How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

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

Postby Rootbeer » Sun Feb 24, 2013 6:49 pm

Lady Heather wrote:You don't need to worry about the lack of crim on your resume. A majority of 1Ls have no crim experience. You might get a Q about how you would feel about representing people who hurt people (depending on what kind of do-gooder/community service you've done). Make sure you ask about the work YOU would actually do this summer. I had an internship where the supervisor just expected me to follow attorneys around and observe trials. I had to beg for every assignment I got.

Wear a nice blouse (silk/satin, if you have it). Be conservative with jewelry - wear a couple of pieces, at most, and nothing avant-garde. I tend to be against women wearing panty-hose to work, but this is one of those areas where you could go either way.


I would be careful about turning your nose up at just following attorneys around, observing trials, and understanding how everything works. From the DA side, I found this prepared me better than anything else I did my 1L summer to do the job. I did a decent amount of good writing and research assignments, which I'm happy about, but the opportunities I had to observe helped me do well in Trial Ad and more importantly served as the first part of being ready to handle cases myself down the line as a Certified Legal Intern. It's easier to do the work when you already have a good idea of what's going on...and that won't come from scrutinizing case law about what qualifies as a present sense impression or if there's an illegal search when a police helicopter flies over your yard.

Myself
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Postby Myself » Sun Feb 24, 2013 8:27 pm

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Last edited by Myself on Wed Nov 27, 2013 3:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Lady Heather
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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby Lady Heather » Sun Feb 24, 2013 8:42 pm

Rootbeer wrote:I would be careful about turning your nose up at just following attorneys around, observing trials, and understanding how everything works. From the DA side, I found this prepared me better than anything else I did my 1L summer to do the job. I did a decent amount of good writing and research assignments, which I'm happy about, but the opportunities I had to observe helped me do well in Trial Ad and more importantly served as the first part of being ready to handle cases myself down the line as a Certified Legal Intern. It's easier to do the work when you already have a good idea of what's going on...and that won't come from scrutinizing case law about what qualifies as a present sense impression or if there's an illegal search when a police helicopter flies over your yard.
Your example is not the same as what I mentioned. You did have research and writing work that supplemented your shadowing. I warned against doing an internship where one would have no substantive assignments.

Following attorneys and observing trials can be done in college or high school. By the time you are in law school, you should be doing substantive work. Additionally, it should not take an entire semester/summer to figure out how things work at an office. Law students can observe trials at the local court and have coffee with trial attorneys without needing an 'internship.' If you're really curious about an office and want to shadow, you can find an attorney willing to accommodate you for a week or two. I would be embarrassed to tell an interviewer that I "only followed attorneys around and observed trials" for a law school internship. This just shows that an employer did not think enough of you to trust you with any work.

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

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Feb 24, 2013 9:04 pm

Tagging

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

Postby adonai » Sun Feb 24, 2013 9:06 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Tagging

Too bad it doesn't work anonymously.

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

Postby wannabelawstudent » Sun Feb 24, 2013 9:07 pm

adonai wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Tagging

Too bad it doesn't work anonymously.

Oh well tagging.

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

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Feb 24, 2013 9:11 pm

I had to turn down my favorite office because 2Ls do not get to practice and I got an offer from an office that lets 2Ls in court. I do have 4 weeks after my semester ends before my internship begins. Do you think my preferred office would let me shadow/intern for 4 weeks? My thinking is that the shadowing could show interest in the office and I could gain some knowledge about the local system.

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

Postby Rootbeer » Sun Feb 24, 2013 9:19 pm

ajax adonis wrote:I had a random question about prosecution: how much control and direction do prosecutors usually give their police officers? Do police officers pretty much follow what prosecutors tell them?


Prosecutors don't own the police, they work with them. Police may look to the prosecutors for advice on what to do and they will most of the time follow the advice in the interest of justice, but they're doing their own thing at the end of the day. If for any particular case more evidence or information is needed or whatever, prosecutors will tell them and police will do their best to get what's needed, but it's not like a chain of command scenario. In fact, it's common for cops to wander off at precisely the time they're needed in court, be busy with other things and not be able to show up, walk in late, brush lawyers off, or do other things that makes a prosecutor's life difficult. Dealing with it is part of the job. I haven't seen this happen personally, but I have a feeling that if a prosecutor tried to "order" an officer to do something, it would not end well.

Regardless of any particular things that happen, they both have the same end goal of holding criminals accountable for their actions and perform their own unique duties to achieve that goal. Prosecutors need the police to hit the street, investigate, gather evidence, make arrests, find witnesses, and write reports so a case can be built. Police need prosecutors to navigate the finer points of the law, tell them if they need more evidence, conduct the proceedings, get the evidence admitted, deal with defense attorneys, do whatever various legal baloney needs to be done, and make arguments so that the work done by police results in conviction. Both are individuals, work together, want the same thing, and listen to each other. Neither takes orders from each other.

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

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Feb 24, 2013 11:31 pm

ajax adonis wrote:I had a random question about prosecution: how much control and direction do prosecutors usually give their police officers? Do police officers pretty much follow what prosecutors tell them?


At least in offices I've seen, none. And actually, I have heard of situations where police officers get mad at the prosecutor's office for decisions by either the attorney with the case or the DA themselves (choosing to not prosecute a case that the officer thinks is rock-solid, the office taking a particular stance on a topic that goes against what the officer likes, etc.) It can lead to strained relations, particularly because the guy whose ego gets bruised is the guy who's actually out on the street risking his life. DAs are inherently political creatures, and make decisions based on political reasons. This causes friction and frustration for the rank and file, who often either don't see the whole picture, or don't have the same priorities as the DA.

A tricky part of being an ADA is that you have to work with everyone. It takes people skills to be behind your boss 100% on one hand, and support the officers 100% on the other.

jddt19
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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby jddt19 » Mon Feb 25, 2013 11:54 pm

To the question about how much you, as a prosecutor, will 'direct' the police officers...

The short answer is that you won't. The longer answer is a bit more nuanced. First, as a new prosecutor, your cases will be almost exclusively reactive prosecutions (unless you're an AUSA, and even then you start at mostly reactive stuff). That is, the case will come to you with police work mostly done- think dui, domestic battery, shoplifting, low level drug crime, etc. The police respond to a call/ situation, make an arrest, write a report and basically walk away. You'll charge based on the reports. You can try to get the police to do follow-up; in my county, our computer system allowed me to charge the crime and then request the cops do something (ie- follow up with this witness, send a pipe in to test for residue, etc). Of the thousand or so cases I charged, I'm guessing the police actually followed on something I asked for about 10 times.

If the case goes to trial, again you won't 'direct' the officer. He'll wait with other cops and they'll bullshit while you figure out what's going on with the trial calendar that day. If he knows his business, he'll have brought the report and refreshed his memory (or at least asked you for a copy). Sometimes he'll take you aside and tell you he really doesn't care about this one ("I only made the collar b/c he was acting like an ass and we needed to defuse the situation"), other times it's the opposite ("I've given this guy four warnings and he keeps doing it, I want jail"). Then you'll make your call and try/ plead/ nolle the case.

Oh, and you need to understand the informal hierarchy- as a low level ASA, you do not rank next to senior detectives who do murders for the higher ups. Know that not charging or dismissing a case where the police want a resisting arrest count will likely mean justifying it (via email, convo with boss, etc). My bosses generally backed my calls, but they would ask/ I would tell to head things off.

Of course, all this changes as you get higher up and do more serious cases/ do proactive policing. Our drug unit worked with the task forces to pick dope targets and any high profile case would bring orders to the police to do further work. However, that just isn't the case for your entry level prosecuting jobs.

Hope this helps!

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

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Feb 26, 2013 8:39 pm

When does NJ PD start taking applications for their OCI screeners?

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

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Feb 26, 2013 9:05 pm

Has anyone who got their conditional offer from Colorado received the follow-up information? (3L)

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

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Feb 26, 2013 9:35 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Has anyone who got their conditional offer from Colorado received the follow-up information? (3L)


I wouldn't expect to hear anything for quite a while if the past is any indication.

I haven't heard anything, but based on what I've heard from friends who work there, it could be months before further information is given (e.g. office placed in, expected start date, etc.).

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

Postby adonai » Thu Feb 28, 2013 2:09 am

Anyone know if it is true that only less competent/trouble making DAs get stuffed into the Appellate Department of a DA office? Should Appellate Dept. be avoided?

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

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Feb 28, 2013 2:10 am

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.


So what exactly is innovative about Brooklyn as compared with LAS? I understand Bronx and the holistic approach, but I'm still a little confused at how they differ so substantially. Funding? Or is there just a more innovative/more focused approach to defense (and if so, how?)? I've tried to get an idea of what reputation BDS has versus LAS, and most people have told me both are respectable offices in NYC. Granted, I don't live in New York (yet, at least), and I have a feeling some people in this thread may have a better handle on it than those I've talked to.

Can anyone give me a compelling reason why BDS is a better choice than LAS? Or vice versa? Or what BDS has going for it such that it should rank higher on the list of offices than LAS? It would be a huge help to me, because I haven't quite grasped it yet.

brassmonkey7
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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby brassmonkey7 » Thu Feb 28, 2013 2:42 am

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.


So what exactly is innovative about Brooklyn as compared with LAS? I understand Bronx and the holistic approach, but I'm still a little confused at how they differ so substantially. Funding? Or is there just a more innovative/more focused approach to defense (and if so, how?)? I've tried to get an idea of what reputation BDS has versus LAS, and most people have told me both are respectable offices in NYC. Granted, I don't live in New York (yet, at least), and I have a feeling some people in this thread may have a better handle on it than those I've talked to.

Can anyone give me a compelling reason why BDS is a better choice than LAS? Or vice versa? Or what BDS has going for it such that it should rank higher on the list of offices than LAS? It would be a huge help to me, because I haven't quite grasped it yet.


PM me.

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

Postby BlueLotus » Thu Feb 28, 2013 2:54 am

Is getting a gig at the Appeals Unit generally more difficult than other units?

hopin10
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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby hopin10 » Thu Feb 28, 2013 3:01 am

brassmonkey7 wrote:
So what exactly is innovative about Brooklyn as compared with LAS? I understand Bronx and the holistic approach, but I'm still a little confused at how they differ so substantially. Funding? Or is there just a more innovative/more focused approach to defense (and if so, how?)? I've tried to get an idea of what reputation BDS has versus LAS, and most people have told me both are respectable offices in NYC. Granted, I don't live in New York (yet, at least), and I have a feeling some people in this thread may have a better handle on it than those I've talked to.

Can anyone give me a compelling reason why BDS is a better choice than LAS? Or vice versa? Or what BDS has going for it such that it should rank higher on the list of offices than LAS? It would be a huge help to me, because I haven't quite grasped it yet.


Interesting question. I do get the general sense that Brooklyn is held in slightly higher esteem than LAS, but I'm not entirely sure why. LAS is a huge bureaucracy, to be sure, and there is some benefit to a smaller office. On the other hand, Brooklyn has grown exponentially over the past two years.

Brooklyn also fashions itself on a more holistic model. Not near the degree of the Bronx model, but something in between LAS and the Bronx.

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

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Feb 28, 2013 5:21 pm

Anonymous User wrote:So what exactly is innovative about Brooklyn as compared with LAS? I understand Bronx and the holistic approach, but I'm still a little confused at how they differ so substantially. Funding? Or is there just a more innovative/more focused approach to defense (and if so, how?)? I've tried to get an idea of what reputation BDS has versus LAS, and most people have told me both are respectable offices in NYC. Granted, I don't live in New York (yet, at least), and I have a feeling some people in this thread may have a better handle on it than those I've talked to.

Can anyone give me a compelling reason why BDS is a better choice than LAS? Or vice versa? Or what BDS has going for it such that it should rank higher on the list of offices than LAS? It would be a huge help to me, because I haven't quite grasped it yet.


I work at LAS, so I'm sure my opinion is biased. That being said, I still feel that this view of LAS as some bloated behemoth that doesn't care about holistic representation is a very outdated view of LAS. Bronx Defenders has striven for holistic representation since its founding, and that is something that Bronx Defenders should be very proud of. LAS, however, has changed enormously over the years; there is a lot of young blood in the office that has shaken things up and changed the negative view that people used to (and some still do) about LAS.

LAS has a lot of resources devoted to holistic representation. We have social workers employed in every office, who help our clients with a host of issues relating to behavioral health and substance abuse issues. LAS started something called the Misdemeanor Arraignment Project (or “MAP”), where one of our social workers is present during misdemeanor arraignments so that lawyers can consult with a social worker the very first time we meet our clients. And since these social workers are ours, and not the court’s, any programs or services we get in place are solely for the benefit of our client, instead of becoming some cumbersome bail condition.

LAS has a large civil practice covering a wide range of areas – including housing law and immigration. Because there are so many collateral consequences of arrests and criminal convictions in the areas of immigration and housing law (not to mention other areas), it is immensely helpful to have co-workers who are experts in these fields.

LAS also has a special litigation unit which brings class-action type suits against the city, such as a recent suit (which we won, and which Bronx Defenders ironically tried to take credit for even though it was our lawsuit) challenging the NYPD’s practice of stopping, questioning, and arresting individuals in public housing buildings in the Bronx simply because the landlord gave the NYPD carte blanche to patrol the buildings.

LAS continues to develop new initiatives, like the Prisoners’ Rights Project and Human Trafficking Unit for our clients who are charged with prostitution.

LAS is not what it was in the 1990s when BDS and Bronx Defenders were founded.

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

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Feb 28, 2013 5:37 pm

Anonymous User wrote:LAS also has a special litigation unit which brings class-action type suits against the city, such as a recent suit (which we won, and which Bronx Defenders ironically tried to take credit for even though it was our lawsuit) challenging the NYPD’s practice of stopping, questioning, and arresting individuals in public housing buildings in the Bronx simply because the landlord gave the NYPD carte blanche to patrol the buildings.


Is this (http://www.nyclu.org/news/judge-finds-n ... -buildings) the case you're talking about? I don't see any mention of LAS in the press release or in the filings.

Apologies if I'm mixing cases up.

Anonymous User wrote:That being said, I still feel that this view of LAS as some bloated behemoth that doesn't care about holistic representation is a very outdated view of LAS.

Anonymous User wrote:LAS has a large civil practice covering a wide range of areas – including housing law and immigration. Because there are so many collateral consequences of arrests and criminal convictions in the areas of immigration and housing law (not to mention other areas), it is immensely helpful to have co-workers who are experts in these fields.


My sense is that LAS isn't as integrated as Bronx in this regard. Folks work together in teams in the Bronx. Indeed, immigration / housing / family / criminal defense attorneys are staffed together on clients' cases at the Bronx. At LAS--as I understand it--people are actually in different units, potentially on different floors, sometimes in different buildings.

The size difference might matter in this regard. Brooklyn and the Bronx are still relatively small, and folks can walk across the office to ask questions.

I think LAS has a very different definition of "holistic" than the Bronx. The Bronx does some really ground-breaking work, like their newly revived bail fund. (http://www.thebronxfreedomfund.org/)

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

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Feb 28, 2013 6:36 pm

BxD definitely staffs cases with interdisciplinary teams who counsel cases together across practice areas. One thing about BxD though, is that their civil services are narrower in scope than LAS so for instance if a client has a DV crim case and a post-divorce custody case together, BxD does not do divorce cases whereas LAS does. External civil legal referrals do happen at BxD. I think each organization has positives and negatives. BxD is probably.more holistic but the range of services they provide is more limited. Also, LAS has an appellate contract which BxD does not, eg, if your client appeals a case, it can stay with LAS whereas at BxD it gets co-counseled by a biglaw associate or farmed to an appellate PD. Both are great options, granted the BxD name is probably up there with PDS as the best name you could have on your resume.

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

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Feb 28, 2013 6:40 pm

For 1L summer just got a rejection snail mail from my number 1 office, the letter was mailed the date of the interview, I'm so confused, I thought it went great

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

Postby Burple » Fri Mar 01, 2013 12:41 am

Hi guys,

My situation is a little different from most here. I have been out of law school for more than one year. I took the bar exam last February, and since I received my results I have been applying for jobs. At this point, I am only applying for prosecution positions. I did two clinics and an externship in law school. One of the clinics was a prosecution clinic (which is the reason I get any interviews). I did moot court, but did not make the moot court team, therefore, I don't mention that.

I did not know what area of law I wanted to go into while in law school, therefore, I tried my hand at several different things. Now, that I am interviewing, I realize that I am lacking in trial experience. I've never conducted a real trial. I've only taken criminal procedure, evidence and trial advocacy. In one of my interviews, I felt like the people wanted to hire me. They were selling the area to me, etc, but then they found out that I did not have actual trial experience. They have a small office, and do not train their new hires. Apparently, I really impressed them in the interview. They did suggest that I gain trial experience and said they would hire me after gaining this experience. It was the same thing with the other offices I interviewed with. Once they found out I had not conducted a real trial, they were no longer interested. These were ADA positions.

I am writing, because I have another interview next week. This time, it's for a prosecution position that does not handle felonies. Does anybody have any advice on what I can do between now and next week to make up for the trial-experience deficiency? And what can I say in the interview to avoid turning them off with this deficiency?

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

Postby adonai » Fri Mar 01, 2013 1:45 am

Burple wrote:Hi guys,

My situation is a little different from most here. I have been out of law school for more than one year. I took the bar exam last February, and since I received my results I have been applying for jobs. At this point, I am only applying for prosecution positions. I did two clinics and an externship in law school. One of the clinics was a prosecution clinic (which is the reason I get any interviews). I did moot court, but did not make the moot court team, therefore, I don't mention that.

I did not know what area of law I wanted to go into while in law school, therefore, I tried my hand at several different things. Now, that I am interviewing, I realize that I am lacking in trial experience. I've never conducted a real trial. I've only taken criminal procedure, evidence and trial advocacy. In one of my interviews, I felt like the people wanted to hire me. They were selling the area to me, etc, but then they found out that I did not have actual trial experience. They have a small office, and do not train their new hires. Apparently, I really impressed them in the interview. They did suggest that I gain trial experience and said they would hire me after gaining this experience. It was the same thing with the other offices I interviewed with. Once they found out I had not conducted a real trial, they were no longer interested. These were ADA positions.

I am writing, because I have another interview next week. This time, it's for a prosecution position that does not handle felonies. Does anybody have any advice on what I can do between now and next week to make up for the trial-experience deficiency? And what can I say in the interview to avoid turning them off with this deficiency?

I have had ADAs tell me that the next best thing you can besides conducting actual trials is to just be in a courtroom setting where you are standing up and talking to a judge. In one week you can't really do much, unless you can get some appearances in somehow by volunteering or taking on some contract work for another attorney. If this next interview doesn't pan out, I'd suggest you find a prosecutor's office that will give you trial experience in exchange for your volunteering.

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

Postby ManoftheHour » Fri Mar 01, 2013 1:50 am

Tag.




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