QUICK ADVICE PLEASE: Federal Defender (LA) vs DOJ (Crim Div)

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QUICK ADVICE PLEASE: Federal Defender (LA) vs DOJ (Crim Div)

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jan 21, 2011 4:31 pm

I'm a HYS 1L and I just got offered an unpaid summer position at the Federal Defender's Office in Los Angeles. They usually do not hire 1Ls, but made a one-time exception. The coordinator who runs the program has requested that I respond by tomorrow evening (not sure whether they would be OK with an extension given the short notice, but I want to decide by today/tomorrow just to make sure).

The DOJ internship is in the D.C. office in the Criminal Division and I have until 2/4 to respond.

I would be extremely interested in either opportunity, so that doesn't play a role in this. I see myself doing Biglaw for a good number of years so that's my ultimate aim when I'm considering summer positions (might be interested in criminal work after biglaw career, but would be willing to do either defense or prosecution, so that doesn't play a role either). I would prefer to be in LA (and want to start career in CA), but would not let location be determinative in my decision.

My first question: is it stupid to turn down the DOJ offer? In other words, I guess what I'm saying is: is the position considered prestigious enough to make it not such a smart idea to turn it down unless you have a good reason to? Will it help at all (even slightly) during 2L OCI?

Second question: is the Federal Defender's Office prestigious at all or is it just like a state public defender (like are they comparable to USAO?)?

Main point: given that I am interested in both positions equally and I am trying to position myself for 2L OCI, which would be better?

Any advice would be appreciated. Thank you, guys!

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Re: QUICK ADVICE PLEASE: Federal Defender (LA) vs DOJ (Crim Div)

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jan 21, 2011 6:19 pm

I'm curious about Federal Defenders too. How competitive is it to get for 1Ls? Similar in level of difficulty to the district's USAO?

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Re: QUICK ADVICE PLEASE: Federal Defender (LA) vs DOJ (Crim Div)

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Jan 22, 2011 3:34 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I'm a HYS 1L and I just got offered an unpaid summer position at the Federal Defender's Office in Los Angeles. They usually do not hire 1Ls, but made a one-time exception. The coordinator who runs the program has requested that I respond by tomorrow evening (not sure whether they would be OK with an extension given the short notice, but I want to decide by today/tomorrow just to make sure).

The DOJ internship is in the D.C. office in the Criminal Division and I have until 2/4 to respond.

I would be extremely interested in either opportunity, so that doesn't play a role in this. I see myself doing Biglaw for a good number of years so that's my ultimate aim when I'm considering summer positions (might be interested in criminal work after biglaw career, but would be willing to do either defense or prosecution, so that doesn't play a role either). I would prefer to be in LA (and want to start career in CA), but would not let location be determinative in my decision.

My first question: is it stupid to turn down the DOJ offer? In other words, I guess what I'm saying is: is the position considered prestigious enough to make it not such a smart idea to turn it down unless you have a good reason to? Will it help at all (even slightly) during 2L OCI?

Second question: is the Federal Defender's Office prestigious at all or is it just like a state public defender (like are they comparable to USAO?)?

Main point: given that I am interested in both positions equally and I am trying to position myself for 2L OCI, which would be better?

Any advice would be appreciated. Thank you, guys!


anyone?

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vamedic03
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Re: QUICK ADVICE PLEASE: Federal Defender (LA) vs DOJ (Crim Div)

Postby vamedic03 » Sat Jan 22, 2011 3:42 pm

Both will give you good experiences. But, be aware that some public defenders will have issues with prosecution experiences. In other words, if you think you might want to be a PD down the road, go with the PD's office. Otherwise, go with whichever interests you more and where you can live the cheapest for the summer.

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Re: QUICK ADVICE PLEASE: Federal Defender (LA) vs DOJ (Crim Div)

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Jan 22, 2011 3:45 pm

My sense is that the Federal Defender's Office is much more selective, given that they have much fewer positions and you will likely be doing very substantive, very interesting work. However, I currently work at a USAO office, and I can tell you your networking options at main justice would be much much better, and I could be wrong about this, but the AUSAs that I've asked about the Federal Defender's Office vs main justice crim div choice have said main justice overwhelmingly. Almost everyone will have done biglaw or prestigious clerkships prior to doing DOJ and so that probably has a bigger name going into OCI.

You're in a great position either way, but there's probably more awareness of DOJ in BigLaw just by virtue of people lateraling over to USAOs and the size of their programs.

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Re: QUICK ADVICE PLEASE: Federal Defender (LA) vs DOJ (Crim Div)

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jan 23, 2011 11:28 pm

Anonymous User wrote:My sense is that the Federal Defender's Office is much more selective, given that they have much fewer positions and you will likely be doing very substantive, very interesting work. However, I currently work at a USAO office, and I can tell you your networking options at main justice would be much much better, and I could be wrong about this, but the AUSAs that I've asked about the Federal Defender's Office vs main justice crim div choice have said main justice overwhelmingly. Almost everyone will have done biglaw or prestigious clerkships prior to doing DOJ and so that probably has a bigger name going into OCI.

You're in a great position either way, but there's probably more awareness of DOJ in BigLaw just by virtue of people lateraling over to USAOs and the size of their programs.


Thanks for the response!

Does anybody else think Federal Defender's Office is more competitive than main DOJ? I was under the impression that main Justice is, other than firm SAs, the toughest 1L summer posiiton to get--am I wrong?

And any other last thoughts? Only have till Tuesday to decide :/

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Re: QUICK ADVICE PLEASE: Federal Defender (LA) vs DOJ (Crim Div)

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Feb 11, 2011 10:08 am

So what did you end up deciding?

I am currently weighing an offer from the Federal Defender Capital Habeas Unit in Philadelphia, which I am probably going to take. If anyone knows anything about that office, feel free to share.




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