How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Sep 26, 2011 6:01 pm

So I am interested in potentially working at a prosecutor's office down the road. I also am hoping to clerk after law school.
Assuming decent grades at a T6 school, how much interest in prosecution must one demonstrate to receive consideration at prosecutor's offices? Is working at a prosecutor's office (or a PD office) during 1L or 2L summer a must? As it stands, I'm trying to work at a prosecutor's office my 3L summer (before a clerkship), take all the relevant crim classes (and hopefully do decently), and potentially do an externship at a prosecutor's office/PD office during the fall of my 3L year. But I didn't work at a prosecutor/PD office my 1L summer, and I'm currently looking at firms for 2L summer (the firms are known as litigation shops, and do a lot of white collar defense work). Is that enough to get a passing look from DAs offices or USAO offices? Does it make more sense to plan to work a few years at a firm after a clerkship to try to get enough experience to apply?

Sorry if this has been answered before; this thread has seemed to emphasize that commitment was more important than grades, but I've also been told by professors, including those who've worked at these places, that grades are important but it won't matter as much whether I've worked at a prosecutor's office. So I'm trying to figure out which narrative holds.

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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Sep 26, 2011 6:29 pm

Anonymous User wrote:So I am interested in potentially working at a prosecutor's office down the road. I also am hoping to clerk after law school.
Assuming decent grades at a T6 school, how much interest in prosecution must one demonstrate to receive consideration at prosecutor's offices? Is working at a prosecutor's office (or a PD office) during 1L or 2L summer a must? As it stands, I'm trying to work at a prosecutor's office my 3L summer (before a clerkship), take all the relevant crim classes (and hopefully do decently), and potentially do an externship at a prosecutor's office/PD office during the fall of my 3L year. But I didn't work at a prosecutor/PD office my 1L summer, and I'm currently looking at firms for 2L summer (the firms are known as litigation shops, and do a lot of white collar defense work). Is that enough to get a passing look from DAs offices or USAO offices? Does it make more sense to plan to work a few years at a firm after a clerkship to try to get enough experience to apply?

Sorry if this has been answered before; this thread has seemed to emphasize that commitment was more important than grades, but I've also been told by professors, including those who've worked at these places, that grades are important but it won't matter as much whether I've worked at a prosecutor's office. So I'm trying to figure out which narrative holds.


Are you trying to be an ADA or an AUSA? Because the two jobs have relatively different paths (in terms of what it takes to become one).

If you're trying to be an ADA, although grades matter, it's more important that you do things like: take evidence, criminal procedure, intern at a local prosecutors office while in school, take trial ad, participate in your school's mock trial/trial ad organization, and even do some community service work. DA's offices are more concerned about your trial ability, your experience, and demonstrated commitment than anything else. Nevertheless, good grades (especially in crim/evidence/trial ad) are helpful. The good thing about the ADA path is that they hire straight out of law school.


If you're trying to be an AUSA, understand that the path to doing so is generally very attenuated. You're probably going to need 5 years or so of post law school work experience before you are likely to be hired. Also understand that they tend to have a very narrow mind-set when it comes to evaluating applicants. Many offices are obsessed with prestige. Although you can become an AUSA after becoming an ADA, it is becoming harder to take this route, and you should try to work as an ADA in the city where you want to be an AUSA, that will increase your chances. USAO's are obsessed with grades, clerkships, and top litigation firm work. Which all goes back to grades. They have a massive preference for hiring former federal district clerks, particularly those who have clerked for a judge in the district where the USAO is located, and they like people who have worked at firms that are renowned for litigation. So in addition to looking at DA's offices in the city where you are interested in working one day as an AUSA, apply to the heavy hitter litigation/white collar firms: Paul Weiss, Williams and Connolly,Skadden's white collar NYC practice, Covington DC etc. and try to make sure that your resume displays an interest in criminal work. Remember that, in many ways, the USAO is an "honor's club" for litigation attorneys. So they are crazy obsessed with grades and prestige. But you don't have to work at a firm to get there; people get in after being JAGs and ADA's. It's just less common than it once was.

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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby Geist13 » Mon Sep 26, 2011 6:36 pm

Anonymous User wrote:So I am interested in potentially working at a prosecutor's office down the road. I also am hoping to clerk after law school.
Assuming decent grades at a T6 school, how much interest in prosecution must one demonstrate to receive consideration at prosecutor's offices? Is working at a prosecutor's office (or a PD office) during 1L or 2L summer a must? As it stands, I'm trying to work at a prosecutor's office my 3L summer (before a clerkship), take all the relevant crim classes (and hopefully do decently), and potentially do an externship at a prosecutor's office/PD office during the fall of my 3L year. But I didn't work at a prosecutor/PD office my 1L summer, and I'm currently looking at firms for 2L summer (the firms are known as litigation shops, and do a lot of white collar defense work). Is that enough to get a passing look from DAs offices or USAO offices? Does it make more sense to plan to work a few years at a firm after a clerkship to try to get enough experience to apply?

Sorry if this has been answered before; this thread has seemed to emphasize that commitment was more important than grades, but I've also been told by professors, including those who've worked at these places, that grades are important but it won't matter as much whether I've worked at a prosecutor's office. So I'm trying to figure out which narrative holds.


First, get the USAO out of your head. It won't happen right out of law school. Second, you won't get too much experience relevant to being a prosecutor at a litigation firm (at least not for a little while). They're not going to let you try cases until you've put in some years. So unless you're there for a long time and start to make a little bit of a name for yourself, you won't pick up too many skills relevant to prosecution.

From what I've heard, different offices have different practices in terms of what they're looking for. Where I was last summer, everyone told me that knowing ADAs who would put in a good word for me, having worked at the office in the past, and landing a trial level clerkship with one of the criminal judges in the district were the best ways to make myself stand out. I also know that at the office I worked at, they examine the personality type of the applicant. They wanted outgoing assertive people.

I think that if you've never worked at a DA/PD office it will be something you'll have to overcome. I mean, what did you do your first summer? It probably doesn't look good if you took some other average internship instead of working at a DA's office. Then second year you go work at a firm? All other things being equal (grades etc.), they'll pick someone who has demonstrated interest in the work over someone who hasn't. That's not to say that they will automatically reject you, but it will certainly be something you will have to overcome. One problem is that these places aren't as prestige driven as firms (though I'm sure there are exceptions). So you can't always overcome it just by having good grades from a good school. You'll have to convince them that you can do this work at a really high level, and that you want to do it for the long haul. Do that externship, that will look really good, especially if you get to appear in court. Does your school have prosecution clinics?

edit: also if you are interested in the USAO (eventually), try to intern there during the school year. I know my local office has internships during the year.

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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Sep 26, 2011 10:21 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I'm a rising 2L and I want to be a PD after I graduate. This thread has been amazingly helpful, but I have a few questions that I was hoping someone might be able to answer.

First, does anyone know when I should be applying to PD offices for summer internships? On the one hand, all of the firm hiring and OCI stuff is making me think that I should be applying now, but applying so early seems kind of strange when I don't even have to apply for internships for next semester yet.

Second, I grew up in CA and most of my family is there, but I decided to go to Emory because I like Atlanta and wanted to open up another market for myself (I made this decision with the CA budget crisis and hiring freezes in mind). I would be happy working in either state after graduation, but now I'm not sure where I should intern next summer. I was in Atlanta last summer, and I was planning to work here again this summer to show that I'm not a flight risk. However, my career services adviser just told me that CA employers would question my commitment to the state if I stayed in Atlanta for the summer. I really don't want to close off any possibility of working in CA, but I also think there might be too many budget problems and hiring freezes there to put all of my eggs in that basket. Is my career services adviser right? Also, does anyone know how to find out which offices have hiring freezes and which might be hiring? I'm trying to figure out which state is less of a risk, but I'm having trouble finding the information I need.

Sorry, I'm just kind of confused and don't know what to do right now.


Bump for an answer to the application timeline. I've been applying to PD jobs for about a month but based upon the answers I've received to my follow up calls, most offices seem like they're not doing interviews / offers until around February. So is this really too early to be applying?

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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby seatown12 » Mon Sep 26, 2011 11:11 pm

Anonymous User wrote: So is this really too early to be applying?

probably not too early, but unnecessarily early

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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby npe » Mon Sep 26, 2011 11:49 pm

3Ls, how are the interviews going? I heard from Manhattan that they're doing fewer screeners this year, so hopefully we'll hear back sooner this season.

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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 28, 2011 1:05 pm

npe wrote:3Ls, how are the interviews going? I heard from Manhattan that they're doing fewer screeners this year, so hopefully we'll hear back sooner this season.


Went in for second round at Manhattan this week. They said they were looking to do third rounds in mid-October -- in case that helps anyone with their planning.

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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby seatown12 » Mon Oct 03, 2011 11:49 am

.
Last edited by seatown12 on Mon Oct 03, 2011 7:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby Nicholasnickynic » Mon Oct 03, 2011 12:46 pm

Anonymous User wrote:So I am interested in potentially working at a prosecutor's office down the road. I also am hoping to clerk after law school.
Assuming decent grades at a T6 school, how much interest in prosecution must one demonstrate to receive consideration at prosecutor's offices? Is working at a prosecutor's office (or a PD office) during 1L or 2L summer a must? As it stands, I'm trying to work at a prosecutor's office my 3L summer (before a clerkship), take all the relevant crim classes (and hopefully do decently), and potentially do an externship at a prosecutor's office/PD office during the fall of my 3L year. But I didn't work at a prosecutor/PD office my 1L summer, and I'm currently looking at firms for 2L summer (the firms are known as litigation shops, and do a lot of white collar defense work). Is that enough to get a passing look from DAs offices or USAO offices? Does it make more sense to plan to work a few years at a firm after a clerkship to try to get enough experience to apply?

Sorry if this has been answered before; this thread has seemed to emphasize that commitment was more important than grades, but I've also been told by professors, including those who've worked at these places, that grades are important but it won't matter as much whether I've worked at a prosecutor's office. So I'm trying to figure out which narrative holds.



I can't imagine why a professor would say grades are more important. I would have thought they would say that experience was more important, and just do the minimal amount of work for their class. :roll:

I know someone who is interning at the a DAs office in one of the major cities in NC. She is the bottom 1/4 of the class. I feel like she has a lot better of a chance of getting a job there after graduation then someone who has little to no experience with top grades.

Its common sense.

ALSO: Most professors are woefully ignorant of modern hiring practices.

I was talking to one of my professors and I mentioned the term OCI. He did not know the term so I was like on-campus-interviews. He had no idea what that was. This professor didn't even know how big firms hired...

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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Oct 03, 2011 5:27 pm

Anyone know how feasible going from private criminal defense to prosecution or the PD's office is?

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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby Tanicius » Mon Oct 03, 2011 7:27 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Anyone know how feasible going from private criminal defense to prosecution or the PD's office is?


Most local PD offices love to someone with criminal trial experience, assuming they're funded well enough to take on recruits nowadays. Not so sure about federal defenders.

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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Oct 03, 2011 7:27 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
npe wrote:3Ls, how are the interviews going? I heard from Manhattan that they're doing fewer screeners this year, so hopefully we'll hear back sooner this season.


Went in for second round at Manhattan this week. They said they were looking to do third rounds in mid-October -- in case that helps anyone with their planning.



Jeez, I'm late in the game, I don't have my 2nd round till mid October.

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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Oct 03, 2011 11:02 pm

Just had my first round a week and a half ago. How quickly did they get back to you about the second round?

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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Oct 04, 2011 7:12 am

Anonymous User wrote:Just had my first round a week and a half ago. How quickly did they get back to you about the second round?


I had my second round 3 weeks almost to the day after my first round. I think it took about 2 weeks after the first round for them to email about scheduling a second round.

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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Oct 04, 2011 7:19 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Just had my first round a week and a half ago. How quickly did they get back to you about the second round?


It took roughly 2 weeks for me to get mine. I'm the anon with the 2nd round in mid-October.

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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Oct 04, 2011 8:02 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Just had my first round a week and a half ago. How quickly did they get back to you about the second round?


It took roughly 2 weeks for me to get mine. I'm the anon with the 2nd round in mid-October.


This is making me irrationally nervous. Perhaps I will call tomorrow to check in.

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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Oct 04, 2011 8:31 pm

Got a call to schedule a third round in Manhattan today. But keep in mind I sent in my application August 1.

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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Oct 04, 2011 10:11 pm

Anyone apply to PD jobs through the Equal Justice Works Career Fair and get interviews? If so, stats?

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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Oct 04, 2011 10:21 pm

For DANY, you are probably at a huge, but hilariously ironic, disadvantage for applying early. I will not tell you why/how I know this, but I know this for a fact.

seatown12
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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby seatown12 » Wed Oct 05, 2011 12:29 am

Anonymous User wrote:Anyone apply to PD jobs through the Equal Justice Works Career Fair and get interviews? If so, stats?

got Miami, median at Wash U

rejected from 3 others and waiting on Brooklyn

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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Oct 05, 2011 5:31 pm

seatown12 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Anyone apply to PD jobs through the Equal Justice Works Career Fair and get interviews? If so, stats?

got Miami, median at Wash U

rejected from 3 others and waiting on Brooklyn




Median at T25 with PD heavy resume. Got Miami and Palm Beach, waiting on Brooklyn. Rejected from the rest.

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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby Borhas » Wed Oct 05, 2011 7:24 pm

Is the Equal Justice Works Career Fair aimed at 2L's or 3L's. I was a Summer Corp fellow, but I never knew about this fair, and so I totally missed out on it. Is it something to consider for 3L year?

===========

Also, does anyone know about this California specific thing called "987" clerkship? A PD told me that by statute, in complex criminal cases like death penalty, the PD is allowed to hire a temporary clerk to help out on the case. Supposedly they are paid about $20/hr. It seems like something to consider for that time period between taking the bar, and waiting for bar passage, and finding a job.

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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Oct 05, 2011 8:54 pm

EJW is for both 2Ls and 3Ls, although there are definitely more employers interested in hiring 2Ls for unpaid internships.

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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Oct 06, 2011 10:12 am

Anonymous User wrote:Just had my first round a week and a half ago. How quickly did they get back to you about the second round?


Immediately, but only because I have two outstanding biglaw offers w/ deadlines (both of which I'd give up).

seatown12
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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby seatown12 » Thu Oct 06, 2011 7:38 pm

seatown12 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Anyone apply to PD jobs through the Equal Justice Works Career Fair and get interviews? If so, stats?

got Miami, median at Wash U

rejected from 3 others and waiting on Brooklyn

Just got Brooklyn. BDS and Miami were the only two offices I had contacted prior to applying for EJW, which might have made a difference.




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