Non-traditional legal careers?

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Non-traditional legal careers?

Postby BCLS » Wed May 11, 2011 11:25 pm

How competitive are jobs as an attorney for the CIA? Also, I've heard some lawyers go into the FBI, what exactly do they do? Any other non-traditional careers for lawyers (besides JAG)?

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Re: Non-traditional legal careers?

Postby holdencaulfield » Wed May 11, 2011 11:42 pm

BCLS wrote:How competitive are jobs as an attorney for the CIA? Also, I've heard some lawyers go into the FBI, what exactly do they do? Any other non-traditional careers for lawyers (besides JAG)?

Very. Also, Im pretty sure both agencies are in the middle of a hiring freeze due to budget issues.

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Re: Non-traditional legal careers?

Postby kalvano » Wed May 11, 2011 11:45 pm

I went to a CIA info session. They get about 12,000 applications a month, I think they said. It's very competitive and very tough to get past the background check.

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Re: Non-traditional legal careers?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu May 12, 2011 2:06 pm

This thread seems to pop up every few weeks... regarding CIA, I do not know much, but the bits about the background check will be close as you will need to obtain a TS clearance. As for the job duties, FBI counsel would be a lot of FOIA requests (everybody who gets dinged can get their file to see why, plus all the requests for regular FBI files from journalists, etc.)

As for the FBI, law students aren't exactly what they want. Does the FBI have counsel? Yes. But applying for that is like applying for corporate counsel straight out of law school. The FBI is the organization that does the digging to get the indictment. Once the thing heads to a grand jury, it is out of their hands and is 100% DoJ. FBI internships have been shifted from HQ to field offices, so it is likely impossible to get a true "legal" internship out of it. Further, getting hired full-time at the FBI requires work experience. I actually got bored in the interview because it was question after question of, "tell me about a time when...", and all I had to do was tick off each position on my resume. Short timeline, boom. Worked as a group, boom. Not in charge, boom.

But... and this is a huge but.... an FBI internship on your resume will stop everyone. Everybody loves to talk to the FBI (you'd find this out in the background investigation - my phone was ringing off the hook for a solid two weeks with ... hey, I just got a call from the FBI about you .... hey, the agent is coming to talk to me today .... hey, the agent asked all kinds of crazy questions .... hey, I gave him/her so-and-so's name because he/she asked for more contacts). The rest of your resume will almost cease to exist.

The security clearance - if you fall into any of these categories, don't bother applying:
- Done marijuana in the last three years
- Done any other illegal drug ever (this includes abusing prescription medication - meaning if you take Adderall to study, you better have a prescription for it)
- Carry a large debt load (this might ding a lot of law students - they don't want people who might be tempted to sell secrets. Be prepared to list every bank account in your name)
- Any sort of serious run-in with the law (including speeding tickets - these alone won't ding you, but a pattern of tickets will)
- As I mentioned above, they're going to talk to everybody.
- Have to pass a polygraph about all this

Both organizations have their "type" that they search out. I fit the FBI mold. The CIA would never hire me. It is what it is. It is a big, big mountain to climb, but clearly not impossible. With the hiring freeze, about the best hope you have is to land an internship for next summer (CIA deadline is in October I think, FBI opens on November 1 and runs for about two weeks) and then try to work it from there.

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