How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

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Myself
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Postby Myself » Tue Oct 09, 2012 1:35 am

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Anonymous User
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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Oct 09, 2012 7:50 am

Had a callback scheduled for Miami-Dade SAO, but withdrew when I accepted a different offer. Best of luck to the rest of you all! I hope one of you gets my spot!

ajax adonis wrote:
Veyron wrote:How does knowing Spanish help? Tons of people speak it and most Latinos now speak English or have kids who do.


Hmm, I spot at least two misstatements off the bat.


At least some of it's right. I'm Mexican and speak pretty much no Spanish (though I understand it relatively well, due to years of listening to my mother), but most kids at my high school spoke both even when their parents spoke almost no English.

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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Oct 09, 2012 10:24 am

At least one Federal Public Defender office in Texas won't interview applicants unless they're Spanish-fluent. It's an absolute job requirement for them.

PD seems to be the one place in the legal market where Spanish fluency helps most with job interviews. Even many places where it's not required, it's still an asset. It's got to do with PDs being the only major job category where you don't choose your clients and you handle a lot of indigents and minorities. Having Spanish-fluent attorneys eliminates the need to hire translators and helps with effective representation.

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Tanicius
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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby Tanicius » Tue Oct 09, 2012 1:07 pm

Being fluent in Spanish saves massive amounts of time. It's not just having to hire translators - it's also having to wait for the translator to show up, not having a translator available during arraignments and preliminary interviews, the time you save not having to double the length of every talk with your client when the speech goes in and out of the translator. That stuff adds up and creates tons of headaches.

It also creates a level of trust I don't think you can even get with many English-only speaking clients. When you're an immigrant in this huge, complex society that operates by rules you don't understand, it can be incredibly frightening not being able to speak the language. Attorneys that speak your language earn a certain amount of respect and trust right off the bat for being able to help with that.

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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Oct 09, 2012 10:27 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Had a callback scheduled for Miami-Dade SAO, but withdrew when I accepted a different offer. Best of luck to the rest of you all! I hope one of you gets my spot!

ajax adonis wrote:
Veyron wrote:How does knowing Spanish help? Tons of people speak it and most Latinos now speak English or have kids who do.


Hmm, I spot at least two misstatements off the bat.


At least some of it's right. I'm Mexican and speak pretty much no Spanish (though I understand it relatively well, due to years of listening to my mother), but most kids at my high school spoke both even when their parents spoke almost no English.



Did you have to hassle them much to confirm the interview date/time?

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FlanAl
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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby FlanAl » Wed Oct 10, 2012 8:36 am

Anyone have any thoughts regarding the importance of moot court? I'm doing the moot court competition this year and did it last year, mostly for fun (it really isn't that fun though). Anyways when employers say get on moot court what do they even mean? Our moot court board has like 8 people who are all on law review anyways. Do they mean get on the board or just do moot court comps?

Anyways is moot court (whatever that means) really a boost for PD/DA jobs?

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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Oct 10, 2012 9:01 am

FlanAl wrote:Anyone have any thoughts regarding the importance of moot court? I'm doing the moot court competition this year and did it last year, mostly for fun (it really isn't that fun though). Anyways when employers say get on moot court what do they even mean? Our moot court board has like 8 people who are all on law review anyways. Do they mean get on the board or just do moot court comps?

Anyways is moot court (whatever that means) really a boost for PD/DA jobs?


In my experience and from what I've heard around the office I'm interning with, real trial experience (if you can get it through externships/summers) is way more important than moot court or mock trial. Is it a big deal? Maybe, but if you're able to somehow get real trial experience under a third year practice act in your state, that's going to be much, much better when it comes down to job competitiveness.

However, more things on your résumé never hurt.

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Displeased
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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby Displeased » Wed Oct 10, 2012 12:39 pm

FlanAl wrote:Anyone have any thoughts regarding the importance of moot court? I'm doing the moot court competition this year and did it last year, mostly for fun (it really isn't that fun though). Anyways when employers say get on moot court what do they even mean? Our moot court board has like 8 people who are all on law review anyways. Do they mean get on the board or just do moot court comps?

Anyways is moot court (whatever that means) really a boost for PD/DA jobs?


I doubt PD/DAs care a great deal about moot court, at least compared to third-year practice or trial advocacy/trial team.

Moot court gives you experience writing and arguing at an appellate level, which is an important skill to have, but isn't nearly as necessary as experience at the trial level. Your average assistant public defender is making appellate arguments maybe two or three times a year, but he's in the courtroom two or three days a week.

Moot court makes you look like a successful law student, but public defenders are looking for people who could be successful trial lawyers. I suspect that third-year practice experience is most important, followed by trial advocacy/mock trial experience, with moot court/journal/other law school organizations in a somewhat distant third.

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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Oct 10, 2012 12:49 pm

FlanAl wrote:Anyone have any thoughts regarding the importance of moot court? I'm doing the moot court competition this year and did it last year, mostly for fun (it really isn't that fun though). Anyways when employers say get on moot court what do they even mean? Our moot court board has like 8 people who are all on law review anyways. Do they mean get on the board or just do moot court comps?

Anyways is moot court (whatever that means) really a boost for PD/DA jobs?

I have worked at - and interviewed with - PD/DA offices that hire recent graduates to work as appellate attorneys. Moot court will be helpful if you want to join the appeals team.

the lantern
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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby the lantern » Wed Oct 10, 2012 1:00 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
FlanAl wrote:Anyone have any thoughts regarding the importance of moot court? I'm doing the moot court competition this year and did it last year, mostly for fun (it really isn't that fun though). Anyways when employers say get on moot court what do they even mean? Our moot court board has like 8 people who are all on law review anyways. Do they mean get on the board or just do moot court comps?

Anyways is moot court (whatever that means) really a boost for PD/DA jobs?

I have worked at - and interviewed with - PD/DA offices that hire recent graduates to work as appellate attorneys. Moot court will be helpful if you want to join the appeals team.


While to an extent this may be true, here it is more important that you worked as a clerk for an appellate judge (state or federal) before becoming an appellate defender, at least according to what I've been told in informational interviews.

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Displeased
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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby Displeased » Wed Oct 10, 2012 1:20 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
FlanAl wrote:Anyone have any thoughts regarding the importance of moot court? I'm doing the moot court competition this year and did it last year, mostly for fun (it really isn't that fun though). Anyways when employers say get on moot court what do they even mean? Our moot court board has like 8 people who are all on law review anyways. Do they mean get on the board or just do moot court comps?

Anyways is moot court (whatever that means) really a boost for PD/DA jobs?

I have worked at - and interviewed with - PD/DA offices that hire recent graduates to work as appellate attorneys. Moot court will be helpful if you want to join the appeals team.


Ah, I've never worked at an office that had a separate appellate team. In that case moot court would be a great help. Still, I'm reasonably sure that moot court doesn't really make an application stand out in a typical, small to medium size state PD office.

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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Oct 10, 2012 1:27 pm

the lantern wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
FlanAl wrote:Anyone have any thoughts regarding the importance of moot court? I'm doing the moot court competition this year and did it last year, mostly for fun (it really isn't that fun though). Anyways when employers say get on moot court what do they even mean? Our moot court board has like 8 people who are all on law review anyways. Do they mean get on the board or just do moot court comps?

Anyways is moot court (whatever that means) really a boost for PD/DA jobs?

I have worked at - and interviewed with - PD/DA offices that hire recent graduates to work as appellate attorneys. Moot court will be helpful if you want to join the appeals team.

While to an extent this may be true, here it is more important that you worked as a clerk for an appellate judge (state or federal) before becoming an appellate defender, at least according to what I've been told in informational interviews.

Where is "here?" I'm sure it wouldn't hurt to do an appellate clerkship prior to working for a PD/DA appellate team, but I've never heard it was important. Perhaps you're talking about federal defenders or USAOs?

Almost every appellate attorney I know at PD/DA's offices started in that division directly from law school. The remainder started as trial attorneys before doing appeals. Some of the trial attorneys did clerkships at the trial level.

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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Oct 10, 2012 1:31 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
the lantern wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
FlanAl wrote:Anyone have any thoughts regarding the importance of moot court? I'm doing the moot court competition this year and did it last year, mostly for fun (it really isn't that fun though). Anyways when employers say get on moot court what do they even mean? Our moot court board has like 8 people who are all on law review anyways. Do they mean get on the board or just do moot court comps?

Anyways is moot court (whatever that means) really a boost for PD/DA jobs?

I have worked at - and interviewed with - PD/DA offices that hire recent graduates to work as appellate attorneys. Moot court will be helpful if you want to join the appeals team.

While to an extent this may be true, here it is more important that you worked as a clerk for an appellate judge (state or federal) before becoming an appellate defender, at least according to what I've been told in informational interviews.

Where is "here?" I'm sure it wouldn't hurt to do an appellate clerkship prior to working for a PD/DA appellate team, but I've never heard it was important. Perhaps you're talking about federal defenders or USAOs?

Almost every appellate attorney I know at PD/DA's offices started in that division directly from law school. The remainder started as trial attorneys before doing appeals. Some of the trial attorneys did clerkships at the trial level.

Eh, in my state a lot of the appellate PDs did state appellate clerkships before working for the PD. But I think this probably varies a lot by state, depending how the state sets up their PD offices. My state does have a separate appellate team, and doing a state appellate clerkship is a great way to get on that. It's probably not the only way, but it works.

(Edited to add that this is true for the appellate division at the AG's office, too - it's full of former state appellate clerks.)

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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Oct 10, 2012 1:41 pm

Has anyone here interned at the AG’s office? If so, did it seem to make a positive difference when discussing an SA position with law firms? If you can elaborate, please do so.

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FlanAl
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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby FlanAl » Wed Oct 10, 2012 1:44 pm

Pretty sure I'm over this moot court comp then haha

lovelaw27
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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby lovelaw27 » Wed Oct 10, 2012 2:11 pm

I had an interview at a DA's office in the Midwest today. The interviewer didn't even look at my resume once during the interview. I'm not even sure if he brought it to the interview. It was all hypotheticals where he was the defense attorney, and I was the prosecutor. I actually thought it was really fun.

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Tanicius
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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby Tanicius » Wed Oct 10, 2012 4:52 pm

FlanAl wrote:Pretty sure I'm over this moot court comp then haha


Don't dismiss it. It proves you can stand up on your feet, handle pressure, and talk in public. That's something a lot of candidates don't have.

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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby the lantern » Wed Oct 10, 2012 6:00 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
the lantern wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
FlanAl wrote:Anyone have any thoughts regarding the importance of moot court? I'm doing the moot court competition this year and did it last year, mostly for fun (it really isn't that fun though). Anyways when employers say get on moot court what do they even mean? Our moot court board has like 8 people who are all on law review anyways. Do they mean get on the board or just do moot court comps?

Anyways is moot court (whatever that means) really a boost for PD/DA jobs?

I have worked at - and interviewed with - PD/DA offices that hire recent graduates to work as appellate attorneys. Moot court will be helpful if you want to join the appeals team.

While to an extent this may be true, here it is more important that you worked as a clerk for an appellate judge (state or federal) before becoming an appellate defender, at least according to what I've been told in informational interviews.

Where is "here?" I'm sure it wouldn't hurt to do an appellate clerkship prior to working for a PD/DA appellate team, but I've never heard it was important. Perhaps you're talking about federal defenders or USAOs?

Almost every appellate attorney I know at PD/DA's offices started in that division directly from law school. The remainder started as trial attorneys before doing appeals. Some of the trial attorneys did clerkships at the trial level.


In Colorado (Colorado PD), the appellate defenders I've had informational interviews with have told me that it would be very difficult to get hired right out of law school (although not impossible), and that most, if not all of them had done clerkships with the state court of appeals. I should have just stated that outright, I'm just not particularly fond of giving up identifying information (although anyone sufficiently determined could probably figure things out anyway). I'm not sure how your agencies work, but the Colorado appellate defenders only do felony appeals, and the trial attorneys do their own misdemeanor appeals. Since you're starting out with felonies (unlike the trial attorneys who start out in juvenile court/misdemeanors), the stakes are a little higher and they are looking for people with at least some experience. Nevertheless, I will be applying to be an appellate defender straight out of law school.

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Rocío
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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby Rocío » Thu Oct 11, 2012 12:14 am

ajax adonis wrote:
Veyron wrote:
Borhas wrote:
Holly Golightly wrote:I'm potentially interested in criminal work, but my resume (and grades) SCREAM civil lit. I feel like being undecided on exactly what type of law I want to practice is much more detrimental when it comes to criminal work, because I don't have any shown interest in it through jobs, etc. yet. Any tips?


aren't you a 1L/rising 2L? I think a semester long clinic or internship is probably your best bet

also learn spanish


How does knowing Spanish help? Tons of people speak it and most Latinos now speak English or have kids who do.


Hmm, I spot at least two misstatements off the bat.


Spanish fluency is a major selling point if you want to be a PD -- including if you are near-native fluent (meaning: Spanish is your second language). Fluency in any second language is extremely helpful, and even more so depending on the population where you would be a PD: i.e., Brazilian/Cape Verdean Portuguese; Haitian-Creole, etc.

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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Oct 11, 2012 10:22 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Had a callback scheduled for Miami-Dade SAO, but withdrew when I accepted a different offer. Best of luck to the rest of you all! I hope one of you gets my spot!

ajax adonis wrote:
Veyron wrote:How does knowing Spanish help? Tons of people speak it and most Latinos now speak English or have kids who do.


Hmm, I spot at least two misstatements off the bat.


At least some of it's right. I'm Mexican and speak pretty much no Spanish (though I understand it relatively well, due to years of listening to my mother), but most kids at my high school spoke both even when their parents spoke almost no English.



Did you have to hassle them much to confirm the interview date/time?


Not much. But they were coming to my school to do it, so it wasn't going to be much of a travel issue for me. I didn't really push it.

Also, withdrew from NYDA recently as well. Again, best of luck to you guys! Hopefully one of you takes my spot.

partyrock
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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby partyrock » Fri Oct 12, 2012 9:36 am

question about 2L summer at a PD's office. I know that many DA's offices will let 2L students, who have taken evidence and crim pro, make appearances to argue motions and even sometimes do a very low level jury trial. This seems unlikely for the PD's office, though, because you would have to get permission from your client, right? Does anyone have experience with this?

the lantern
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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby the lantern » Fri Oct 12, 2012 10:51 am

partyrock wrote:question about 2L summer at a PD's office. I know that many DA's offices will let 2L students, who have taken evidence and crim pro, make appearances to argue motions and even sometimes do a very low level jury trial. This seems unlikely for the PD's office, though, because you would have to get permission from your client, right? Does anyone have experience with this?


2L summer you will have your own case load and be doing everything. full stop. I'm fairly certain all student practice acts require direct supervision by one of the staff attorneys (ours does), and most clients are happy to have two free attorneys instead of one. At least here, it is not unheard of to have ~5 jury trials over a summer (depends a lot on whether clients accept pleas, etc.).

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Borhas
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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby Borhas » Fri Oct 12, 2012 10:57 am

partyrock wrote:question about 2L summer at a PD's office. I know that many DA's offices will let 2L students, who have taken evidence and crim pro, make appearances to argue motions and even sometimes do a very low level jury trial. This seems unlikely for the PD's office, though, because you would have to get permission from your client, right? Does anyone have experience with this?


some PD offices will allow you to do everything up to and including misdo jury trials

some won't even let you argue motions

PDS-DC for example won't let you do anything in court (though TBF they don't handle misdos), but San Diego will allow you to do misdo jury trials, at Marin County, CA you get to do misdo jury trials and some felony Preliminary hearings (though not entirely on your own) and argue some felony motions.

But yes, you always have to get permission from the client, which isn't as hard as you would think.

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Displeased
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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby Displeased » Fri Oct 12, 2012 11:33 am

I'm routinely surprised by how willing clients are to allow students to represent them. I think clients tend to bond with whoever has first contact with them (especially if its a jailhouse interview), so if the client meets the student before they meet the "real attorney", they tend to actually prefer the student to represent them. Alternatively, you can frame it as a "two attorneys for the price of one situation", which also usually gets the client on board.

But, sometimes you can just phrase things badly. Saying "now, I'm just a student and I'm trying to learn how the law works. Please let me do so while your liberty is at stake. But don't worry! If I screw up, a lawyer will jump in to save me. Also, please sign these papers acknowledging that you realize I'm not a real lawyer. Kthanksbye".

As for how much courtroom experience you'll get, that depends on the office and the whims of the client. Even if the office gives you a decent caseload, its easily possible that all you'll get to do is take continuances, negotiate plea bargains, accept nol prosses, and maybe do a prelim or two.

If the client doesn't want to go to trial, or the state offers you sweet deals, its not like you can compel the client to go to trial just because you want a more interesting summer experience.

Remember, even the PDs only get to do a couple trials a month. Even for a full time public defender, a case actually going to a jury trial is a big fucking deal. The PDs themselves crave jury trial experience almost as much as the students. Its hard to ask them to give up the most fun part of being a trial attorney just so that a barely competent student can get a crack at it.

the lantern
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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby the lantern » Fri Oct 12, 2012 1:54 pm

I'll just say that as long as you haven't been sleeping through the entirety of your law school career up until your 2L summer, you are more than capable of handling a light caseload. By that time, I had already taken trial advocacy, a year long clinic, and worked as an intern at the PD writing motions/misdo appeals. You might feel like you don't know what you're doing, but you do. It isn't that hard, and claiming that 2L interns are "barely competent," for example, is just not the case for most. To be honest, I think a lot of the writing the interns do is much better than the actual PDs, mostly because you have more time to spend on it.




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