Exit Options for Assistant District Attorney?

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Nestico87
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Exit Options for Assistant District Attorney?

Postby Nestico87 » Thu Apr 28, 2011 1:01 am

What are some good exit options for an assistant district attorney? Hypothetically, let's say specifically a New York County Assistant District Attorney, having graduated from a T14. I know many lawyers in such a position can choose to go on to become an Assistant United States Attorney, but what else? What are the stipulations for an ADA transitioning into the private sector, perhaps a boutique litigation law firm such as Williams & Connolly? Would you still be a measly peon at a firm like that, or would they put you into the court room?

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Nestico87
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Re: Exit Options for Assistant District Attorney?

Postby Nestico87 » Thu Apr 28, 2011 2:29 am

I've been wondering the same thing.

2LLLL
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Re: Exit Options for Assistant District Attorney?

Postby 2LLLL » Thu Apr 28, 2011 1:35 pm

I don't think you're likely to go from ADA to W&C

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Aberzombie1892
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Re: Exit Options for Assistant District Attorney?

Postby Aberzombie1892 » Thu Apr 28, 2011 1:39 pm

Nestico87 wrote:What are some good exit options for an assistant district attorney? Hypothetically, let's say specifically a New York County Assistant District Attorney, having graduated from a T14. I know many lawyers in such a position can choose to go on to become an Assistant United States Attorney, but what else? What are the stipulations for an ADA transitioning into the private sector, perhaps a boutique litigation law firm such as Williams & Connolly? Would you still be a measly peon at a firm like that, or would they put you into the court room?


I'm not really sure. I know a lot of public defenders make the transition, but I'm not sure the prosecution side has as many options in the private sector. Maybe plaintiff firms?

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esq
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Re: Exit Options for Assistant District Attorney?

Postby esq » Thu Apr 28, 2011 1:53 pm

My cousin made the switch. He makes more money, but definitely likes the job less than his ADA gig. Based on what he's done, you'd be a peon with almost no opportunities to get into the court room and litigate.

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reasonable_man
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Re: Exit Options for Assistant District Attorney?

Postby reasonable_man » Thu Apr 28, 2011 2:01 pm

My boss is an ex-NY County DA. He left and went to a large biglaw firm and then eventually left and joined my much smaller firm. He has litigated extensively after leaving the DA's office.

Its certainly possilbe to litigate, but would probably require you go to a smaller shop.

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Moxie
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Re: Exit Options for Assistant District Attorney?

Postby Moxie » Thu Apr 28, 2011 2:11 pm

Nestico87 wrote:What are some good exit options for an assistant district attorney? Hypothetically, let's say specifically a New York County Assistant District Attorney, having graduated from a T14. I know many lawyers in such a position can choose to go on to become an Assistant United States Attorney, but what else? What are the stipulations for an ADA transitioning into the private sector, perhaps a boutique litigation law firm such as Williams & Connolly? Would you still be a measly peon at a firm like that, or would they put you into the court room?


The bolded is not gonna happen, although I would imagine you'd have a shot at some Biglaw firms in the market if you do solid networking over the course of your ADA career. And presumably you'd be doing associate grunt work unless you became partner (and likely even then), or if you joined a firm with the intent of being a trial lawyer.

CanadianWolf
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Re: Exit Options for Assistant District Attorney?

Postby CanadianWolf » Thu Apr 28, 2011 2:14 pm

If you have a healthy ego--politics may be an option. Many attorneys general are elected, for example.

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McBean
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Re: Exit Options for Assistant District Attorney?

Postby McBean » Thu Apr 28, 2011 2:21 pm

For what it's worth, I know two former ADAs in Boston. One does white collar defense at a small boutique, the other does insurance defense.

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AssociateX
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Re: Exit Options for Assistant District Attorney?

Postby AssociateX » Thu Apr 28, 2011 10:18 pm

90% of ex ADAs go into insurance defense or the civil litigation/private sector. I know because my ex bf was a Brooklyn ADA and I would hear stories every year of where the ADAs took new jobs. I own a condo in Queens and one of the board members of the condo is a fellow alum from my law school who works in the Queens County ADA. Every time I ran into her, she would try to pick my brain about salaries in my area of law (insurance defense). She said she tried to get a job at Wilson Elser but didn't get a call-back. Last I heard, she is still there..

My firm just hired an ex-ADA from Kings County (Brooklyn), and many firms I worked at had a ton of ADAs.

As far as the USAO, the likelihood of going from ADA to USAO is pretty slim. I dont get why many of you TLSers think thats likely to happen. It isnt. Its akin to saying "ohh if you graduate in the top 10% at Brooklyn, you may even get a job at Cravath!!" I worked in the Civil Division of the US Attorneys Office (Southern District) and 90% of the AUSAs there came from big firms. Only 2 people were from DA's offices and it was only NY County.

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Gecko of Doom
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Re: Exit Options for Assistant District Attorney?

Postby Gecko of Doom » Fri Apr 29, 2011 12:50 pm

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Last edited by Gecko of Doom on Mon Oct 01, 2012 8:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Patriot1208
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Re: Exit Options for Assistant District Attorney?

Postby Patriot1208 » Fri Apr 29, 2011 1:13 pm

Gecko of Doom wrote:
AssociateX wrote:As far as the USAO, the likelihood of going from ADA to USAO is pretty slim. I dont get why many of you TLSers think thats likely to happen. It isnt. Its akin to saying "ohh if you graduate in the top 10% at Brooklyn, you may even get a job at Cravath!!" I worked in the Civil Division of the US Attorneys Office (Southern District) and 90% of the AUSAs there came from big firms. Only 2 people were from DA's offices and it was only NY County.

Chances of this are probably going to depend on the division and office and office you're looking at. Just this week I was talking to a pretty high-up AUSA (involved in the hiring process) from the financial crimes unit in my city's office. He said ADA-to-AUSA was the "traditional" route.

Admittedly, the office is much smaller and less prestigious than SDNY. But still.

Yup, it differs greatly. A lot of the attorneys in the local USAO were ex - ADA's and one of the AUSA's specifically told me that was the best route to getting into most USAO offices. At the very least it's something that is possible outside some of the more sought after offices like SDNY.

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A'nold
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Re: Exit Options for Assistant District Attorney?

Postby A'nold » Thu May 05, 2011 7:33 pm

Patriot1208 wrote:
Gecko of Doom wrote:
AssociateX wrote:As far as the USAO, the likelihood of going from ADA to USAO is pretty slim. I dont get why many of you TLSers think thats likely to happen. It isnt. Its akin to saying "ohh if you graduate in the top 10% at Brooklyn, you may even get a job at Cravath!!" I worked in the Civil Division of the US Attorneys Office (Southern District) and 90% of the AUSAs there came from big firms. Only 2 people were from DA's offices and it was only NY County.

Chances of this are probably going to depend on the division and office and office you're looking at. Just this week I was talking to a pretty high-up AUSA (involved in the hiring process) from the financial crimes unit in my city's office. He said ADA-to-AUSA was the "traditional" route.

Admittedly, the office is much smaller and less prestigious than SDNY. But still.

Yup, it differs greatly. A lot of the attorneys in the local USAO were ex - ADA's and one of the AUSA's specifically told me that was the best route to getting into most USAO offices. At the very least it's something that is possible outside some of the more sought after offices like SDNY.


I've heard this as well. I don't know where that guy got his info.....

I've heard that criminal defense is pretty much the big exit option.

sccjnthn
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Re: Exit Options for Assistant District Attorney?

Postby sccjnthn » Thu May 05, 2011 10:45 pm

Do most of the folks going into criminal defense start their own shops or merely join others?

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A'nold
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Re: Exit Options for Assistant District Attorney?

Postby A'nold » Fri May 06, 2011 1:26 am

sccjnthn wrote:Do most of the folks going into criminal defense start their own shops or merely join others?

I've heard both. If you play your cards right and use IBR, you will have a decent salary, no debt, and good connections by the time your 10 year stint is done.

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vanwinkle
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Re: Exit Options for Assistant District Attorney?

Postby vanwinkle » Fri May 06, 2011 1:29 am

Anonymous User wrote:I've been wondering the same thing.

This is egregious misuse of the anon feature. Pretending to be another user to agree with yourself and bump your own thread gets you one of these:

--ImageRemoved--

Anyone who has a problem with this should read here before responding: viewtopic.php?f=23&t=130748

whymeohgodno
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Re: Exit Options for Assistant District Attorney?

Postby whymeohgodno » Fri May 06, 2011 1:33 am

I only know 1 ADA and he had a nice offer to an insurance defense firm.

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vanwinkle
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Re: Exit Options for Assistant District Attorney?

Postby vanwinkle » Fri May 06, 2011 1:46 am

Regarding the thread itself:

The answer really depends on several factors, the largest of which is the district you're working in. New York County is going to have substantially better exit options than someone working in Podunk County, TX. From the biggest DA offices, you get better exit options in part because you're getting substantially greater trial experience, which is what makes you valuable. Someone in New York County is going to handle a hell of a lot of cases in a short amount of time, and after only a couple years you'll know how to handle a courtroom. Your best exit strategies are going to be places that want a lot of litigation experience. Sometimes people will jump to law firms, sometimes they'll go become an AUSA or a federal prosecutor, in some places they occasionally get appointed state judges.

Networking also matters (working in a bigger city should give you chances to get to know a lot of other practicing lawyers) as well as your actual in-courtroom performance. For things like judicial appointments, political connections matter a lot as well, for obvious reasons, but that's not the kind of thing you should bank on.

I think a lot of people who go for big-city ADA stay there, though. They're such great jobs for people who enjoy that kind of work, with real job stability and personal satisfaction that's hard to find in other legal jobs, and given how hard they are to get into, the people who end up getting hired there are often the ones most likely to want to stay put.

Da Stain
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Re: Exit Options for Assistant District Attorney?

Postby Da Stain » Fri May 06, 2011 2:17 am

vanwinkle wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I've been wondering the same thing.

This is egregious misuse of the anon feature. Pretending to be another user to agree with yourself and bump your own thread gets you one of these:

--ImageRemoved--

Anyone who has a problem with this should read here before responding: viewtopic.php?f=23&t=130748

Get a fucking life.

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vanwinkle
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Re: Exit Options for Assistant District Attorney?

Postby vanwinkle » Fri May 06, 2011 2:19 am

Da Stain wrote:Get a fucking life.

--ImageRemoved--

Either he didn't read, or he didn't mind being banned. I don't care which.

Anyone else care to play?

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A'nold
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Re: Exit Options for Assistant District Attorney?

Postby A'nold » Fri May 06, 2011 3:30 am

Da Stain wrote:
vanwinkle wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I've been wondering the same thing.

This is egregious misuse of the anon feature. Pretending to be another user to agree with yourself and bump your own thread gets you one of these:

--ImageRemoved--

Anyone who has a problem with this should read here before responding: viewtopic.php?f=23&t=130748

Get a fucking life.

Wow.

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esq
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Re: Exit Options for Assistant District Attorney?

Postby esq » Fri May 06, 2011 4:09 am

vanwinkle wrote:
Da Stain wrote:Get a fucking life.

--ImageRemoved--

Either he didn't read, or he didn't mind being banned. I don't care which.

Anyone else care to play?

Hope you didn't ban him permanently. I understand that he insulted your ego, but I mean it looks like he's been a relatively trouble free contributor here for some time.

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vanwinkle
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Re: Exit Options for Assistant District Attorney?

Postby vanwinkle » Fri May 06, 2011 11:07 am

esq wrote:Hope you didn't ban him permanently. I understand that he insulted your ego, but I mean it looks like he's been a relatively trouble free contributor here for some time.

--ImageRemoved--

Once again, people are responsible for reading this before responding: viewtopic.php?f=23&t=130748

One more and I'll lock the thread, and the next person gets a much longer ban because it'll be clearly intentional at that point. Hopefully people can read the rules and avoid derailing the thread any more, so that the on-topic discussion can continue.

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A'nold
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Re: Exit Options for Assistant District Attorney?

Postby A'nold » Fri May 06, 2011 11:57 am

Let's see if I can bring this back on topic.

I talked to one of my professors (a former prosecutor) about exit options a few weeks ago. He said that one great niche option, which he called very lucrative, is defending doctors accused of Medicade fraud. This got me thinking about white collar criminal defense. While it seems like a cool field, I just wonder how you could ever get enough experience and knowledge in these kinds of cases to build a reputation w/out prosecuting for the feds or w/out moving very high up the ladder for the state. It guess it might be that your general experience as a prosecutor would go a long way to helping you make the transition, I just wonder what a white collar defense firm would think of that.

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vanwinkle
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Re: Exit Options for Assistant District Attorney?

Postby vanwinkle » Fri May 06, 2011 1:16 pm

A'nold wrote:Let's see if I can bring this back on topic.

I talked to one of my professors (a former prosecutor) about exit options a few weeks ago. He said that one great niche option, which he called very lucrative, is defending doctors accused of Medicade fraud. This got me thinking about white collar criminal defense. While it seems like a cool field, I just wonder how you could ever get enough experience and knowledge in these kinds of cases to build a reputation w/out prosecuting for the feds or w/out moving very high up the ladder for the state. It guess it might be that your general experience as a prosecutor would go a long way to helping you make the transition, I just wonder what a white collar defense firm would think of that.

One thing you don't get in white collar defense is much experience in a courtroom, from what I've been told. A primary purpose of white collar defense is to keep cases out of court in the first place, and involves even more deal-making and attempts to resolve things pre-trial than you see in the typical criminal setting. Doctors are a great example; they'll want to avoid a criminal conviction related to their practice, so they'll want someone who knows how to prepare a sufficient defense and to negotiate well enough that they can convince prosecutors to make a deal that gets rid of the charges.

This means that people who have criminal trial experience can actually be valuable, because coming from a courtroom-heavy job, you're bringing experience you're not likely to develop quickly on the job but that is necessary to representing clients. These firms always have to be prepared for the possibility of going to trial and that means having people who can handle the whole trial process. Also, these kind of defense firms often like big-city prosecutors from what I understand, because if you know how to think like a prosecutor, then you know how to anticipate what a prosecutor would do and use that in negotiating and preparing the case.

Much like anywhere else, it's a matter of three different things: 1) your networking (which can include both your alumni network and connections you make while practicing, 2) the prestige of your current job position, and 3) your actual reputation as a lawyer. Again, New York County ADAs can probably make this move a lot more easily than people from much smaller DA offices. You can also try to work up to a position that handles a lot of high-profile cases, which will make you more appealing to employers later down the road.

It's one of those things where generally speaking you're not very likely to get such a job, but you can make it a lot more likely by doing the things that would make you attractive to a future employer.




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