How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Mar 22, 2014 5:43 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:How important is it (if at all) to be on a journal 2L year if I know I want to be a state public defender? Eventually, I might want to do something with wrongful convictions, but I'm pretty certain I want to start as a PD.

I've heard the Write-On competition after 1L finals is a bitch, and so is being on a journal, and I'm basically wondering if it's worth my time. I already know for sure that I will be doing an externship during my 2L year with either the state or federal public defender. Do I need to do a journal also? Is it something I don't have to do, but should do? Or is it something that doesn't matter altogether?

I'm wondering for two reasons: (1) to help with resumes/interviews/getting jobs and (2) to gain skills that may help me if/once i do have a job. I don't want to put too much on my plate, but I also don't want to look like I'm just skating by.


3L w/ DA offers from two major cities in the Northeast. Do a journal. Especially if you get academic credits for them. It's true, no one will read your comment about Justice Thomas' thoughts on the Keystone Pipeline. But when you are finished you'll be a better writer and researcher. Trust me, if you can research and write outside of the courtroom, then you'll be better for it inside the courtroom.

And, just because you aren't asked about being on the "Journal of Panda and Marsupial Law" in your interview, doesn't mean that it being on your resume didn't make you stand out a little more. It may have been what set you apart and got you the interview in the first place.

Aside, write-on is only 10-14 days! You can tough that out!


3L with PD offers. Journals are a waste of time and all lawyers know it.

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

Postby spleenworship » Sat Mar 22, 2014 6:15 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:How important is it (if at all) to be on a journal 2L year if I know I want to be a state public defender? Eventually, I might want to do something with wrongful convictions, but I'm pretty certain I want to start as a PD.

I've heard the Write-On competition after 1L finals is a bitch, and so is being on a journal, and I'm basically wondering if it's worth my time. I already know for sure that I will be doing an externship during my 2L year with either the state or federal public defender. Do I need to do a journal also? Is it something I don't have to do, but should do? Or is it something that doesn't matter altogether?

I'm wondering for two reasons: (1) to help with resumes/interviews/getting jobs and (2) to gain skills that may help me if/once i do have a job. I don't want to put too much on my plate, but I also don't want to look like I'm just skating by.


3L w/ DA offers from two major cities in the Northeast. Do a journal. Especially if you get academic credits for them. It's true, no one will read your comment about Justice Thomas' thoughts on the Keystone Pipeline. But when you are finished you'll be a better writer and researcher. Trust me, if you can research and write outside of the courtroom, then you'll be better for it inside the courtroom.

And, just because you aren't asked about being on the "Journal of Panda and Marsupial Law" in your interview, doesn't mean that it being on your resume didn't make you stand out a little more. It may have been what set you apart and got you the interview in the first place.

Aside, write-on is only 10-14 days! You can tough that out!


It has literally never come up in over 10 PD interviews now. Not once. Came up in all 3 clerkship interviews though. Yeah, seriously, do journal if you want, but it isn't going to help you find a PD job. I have loads of non-journal friends with PD interviews and PD offers. One of em is a DA gunner, got 3 interviews... No journal.

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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby BlueLotus » Sat Mar 22, 2014 7:55 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:How important is it (if at all) to be on a journal 2L year if I know I want to be a state public defender? Eventually, I might want to do something with wrongful convictions, but I'm pretty certain I want to start as a PD.

I've heard the Write-On competition after 1L finals is a bitch, and so is being on a journal, and I'm basically wondering if it's worth my time. I already know for sure that I will be doing an externship during my 2L year with either the state or federal public defender. Do I need to do a journal also? Is it something I don't have to do, but should do? Or is it something that doesn't matter altogether?

I'm wondering for two reasons: (1) to help with resumes/interviews/getting jobs and (2) to gain skills that may help me if/once i do have a job. I don't want to put too much on my plate, but I also don't want to look like I'm just skating by.


3L w/ DA offers from two major cities in the Northeast. Do a journal. Especially if you get academic credits for them. It's true, no one will read your comment about Justice Thomas' thoughts on the Keystone Pipeline. But when you are finished you'll be a better writer and researcher. Trust me, if you can research and write outside of the courtroom, then you'll be better for it inside the courtroom.

And, just because you aren't asked about being on the "Journal of Panda and Marsupial Law" in your interview, doesn't mean that it being on your resume didn't make you stand out a little more. It may have been what set you apart and got you the interview in the first place.

Aside, write-on is only 10-14 days! You can tough that out!


3L with PD offers. Journals are a waste of time and all lawyers know it.


I sure hope so! I tossed my write-on competition packet straight in the trash. :oops:

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

Postby gdane » Sat Mar 22, 2014 8:02 pm

PSA: even with tons of experience and the best of intentions, not everyone will get a pd/da job. Don't put all your eggs in one basket. While the whole "pd/da offices don't care/ask about journal" is generally true, you still want to have a complete resume in case the pd/da thing doesn't work and you have to go the civil route. Also, if you ever want to clerk, or be a federal prosecutor or federal defender, you bet your left nipple that your journal will help.

Think long term, not just right now.

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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby BlueLotus » Sat Mar 22, 2014 10:10 pm

gdane wrote:PSA: even with tons of experience and the best of intentions, not everyone will get a pd/da job. Don't put all your eggs in one basket. While the whole "pd/da offices don't care/ask about journal" is generally true, you still want to have a complete resume in case the pd/da thing doesn't work and you have to go the civil route. Also, if you ever want to clerk, or be a federal prosecutor or federal defender, you bet your left nipple that your journal will help.

Think long term, not just right now.


True, true. 2L here, so not much I can do about that now but hustle my ass off since I did place all my eggs in that basket.

T-2 months 'til I'm officially a Valer. :shock:

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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Mar 22, 2014 10:11 pm

is this also the vent about DA/PD thread?

1L but it just feels like it's going to suck when friends already know what they're doing and we have to wait to apply during 3L and just hope for the best.

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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby jt262 » Sun Mar 23, 2014 2:13 am

gdane wrote:PSA: even with tons of experience and the best of intentions, not everyone will get a pd/da job. Don't put all your eggs in one basket. While the whole "pd/da offices don't care/ask about journal" is generally true, you still want to have a complete resume in case the pd/da thing doesn't work and you have to go the civil route. Also, if you ever want to clerk, or be a federal prosecutor or federal defender, you bet your left nipple that your journal will help.

Think long term, not just right now.



What he said :!:

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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Mar 23, 2014 9:04 am

gdane wrote:PSA: even with tons of experience and the best of intentions, not everyone will get a pd/da job. Don't put all your eggs in one basket. While the whole "pd/da offices don't care/ask about journal" is generally true, you still want to have a complete resume in case the pd/da thing doesn't work and you have to go the civil route. Also, if you ever want to clerk, or be a federal prosecutor or federal defender, you bet your left nipple that your journal will help.

Think long term, not just right now.

It's true that the job market is a mess, but I'd argue that because of that students should be pursuing externships or part time jobs rather than journal. Why put significant time and energy into an academic activity when you could be getting real experience and connecting with potential employers?

Also, do we have any actual evidence that federal defenders or prosecutors care about candidates having done journal? That seems counterintuitive considering they only recruit experienced attorneys.

-- PD that didn't do journal

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

Postby gdane » Sun Mar 23, 2014 12:21 pm

Journal isn't something that takes up an entire semester. Just a few hours for cite checks once or twice a semester and that's it. Plenty of people do journal AND externship during the semester.

USAO and federal pd hiring is becoming increasingly focused on prestige. The don't care about journal per se, but they do look for complete candidates. These offices are looking for the person that is finishing up a clerkship, for the person that spent years working at a big firm, for the state prosecutor or state defender that was top of the class, on law review, and on moot court. Unfortunately I can only offer anecdotal evidence.

The AUSA, federal pd thing isn't the point though. The point is that doing a journal is not that much of a time commitment and it's something that can help should the pd/da route not work, which will be the case for many people, even those with experience.

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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Mar 23, 2014 12:26 pm

What if your school requires every 2L to write a note? From what I understand from every 2L I have talked to journal at my school takes a substantial amount of time. Also what if you are doing a joint degree (that will be very helpful for making your resume stand out to any PI job) and it would mean you are already and overworked and not allowed to get credit at your school?

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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby gdane » Sun Mar 23, 2014 12:31 pm

Yea I had to write a note. It's something that you write over the course of a few weeks. My note was roughly 8000 words and I wrote it over the course of a month and a half. No big deal.

Look, y'all can make every excuse for not doing journal and ultimately that's fine. But just know that should the pd/da thing not work out you're gonna have a very hard time looking marketable for non-crim jobs. On top of a resume full of crim work, you have no journal, no moot court, or no honors of any sort? That's not going to cut it.

Do journal, and moot court, because you always need a contingency plan.

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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby Lawst » Sun Mar 23, 2014 7:05 pm

gdane wrote:Yea I had to write a note. It's something that you write over the course of a few weeks. My note was roughly 8000 words and I wrote it over the course of a month and a half. No big deal.

Look, y'all can make every excuse for not doing journal and ultimately that's fine. But just know that should the pd/da thing not work out you're gonna have a very hard time looking marketable for non-crim jobs. On top of a resume full of crim work, you have no journal, no moot court, or no honors of any sort? That's not going to cut it.

Do journal, and moot court, because you always need a contingency plan.


Court experience is pretty valuable. If you're in a state that allows student practice, I'd say that would make you marketable for some other non-crim jobs. I don't know too many students outside the PD/DA field who have court experience, save clinic, which is sort of the same but not quite. I did a ton more work at a faster pace as a student attorney with my internships than I ever did in clinic.

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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby FlanAl » Sun Mar 23, 2014 11:07 pm

Wow, its becoming pretty clear that journals are super different school to school. I'm pretty sure no one gets academic credit at my school for a journal. If you get academic credit for it then it seems like a no brainer. I know that at a number of t-14s you're guaranteed a position on one as long as you do the competition, so I'm not sure there's a prestige factor outside law review.

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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby FlanAl » Thu Mar 27, 2014 11:12 am

viewtopic.php?f=23&t=226797

for 1Ls/2Ls torn between this type of work and big law, I'd suggest browsing this thread.

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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby Displeased » Fri Mar 28, 2014 8:25 am

FlanAl wrote:http://www.top-law-schools.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=23&t=226797

for 1Ls/2Ls torn between this type of work and big law, I'd suggest browsing this thread.


The difference between biglaw and public defense is so vast, it shouldn't even be considered the same profession. If you are torn between biglaw and PD, its like being torn between being a veterinarian and being a stockbroker.

I've been a public defender for about a year and a half and interned at PD's offices all through law school. so I think I can comment accurately on what its like to be a PD. Actual time spent in the office/court/jail is not that bad. I rarely put in more than an 8 hour day. A 10 hour plus day is virtually unheard of, unless you are prepping for a jury trial (which are very rare in my state).

But the emotional toll is crushing. If you have any empathy at all, being a PD sucks. Its nearly impossible. Its not about dedication, or "serving the indigent", or how hard you are willing to work. Everyone who lasts more than a couple months at a PD's office is dedicated and a hard worker. Its just about endurance and compartmentalization. If you think of your 22 year old client who just got sentenced to life in prison as an actual person, the depression will stop you from functioning. And its not like you have time to recover. One client gets sentenced to prison, and we're moving onto the next case in the next minute. If, God forbid, you find yourself taking real responsibility for the client's outcome, you'll go insane.

Being a PD is the most exciting job on the planet. You will have the absolute best work stories. But the job will take so much out of you if you really care about your clients. I genuinely believe that you need to be more than a little sociopathic to be an effective PD.

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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Mar 28, 2014 4:50 pm

People who know New York's PD offices - do they take on volunteer attorneys/post-bar interns - i.e. someone who just took the bar and is working for free (paid via school program)? I've been googling and not really getting a good answer.

I saw the the Bronx Defenders takes on people through the Equal Justice Works fellowship, but apparently that cycle has closed already. Also, I don't really need funding, just an office to take me on that will hopefully eventually hire me or let me get legal work until another office hires me.

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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby FlanAl » Fri Mar 28, 2014 5:17 pm

Displeased wrote:
FlanAl wrote:http://www.top-law-schools.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=23&t=226797

for 1Ls/2Ls torn between this type of work and big law, I'd suggest browsing this thread.


The difference between biglaw and public defense is so vast, it shouldn't even be considered the same profession. If you are torn between biglaw and PD, its like being torn between being a veterinarian and being a stockbroker.

I've been a public defender for about a year and a half and interned at PD's offices all through law school. so I think I can comment accurately on what its like to be a PD. Actual time spent in the office/court/jail is not that bad. I rarely put in more than an 8 hour day. A 10 hour plus day is virtually unheard of, unless you are prepping for a jury trial (which are very rare in my state).

But the emotional toll is crushing. If you have any empathy at all, being a PD sucks. Its nearly impossible. Its not about dedication, or "serving the indigent", or how hard you are willing to work. Everyone who lasts more than a couple months at a PD's office is dedicated and a hard worker. Its just about endurance and compartmentalization. If you think of your 22 year old client who just got sentenced to life in prison as an actual person, the depression will stop you from functioning. And its not like you have time to recover. One client gets sentenced to prison, and we're moving onto the next case in the next minute. If, God forbid, you find yourself taking real responsibility for the client's outcome, you'll go insane.

Being a PD is the most exciting job on the planet. You will have the absolute best work stories. But the job will take so much out of you if you really care about your clients. I genuinely believe that you need to be more than a little sociopathic to be an effective PD.


I mostly just posted it because it made me chuckle and for some reason, lately, I've had a number of 1Ls tell me that they would really like to do PD work but they feel both a career trajectory pull and a financial pull towards big law. I know that before law school and at the beginning of 1L it really feels like big law is required after law school. You have to pay down your debt in big law before you can take the low paying PD gig etc.. I think that any 1L's legitimately comparing what you have to say vs. what the people in the linked thread have to say they may second guess putting being a PD on the back burner.

Also, thanks a bunch for coming into the thread, its great to get insight from actual PDs!

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

Postby FlanAl » Fri Mar 28, 2014 5:19 pm

Anonymous User wrote:People who know New York's PD offices - do they take on volunteer attorneys/post-bar interns - i.e. someone who just took the bar and is working for free (paid via school program)? I've been googling and not really getting a good answer.

I saw the the Bronx Defenders takes on people through the Equal Justice Works fellowship, but apparently that cycle has closed already. Also, I don't really need funding, just an office to take me on that will hopefully eventually hire me or let me get legal work until another office hires me.


New York County Defenders seems to make this their bread and butter. I know a few people who volunteered there for 6 months and then got a job there or at a different PD.

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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Mar 28, 2014 6:47 pm

FlanAl wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:People who know New York's PD offices - do they take on volunteer attorneys/post-bar interns - i.e. someone who just took the bar and is working for free (paid via school program)? I've been googling and not really getting a good answer.

I saw the the Bronx Defenders takes on people through the Equal Justice Works fellowship, but apparently that cycle has closed already. Also, I don't really need funding, just an office to take me on that will hopefully eventually hire me or let me get legal work until another office hires me.


New York County Defenders seems to make this their bread and butter. I know a few people who volunteered there for 6 months and then got a job there or at a different PD.


Thank you! I'll check it out.

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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby xChiTowNx » Wed Apr 02, 2014 10:36 am

If you had to choose between working in the law school's civil legal clinic, or working with on an immigration detainee project (including representation at hearings), which would you choose to do in terms trying to apply to entry level PD positions? Assume that the local PDs office is not taking on volunteers this fall.

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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby andythefir » Wed Apr 02, 2014 11:06 am

I was recently hired as an ADA in a tiny town in a flyover state. Moot court but no journal, worked with judges my 1L summer and a big (for the state) firm my 2L summer that is notorious for not hiring summers. I had been applying everywhere that said they were taking people before the bar, which was maybe 1-2 offices. Then saw some ads for other offices that were ambiguous about whether they required bar passage, applied to them, then just applied to every office in the state. I ended up having a lot of success, mostly from places where the website says they only hire post bar.

First, my application looks solid on paper (top 10% at a T25) and it hurt me, if anything. The sharper offices pegged me as a flight risk and beat me up about whether I was looking to work there for a few years then split. I got a lot of interviews, sure, but I truly think they would have interviewed anyone. If you have good grades at a good school, be prepared to convince them you're not a flight risk. I did a jury trial in an externship that we talked about 10X more than any grades or any other accomplishments.

Second, the state where I'm headed is completely dominated by a local school (a state appeals judge says on his clerking page that he only takes clerks from the local school, one of the state supreme court justices appointed in the early 00s took his first clerk from any other school last year). I was completely shut out of the bigger cities, but the effect is dramatically less pronounced in the far-flung parts of the state.

I'm sure these experiences aren't unique, but I hope they are helpful.

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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby swampman » Wed Apr 02, 2014 11:43 am

andythefir wrote:I was recently hired as an ADA in a tiny town in a flyover state....

I'm sure these experiences aren't unique, but I hope they are helpful.

Thanks for sharing this, it is definitely helpful, and I think pretty unique here too. I think you are first person here to suggest applying to smaller offices early even though they require bar passage (or at least to show that it can actually be done).

It sounds like your law school was out of state, so was this your home state you were applying to? Any tips on how to convince them you're not a flight risk?
Did you end up getting the offer before graduation?

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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby andythefir » Wed Apr 02, 2014 2:06 pm

swampman wrote:
andythefir wrote:I was recently hired as an ADA in a tiny town in a flyover state....

I'm sure these experiences aren't unique, but I hope they are helpful.

Thanks for sharing this, it is definitely helpful, and I think pretty unique here too. I think you are first person here to suggest applying to smaller offices early even though they require bar passage (or at least to show that it can actually be done).

It sounds like your law school was out of state, so was this your home state you were applying to? Any tips on how to convince them you're not a flight risk?
Did you end up getting the offer before graduation?


I was indeed going to my home state from an out of state law school, which is another point: I was shut out of the market where I was born/raised/did high school and undergrad/have 3 generations of family because I didn't go to law school there. If you want these jobs you'd be absolutely insane to go anywhere except for the local school.

As to how to convince them you're not a flight risk, I don't think you ever really can. I got the offer, but every DA office knows very few people spend their whole career as a DA. I think I do, but I may change my mind after a few years. Still, you can point out that: you'd get general experience immediately instead of being stuck in traffic/misdemeanor court forever; you are all about the trials, and big cities have way too many cases to try everything; you've got student loans and therefore you need to live in a low cost of living environment; and there are perks to living in a small town that are even more dramatic in a small bar, like everyone knows you and everyone has to be civil because you're going to see each other over and over.

And yes, I got multiple offers before graduation. I went home for spring break and included in my cover letters that I'd be in the state for that week, which led to several interviews that week. Also, they all wanted me to start as a clerk before taking the bar so I could hit the ground running, if that is relevant to anyone.

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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby DayTripper1967 » Wed Apr 02, 2014 3:04 pm

I'm a 2L with a lot of PD stuff on resume. Did my last summer at a PD's office and will be at another PD's office this summer, but will have my own caseload. I'm starting to think that I picked the wrong side and was wondering how bad my PD experience will hurt if I try to apply for DA jobs. I've heard that DA's offices are less ideological than the PD offices. I'm at a T30 with below median grades.

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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Apr 02, 2014 9:10 pm

Wow, I've heard anecdotes of people who start PD and go DA but I've never met one. What went wrong?




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