applying. They aren't even getting interviews.
5) The easiest way to make it in is to do your time at a local police force or the military and do a good job. The average agent has applied 3 times and is 28 years old. These agencies don't benefit from hiring a 26 year old JD with no experience instead of the 30 year old succesful detective. Excess masters degrees won't help you get hired unless it leads to getting your CPA or it's in a language or if it's in Computer Science. And, once your in, promotions are done, almost solely, on performance + seniority. Extra degrees will not help, whatsoever.
6) It isn't really a dangerous job. You say in your first paragrapg that you want your job to be somewhat dangerous, well, if that's the case, join the NYPD. 80% of your time will be spent in surveillance, on a wire, or sifting through documents. You aren't doing much in terms of street interaction. And, the agency that has the biggest street presence is the DEA. So, if you want to kick down doors, that is your best bet for an FLE. But they, still depending on what group you are in, will only be making a seizure once a month or so.
7) You want more info, contact your local recruiter. They will give you a lot of BS, but that is the only way to apply.
8 ) Lastly, if you do go through the process, HONESTY is the key. Do not lie, if you have any chance of making it through, you need to be completely forthcoming.
Last edited by Anonymous User on Sun Jan 02, 2011 10:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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NZA
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Re: Law Enforcement and Other Career Paths after JD

Postby NZA » Sun Jan 02, 2011 10:18 pm

For LEOs, I know that one of the tracks into a SA position with the FBI is to have a JD and two years of experience. :)

That's one of the career plans I'm considering.


Nvm, post not necessary.

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Lawquacious
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Re: Law Enforcement and Other Career Paths after JD

Postby Lawquacious » Mon Jan 03, 2011 2:42 am

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Last edited by Lawquacious on Tue Jan 04, 2011 2:43 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Law Enforcement and Other Career Paths after JD

Postby NZA » Mon Jan 03, 2011 2:50 am

Lawquacious wrote:** If anyone else can talk about the specific polygraph process in terms of getting fed or state clearances I would appreciate it. I have a valid fingerprint clearance currently, but that is a whole different ballgame than polygraph or any invasive questions that may extend beyond what I would consider to be directly relevant to job performance.


It is extremely extensive. I never received a TS/SCI clearance, but I knew a lot of people who have gone through the experience. At least for SA positions, they ask you about pretty much every question you respond to on the SF86. I think the thing that would get most folks are the drug questions. They're a bit more lenient with weed, apparently, but you basically have to have only smoked a few times in college in order to clear the poly.

The other big hurdle is the PFT. That thing is a killer.

And the pay isn't great, but you get OT and a locality adjustment. It's not like getting a 160K biglaw job, but I'm pretty sure that even attorneys start as GS-11s or 12s.

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Lawquacious
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Re: Law Enforcement and Other Career Paths after JD

Postby Lawquacious » Mon Jan 03, 2011 3:11 am

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Last edited by Lawquacious on Tue Jan 04, 2011 2:44 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Law Enforcement and Other Career Paths after JD

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jan 03, 2011 12:07 pm

Lawquacious, your pay will depend on where you live and what your GS number is. Like I said in my previous post, everyone is on the GS pay scale. Most people with masters/Work experience start out at a GS-9. Anyone who gets hired straight out of undergrad starts at GS-7 (but ALMOST NO ONE gets hired out of undergrad anymore, not ITE, and before it was special circumstances). I did state that some people will start at a GS-11 with a JD and relevant work experience, but if you just have a JD and haven't practiced in something relevant for multiple years you aren't starting at a GS-11. For all intents and purposes, no one starts at GS-12. Now, lets look at how much this pay is. Using the 2010 numbers, a GS-9 step 1 is 41,563. You add locality pay, lets use the standard 14.16%. That brings you up to 47,448.32. You also add on the standard overtime which is 25% (agents don't get paid for tracked overtime and instead get paid 25% added on and are expected to work at least 50 hrs a week, most work more). That brings you up 57,839.07 starting yearly salary. This will be more or less depending on COL of the city you live in. Then, you do get perks like a government vehicle with the government paying for your gas to and from work. Also, the benefits are cheaper for government employees, but they aren't free. Then, when you have been in for a couple years and make a gs-12 or gs-13 you will have the possibility of taking an overseas assignment or a specialized assignment that may pay more. Currently, the DEA is adding an extra 35% on to agents salaries who go to Afghanistan. And while there you have almost no expenses. Overall, basically everyone makes a GS-13, which is about 100k a year, again it will vary. If you are smart and do well, you will probably make GS-14. It is harder to make GS-15. And the SES positions are extremely political. There is also a mandatory retirement age of 57. But, I have seen quite a few agents leave for lucrative jobs at technical companies that cater to LE, places like Booz Allen Hamilton, or private security for corporations. But that is still the minority. DOJ attorneys certainly do make more in their lifetime than Agents and for the most part, will have better exit opps. Lastly, everything in this paragraph is related to agents only. There are different rules and pay for support positions. If you are looking to go into intel, this is not right.

Also, I have my TS/SCI, and i'll tell you, the polygraph is fear inducive. Most people take it more than once. Generally, they give you up to three tries. You have to be completely honest and some things may or may not disqualify you depending on your background and/or what agency. For instance, the ATF and FBI are more lenient on distant drug use, but still not that lenient. But they will ask about past activities including crimes committed that you weren't caught for. They will ask about drug use, family members, even how honest you are.

From the sound of your "disqualifier" that isn't why you didn't get an interview. If it is something questionable and not an overt "I did crack 4 months ago" than they will interview you if they think you are a competitive applicant. This was my point earlier, having a JD with no real work experience is very unlikely to get you an SA position. It may be easier if you expand your search to ATF or NCIS, but the pay will be worse, cases smaller, and you will be frustrated. I see agents all the time who make the jump from those agencies to bigger agencies. In fact, my current boss started his career at NCIS.

Also, the phyiscal fitness test is NOT hard if you stay in decent shape. I've seen somewhat chubby looking guys pass the PFT with flying colors. Just make sure you are prepared. But, if you did get hired on, they will kick your ass and run you to death when you go through training.

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Lawquacious
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Re: Law Enforcement and Other Career Paths after JD

Postby Lawquacious » Mon Jan 03, 2011 8:39 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Lawquacious, your pay will depend on where you live and what your GS number is. Like I said in my previous post, everyone is on the GS pay scale. Most people with masters/Work experience start out at a GS-9. Anyone who gets hired straight out of undergrad starts at GS-7 (but ALMOST NO ONE gets hired out of undergrad anymore, not ITE, and before it was special circumstances). I did state that some people will start at a GS-11 with a JD and relevant work experience, but if you just have a JD and haven't practiced in something relevant for multiple years you aren't starting at a GS-11. For all intents and purposes, no one starts at GS-12. Now, lets look at how much this pay is. Using the 2010 numbers, a GS-9 step 1 is 41,563. You add locality pay, lets use the standard 14.16%. That brings you up to 47,448.32. You also add on the standard overtime which is 25% (agents don't get paid for tracked overtime and instead get paid 25% added on and are expected to work at least 50 hrs a week, most work more). That brings you up 57,839.07 starting yearly salary. This will be more or less depending on COL of the city you live in. Then, you do get perks like a government vehicle with the government paying for your gas to and from work. Also, the benefits are cheaper for government employees, but they aren't free. Then, when you have been in for a couple years and make a gs-12 or gs-13 you will have the possibility of taking an overseas assignment or a specialized assignment that may pay more. Currently, the DEA is adding an extra 35% on to agents salaries who go to Afghanistan. And while there you have almost no expenses. Overall, basically everyone makes a GS-13, which is about 100k a year, again it will vary. If you are smart and do well, you will probably make GS-14. It is harder to make GS-15. And the SES positions are extremely political. There is also a mandatory retirement age of 57. But, I have seen quite a few agents leave for lucrative jobs at technical companies that cater to LE, places like Booz Allen Hamilton, or private security for corporations. But that is still the minority. DOJ attorneys certainly do make more in their lifetime than Agents and for the most part, will have better exit opps. Lastly, everything in this paragraph is related to agents only. There are different rules and pay for support positions. If you are looking to go into intel, this is not right.

Also, I have my TS/SCI, and i'll tell you, the polygraph is fear inducive. Most people take it more than once. Generally, they give you up to three tries. You have to be completely honest and some things may or may not disqualify you depending on your background and/or what agency. For instance, the ATF and FBI are more lenient on distant drug use, but still not that lenient. But they will ask about past activities including crimes committed that you weren't caught for. They will ask about drug use, family members, even how honest you are.

From the sound of your "disqualifier" that isn't why you didn't get an interview. If it is something questionable and not an overt "I did crack 4 months ago" than they will interview you if they think you are a competitive applicant. This was my point earlier, having a JD with no real work experience is very unlikely to get you an SA position. It may be easier if you expand your search to ATF or NCIS, but the pay will be worse, cases smaller, and you will be frustrated. I see agents all the time who make the jump from those agencies to bigger agencies. In fact, my current boss started his career at NCIS.

Also, the phyiscal fitness test is NOT hard if you stay in decent shape. I've seen somewhat chubby looking guys pass the PFT with flying colors. Just make sure you are prepared. But, if you did get hired on, they will kick your ass and run you to death when you go through training.


Very cool- thanks so much for the feedback!

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Re: Law Enforcement and Other Career Paths after JD

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jan 03, 2011 8:54 pm

I used to work CI/HUMINT, the people who run the TS/SCI program. Do not lie. I know a gentleman who admitted to selling LSD and drugtrade-related assault and still got a (non-LE) job. I have also heard from coworkers of finding out in a renewal interview of undisclosed secrets and the subject being fined his entire pay to date plus penalties.

Tell the truth, if you're a fit for the agency than they will overlook some deficiencies, if you are not a fit, perhaps you shouldn't be working there. Not to be cruel, but not everyone is cut out for a 50k, long-houred, thankless, dangerous job overseeing cops who despise you. If the interviewer unqs you for the job, just apply to another agency thats a better fit.

Of course most of this is not solely DoJ, as far as I know I never interviewed for them, but the policies and training are pretty similar.

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Lawquacious
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Re: Law Enforcement and Other Career Paths after JD

Postby Lawquacious » Tue Jan 04, 2011 2:45 am

Anonymous User wrote:I used to work CI/HUMINT, the people who run the TS/SCI program. Do not lie. I know a gentleman who admitted to selling LSD and drugtrade-related assault and still got a (non-LE) job. I have also heard from coworkers of finding out in a renewal interview of undisclosed secrets and the subject being fined his entire pay to date plus penalties.

Tell the truth, if you're a fit for the agency than they will overlook some deficiencies, if you are not a fit, perhaps you shouldn't be working there. Not to be cruel, but not everyone is cut out for a 50k, long-houred, thankless, dangerous job overseeing cops who despise you. If the interviewer unqs you for the job, just apply to another agency thats a better fit.

Of course most of this is not solely DoJ, as far as I know I never interviewed for them, but the policies and training are pretty similar.


Cool- thanks agains guys.




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