How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Feb 11, 2013 1:38 am

What about representing DV victims in court? My local PD doesn't let students practice, but I have an offer to spend the semester as a DV advocate (actually advising clients and speaking in court). If I practice at a PD's this summer and do a clinic next year, will the DV work still raise questions?

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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Feb 11, 2013 10:05 am

Anonymous User wrote:What about representing DV victims in court? My local PD doesn't let students practice, but I have an offer to spend the semester as a DV advocate (actually advising clients and speaking in court). If I practice at a PD's this summer and do a clinic next year, will the DV work still raise questions?

I worked as a social worker at dv organization for a semester in law school. It raised questions so I took it off my résumé.

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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby Void » Mon Feb 11, 2013 3:30 pm

Anonymous User wrote:What about representing DV victims in court? My local PD doesn't let students practice, but I have an offer to spend the semester as a DV advocate (actually advising clients and speaking in court). If I practice at a PD's this summer and do a clinic next year, will the DV work still raise questions?


Whether this experience would "raise questions" is a different inquiry from whether it will "screw you over." I imagine that any experience with DV victims will raise the question of how you would feel about representing DV defendants, so you should definitely have a good answer for that.

In my opinion, working as a DV victim's advocate is riskier than working on a hotline. The latter just generally suggests that you're interested in helping people who are in terrible situations (which is a transferrable attribute for a PD office) while the former is a little closer to showing a prosecutorial interest. That said, I think that too much emphasis is placed on avoiding prosecutor experience- if you are genuinely interested in being a public defender (for reasons other than "I just want a paycheck") then it shouldn't be that difficult to articulate that interest.

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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby adonai » Mon Feb 11, 2013 4:32 pm

Void wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:What about representing DV victims in court? My local PD doesn't let students practice, but I have an offer to spend the semester as a DV advocate (actually advising clients and speaking in court). If I practice at a PD's this summer and do a clinic next year, will the DV work still raise questions?


Whether this experience would "raise questions" is a different inquiry from whether it will "screw you over." I imagine that any experience with DV victims will raise the question of how you would feel about representing DV defendants, so you should definitely have a good answer for that.

In my opinion, working as a DV victim's advocate is riskier than working on a hotline. The latter just generally suggests that you're interested in helping people who are in terrible situations (which is a transferrable attribute for a PD office) while the former is a little closer to showing a prosecutorial interest. That said, I think that too much emphasis is placed on avoiding prosecutor experience- if you are genuinely interested in being a public defender (for reasons other than "I just want a paycheck") then it shouldn't be that difficult to articulate that interest.

+1. Even an internship at a DA's office can be spun by saying "I wanted to explore both sides to get a hollistic experience of the system" or "I was initially interested in prosecution, but saw the light, etc." This is assuming that the PD office to which you are applying to will even be willing to hear you out, as opposed to an automatic ding due to the DA experience. In my major metropolitan area, it seems like they are willing to hear you out.

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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby BlueLotus » Mon Feb 11, 2013 10:43 pm

I've heard anecdotally that even civil legal aid offices are suspicious of DA work--is this true in your experience?

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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Feb 11, 2013 11:19 pm

I'm a 1L at a top 35 school. My grades aren't good (bottom 1/3), but I want to be a PD. I know I could find a job in some small county in my home state, but I do have aspirations to move to somewhere in the San Francisco bay area at some point in my life. After working for 5-10 years in my home state, do you think the SFPD's office is going to care about my grades? Will they just look more at my experience?

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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby Void » Tue Feb 12, 2013 12:37 am

Anonymous User wrote:I'm a 1L at a top 35 school. My grades aren't good (bottom 1/3), but I want to be a PD. I know I could find a job in some small county in my home state, but I do have aspirations to move to somewhere in the San Francisco bay area at some point in my life. After working for 5-10 years in my home state, do you think the SFPD's office is going to care about my grades? Will they just look more at my experience?


Your grades will probably be meaningless after a couple of years- if not a couple of months- of actual experience. SF Public Defender is a lofty goal and they definitely are highly selective when it comes to law students, but even there I doubt that they care much about an experienced attorney's grades from law school. Also, keep in mind that there are other options in the area- Oakland/Alameda County, San Jose, etc.

That said, you're always better off by improving your GPA- dont depend on the fact that public defenders dont care much about grades. You never know what will happen in the future.

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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby Void » Tue Feb 12, 2013 12:40 am

PinkLotus wrote:I've heard anecdotally that even civil legal aid offices are suspicious of DA work--is this true in your experience?


Never heard this. I work at a place like this and plenty of people are definitely more prosecutorish than defense-minded, so if there is some truth to what you heard it definitely isnt universal.

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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Feb 12, 2013 12:42 am

adonai wrote:
Void wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:What about representing DV victims in court? My local PD doesn't let students practice, but I have an offer to spend the semester as a DV advocate (actually advising clients and speaking in court). If I practice at a PD's this summer and do a clinic next year, will the DV work still raise questions?


Whether this experience would "raise questions" is a different inquiry from whether it will "screw you over." I imagine that any experience with DV victims will raise the question of how you would feel about representing DV defendants, so you should definitely have a good answer for that.

In my opinion, working as a DV victim's advocate is riskier than working on a hotline. The latter just generally suggests that you're interested in helping people who are in terrible situations (which is a transferrable attribute for a PD office) while the former is a little closer to showing a prosecutorial interest. That said, I think that too much emphasis is placed on avoiding prosecutor experience- if you are genuinely interested in being a public defender (for reasons other than "I just want a paycheck") then it shouldn't be that difficult to articulate that interest.

+1. Even an internship at a DA's office can be spun by saying "I wanted to explore both sides to get a hollistic experience of the system" or "I was initially interested in prosecution, but saw the light, etc." This is assuming that the PD office to which you are applying to will even be willing to hear you out, as opposed to an automatic ding due to the DA experience. In my major metropolitan area, it seems like they are willing to hear you out.


If you're 100% sure you want to do PD work then don't work for a DA. There are offices that borderline CANNOT be convinced that you were just trying to see how the other side works. DV work won't be an auto-ding but be prepared to discuss it.

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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Feb 12, 2013 5:24 pm

Miami has sent out panel interview offers for the second round.

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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Feb 12, 2013 5:26 pm

Also, CPCS is calling people to extend job offers right now. Just got my offer!

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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Feb 12, 2013 5:48 pm

Anonymous User wrote:If you're 100% sure you want to do PD work then don't work for a DA. There are offices that borderline CANNOT be convinced that you were just trying to see how the other side works. DV work won't be an auto-ding but be prepared to discuss it.


I agree that this is the right advice for aspiring PDs but I really feel like it's a shame. Wouldn't an internship at a DA be really helpful, especially in the same market? You would have an understanding of how cases work from both sides, which has to make you a better advocate for your client. It seems like there is too much emphasis on convincing someone that you are 100% super committed to their office in a time where JD mobility from job to job is pretty low, and if you have PD experience and are applying for a PD job, chances are, yes, you want to do that.

I'd be more worried about emotional burnout from truly passionate ideologues than from someone who might be slightly more prosecutor-oriented but ultimately decided they wanted to do PD.

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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Feb 12, 2013 5:55 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Please forgive my ignorance, but I have some questions about public defender offices. So is PDS just hands down the best? I have heard it referred as such on several occasions and I was just wondering why this is true? What really makes the difference?

Does it matter which public defender office you intern at your 2l summer for post-grad hiring?

Finally, what is the salary of big city public defender offices? It seems like these would be more desirable because of the better cases, experience, and opportunities but I was just wondering what my quality of life would be? I'm at GULC so they have the loan repayment program where they will pay your loan payments for you for 10 years and then after 10 years it is forgiven tax free by the government through the public service ibr thing fwiw.

Thanks!

Edited to respond to prior post: what are the exit options exactly? I'm also still curious as to what specifically sets them apart from other public defender offices and my 2l intern question.


Office rankings

There are a few tiers of PD offices. This isn't a precise thing at all, but I think it's directionally on point.

1. Bronx and PDS are consistently referred to as the best two, and for different reasons. The Bronx pioneered its holistic model and serves clients in a very non-traditional way. PDS, meanwhile, is an incredibly aggressive trial office. They train up the panel attorneys in D.C., receive more funding than state or local offices (because the office is federally funded), and have more manageable caseloads than state or local offices.

2. After the Bronx and PDS is a tier that includes Brooklyn, Miami, LA, and SF.

3. After that are the high-performing state systems like Colorado and Massachusetts.

4. Then there's everyone else.

Where to intern 2L summer

Generally, you have a better chance of getting an offer if you interned at the office. Both the Bronx and PDS guarantee interviews to their interns. Legal Aid does the same.

Salaries

SF is the highest, at 100K. LA is in the 70s. PDS is 66. NJ is 60. Everywhere in NYC is 50. Miami is 42.

EDIT: More info on salaries and offices here.



Curious to the above poster (or anyone else who would like to share input regarding this), but where would Legal Aid rank on this list? Is Legal Aid Society NY --say-- comparable to Brooklyn or Miami?

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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Feb 12, 2013 10:08 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Miami has sent out panel interview offers for the second round.


PD?

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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby BlueLotus » Tue Feb 12, 2013 11:16 pm

Is journal necessary if you wanna work in Appeals?

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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Tue Feb 12, 2013 11:22 pm

PinkLotus wrote:Is journal necessary if you wanna work in Appeals?

I don't know if journal is necessary for doing appellate, but in some states, a really good way to get to do appellate PD/DA is to do a state appellate clerkship, and doing journal is a big help for getting the clerkship. (I'm sure there are other ways to get into appeals, but this is one I have seen frequently.)

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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Feb 12, 2013 11:35 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous wrote:Office rankings

There are a few tiers of PD offices. This isn't a precise thing at all, but I think it's directionally on point.

1. Bronx and PDS are consistently referred to as the best two, and for different reasons. The Bronx pioneered its holistic model and serves clients in a very non-traditional way. PDS, meanwhile, is an incredibly aggressive trial office. They train up the panel attorneys in D.C., receive more funding than state or local offices (because the office is federally funded), and have more manageable caseloads than state or local offices.

2. After the Bronx and PDS is a tier that includes Brooklyn, Miami, LA, and SF.

3. After that are the high-performing state systems like Colorado and Massachusetts.

4. Then there's everyone else.

Where to intern 2L summer

Generally, you have a better chance of getting an offer if you interned at the office. Both the Bronx and PDS guarantee interviews to their interns. Legal Aid does the same.

Salaries

SF is the highest, at 100K. LA is in the 70s. PDS is 66. NJ is 60. Everywhere in NYC is 50. Miami is 42.

EDIT: More info on salaries and offices here.



Curious to the above poster (or anyone else who would like to share input regarding this), but where would Legal Aid rank on this list? Is Legal Aid Society NY --say-- comparable to Brooklyn or Miami?


Likely with group 3 above. Legal Aid doesn't have a great reputation, particularly when NYC is full of innovative secondary providers like the Bronx, NYCDS, and Brooklyn. Legal Aid is a massive bureaucracy with huge entering classes.

I'm sure reasonable minds could differ on this, though.

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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Feb 12, 2013 11:50 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous wrote:Office rankings

There are a few tiers of PD offices. This isn't a precise thing at all, but I think it's directionally on point.

1. Bronx and PDS are consistently referred to as the best two, and for different reasons. The Bronx pioneered its holistic model and serves clients in a very non-traditional way. PDS, meanwhile, is an incredibly aggressive trial office. They train up the panel attorneys in D.C., receive more funding than state or local offices (because the office is federally funded), and have more manageable caseloads than state or local offices.

2. After the Bronx and PDS is a tier that includes Brooklyn, Miami, LA, and SF.

3. After that are the high-performing state systems like Colorado and Massachusetts.

4. Then there's everyone else.

Where to intern 2L summer

Generally, you have a better chance of getting an offer if you interned at the office. Both the Bronx and PDS guarantee interviews to their interns. Legal Aid does the same.

Salaries

SF is the highest, at 100K. LA is in the 70s. PDS is 66. NJ is 60. Everywhere in NYC is 50. Miami is 42.

EDIT: More info on salaries and offices here.



Curious to the above poster (or anyone else who would like to share input regarding this), but where would Legal Aid rank on this list? Is Legal Aid Society NY --say-- comparable to Brooklyn or Miami?


Likely with group 3 above. Legal Aid doesn't have a great reputation, particularly when NYC is full of innovative secondary providers like the Bronx, NYCDS, and Brooklyn. Legal Aid is a massive bureaucracy with huge entering classes.

I'm sure reasonable minds could differ on this, though.


Appreciate the input. I have an offer from Colorado right now, had a second interview with BDS (haven't heard back about a third interview or offer), have a final interview with Miami in a month (again, like BDS, not a sure thing nor do I know when it would be...), and am also in the running for LAS, I think. So I'm trying to kind of feel out which of these offices would be best. Difficult, lol.

Anyone else have thoughts on this?

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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Feb 13, 2013 12:43 am

Having interned at an NYC PD office, I'd say the main advantage to LAS over the alternate providers is that it may be a better office to work at if you want to hang a shingle one day and do private criminal defense in NYC/the NYC area. Because it's the oldest PD office in the city (the alternative providers are around 15 years old), old timer private defense attorneys know LAS better than they know the alternate providers. A lot of them are also former LAS attorneys. If you were to hang a shingle and try to get work referred to you, LAS may get you farther in that endeavor. However, the alternate providers are probably better other kinds of exit options like public policy work.
Last edited by Anonymous User on Wed Feb 13, 2013 2:02 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby jddt19 » Wed Feb 13, 2013 1:10 am

New to the board, worked as a prosecutor for three years and a year doing criminal defense before that. If anyone has any questions about life in the trenches doing ASA work in a mid-size county (over 100k), be happy to answer them. Best of luck to you aspiring ASA and PD folks, it's fighting the good fight.

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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Feb 13, 2013 2:54 am

jddt19 wrote:New to the board, worked as a prosecutor for three years and a year doing criminal defense before that. If anyone has any questions about life in the trenches doing ASA work in a mid-size county (over 100k), be happy to answer them. Best of luck to you aspiring ASA and PD folks, it's fighting the good fight.

Thanks for taking questions. Was wondering what your take would be on my situation if you were hiring me: I always wanted to be a prosecutor and even did internships with the local DAs office during the downtime before law school. I also have lots of other legally relevant work experience. After starting law school, however, I did a two semester detour through the federal courts. The opportunities just seemed to present themselves and I really wanted to experience a broad range of areas before committing myself to one specific route. This detour reaffirmed the fact that I really want to be a DA, and I plan an going back towards that route this summer and the rest of 3L year. My question is whether this detour will hurt me, and if so how I can best repair the damage.

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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Feb 13, 2013 10:42 am

To the former ASA above, for those of us beginning careers with a DAs office or SAO in a few months, what would you recommend as "survival tips"? Both in terms of:

(1) Handling the work on a day to day basis (i.e. prioritizing, maintaining work-life balance, dealing with missing witnesses, etc.) AND

(2) Things to consider for the people like myself with an eye towards moving on to AUSA/DOJ/Fed Court type careers.

Thanks so much.

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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Feb 13, 2013 12:32 pm

Anonymous User wrote:To the former ASA above, for those of us beginning careers with a DAs office or SAO in a few months, what would you recommend as "survival tips"? Both in terms of:

(1) Handling the work on a day to day basis (i.e. prioritizing, maintaining work-life balance, dealing with missing witnesses, etc.) AND

(2) Things to consider for the people like myself with an eye towards moving on to AUSA/DOJ/Fed Court type careers.

Thanks so much.


+1

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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby robin600 » Wed Feb 13, 2013 2:36 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous wrote:Office rankings

There are a few tiers of PD offices. This isn't a precise thing at all, but I think it's directionally on point.

1. Bronx and PDS are consistently referred to as the best two, and for different reasons. The Bronx pioneered its holistic model and serves clients in a very non-traditional way. PDS, meanwhile, is an incredibly aggressive trial office. They train up the panel attorneys in D.C., receive more funding than state or local offices (because the office is federally funded), and have more manageable caseloads than state or local offices.

2. After the Bronx and PDS is a tier that includes Brooklyn, Miami, LA, and SF.

3. After that are the high-performing state systems like Colorado and Massachusetts.

4. Then there's everyone else.

Where to intern 2L summer

Generally, you have a better chance of getting an offer if you interned at the office. Both the Bronx and PDS guarantee interviews to their interns. Legal Aid does the same.

Salaries

SF is the highest, at 100K. LA is in the 70s. PDS is 66. NJ is 60. Everywhere in NYC is 50. Miami is 42.

EDIT: More info on salaries and offices here.



Curious to the above poster (or anyone else who would like to share input regarding this), but where would Legal Aid rank on this list? Is Legal Aid Society NY --say-- comparable to Brooklyn or Miami?


Likely with group 3 above. Legal Aid doesn't have a great reputation, particularly when NYC is full of innovative secondary providers like the Bronx, NYCDS, and Brooklyn. Legal Aid is a massive bureaucracy with huge entering classes.

I'm sure reasonable minds could differ on this, though.


Appreciate the input. I have an offer from Colorado right now, had a second interview with BDS (haven't heard back about a third interview or offer), have a final interview with Miami in a month (again, like BDS, not a sure thing nor do I know when it would be...), and am also in the running for LAS, I think. So I'm trying to kind of feel out which of these offices would be best. Difficult, lol.

Anyone else have thoughts on this?

Would you mind PMing me. I'd love to hear your input on the interview process of some offices and some other things too.

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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby hopin10 » Wed Feb 13, 2013 2:46 pm

Happy to take questions on the offices that the above poster is considering, too. I went through the interview process for all of them (though did not go to the final stage for each one).




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