How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

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caveman2
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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby caveman2 » Sat Mar 02, 2013 7:16 pm

Hello all,

What a great thread. I'm a 2L at Michigan State with a goal of going into prosecution. I've geared my coursework towards that end and interned with a smallish/medium DA's office in Pennsylvania my 1L summer. I grew up in Utah and my goal is to go back there after graduation and hopefully get a job with the Salt Lake DA's office. I was wondering if anyone could provide any insight on the prosecution market in Salt Lake, or anywhere in Utah really. I'm taking a course on capital punishment this semester and am writing my student note on that subject as well. I have had interviews with the FPD Capital Habeas Unit in Salt Lake and it's looking like they will offer me the job. I know for sure that I want to be a prosecutor, but I haven't had any interviews for prosecution jobs yet and I figured working for the defender side would be better than nothing. I have seen on here that working for both sides could hurt me, but my teacher said that PDs care more about that than prosecutors do. Could anyone offer any insight on my situation? Would the FPD just be a waste of time as far as getting a job after graduation? Thanks!

jml8756
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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby jml8756 » Sat Mar 02, 2013 7:28 pm

caveman2 wrote:Hello all,

What a great thread. I'm a 2L at Michigan State with a goal of going into prosecution. I've geared my coursework towards that end and interned with a smallish/medium DA's office in Pennsylvania my 1L summer. I grew up in Utah and my goal is to go back there after graduation and hopefully get a job with the Salt Lake DA's office. I was wondering if anyone could provide any insight on the prosecution market in Salt Lake, or anywhere in Utah really. I'm taking a course on capital punishment this semester and am writing my student note on that subject as well. I have had interviews with the FPD Capital Habeas Unit in Salt Lake and it's looking like they will offer me the job. I know for sure that I want to be a prosecutor, but I haven't had any interviews for prosecution jobs yet and I figured working for the defender side would be better than nothing. I have seen on here that working for both sides could hurt me, but my teacher said that PDs care more about that than prosecutors do. Could anyone offer any insight on my situation? Would the FPD just be a waste of time as far as getting a job after graduation? Thanks!


If you know for sure you want to be a prosecutor, why do PD stuff? Especially since it's your 2L summer, you need to find a prosecutor's office that will let you do trials, preferably in Utah. No PD stuff merely because it's the path of least resistance. A capital habeas unit in particular is likely to be viewed more skeptically because those capital defenders are the truest of the true believers. If you're not making prosecutor connections and standing up in court this summer, you're going to be way behind everyone else when it comes to finding a real prosecution job after graduation.

caveman2
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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby caveman2 » Sat Mar 02, 2013 9:27 pm

jml8756 wrote:
caveman2 wrote:Hello all,

What a great thread. I'm a 2L at Michigan State with a goal of going into prosecution. I've geared my coursework towards that end and interned with a smallish/medium DA's office in Pennsylvania my 1L summer. I grew up in Utah and my goal is to go back there after graduation and hopefully get a job with the Salt Lake DA's office. I was wondering if anyone could provide any insight on the prosecution market in Salt Lake, or anywhere in Utah really. I'm taking a course on capital punishment this semester and am writing my student note on that subject as well. I have had interviews with the FPD Capital Habeas Unit in Salt Lake and it's looking like they will offer me the job. I know for sure that I want to be a prosecutor, but I haven't had any interviews for prosecution jobs yet and I figured working for the defender side would be better than nothing. I have seen on here that working for both sides could hurt me, but my teacher said that PDs care more about that than prosecutors do. Could anyone offer any insight on my situation? Would the FPD just be a waste of time as far as getting a job after graduation? Thanks!


If you know for sure you want to be a prosecutor, why do PD stuff? Especially since it's your 2L summer, you need to find a prosecutor's office that will let you do trials, preferably in Utah. No PD stuff merely because it's the path of least resistance. A capital habeas unit in particular is likely to be viewed more skeptically because those capital defenders are the truest of the true believers. If you're not making prosecutor connections and standing up in court this summer, you're going to be way behind everyone else when it comes to finding a real prosecution job after graduation.


I realize all that, but I haven't had interviews for anything else yet. I could probably go back to the DA's office I was at last summer, but really I thought that place was a joke because I didn't get hardly any work and it was mostly a waste of time as far as getting real practical experience. Pretty much every time I asked if there was anything I could do the answer would be "Not right now. Go watch something." And I did plenty of watching and it WAS interesting, but that gets old fast. Plus I don't want to practice in Pennsylvania, so it wouldn't be very helpful in more than one way. Utah is a small market and there aren't a lot of places to apply. I'm just worried that the FPD might end up being my only offer and no one else will call me. I applied to all those places around Valentine's Day, so it hasn't been long, but it's really late in the year at this point and I'm afraid they might have already hired everyone they want. What should I do? Should I hold out and pray for the best?

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

Postby the lantern » Sat Mar 02, 2013 9:49 pm

I have heard that prosecutors aren't as concerned about you sticking to one side or another (DA or PD), but I know that definitely isn't the case for some PD agencies. I'd imagine there are some prosecutor's offices that care, and some that don't. You might want to talk to a law professor who was a former US attorney/DA, your career services office, or a mentor/friend in the field and get their thoughts. Personally, I would try to obtain employment as a prosecutor if you can, especially where you can get stand up work (motions/jury trial). The primary reason I say that is because it would be so fucking weird to have someone who for sure wanted to be a DA working at the PD. Like... ?!??!?! mind boggled. I don't know what I would do if one of my fellow interns was like, "yeah, I want to put all of our clients in jail next year!"

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

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Mar 02, 2013 9:58 pm

caveman2 wrote:
jml8756 wrote:
caveman2 wrote:Hello all,

What a great thread. I'm a 2L at Michigan State with a goal of going into prosecution. I've geared my coursework towards that end and interned with a smallish/medium DA's office in Pennsylvania my 1L summer. I grew up in Utah and my goal is to go back there after graduation and hopefully get a job with the Salt Lake DA's office. I was wondering if anyone could provide any insight on the prosecution market in Salt Lake, or anywhere in Utah really. I'm taking a course on capital punishment this semester and am writing my student note on that subject as well. I have had interviews with the FPD Capital Habeas Unit in Salt Lake and it's looking like they will offer me the job. I know for sure that I want to be a prosecutor, but I haven't had any interviews for prosecution jobs yet and I figured working for the defender side would be better than nothing. I have seen on here that working for both sides could hurt me, but my teacher said that PDs care more about that than prosecutors do. Could anyone offer any insight on my situation? Would the FPD just be a waste of time as far as getting a job after graduation? Thanks!


If you know for sure you want to be a prosecutor, why do PD stuff? Especially since it's your 2L summer, you need to find a prosecutor's office that will let you do trials, preferably in Utah. No PD stuff merely because it's the path of least resistance. A capital habeas unit in particular is likely to be viewed more skeptically because those capital defenders are the truest of the true believers. If you're not making prosecutor connections and standing up in court this summer, you're going to be way behind everyone else when it comes to finding a real prosecution job after graduation.


I realize all that, but I haven't had interviews for anything else yet. I could probably go back to the DA's office I was at last summer, but really I thought that place was a joke because I didn't get hardly any work and it was mostly a waste of time as far as getting real practical experience. Pretty much every time I asked if there was anything I could do the answer would be "Not right now. Go watch something." And I did plenty of watching and it WAS interesting, but that gets old fast. Plus I don't want to practice in Pennsylvania, so it wouldn't be very helpful in more than one way. Utah is a small market and there aren't a lot of places to apply. I'm just worried that the FPD might end up being my only offer and no one else will call me. I applied to all those places around Valentine's Day, so it hasn't been long, but it's really late in the year at this point and I'm afraid they might have already hired everyone they want. What should I do? Should I hold out and pray for the best?


Here's what you do: apply to every office in Utah. Politely follow up after a reasonable amount of time. Apply to a couple of other offices around the country that don't turn away anyone who will work for free and that will let you appear in court (Cook County is one example). Keep a foot in the door in Pennsylvania, since there might be a vast difference between what they allow 1Ls and 2Ls to do.

Don't take the federal habeas defender gig. It's so hard to get a job as a prosecutor that at this point you need to be firing on all cylinders to make yourself the best possible candidate. 1L was the time to experiment. 2L is the time to start making potential job connections and getting courtroom experience on your resume.

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

Postby the lantern » Sat Mar 02, 2013 10:03 pm

I would agree with this person^ that you NEED jury trial experience if you're going to be competitive for a prosecutor position outside of your home market

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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Mar 02, 2013 10:06 pm

the lantern wrote:I would agree with this person^ that you NEED jury trial experience if you're going to be competitive for a prosecutor position outside of your home market


I wouldn't necessarily say jury experience, since that can be really rare. But at least some bench trials and/or motions.

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

Postby the lantern » Sat Mar 02, 2013 10:12 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
the lantern wrote:I would agree with this person^ that you NEED jury trial experience if you're going to be competitive for a prosecutor position outside of your home market


I wouldn't necessarily say jury experience, since that can be really rare. But at least some bench trials and/or motions.


Ok yeah trial experience... sorry from PD perspective its almost always a jury trial :)

caveman2
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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby caveman2 » Sat Mar 02, 2013 10:13 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Here's what you do: apply to every office in Utah. Politely follow up after a reasonable amount of time. Apply to a couple of other offices around the country that don't turn away anyone who will work for free and that will let you appear in court (Cook County is one example). Keep a foot in the door in Pennsylvania, since there might be a vast difference between what they allow 1Ls and 2Ls to do.

Don't take the federal habeas defender gig. It's so hard to get a job as a prosecutor that at this point you need to be firing on all cylinders to make yourself the best possible candidate. 1L was the time to experiment. 2L is the time to start making potential job connections and getting courtroom experience on your resume.


That's interesting about Cook County. Do you know of other places where they take everyone? I would be willing to go all sorts of places if I thought it would be worthwhile. Utah is my first choice because my family is there, but I wouldn't be against ending up somewhere else if it was for a job I really want.

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

Postby the lantern » Sat Mar 02, 2013 10:15 pm

caveman2 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Here's what you do: apply to every office in Utah. Politely follow up after a reasonable amount of time. Apply to a couple of other offices around the country that don't turn away anyone who will work for free and that will let you appear in court (Cook County is one example). Keep a foot in the door in Pennsylvania, since there might be a vast difference between what they allow 1Ls and 2Ls to do.

Don't take the federal habeas defender gig. It's so hard to get a job as a prosecutor that at this point you need to be firing on all cylinders to make yourself the best possible candidate. 1L was the time to experiment. 2L is the time to start making potential job connections and getting courtroom experience on your resume.


That's interesting about Cook County. Do you know of other places where they take everyone? I would be willing to go all sorts of places if I thought it would be worthwhile. Utah is my first choice because my family is there, but I wouldn't be against ending up somewhere else if it was for a job I really want.


I know for sure that you can work for free at DA offices in Colorado, but I know that there are limited unpaid spots because there are only so many interns that can be supervised by each attorney.

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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Mar 02, 2013 10:53 pm

caveman2 wrote:That's interesting about Cook County. Do you know of other places where they take everyone? I would be willing to go all sorts of places if I thought it would be worthwhile. Utah is my first choice because my family is there, but I wouldn't be against ending up somewhere else if it was for a job I really want.


Yeah my understanding is Cook County will take everyone. It's a huge office (850 ASAs) with a ton of statutory responsibility and a slashed budget so they love free labor. They also hire very late (April-May) so it might be a good Plan B if Utah doesn't work out. Send in your application now, and if Utah doesn't pull through I would recommend following up with Cook County in April. Chicago is awesome in the summer, and the big-city experience will be transferable to other offices.

BTW, Cook County internships might require a lot of follow-up on your part. If you don't hear anything, start calling in April and call every week until they take you on.

I'm not sure what other offices take everyone. Maybe L.A. or another big city?

caveman2
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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby caveman2 » Sat Mar 02, 2013 11:48 pm

Thank you everyone for your responses. I'm glad I asked because I probably was going to take the FPD job only for the reason that it was offered to me, which I realize now would've been a huge mistake. I guess I was in the mindset that "any" criminal experience would be helpful to me, where I see now that that's not necessarily the case. I need to get out of my 1L frame of mind. I will definitely look into Cook County. Chicago would be really exciting for me because I love going to new places. Colorado also sounds appealing. But please, if anyone can think of other places where it's fairly easy to get in, especially at this time of year, let me know.

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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Mar 04, 2013 3:41 pm

urgent! I have an offer from a pd office that expires today, but I interviewed at another office that I like more about 3 weeks ago and they were suppose to get back with me this week sometime. I haven't heard from this office yet but I called them on Thursday to let them know I have to make a decision on Monday and still no notification..

What do I do, ask for an extension on the offer or should I just accept?

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

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Mar 04, 2013 4:47 pm

Anonymous User wrote:urgent! I have an offer from a pd office that expires today, but I interviewed at another office that I like more about 3 weeks ago and they were suppose to get back with me this week sometime. I haven't heard from this office yet but I called them on Thursday to let them know I have to make a decision on Monday and still no notification..

What do I do, ask for an extension on the offer or should I just accept?


Call the office you're more interested in and tell them you have an offer that expires. Otherwise, I think asking for an extension is fine as long as your talking to some sort of HR person. It might be awkward if you're talking to the DPD that offered you the position. Other, unpopular, options include accepting and reneging with the understanding that you'll burn your bridge with that office.

Be prepared for a not so great response from each office. I tried to use one offer to get an expititded response from another office and it ended up backfiring-ish. I was choosing between Miami SAO and Manhattan DA. The day before my Miami SAO offer expired, Manhattan called my references and the following morning rejected me. I think it had at least a little to do with the time constraints on the office. They knew I had to decide that day by 5:00P.M. Lucikly I still ended up with my first choice.

Good luck!

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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Mar 04, 2013 8:14 pm

the lantern wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
the lantern wrote:I would agree with this person^ that you NEED jury trial experience if you're going to be competitive for a prosecutor position outside of your home market


I wouldn't necessarily say jury experience, since that can be really rare. But at least some bench trials and/or motions.


Ok yeah trial experience... sorry from PD perspective its almost always a jury trial :)

Umm everyone I know in my state has zero trial experience actually speaking during a trial that have worked for PDs. Motion experience and PH experience yes, and second chairing trials yes. Actual heading a trial no

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

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Mar 04, 2013 8:14 pm

Anonymous User wrote:When does NJ PD start taking applications for their OCI screeners?

Anyone?

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robin600
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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby robin600 » Mon Mar 04, 2013 8:18 pm

Anonymous User wrote: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

This honestly may be because they had enough 2Ls to fill spots with, and has nothing to do with how awesome or not you were in your interview.

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

Postby adonai » Mon Mar 04, 2013 9:56 pm

robin600 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote: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

This honestly may be because they had enough 2Ls to fill spots with, and has nothing to do with how awesome or not you were in your interview.

+1. My experience has led me to this conclusion as well. I interviewed with an AUSA office for 1L summer that ended up doing the same. It is only logical they would take a certified 2L who can do hearings and has taken advanced courses over a 1L who can be more useful doing copies and observing court.

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

Postby the lantern » Mon Mar 04, 2013 10:24 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
the lantern wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
the lantern wrote:I would agree with this person^ that you NEED jury trial experience if you're going to be competitive for a prosecutor position outside of your home market


I wouldn't necessarily say jury experience, since that can be really rare. But at least some bench trials and/or motions.


Ok yeah trial experience... sorry from PD perspective its almost always a jury trial :)

Umm everyone I know in my state has zero trial experience actually speaking during a trial that have worked for PDs. Motion experience and PH experience yes, and second chairing trials yes. Actual heading a trial no


Hm well everyone here is the opposite (at least those of us that have jobs). I was specifically told by multiple PD agencies that without a trial under my belt, I wouldn't even be considered. For that reason, I worked in a PD office DURING THE SEMESTER that required a 1hr 45 minute commute... but I got 2 jury trial (1 100% by myself and the other with an attorney doing the closing and one of the crosses).

I guess this isn't the norm since the above poster doesn't know anyone whos had a full trial, but having trial experience will not hurt you. Look at that other thread by some lawyer who is looking for a prosecutor job and can't get his foot in the door because he hasn't had any trial experience outside of law school mock trial.

Oh, and obviously this depends on your student practice act/jurisdiction. I guess I had assumed that all states' SPAs were similar.

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

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Mar 04, 2013 10:30 pm

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


For this person, I got something in the mail today

Lord Randolph McDuff
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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby Lord Randolph McDuff » Mon Mar 04, 2013 10:48 pm

caveman2 wrote:Thank you everyone for your responses. I'm glad I asked because I probably was going to take the FPD job only for the reason that it was offered to me, which I realize now would've been a huge mistake. I guess I was in the mindset that "any" criminal experience would be helpful to me, where I see now that that's not necessarily the case. I need to get out of my 1L frame of mind. I will definitely look into Cook County. Chicago would be really exciting for me because I love going to new places. Colorado also sounds appealing. But please, if anyone can think of other places where it's fairly easy to get in, especially at this time of year, let me know.


Colorado has openings for unpaid DA interns this summer. You'll get stand up in court experience if you are a 2L, probably a couple trials. Boulder just posted a simplicity ad today, and I know Adams and Jefferson counties still need people. The mountain towns are usually easier to get but I doubt the experience is half as good.

PM and I'll get you logged into our jobs site or just give you the contact details for the jerbs.

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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Mar 05, 2013 12:01 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:When does NJ PD start taking applications for their OCI screeners?

Anyone?


.... shortly before your school's OCI?

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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Mar 05, 2013 12:30 am

the lantern wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Umm everyone I know in my state has zero trial experience actually speaking during a trial that have worked for PDs. Motion experience and PH experience yes, and second chairing trials yes. Actual heading a trial no


Hm well everyone here is the opposite (at least those of us that have jobs). I was specifically told by multiple PD agencies that without a trial under my belt, I wouldn't even be considered. For that reason, I worked in a PD office DURING THE SEMESTER that required a 1hr 45 minute commute... but I got 2 jury trial (1 100% by myself and the other with an attorney doing the closing and one of the crosses).

I guess this isn't the norm since the above poster doesn't know anyone whos had a full trial, but having trial experience will not hurt you. Look at that other thread by some lawyer who is looking for a prosecutor job and can't get his foot in the door because he hasn't had any trial experience outside of law school mock trial.

Oh, and obviously this depends on your student practice act/jurisdiction. I guess I had assumed that all states' SPAs were similar.


Agreed. It's going to depend a lot on your office, and even which division you are in within that office. If you're in a homicide division you might get some motions but chances are you're not going to be 1st-chairing murder juries. If you're in misdemeanors or traffic you might be 1st-chairing trials every week.

Also, I get the sense that trials are harder to come by for PD law clerks than they are for prosecutor law clerks, because of the whole consent issue. Frankly if I were the client, no way would I let a student do my trial. Some of them are really bad.

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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby spleenworship » Tue Mar 05, 2013 1:18 am

Anonymous User wrote:
the lantern wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Umm everyone I know in my state has zero trial experience actually speaking during a trial that have worked for PDs. Motion experience and PH experience yes, and second chairing trials yes. Actual heading a trial no


Hm well everyone here is the opposite (at least those of us that have jobs). I was specifically told by multiple PD agencies that without a trial under my belt, I wouldn't even be considered. For that reason, I worked in a PD office DURING THE SEMESTER that required a 1hr 45 minute commute... but I got 2 jury trial (1 100% by myself and the other with an attorney doing the closing and one of the crosses).

I guess this isn't the norm since the above poster doesn't know anyone whos had a full trial, but having trial experience will not hurt you. Look at that other thread by some lawyer who is looking for a prosecutor job and can't get his foot in the door because he hasn't had any trial experience outside of law school mock trial.

Oh, and obviously this depends on your student practice act/jurisdiction. I guess I had assumed that all states' SPAs were similar.


Agreed. It's going to depend a lot on your office, and even which division you are in within that office. If you're in a homicide division you might get some motions but chances are you're not going to be 1st-chairing murder juries. If you're in misdemeanors or traffic you might be 1st-chairing trials every week.

Also, I get the sense that trials are harder to come by for PD law clerks than they are for prosecutor law clerks, because of the whole consent issue. Frankly if I were the client, no way would I let a student do my trial. Some of them are really bad.



This is pretty much how it is in my region. The DA clerks get one or two jury trials on misdemeanors, the PD clerks will be lucky to get one. Everything else is motions practice. Because, as you say, the clients would have to consent. Also because they don't want to give the clients a chance to appeal under ineffective assistance of counsel claims. Like, that would be a bunch of work for them to track that student down years later if they ended up not working there... and you know if they put a student up there the client will remember while in prison and file that habeas. Any mistake you made and now the whole system has to give the dude a new trial because the presumption will be you effed up. Ain't like the judge or the ADA can vouch for you... you've only appeared once or maybe twice if you are lucky.

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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Mar 05, 2013 1:23 am

the lantern wrote:Hm well everyone here is the opposite (at least those of us that have jobs). I was specifically told by multiple PD agencies that without a trial under my belt, I wouldn't even be considered. For that reason, I worked in a PD office DURING THE SEMESTER that required a 1hr 45 minute commute... but I got 2 jury trial (1 100% by myself and the other with an attorney doing the closing and one of the crosses).

I guess this isn't the norm since the above poster doesn't know anyone whos had a full trial, but having trial experience will not hurt you. Look at that other thread by some lawyer who is looking for a prosecutor job and can't get his foot in the door because he hasn't had any trial experience outside of law school mock trial.

Oh, and obviously this depends on your student practice act/jurisdiction. I guess I had assumed that all states' SPAs were similar.


Colorado (this is where you interned and will be working, right?) is somewhat atypical. Many large cities--DC, LA, NYC, SF--won't let PD interns do jury trials. It would be quite rare for interns who worked in these cities to enter the 3L application process with a jury trial under their belts.




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