BlueLotus wrote:It is said on here often that past work with victims is a huge red flag for PDs, and often merits a ding at the screener stage (esp. for folks with DA experience)
BUT, what if you're applying for a non-criminal division of a PD's office?
For instance, the Child Advocacy Unit at Defender Association of Philadelphia, Child and Family Law Unit of CPCS, and Office of the Law Guardian at NJPD represent children in civil family court proceedings.
I've never had any prosecutorial experience, but before law school I did work on a hotline for DV survivors, and last summer I interned at an immigration legal aid org with undocumented clients seeking U visas and VAWA self-petitions (not exclusively, did other stuff too, like cancellation of removal, DACA, SIJ, etc.) . Will those experiences be "bad" even if I'm applying for a civil division of a PD's office like those I mentioned above?
I don't think working a hotline for DV survivors/working on immigration law is going to hurt you that much for PD positions, especially since these will be predictable interview questions that you can prepare awesome answers for ahead of time. I used to work on a rape crisis hotline, and every PD office I interviewed for pushed me on it, and it didn't prevent me from getting the summer positions I wanted (disclaimer: I have only successfully obtained summer/semester positions at PD's offices and have not yet interviewed for post-bar positions, so take what I say with a grain of salt.) I think your experience specifically can be spun positively. A lot of criminal defendants are themselves victims of abuse at some point in their lives, and being able to approach that issue sensitively will help you a lot. Additionally, familiarity with immigration law is crazy helpful, especially given how complicated immigration law is. You will get a lot of clients who are immigrants, and understanding the intricacies of U-visas and VAWA might help you strategize. Bottom line, I don't think it will hurt you very much if you have good explanations prepared.