the lantern wrote:Anonymous User wrote:Anonymous User wrote:What are everyone's thoughts on having worked/interned with a private criminal defense attorney? I'm assuming it doesn't necessarily hurt for PD jobs, but does it make one any more competitive?
Being in the midst of a PD job search that is currently fruitless, let me share with you my major take-way so far.
Nothing will help you secure a PD job as much as A PD EXPERIENCE. Simple as that. Private criminal could help you if the private attorney has connections sure. But if you aren't looking to work connections and you're literally just looking to amass experience that will help you impress a PD hiring panel at an office... THEN WORK FOR A PD.
Work for a PD during the semester, work for one over the summer, do crim defense clinic... look for whatever opportunities you can. If you can't secure a PD job for the summer look for something related. Do immigration work, do abuse and neglect cases, do appellate work, do something that is relevant to representing indigent people in criminal cases. A PD office will scrutinize your choices... private defense will be scrutinized, a firm will be scrutinized, getting divorces for poor people might even be scrutinized.
Obviously if you can't find PD work so be it, but I would stress and others above have stressed too, an experience that is not working for a PD will not substitute in the minds of a zealous PD office.
If you want to be a PD, PD work is important, like this guy/gal said. Private criminal work will at least give you some experience, but it isn't the same. You need to show a commitment to serving the indigent. In addition, working for the PD will give you valuable contacts within the system you want to work in. In the PD system I'll be working in, you MUST intern with the office in order to get a post-grad job and getting the job is highly-dependent on what your supervisor writes in your evaluation. You want to be working in the PD system as soon as possible if this is what you want to do. I actually didn't work in a PD office my 1L summer and almost got thrown out of the PD track altogether for doing so. I ended up doing an internship during my 2L year and an externship during my 3L year to make up for it. I can't say that this is the case for every office, but I would imagine getting a lot of experience within the office and getting to know as many attorneys in the office as possible cannot hurt you.
Are you working in Colorado PD? They are the only agency I know of that does this.
For those of you with 3L PD offers currently can you PM me I have a few interview questions.