PI in the intelligence field

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Verity
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PI in the intelligence field

Postby Verity » Mon May 02, 2011 7:19 pm

Anyone know of any PI work in intelligence for grads or summer positions (e.g., the CIA, FBI, etc.)? Pay well? Hard to get?

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JamMasterJ
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Re: PI in the intelligence field

Postby JamMasterJ » Mon May 02, 2011 7:29 pm

I would assume no to the first, yes to the second. I hear that FBI and CIA background checks are the most difficult among govt agencies. You can fail them for ridiculously trivial things, so if you ever plan on applying to another govt office, make sure you don't have some small thing in your past that could bite you

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Re: PI in the intelligence field

Postby Patriot1208 » Mon May 02, 2011 7:35 pm

Are you talking about counsel positions? Because they all have those

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Re: PI in the intelligence field

Postby Verity » Mon May 02, 2011 10:32 pm

JamMasterJ wrote:I would assume no to the first, yes to the second. I hear that FBI and CIA background checks are the most difficult among govt agencies. You can fail them for ridiculously trivial things, so if you ever plan on applying to another govt office, make sure you don't have some small thing in your past that could bite you



What do you mean by "trivial?" The worst thing I can think of is a speeding violation. No criminal/subversive history, otherwise.


Patriot1208 wrote:Are you talking about counsel positions? Because they all have those



I guess I mean any position for someone either straight out of law school, or summer positions during LS, like paid internships. I'd also like to know where you can end up after a year or two.

2LLLL
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Re: PI in the intelligence field

Postby 2LLLL » Tue May 03, 2011 1:22 am

CIA came to my school's OCI for what that's worth

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JamMasterJ
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Re: PI in the intelligence field

Postby JamMasterJ » Tue May 03, 2011 1:43 am

Verity wrote:
JamMasterJ wrote:I would assume no to the first, yes to the second. I hear that FBI and CIA background checks are the most difficult among govt agencies. You can fail them for ridiculously trivial things, so if you ever plan on applying to another govt office, make sure you don't have some small thing in your past that could bite you



What do you mean by "trivial?" The worst thing I can think of is a speeding violation. No criminal/subversive history, otherwise.


Not that trivial. But I think a DUI or even something less egregious would get you dinged

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Verity
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Re: PI in the intelligence field

Postby Verity » Tue May 03, 2011 1:46 am

2LLLL wrote:CIA came to my school's OCI for what that's worth



Don't out yourself, but if you can give me a 3-letter designation (HYS, CCN, MVP, etc.) I'd appreciate it.

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Re: PI in the intelligence field

Postby jpSartre » Tue May 03, 2011 1:52 am

not a lot of personal injury in the intelligence field

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Re: PI in the intelligence field

Postby Anonymous User » Tue May 03, 2011 9:45 am

CIA is interviewing at NYU in the fall, FWIW.

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Re: PI in the intelligence field

Postby vanwinkle » Tue May 03, 2011 9:52 am

https://www.cia.gov/careers/opportuniti ... clerk.html

These are insanely competitive from what I understand, but they don't look for the same things as most employers, and do interview at a range of schools during OCI.

Right now just about any federal internship is going to be intensely competitive; federal jobs offer a combination of prestige and job security that's driving interest in them, and internships are a way in the door. But CIA from what I understand is near the top of the hard-to-get list, right up there with the State Dept.

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Re: PI in the intelligence field

Postby 2LLLL » Tue May 03, 2011 10:02 am

https://www.cia.gov/careers/opportuniti ... clerk.html

These are insanely competitive from what I understand, but they don't look for the same things as most employers, and do interview at a range of schools during OCI.

Right now just about any federal internship is going to be intensely competitive; federal jobs offer a combination of prestige and job security that's driving interest in them, and internships are a way in the door. But CIA from what I understand is near the top of the hard-to-get list, right up there with the State Dept.



I don't want to out my school, but from what I've heard this is true.

I didn't bid for an interview with CIA, but I've heard that your offer is only provisional, and depends on passing the entire background check which can take months. So if you're not sure you can pass, it's a big risk pausing your job search for that long.

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Re: PI in the intelligence field

Postby Patriot1208 » Tue May 03, 2011 10:35 am

2LLLL wrote:
https://www.cia.gov/careers/opportuniti ... clerk.html

These are insanely competitive from what I understand, but they don't look for the same things as most employers, and do interview at a range of schools during OCI.

Right now just about any federal internship is going to be intensely competitive; federal jobs offer a combination of prestige and job security that's driving interest in them, and internships are a way in the door. But CIA from what I understand is near the top of the hard-to-get list, right up there with the State Dept.



I don't want to out my school, but from what I've heard this is true.

I didn't bid for an interview with CIA, but I've heard that your offer is only provisional, and depends on passing the entire background check which can take months. So if you're not sure you can pass, it's a big risk pausing your job search for that long.


This is true. The key is to be completely honest in the interview. If they know you won't pass they won't offer you anyways. I briefly knew a girl who is a lawyer for the CIA post graduation and she estimated she was top quarter to top third at stanford.

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Re: PI in the intelligence field

Postby Verity » Tue May 03, 2011 10:50 am

vanwinkle wrote:https://www.cia.gov/careers/opportunities/support-professional/summer-law-clerk.html

These are insanely competitive from what I understand, but they don't look for the same things as most employers, and do interview at a range of schools during OCI.

Right now just about any federal internship is going to be intensely competitive; federal jobs offer a combination of prestige and job security that's driving interest in them, and internships are a way in the door. But CIA from what I understand is near the top of the hard-to-get list, right up there with the State Dept.



Do all federal jobs provide loan repayment assistance?

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Re: PI in the intelligence field

Postby vanwinkle » Tue May 03, 2011 10:57 am

Verity wrote:Do all federal jobs provide loan repayment assistance?

All federal agencies can provide up to $60,000 of loan repayment assistance themselves, but this is just government authorization, they have to decide whether to do it themselves.

Under IBR, the definition of public service employment includes federal government employment, so any job with the federal government should be eligible for IBR repayment and full forgiveness after 10 years. This, of course, requires that you have eligible federal loans.

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Re: PI in the intelligence field

Postby Anonymous User » Wed May 04, 2011 1:13 pm

As someone with a conditional offer for an FBI internship this summer, I think I should pop in and address this.

The I in FBI stands for investigation (or integrity, but ... yeah) - if you want to do something close to your law degree, apply to the DOJ. The internship program is more of a path into the operations side (agent) or a ticket for a clearance that you could use for a defense contractor or consulting. They don't have law internships per se. And frankly, law students aren't what they want - the vast majority of their efforts are focused on financial or electronic crimes and a law degree doesn't teach you accounting or IT knowledge.

Trivial would mean like downloading music five years ago (even though they still ask about it, and you better not be downloading music now). Regarding a speeding ticket, that isn't trivial in their eyes - they will want to know everything about it. You should count on them wanting to know everything about everything. And when I say everything, I mean health records, listing all bank accounts with approximate balances, any debt obligations, drinking habits. At what I thought was an advanced stage of the recruitment process, my interviewer said they have to bring three or four to that point to get one out the other side.

If you have any other questions, I'll do my best to swing through and answer them. They do have paid and unpaid positions, depends on how the budget situation is every year as to whether the paid program takes place or not. If not, they funnel those applications into the unpaid pile. Also, applications open on November 1 for the FBI and (this year) closed on Nov. 19. There is a note that says they can close it at any time though, so aim for Nov. 1.

Edit to add: to touch on the length of the process... I was conditionally offered the beginning of February and my background check is still going. Make sure you account for this period of uncertainty - I'm confident I'll be through, but I do have a fall-back plan if needed.

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Re: PI in the intelligence field

Postby Verity » Wed May 04, 2011 2:39 pm

Anonymous User wrote:As someone with a conditional offer for an FBI internship this summer, I think I should pop in and address this.

The I in FBI stands for investigation (or integrity, but ... yeah) - if you want to do something close to your law degree, apply to the DOJ. The internship program is more of a path into the operations side (agent) or a ticket for a clearance that you could use for a defense contractor or consulting. They don't have law internships per se. And frankly, law students aren't what they want - the vast majority of their efforts are focused on financial or electronic crimes and a law degree doesn't teach you accounting or IT knowledge.

Trivial would mean like downloading music five years ago (even though they still ask about it, and you better not be downloading music now). Regarding a speeding ticket, that isn't trivial in their eyes - they will want to know everything about it. You should count on them wanting to know everything about everything. And when I say everything, I mean health records, listing all bank accounts with approximate balances, any debt obligations, drinking habits. At what I thought was an advanced stage of the recruitment process, my interviewer said they have to bring three or four to that point to get one out the other side.

If you have any other questions, I'll do my best to swing through and answer them. They do have paid and unpaid positions, depends on how the budget situation is every year as to whether the paid program takes place or not. If not, they funnel those applications into the unpaid pile. Also, applications open on November 1 for the FBI and (this year) closed on Nov. 19. There is a note that says they can close it at any time though, so aim for Nov. 1.

Edit to add: to touch on the length of the process... I was conditionally offered the beginning of February and my background check is still going. Make sure you account for this period of uncertainty - I'm confident I'll be through, but I do have a fall-back plan if needed.



Thanks for the anecdote. But I don't get this:

Anonymous User wrote:The internship program is more of a path into the operations side (agent) or a ticket for a clearance that you could use for a defense contractor or consulting. They don't have law internships per se. And frankly, law students aren't what they want - the vast majority of their efforts are focused on financial or electronic crimes and a law degree doesn't teach you accounting or IT knowledge.


Doesn't FBI, CIA, etc. have a specific legal component? CIA has the Office of the General Counsel, as does the DOS. I think DOD also has positions open for attorneys, but it doesn't seem to have a special legal office as such.

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Re: PI in the intelligence field

Postby vanwinkle » Wed May 04, 2011 2:46 pm

Verity wrote:Doesn't FBI, CIA, etc. have a specific legal component? CIA has the Office of the General Counsel, as does the DOS. I think DOD also has positions open for attorneys, but it doesn't seem to have a special legal office as such.

FBI has an OGC too, but it sounds like he's discussing an internship leading to a Special Agent position, which is an FBI investigative position you can attain with a JD. (People with legal backgrounds can make good investigators into corporate or financial crimes, but you won't exactly be practicing law there.) I imagine their need for agents is greater than their need for counsel.

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Re: PI in the intelligence field

Postby Patriot1208 » Wed May 04, 2011 2:54 pm

vanwinkle wrote:
Verity wrote:Doesn't FBI, CIA, etc. have a specific legal component? CIA has the Office of the General Counsel, as does the DOS. I think DOD also has positions open for attorneys, but it doesn't seem to have a special legal office as such.

FBI has an OGC too, but it sounds like he's discussing an internship leading to a Special Agent position, which is an FBI investigative position you can attain with a JD. (People with legal backgrounds can make good investigators into corporate or financial crimes, but you won't exactly be practicing law there.) I imagine their need for agents is greater than their need for counsel.

Actually, the internship positions don't generally lead to full time agent positions, if that guy is expecting a full time position he's in trouble. And the demand isn't greater for agents than it is for counsel. The DEA received 50,000 applications last year and hired ~500 agents. I don't know the exact numbers for the FBI but they hire more per year, but likely gets more applications. Also, there is a very real possibility of us going awhile without hiring more agents due to the budget issues.

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Re: PI in the intelligence field

Postby Anonymous User » Wed May 04, 2011 6:45 pm

Patriot1208 wrote:Actually, the internship positions don't generally lead to full time agent positions, if that guy is expecting a full time position he's in trouble. And the demand isn't greater for agents than it is for counsel. The DEA received 50,000 applications last year and hired ~500 agents. I don't know the exact numbers for the FBI but they hire more per year, but likely gets more applications. Also, there is a very real possibility of us going awhile without hiring more agents due to the budget issues.


Conditional offer poster back...

I'm doing it for the experience. To quote my application essay: *not a direct quote* I know I'm not in for full-time, but I would love to learn about it. 50,000 applicants is a huge number. Then again, there were over 9,000 applicants for about 50 intern slots and I floated to the top.

But you clearly have no concept of what the term demand means. There's a massive difference between "demand" and "ratio of people who make it through the application process." 1 hire out of 100 applicants isn't demand. 500 agents is demand (for the DEA, per you - I didn't doublecheck). Are you trying to say that the DEA is going to hire more than 500 attorneys? Just ridiculous.

This was the point - those agencies aren't the legal career that some expect. Do they have counsel? Yes. But so does every Fortune 500 corporation. Applying to the FBI for a cousel-ish internship is about like applying to Walmart or Disney for a counsel-ish internship. It isn't the organization's primary function. The purpose of the FBI is to do its work and then turn the file over for prosecution. As such, the internship programs are not structured around getting into a counsel position. Also, FBI internships have been shifted from headquarters to field offices, so there may actually be zero chance of landing an internship that involves "practicing" law.
Last edited by Anonymous User on Wed May 04, 2011 11:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: PI in the intelligence field

Postby 03121202698008 » Wed May 04, 2011 6:49 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Patriot1208 wrote:Actually, the internship positions don't generally lead to full time agent positions, if that guy is expecting a full time position he's in trouble. And the demand isn't greater for agents than it is for counsel. The DEA received 50,000 applications last year and hired ~500 agents. I don't know the exact numbers for the FBI but they hire more per year, but likely gets more applications. Also, there is a very real possibility of us going awhile without hiring more agents due to the budget issues.


Conditional offer poster back...

I'm doing it for the experience. To quote my application essay: "I am not under any illusion that this internship is an automatic ticket to full-time employment with the FBI, but I am fully aware that it has the potential to be an incredible learning experience." In fact, that attitude is probably what helped me get the gig. 50,000 applicants is a huge number. Then again, there were over 9,000 applicants for about 50 intern slots and I floated to the top.

But you clearly have no concept of what the term demand means. There's a massive difference between "demand" and "ratio of people who make it through the application process." 1 hire out of 100 applicants isn't demand. 500 agents is demand (for the DEA, per you - I didn't doublecheck). Are you trying to say that the DEA is going to hire more than 500 attorneys? Just ridiculous.

This was the point - those agencies aren't the legal career that some expect. Do they have counsel? Yes. But so does every Fortune 500 corporation. Applying to the FBI for a cousel-ish internship is about like applying to Walmart or Disney for a counsel-ish internship. It isn't the organization's primary function. The purpose of the FBI is to do its work and then turn the file over for prosecution. As such, the internship programs are not structured around getting into a counsel position. Also, FBI internships have been shifted from headquarters to field offices, so there may actually be zero chance of landing an internship that involves "practicing" law.


Not only is it not their primary function, they don't do what you'd expect. The US Attorneys prosecute for the FBI, and direct FBI investigations. the FBI counsel are responsible for writing/vetting policies for legality and answering FOIA requests. Not much else.

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Re: PI in the intelligence field

Postby Flips88 » Wed May 04, 2011 6:50 pm

IIRC, you can get dinged by the CIA for pirating

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Re: PI in the intelligence field

Postby Verity » Wed May 04, 2011 7:37 pm

Okay, okay, it's not like I'm expecting to segue from counsel to spy/agent.

The broader question, I guess: is there truly such a thing as "intelligence law?" The CIA's website says about its summer internship program, "The CIA Office of General Counsel has a Summer Legal Clerkship Program that allows a small number of exceptionally qualified law students to obtain broad exposure to the practice of intelligence law..."

How do you prepare for this in LS, or at least before you get into actually practicing "intelligence law?"

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Re: PI in the intelligence field

Postby Anonymous User » Wed May 04, 2011 8:00 pm

Verity wrote:Okay, okay, it's not like I'm expecting to segue from counsel to spy/agent.

The broader question, I guess: is there truly such a thing as "intelligence law?" The CIA's website says about its summer internship program, "The CIA Office of General Counsel has a Summer Legal Clerkship Program that allows a small number of exceptionally qualified law students to obtain broad exposure to the practice of intelligence law..."

How do you prepare for this in LS, or at least before you get into actually practicing "intelligence law?"


I interned at CIA in undergrad before coming to law school and met with several recent grads (no more than 3 years out) that were working as attorneys. As with just about every job at the agency, it's a lot less sexy than you think. Generally, you're handling the more mundane legal questions that every government agency handles: contracting issues, labor/employment issues, internal regulations, etc. Though, to be fair, it sometimes involves big, Stark-Industries-esque defense contractors and the employees are spies. Every once in awhile you may be tasked to work on some of the sexier things and tricky legal questions (do we have the authority to send x group to y country to do z, and what are the potential legal ramifications or can we give this agency access to this classified document). I was told the recent-hires rotated every few months to a different subject area so that by the end of a year or two they've dabbled in all of the different legal questions that face the agency.

I'd take administrative law, labor and employment, etc. Intelligence, as a field, is highly specialized and you can't really prepare for it in the private sector. But they expect that. It's more about getting good grades, having a demonstrated interest in the subject matter, and being clean enough to pass the background check (this is where 90% of people are going to fail). Hth.

Edit: Oh, and the CIA does have an Honors program where they take on entry level attorneys like other government agencies. Attorneys a few years out came from both firms and other government agencies, it didn't seem to matter.

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Re: PI in the intelligence field

Postby Verity » Wed May 04, 2011 9:40 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Verity wrote:Okay, okay, it's not like I'm expecting to segue from counsel to spy/agent.

The broader question, I guess: is there truly such a thing as "intelligence law?" The CIA's website says about its summer internship program, "The CIA Office of General Counsel has a Summer Legal Clerkship Program that allows a small number of exceptionally qualified law students to obtain broad exposure to the practice of intelligence law..."

How do you prepare for this in LS, or at least before you get into actually practicing "intelligence law?"


I interned at CIA in undergrad before coming to law school and met with several recent grads (no more than 3 years out) that were working as attorneys. As with just about every job at the agency, it's a lot less sexy than you think. Generally, you're handling the more mundane legal questions that every government agency handles: contracting issues, labor/employment issues, internal regulations, etc. Though, to be fair, it sometimes involves big, Stark-Industries-esque defense contractors and the employees are spies. Every once in awhile you may be tasked to work on some of the sexier things and tricky legal questions (do we have the authority to send x group to y country to do z, and what are the potential legal ramifications or can we give this agency access to this classified document). I was told the recent-hires rotated every few months to a different subject area so that by the end of a year or two they've dabbled in all of the different legal questions that face the agency.

I'd take administrative law, labor and employment, etc. Intelligence, as a field, is highly specialized and you can't really prepare for it in the private sector. But they expect that. It's more about getting good grades, having a demonstrated interest in the subject matter, and being clean enough to pass the background check (this is where 90% of people are going to fail). Hth.

Edit: Oh, and the CIA does have an Honors program where they take on entry level attorneys like other government agencies. Attorneys a few years out came from both firms and other government agencies, it didn't seem to matter.


Wow, thanks. I'm just kind of stunned at your appraisal of a 90% failure rate for background checks. I mean, what the hell do all of these attorneys have in their pasts that are so disqualifying? Considering that it's the CIA, do they disqualify candidates based on factors that would not normally raise a red flag (e.g., being of a certain race, religion or ethnicity)?

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Re: PI in the intelligence field

Postby dixiecupdrinking » Wed May 04, 2011 10:39 pm

Conditional offer poster: You might want to remove the direct quote from your application if you think the FBI would care that you're writing about it here. Just in case it slipped your notice.




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