How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

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

Postby seatown12 » Mon Nov 07, 2011 12:24 am

Gettingstarted1928 wrote:I have two questions I was hoping someone could answer:

1. When should we start applying to DA/PD offices for a summer internship? I keep on hearing people talk about applying to private sector internships as early as December, but that seems a little early for DA/PD offices.

2. What does a typical day at either of these offices look like for interns? How about for attorneys working in these offices? I've always assumed the day consists mainly of research, writing memos (are memos even used in criminal law?), and court.

1. Unless you somehow know that the office won't accept applications yet, apply ASAP. Worst case scenario they'll just tell you to wait and reapply later, and you don't risk missing out on an opportunity.

2. This is totally dependent on the office. As a 1L you will probably be doing research and writing motions, interviewing witnesses and clients, and observing court. As a 2L you will be more involved in court.

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Gettingstarted1928
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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby Gettingstarted1928 » Mon Nov 07, 2011 1:51 pm

seatown12 wrote:
Gettingstarted1928 wrote:I have two questions I was hoping someone could answer:

1. When should we start applying to DA/PD offices for a summer internship? I keep on hearing people talk about applying to private sector internships as early as December, but that seems a little early for DA/PD offices.

2. What does a typical day at either of these offices look like for interns? How about for attorneys working in these offices? I've always assumed the day consists mainly of research, writing memos (are memos even used in criminal law?), and court.

1. Unless you somehow know that the office won't accept applications yet, apply ASAP. Worst case scenario they'll just tell you to wait and reapply later, and you don't risk missing out on an opportunity.

2. This is totally dependent on the office. As a 1L you will probably be doing research and writing motions, interviewing witnesses and clients, and observing court. As a 2L you will be more involved in court.


Thanks for the info. It just seems kind of strange to be applying when you don't have any grades.

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

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Nov 07, 2011 2:23 pm

I think by ASAP the poster means asap after December 1. Some places open their application in November, but most do not until December. It may seem weird to wait until grades, but there are significant advantages to applying before grades: (1) you do not know what your grades are, so places that only marginally care about grades will be willing to interview you over winter break and hire you before grades; (2) for places that do care about your grades will have already seen your application and this gives you a great excuse to follow up with them ("I have already sent in my application, but I wanted to update you with my fall semester grades which are attached."). In order to be ready to go on December 1st though, it will probably take you at least a week to fill out applications: write cover letters, and be ready to send (either by having envelopes prepared or emails saved ready to be sent). That's why now is a good time to know a list of places and write and get your materials ready. This is especially true if you want to do a judicial internship because many judges in my opinion do not care about grades for hiring 1Ls.

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Gettingstarted1928
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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby Gettingstarted1928 » Mon Nov 07, 2011 2:56 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I think by ASAP the poster means asap after December 1. Some places open their application in November, but most do not until December. It may seem weird to wait until grades, but there are significant advantages to applying before grades: (1) you do not know what your grades are, so places that only marginally care about grades will be willing to interview you over winter break and hire you before grades; (2) for places that do care about your grades will have already seen your application and this gives you a great excuse to follow up with them ("I have already sent in my application, but I wanted to update you with my fall semester grades which are attached."). In order to be ready to go on December 1st though, it will probably take you at least a week to fill out applications: write cover letters, and be ready to send (either by having envelopes prepared or emails saved ready to be sent). That's why now is a good time to know a list of places and write and get your materials ready. This is especially true if you want to do a judicial internship because many judges in my opinion do not care about grades for hiring 1Ls.



I'm just so busy right now with a memo, outlines, and finals that I don't know if I can take an entire week to do this.

On an unrelated note, is there anywhere on TLS that compiles cover letter samples, particularly for the DA or PD's office?

Thanks for the help.

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

Postby msuz » Mon Nov 07, 2011 3:10 pm

Gettingstarted1928 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I think by ASAP the poster means asap after December 1. Some places open their application in November, but most do not until December. It may seem weird to wait until grades, but there are significant advantages to applying before grades: (1) you do not know what your grades are, so places that only marginally care about grades will be willing to interview you over winter break and hire you before grades; (2) for places that do care about your grades will have already seen your application and this gives you a great excuse to follow up with them ("I have already sent in my application, but I wanted to update you with my fall semester grades which are attached."). In order to be ready to go on December 1st though, it will probably take you at least a week to fill out applications: write cover letters, and be ready to send (either by having envelopes prepared or emails saved ready to be sent). That's why now is a good time to know a list of places and write and get your materials ready. This is especially true if you want to do a judicial internship because many judges in my opinion do not care about grades for hiring 1Ls.



I'm just so busy right now with a memo, outlines, and finals that I don't know if I can take an entire week to do this.

On an unrelated note, is there anywhere on TLS that compiles cover letter samples, particularly for the DA or PD's office?

Thanks for the help.

So what is the most important factor in getting a 1L summer job if you dont have grades? Is it school, resume, cover letter, interview skills, writing sample, connections, timing?

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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Nov 07, 2011 3:54 pm

msuz wrote:So what is the most important factor in getting a 1L summer job if you dont have grades? Is it school, resume, cover letter, interview skills, writing sample, connections, timing?


My secret last year was to apply as early as possible and hope to get an offer before grades came out, so grades wouldn't matter. It worked for me as I got an offer from an Art.III Judge before grades came out, but some places said send grades when you get them and they decide after grades come out. If you want to work in the PD or DA office, apply early and see what happens.

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

Postby seatown12 » Mon Nov 07, 2011 5:49 pm

msuz wrote:So what is the most important factor in getting a 1L summer job if you dont have grades? Is it school, resume, cover letter, interview skills, writing sample, connections, timing?

Timing is critical as a 1L. The cover letter is a good place to distinguish yourself, especially since DAs/PDs are all about motivation. Interview skills are always important, and so are local ties.

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Gettingstarted1928
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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby Gettingstarted1928 » Mon Nov 07, 2011 6:48 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
msuz wrote:So what is the most important factor in getting a 1L summer job if you dont have grades? Is it school, resume, cover letter, interview skills, writing sample, connections, timing?


My secret last year was to apply as early as possible and hope to get an offer before grades came out, so grades wouldn't matter. It worked for me as I got an offer from an Art.III Judge before grades came out, but some places said send grades when you get them and they decide after grades come out. If you want to work in the PD or DA office, apply early and see what happens.


When did you apply out of curiosity?

mediadude88
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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby mediadude88 » Mon Nov 07, 2011 8:44 pm

For 1L summer gigs as others have said apply early. If you're at an office with a late deadline however, say in March, be prepared to follow up aggressively. These are not offices that generally have HR staff, someone who might have their own caseload or that handles multiple administrative matters will likely be seeing your materials.

A way to distinguish yourself is definitely your cover letter. You really have to emphatically state that you want to do this because these offices value dedication very highly. Another way to distinguish yourself is to get involved now- join the crim law society, take that tour of the juvenile detention center your school offers, go to any lectures going on at your school that remotely relate to criminal justice. These are all things you can cite in a cover letter to further demonstrate your interest.

As others said, apply before grades come out. It gives you a way to follow up and if you come across as highly committed in your letter, it will help you secure an interview if your grades aren't what you'd hoped.

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

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Nov 08, 2011 3:26 am

Gettingstarted1928 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
msuz wrote:So what is the most important factor in getting a 1L summer job if you dont have grades? Is it school, resume, cover letter, interview skills, writing sample, connections, timing?


My secret last year was to apply as early as possible and hope to get an offer before grades came out, so grades wouldn't matter. It worked for me as I got an offer from an Art.III Judge before grades came out, but some places said send grades when you get them and they decide after grades come out. If you want to work in the PD or DA office, apply early and see what happens.


When did you apply out of curiosity?


Most of my judicial apps went out the first week of December - almost had a dream offer - phone interview within a week of sending the app, moved onto a second interview with the Judge scheduled for right after the holidays, but the Judge retired right before my final interview was scheduled. The job I got, I applied for in mid-December and had an interview in mid-January over the phone (one interview only, offer made over the phone). Grades came out end of January.

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

Postby flcath » Tue Nov 08, 2011 3:30 am

Tag.

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Gettingstarted1928
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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby Gettingstarted1928 » Tue Nov 08, 2011 3:19 pm

Are all of you just going to only email your resume/cover letter, or are are also going to send a hard copy as well?
Last edited by Gettingstarted1928 on Tue Nov 08, 2011 4:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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

Postby vanwinkle » Tue Nov 08, 2011 3:23 pm

seatown12 wrote:
Gettingstarted1928 wrote:I have two questions I was hoping someone could answer:

1. When should we start applying to DA/PD offices for a summer internship? I keep on hearing people talk about applying to private sector internships as early as December, but that seems a little early for DA/PD offices.

2. What does a typical day at either of these offices look like for interns? How about for attorneys working in these offices? I've always assumed the day consists mainly of research, writing memos (are memos even used in criminal law?), and court.

1. Unless you somehow know that the office won't accept applications yet, apply ASAP. Worst case scenario they'll just tell you to wait and reapply later, and you don't risk missing out on an opportunity.

2. This is totally dependent on the office. As a 1L you will probably be doing research and writing motions, interviewing witnesses and clients, and observing court. As a 2L you will be more involved in court.

1) I had one of the greatest PD experiences ever my 1L summer, and I didn't even apply for it until March. That said, at that point I'd been sending out resumes for months and freaking out from the pile of rejection letters. Competition can be fierce, especially for bigger or more prestigious opportunities; one Federal Defender office told me they interviewed 74 people for 1 internship spot. If I'd found something sooner, I'd have taken it.

I would say, A) apply ASAP for everything that is accepting applications now, but B) don't freak out if that doesn't pan out, because if you keep trying you could still find something later.

2) As mentioned above, typical day for an intern can vary greatly. There are some general expectations you can have, though. 1Ls will typically get to do more observation and lighter tasks; this can mean observing an attorney during court appearances and trials, which is still valuable learning experience. 2Ls will likely get more responsibility and more hands-on work.

For attorneys, there's a mix of activities. Very few cases actually go to trial (if I remember correctly, in NYC 99% of cases are either plead out or dismissed). However, there are plenty of other activities to keep attorneys in court, including arraignments, pre-trial motion hearings, and plea allocutions. A "typical" day could involve court appearances (arraignments, hearings, trials), meeting clients (which can mean visits to arraignment/jail), legal research and writing (someone has to write those motions), and case research (which can involve talking to the client's family and witnesses, etc.). Some days they only have to do one of those things; some days they have to do all of them.

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A'nold
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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby A'nold » Tue Nov 08, 2011 4:41 pm

I will also point out that everything we are saying is very much dependent on the job/region you are applying to. Van above likely (though I do not know this for a fact) applied to some pretty competitive jobs. I know many people with so-so grades at so-called "TTT's" that easily landed DA/PD internships/externships for their 1L summers. These jobs, however, were mostly state jobs in smaller counties. I even know one person that had median grades from a low t2 in CA that worked for the USAO doing prosecution stuff his 2L year. Basically, because these are often non-paying positions and because these offices really need the help, you are bound to find something. It just might not be the prestigious "something" you wanted. :)

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

Postby vanwinkle » Tue Nov 08, 2011 4:46 pm

A'nold wrote:I will also point out that everything we are saying is very much dependent on the job/region you are applying to. Van above likely (though I do not know this for a fact) applied to some pretty competitive jobs.

Well, my point is that many such internships are competitive, even if they're not prestigious. (I think I applied to every PD I could find in western VA, for example, and got rejected all around.) Part of the problem is that smaller offices can support fewer interns; they'll only take a few to support what they need, so they don't end up responsible for a bunch of useless idle hands. Somewhat larger cities can be better because they can actually use a number of interns.

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A'nold
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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby A'nold » Tue Nov 08, 2011 4:51 pm

vanwinkle wrote:
A'nold wrote:I will also point out that everything we are saying is very much dependent on the job/region you are applying to. Van above likely (though I do not know this for a fact) applied to some pretty competitive jobs.

Well, my point is that many such internships are competitive, even if they're not prestigious. (I think I applied to every PD I could find in western VA, for example, and got rejected all around.) Part of the problem is that smaller offices can support fewer interns; they'll only take a few to support what they need, so they don't end up responsible for a bunch of useless idle hands. Somewhat larger cities can be better because they can actually use a number of interns.

Thanks. I could also be mistaken when it comes to the difficulty of securing PD internships as I have only known a few PD's/PD interns compared to ADA's/DA interns.

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

Postby vanwinkle » Tue Nov 08, 2011 4:57 pm

A'nold wrote:Thanks. I could also be mistaken when it comes to the difficulty of securing PD internships as I have only known a few PD's/PD interns compared to ADA's/DA interns.

The truth is that it varies greatly because each PD office sets their own numbers and standards. I'm just trying to advocate for applying broadly because (as a law student, and especially as a first-semester 1L) you can't just easily know from the outset what would be "easy" for you to get. I don't think we're in real disagreement.

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A'nold
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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby A'nold » Tue Nov 08, 2011 5:28 pm

vanwinkle wrote:
A'nold wrote:Thanks. I could also be mistaken when it comes to the difficulty of securing PD internships as I have only known a few PD's/PD interns compared to ADA's/DA interns.

The truth is that it varies greatly because each PD office sets their own numbers and standards. I'm just trying to advocate for applying broadly because (as a law student, and especially as a first-semester 1L) you can't just easily know from the outset what would be "easy" for you to get. I don't think we're in real disagreement.

I didn't think we were disagreeing at all, actually. I was just trying to add onto what you guys were saying above. However, after your reply I realized that I really don't have much experience with PD internships, just have met a lot of PD's. You and seatown are much better equipped to give advice to the PD guys so I'm glad you corrected me.

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

Postby Borhas » Tue Nov 08, 2011 5:38 pm

Gettingstarted1928 wrote:Are all of you just going to only email your resume/cover letter, or are are also going to send a hard copy as well?


I've only emailed, I've mailed copies to Federal PDs because they tend to be stuffier/formalistic

=====

Speaking of Federal PD's I got call backs from FPD of NDCal (SF and San Jose) got dinged at both, I'm almost certain it was because I had no law review. It might be different if you go to a T-14 (I don't) but Law Review seems to be extremely important to FPD's while not necessary for local PD offices/

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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby cesmoc » Wed Nov 09, 2011 1:20 pm

Borhas, did you apply to the Eastern District CA Fed Defender?

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

Postby Tanicius » Wed Nov 09, 2011 1:32 pm

Borhas wrote:
Gettingstarted1928 wrote:Are all of you just going to only email your resume/cover letter, or are are also going to send a hard copy as well?


I've only emailed, I've mailed copies to Federal PDs because they tend to be stuffier/formalistic

=====

Speaking of Federal PD's I got call backs from FPD of NDCal (SF and San Jose) got dinged at both, I'm almost certain it was because I had no law review. It might be different if you go to a T-14 (I don't) but Law Review seems to be extremely important to FPD's while not necessary for local PD offices/


Are you talking about 1L summer or sometime after that? Cause I don't think anyone has law review locked up by the time they apply for 1L summers, right?

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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Nov 09, 2011 2:24 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Miami Dade just sent me a snail mail offer to interview. I will have to cover travel expenses which stinks but isn't totally unexpected.


I also received an offer to interview at Miami. Did you respond by email or phone? I've emailed and it's been about a week and still no response. I guess I will have to call to schedule the interview.

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

Postby leobowski » Wed Nov 09, 2011 3:38 pm

Borhas wrote:
Gettingstarted1928 wrote:Are all of you just going to only email your resume/cover letter, or are are also going to send a hard copy as well?


I've only emailed, I've mailed copies to Federal PDs because they tend to be stuffier/formalistic

=====

Speaking of Federal PD's I got call backs from FPD of NDCal (SF and San Jose) got dinged at both, I'm almost certain it was because I had no law review. It might be different if you go to a T-14 (I don't) but Law Review seems to be extremely important to FPD's while not necessary for local PD offices/



Generally, yes, LR is more important for appellate and fed PDs. It's basically a non-factor for local PDs, and may even count against you in some ways.

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

Postby Borhas » Wed Nov 09, 2011 5:06 pm

Tanicius wrote:
Borhas wrote:
Gettingstarted1928 wrote:Are all of you just going to only email your resume/cover letter, or are are also going to send a hard copy as well?


I've only emailed, I've mailed copies to Federal PDs because they tend to be stuffier/formalistic

=====

Speaking of Federal PD's I got call backs from FPD of NDCal (SF and San Jose) got dinged at both, I'm almost certain it was because I had no law review. It might be different if you go to a T-14 (I don't) but Law Review seems to be extremely important to FPD's while not necessary for local PD offices/


Are you talking about 1L summer or sometime after that? Cause I don't think anyone has law review locked up by the time they apply for 1L summers, right?


Oh I'm talking about 2L

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

Postby Borhas » Wed Nov 09, 2011 5:09 pm

cesmoc wrote:Borhas, did you apply to the Eastern District CA Fed Defender?


no I didn't I applied to CDCal and NDCal, probably the toughest nuts to crack in the West

My guess is that EDCal is probably very selective, but not as selective. Though, I question the value of working for an FPD as a 2L if you are sure you want to be a PD or a DA, since the experience at a local office would be much more relevant, if less prestigious. On the other hand, if you have the grades for an Art III clerkship, than it may be the best way to maximize chances of landing those rare FPD jobs.




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