How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Sun Jul 13, 2014 9:48 pm

And not all jurisdictions have the same volume of cases, either.

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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jul 13, 2014 10:54 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I'm a PD at a nationally-known office in a major city. I work at least 10 hours a day, 6 days a week. Minimum. It's often more than that, a lot more. Most everyone else in my office works similar hours. I'd be shocked to come in on a Saturday afternoon and find fewer than 25% of my colleagues in the office. And frankly, I'm not really sure how anyone can do this job in less time than that. You have dozens (maybe even hundreds) of people depending on you to steer the course of the rest of their lives. I don't mean to sound like a jerk, but I really can't fathom how people are making this a 40 hour a week job.


Sorry to be blunt, but is this one of the offices that pays really well, relative to cost of living? Because as much as I believe in the job and enjoy doing it, fuck if I'm gonna consistently work 60 hour weeks for $50k/year.

I only have experience with one small town office and another medium city office, both seemed like 40 hours a week type places.

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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jul 13, 2014 11:03 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
emarxnj wrote:
Displeased wrote:
emarxnj wrote:This is probably too general of a question, but generally do prosecutors/PD keep somewhat normal hours, or would there be plenty of overtime work?


I'm an APD in a small to mid-size city.

Hours are roughly 8:30 to 5:00. Sometimes I have to stay past 5:00 due to jail visits, or if I got stuck in court all day, or if I just need to catch up on paperwork, but generally speaking, I stick to those hours. If I have a jury trial (relatively rare in my jurisdiction) or something else big coming up, I take it home, but that's uncommon. Anybody staying past 6:00 at our office would be a real anomaly. By Friday around 3:00, the office is a ghost town.

All in all, probably balances out to 40 hours a week.


That's what seems to be the case where I am, based on conversations I've overheard in court. I know the clerks (at least the criminal ones) say that the work hours are pretty regular just because a judge is only going to hear so many cases. I suppose that extends a bit to prosecutors/PD, though to a lesser extent? Thanks for the info.


I'm a PD at a nationally-known office in a major city. I work at least 10 hours a day, 6 days a week. Minimum. It's often more than that, a lot more. Most everyone else in my office works similar hours. I'd be shocked to come in on a Saturday afternoon and find fewer than 25% of my colleagues in the office. And frankly, I'm not really sure how anyone can do this job in less time than that. You have dozens (maybe even hundreds) of people depending on you to steer the course of the rest of their lives. I don't mean to sound like a jerk, but I really can't fathom how people are making this a 40 hour a week job.


Are you a misdo PD?

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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby Displeased » Mon Jul 14, 2014 8:07 am

Tanicius wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
I'm a PD at a nationally-known office in a major city. I work at least 10 hours a day, 6 days a week. Minimum. It's often more than that, a lot more. Most everyone else in my office works similar hours. I'd be shocked to come in on a Saturday afternoon and find fewer than 25% of my colleagues in the office. And frankly, I'm not really sure how anyone can do this job in less time than that. You have dozens (maybe even hundreds) of people depending on you to steer the course of the rest of their lives. I don't mean to sound like a jerk, but I really can't fathom how people are making this a 40 hour a week job.


It really depends on how litigious your office is. If you're filing a ton of 4th Amendment and sufficiency-of-evidence motions for misdemeanors, yeah, you're gonna get drowned. But not all jurisdictions do that, if only because in some jurisdictions the judges simply don't entertain those motions with any thought or care. Other offices don't file a lot of motions out of credibility concerns.

Some jurisdictions also just aren't as adversarial as yours. In a suburban or rural office, the PDs and DAs know each other and tend to solve a lot more of their cases without fighting it out in court. This can be both good and bad for clients, depending on details.


Its not actually the motions and other legal stuff that occupies most of my time. Its jail visits, sitting in court waiting for cases to be called, initial interviews, and fielding calls from client families that eats into a lot of time. Written motions in misdemeanor (General District) court are rare, mostly because its not a court of record, everything is oral. And as for felony (Circuit) court, well, most cases just don't have real issues or are going to plead out anyway. Its tough when all a cop has to do is say "I pulled him over because of a broken taillight, smelled marijuana, asked for consent to search, it was granted, and then I found a ton of cocaine" and the case is over. I don't need to right a motion in those situations. The actual act of writing a motion is rare, at least in my jurisdiction.

Not to get into a caseload measuring contest, but I'll provide some context for my 40 hour a week statement. I've been a PD for roughly a year and a half, little less. First year in a rural jurisdiction, I completed a little less than 200 cases. I would say 150 of those were misdemeanors, or pled out to misdemeanors. Many go to trial, but a misdemeanor trial takes half an hour at most.

Last 3 months in a slightly more suburban jurisdiction (city of 80k+ people), I've closed about 100 cases, many of them felonies or probation violations. Many went to trial, but a felony bench trial takes an hour on average. I've had plea allocations take longer than some of my trials.

But, like I said in my previous post, jury trials are really rare in my jurisdiction. My office averages maybe 2 per year per attorney. Aside from the majority of cases pleading out, the overwhelming majority of defendants in my jurisdiction ask for bench trials.

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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jul 14, 2014 11:54 am

I've only interned at one of the national offices in NYC and I think there's a couple of things that make the big city pd thing different from the rural county I interned at and the one I sort of externed at. FYI this is just the 2cents of a recent grad who won't be a PD until fall.

First is that in general, salaried employees are just expected to work more in big cities, especially NYC. I haven't met a single person outside of a gov employee that has a consistent 8 hour work day here. NYC also seems to foster a really weird work life balance that I don't think you see in a lot of places but thats a whole other discussion.

You also have night and weekend arraignments that you have to go to so that tacks on at least an extra 6 hrs a week on average. And, by sending attorneys to arraignments during the week as opposed to having people on an arraignment rotation you have attorneys losing a day where they could be working on their current cases. Basically, I think that how your jurisdiction handles arraignments has a HUGE impact on how much time you are going to spend at work.

I also think that the holistic model causes you to spend more time working. Liaising between your client and then your organizations housing lawyers OR another non-profits housing lawyers etc. takes up a ton of time.

The only other aspect that I can think of that would cause extra hours are the DA's. NYC DA's are either prestigious folks who are going to bust their ass at it until they can go USAO or extremely zealous anti crime nuts with an axe to grind. Either way they are going to be putting in longer hours than your average suburban DA who is just doing a job, and if the DAs are putting in longer hours generally the PDs are going to have to too.

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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jul 14, 2014 2:38 pm

but a misdemeanor trial takes half an hour at most.


That's nuts. In my jurisdiction it'd take 30 min just to voir dire.

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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby Tanicius » Mon Jul 14, 2014 2:46 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
but a misdemeanor trial takes half an hour at most.


That's nuts. In my jurisdiction it'd take 30 min just to voir dire.


Half, if not an entire, day for the county I worked at in California.

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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jul 14, 2014 3:02 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
The only other aspect that I can think of that would cause extra hours are the DA's. NYC DA's are either prestigious folks who are going to bust their ass at it until they can go USAO or extremely zealous anti crime nuts with an axe to grind.



As a newly-hired ADA that will start working this Fall, and has no aspirations to go USAO, this pleases me.

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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jul 14, 2014 3:13 pm

whoops, totally forgot that this was a Prosecution and PD gunner thread. But to be fair, the NYC DA's are a different breed than I've seen anywhere else, sort of like the cops I guess.

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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby Displeased » Mon Jul 14, 2014 6:19 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
but a misdemeanor trial takes half an hour at most.


That's nuts. In my jurisdiction it'd take 30 min just to voir dire.


Virtually no juries here in the Old Dominion, so again, all my statements come from the perspective of someone who has requested a jury exactly four times out of a couple hundred cases. None of those juries ever actually went forward, btw.

Serious felonies get maybe two, three hours voir dire. I've seen a murder jury empaneled before lunchtime. A misdemeanor jury (DUI, assault, etc) probably isn't getting more than 45 minutes for voir dire, and I'd expect maybe two hours for trial.

I thought misdemeanor bench trials were the default in most states. To get a jury trial for your misdemeanor here, you'd need to lose your initial bench trial in GDC, appeal (which costs a ton of money if you lose), then specifically request a jury in Circuit (which costs even more money), and then, at the end of all that, you have to suffer through jury sentencing anyway.

Having said all that, I did used to intern in a county where the Commonwealth would ask for a jury on every felony, resulting in an absolutely insane backlog of cases, but creating a huge incentive to plea. Those public defenders virtually gave up on answering client phone calls, they had to prepare for multiple juries every week.

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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby Kronk » Mon Jul 14, 2014 6:23 pm

Anonymous User wrote:For Colorado: If you're aiming for a Western Slope office, what are the chances you'd actually get it? Do those chances improve if you work a summer in a Western Slope office?


PD or DA? You can PM me if the latter.

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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby jesus2121 » Mon Jul 14, 2014 11:35 pm

Hi guys,

I'm a rising 2L currently clerking at a USAO's office in a major city in Texas. I've got 2 weeks left and after reading some of this thread I'm realizing I should probably try to get some more substantive writing experience in (or should I)?

I've written plenty of memos on various legal issues and become familiar with a lot of federal criminal concepts that were new to me at the start -- plea colloquy, habeas petitions, the sentencing guidelines etc. I've also done some work on the civil side of things, mainly tax and bankruptcy. I've written a few memos that were incorporated into appellate briefs as well. But nothing I've written is anything like a motion or something like that.

Should I try asking for those kinds of things or is this kind of thing at the federal level really different from at the state level? I work with both appellate and trial level AUSAs and most of the time they just want an issue researched and an answer; writing memos isn't even a requirement, although I've chosen to write a few. None of what I've written is particularly formal and I didn't use any of them for my writing samples for OCI (but now that I think about it I should have -- oh well, can't change that). Having not taken any 2L crim courses yet like crim procedure I'm pretty ignorant of much of this information.

Speaking of OCI, I applied to a number of big law firms via OCI. I didn't go crazy and apply to 60 firms (did about 10) because I'm not that interested in doing that work, but I didn't want to close off potential opportunities. I don't know if I'll get any interviews, but if I do -- is it something I should forgo when my goal is to become a DA and eventually an AUSA? Does taking a SA preclude becoming a DA later? I know there are a lot of AUSAs who go the biglaw for a few years -> (clerkship) -> AUSA route but does it cut off the state route to do that?

Thanks.

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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby Displeased » Tue Jul 15, 2014 7:28 am

jesus2121 wrote:
Speaking of OCI, I applied to a number of big law firms via OCI. I didn't go crazy and apply to 60 firms (did about 10) because I'm not that interested in doing that work, but I didn't want to close off potential opportunities. I don't know if I'll get any interviews, but if I do -- is it something I should forgo when my goal is to become a DA and eventually an AUSA? Does taking a SA preclude becoming a DA later? I know there are a lot of AUSAs who go the biglaw for a few years -> (clerkship) -> AUSA route but does it cut off the state route to do that?

Thanks.


I don't think being a SA precludes becoming a DA, but you need to get trial experience somehow. The most important question at a DA or PD interview is "how many trials have you done?". If the answer is zero, you're gonna be at a huge disadvantage. If you do get a SA, but want to keep your DA options open, I would try to extern or take a postgraduate internship with a DA to pick up some trial experience.

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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jul 15, 2014 9:03 am

Displeased wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
but a misdemeanor trial takes half an hour at most.


That's nuts. In my jurisdiction it'd take 30 min just to voir dire.


Virtually no juries here in the Old Dominion, so again, all my statements come from the perspective of someone who has requested a jury exactly four times out of a couple hundred cases. None of those juries ever actually went forward, btw.

Serious felonies get maybe two, three hours voir dire. I've seen a murder jury empaneled before lunchtime. A misdemeanor jury (DUI, assault, etc) probably isn't getting more than 45 minutes for voir dire, and I'd expect maybe two hours for trial.

I thought misdemeanor bench trials were the default in most states. To get a jury trial for your misdemeanor here, you'd need to lose your initial bench trial in GDC, appeal (which costs a ton of money if you lose), then specifically request a jury in Circuit (which costs even more money), and then, at the end of all that, you have to suffer through jury sentencing anyway.

Having said all that, I did used to intern in a county where the Commonwealth would ask for a jury on every felony, resulting in an absolutely insane backlog of cases, but creating a huge incentive to plea. Those public defenders virtually gave up on answering client phone calls, they had to prepare for multiple juries every week.


So depressing. Is it like this in Arlington and Fairfax too, or just 'real' Virginia?

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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby spleenworship » Tue Jul 15, 2014 10:44 am

Tanicius wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
but a misdemeanor trial takes half an hour at most.


That's nuts. In my jurisdiction it'd take 30 min just to voir dire.


Half, if not an entire, day for the county I worked at in California.


Half a day to a day to voir dire for felonies here, 1-3 hours at most for misdos.

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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby gdane » Tue Jul 15, 2014 5:06 pm

jesus2121 wrote:Hi guys,

I'm a rising 2L currently clerking at a USAO's office in a major city in Texas. I've got 2 weeks left and after reading some of this thread I'm realizing I should probably try to get some more substantive writing experience in (or should I)?

I've written plenty of memos on various legal issues and become familiar with a lot of federal criminal concepts that were new to me at the start -- plea colloquy, habeas petitions, the sentencing guidelines etc. I've also done some work on the civil side of things, mainly tax and bankruptcy. I've written a few memos that were incorporated into appellate briefs as well. But nothing I've written is anything like a motion or something like that.

Should I try asking for those kinds of things or is this kind of thing at the federal level really different from at the state level? I work with both appellate and trial level AUSAs and most of the time they just want an issue researched and an answer; writing memos isn't even a requirement, although I've chosen to write a few. None of what I've written is particularly formal and I didn't use any of them for my writing samples for OCI (but now that I think about it I should have -- oh well, can't change that). Having not taken any 2L crim courses yet like crim procedure I'm pretty ignorant of much of this information.

Speaking of OCI, I applied to a number of big law firms via OCI. I didn't go crazy and apply to 60 firms (did about 10) because I'm not that interested in doing that work, but I didn't want to close off potential opportunities. I don't know if I'll get any interviews, but if I do -- is it something I should forgo when my goal is to become a DA and eventually an AUSA? Does taking a SA preclude becoming a DA later? I know there are a lot of AUSAs who go the biglaw for a few years -> (clerkship) -> AUSA route but does it cut off the state route to do that?

Thanks.

Find someone that's going to trial and volunteer to write a response to a motion or something. If anything, just go around asking people. Tell them your situation, that you want to get some good experience in and ask if they have anything you can work on.

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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jul 15, 2014 5:34 pm

Displeased wrote:
emarxnj wrote:This is probably too general of a question, but generally do prosecutors/PD keep somewhat normal hours, or would there be plenty of overtime work?


I'm an APD in a small to mid-size city.

Hours are roughly 8:30 to 5:00. Sometimes I have to stay past 5:00 due to jail visits, or if I got stuck in court all day, or if I just need to catch up on paperwork, but generally speaking, I stick to those hours. If I have a jury trial (relatively rare in my jurisdiction) or something else big coming up, I take it home, but that's uncommon. Anybody staying past 6:00 at our office would be a real anomaly. By Friday around 3:00, the office is a ghost town.

All in all, probably balances out to 40 hours a week.


I got hired as a DDA in a populous county adjacent to a major metro area. Still have to pass the bar but have been working since graduation. I'm averaging 50-60 hours a week. That's pretty typical in my section (misdemeanors) we have a ton of cases and a lot of them go to trial. The felony attorneys seem to be generally out by 5 unless they have trials, which is a lot rarer than down in our section (but obviously the ones that go are more serious). Nobody leaves any earlier on Friday than any other day, except maybe people are better about getting out at 5. I will say unless there's a trial, pretty much no one comes in before 8 (which is great because I hate morning) but at the same time, no one gets in later than 8:15. We do have remote access and are expected to do paperwork catch up in evenings and weekends if necessary.

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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jul 15, 2014 5:36 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Displeased wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
but a misdemeanor trial takes half an hour at most.


That's nuts. In my jurisdiction it'd take 30 min just to voir dire.


Virtually no juries here in the Old Dominion, so again, all my statements come from the perspective of someone who has requested a jury exactly four times out of a couple hundred cases. None of those juries ever actually went forward, btw.

Serious felonies get maybe two, three hours voir dire. I've seen a murder jury empaneled before lunchtime. A misdemeanor jury (DUI, assault, etc) probably isn't getting more than 45 minutes for voir dire, and I'd expect maybe two hours for trial.

I thought misdemeanor bench trials were the default in most states. To get a jury trial for your misdemeanor here, you'd need to lose your initial bench trial in GDC, appeal (which costs a ton of money if you lose), then specifically request a jury in Circuit (which costs even more money), and then, at the end of all that, you have to suffer through jury sentencing anyway.

Having said all that, I did used to intern in a county where the Commonwealth would ask for a jury on every felony, resulting in an absolutely insane backlog of cases, but creating a huge incentive to plea. Those public defenders virtually gave up on answering client phone calls, they had to prepare for multiple juries every week.


So depressing. Is it like this in Arlington and Fairfax too, or just 'real' Virginia?


In my county, probably 2/3 are bench, 1/3 jury. Our misdemeanor trials are usually either 1/2 day(bench) or full day(jury). Sometimes they go over, 2 days isn't common but also isn't highly unusual. Voir dire on a misdemeanor here is 1-3 hours. Even a bench trial, our shortest ones are going to be 2-3 hours, and that's like, a shoplifting case.

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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby samcro_op » Tue Jul 15, 2014 6:25 pm

Would anyone who has interned at the Bronx defenders for a summer internship be willing to PM? I have some specific questions.

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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby Displeased » Wed Jul 16, 2014 7:53 am

Anonymous User wrote:So depressing. Is it like this in Arlington and Fairfax too, or just 'real' Virginia?


Re: returning client calls? I have no experience with Northern VA, but I do believe Arlington has the lightest caseload in the state so I'd be shocked if they have difficulties with client contact.

Let me put it this way. Every jurisdiction I've worked in or interned in generally has no trouble returning client calls. Sure, sometimes you forget, or sometimes you can't be bothered to return the 15th call from a family member asking why the sentence was so high and the prosecutor was so mean, but generally speaking, everyone returns phone calls within a few days. However, In this one jurisdiction I interned at, where one attorney would occasionally be scheduled for multiple juries on the same day, returning phone calls was not always humanly possible.

Re: the lack of juries/rocket docket aspect...I think that's universally true in the state. Some jurisdictions have more liberal jury pools, so defendants risk juries more often in those jurisdictions, but generally speaking, jury sentencing scares people away from asking for a jury.

Like I said, in the one jurisdiction I worked in with daily juries, it was almost always the Commonwealth asking for a jury.

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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby MURPH » Fri Jul 18, 2014 3:22 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Displeased wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:That's nuts. In my jurisdiction it'd take 30 min just to voir dire.


Virtually no juries here in the Old Dominion, so again, all my statements come from the perspective of someone who has requested a jury exactly four times out of a couple hundred cases. None of those juries ever actually went forward, btw.

Serious felonies get maybe two, three hours voir dire. I've seen a murder jury empaneled before lunchtime. A misdemeanor jury (DUI, assault, etc) probably isn't getting more than 45 minutes for voir dire, and I'd expect maybe two hours for trial.

I thought misdemeanor bench trials were the default in most states. To get a jury trial for your misdemeanor here, you'd need to lose your initial bench trial in GDC, appeal (which costs a ton of money if you lose), then specifically request a jury in Circuit (which costs even more money), and then, at the end of all that, you have to suffer through jury sentencing anyway.

Having said all that, I did used to intern in a county where the Commonwealth would ask for a jury on every felony, resulting in an absolutely insane backlog of cases, but creating a huge incentive to plea. Those public defenders virtually gave up on answering client phone calls, they had to prepare for multiple juries every week.


So depressing. Is it like this in Arlington and Fairfax too, or just 'real' Virginia?


In my county, probably 2/3 are bench, 1/3 jury. Our misdemeanor trials are usually either 1/2 day(bench) or full day(jury). Sometimes they go over, 2 days isn't common but also isn't highly unusual. Voir dire on a misdemeanor here is 1-3 hours. Even a bench trial, our shortest ones are going to be 2-3 hours, and that's like, a shoplifting case.

At the Los Angeles City Attorney office we had jury trials every day. There were drunk drivers, petty theft, wife beaters and sex offenders. Voir dire was mostly on Mondays, usually half a day or so. Everyone wanted to get the trials done by Friday, except for a few defense attorneys who were known for strategic endless delays. The office was big enough that someone was always in front of the jury and the lawyers loved it when clerks and interns sat in the courtroom and watched the jurors. We would interview them afterwards and give feedback to the lawyers.

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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby Displeased » Wed Jul 23, 2014 9:07 pm

Think I've derailed the thread enough with the jury trial talk. Time to offer some unsolicited opinions on applying for PD jobs.

- Client relations is the primary skill. Courtroom acumen is secondary, and legal knowledge is a distant third. Write your cover letter and handle your interviews accordingly.

- Since client relations is the primary skill, the best way to demonstrate that is by being personable in your interview. PD's tend to be a little unprofessional and quirky, so I'd err on the side of being too relaxed in the interview.

- "Why public defense" is a common question in interviews/theme in cover letters. You should have a good answer. But the question is not "how can you defend criminals?". If you find yourself explaining in the middle of your cover letter or interview how you can find it within yourself to defend the obviously guilty, I think you've messed up. If I was a Marine recuiter, and I asked you "Why apply for the Marines?", and you responded by talking about the ethics of killing and just war theory, I'd think you were a naive idiot. Same principle applies to public defenders.

- If you get asked an ethics hypo, err on the side of your client. Don't suggest that you'd do anything that would risk your bar license, but always err on the side of your client. Having said that, PD's are unusually sensitive to getting bar complaints (due to the sheer number of ineffective assistance of counsel claims we receive), but still, client comes first.

- Good questions to ask in interviews: " How's discovery in this jurisdiction?" (Probably the single most important factor affecting the outcome of cases) and " What's the jail like?" (You'd be amazed how much a bad jail can affect your quality of life as a PD).

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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby Tanicius » Wed Jul 23, 2014 9:46 pm

Displeased wrote:Think I've derailed the thread enough with the jury trial talk. Time to offer some unsolicited opinions on applying for PD jobs.

- Client relations is the primary skill. Courtroom acumen is secondary, and legal knowledge is a distant third. Write your cover letter and handle your interviews accordingly.

- Since client relations is the primary skill, the best way to demonstrate that is by being personable in your interview. PD's tend to be a little unprofessional and quirky, so I'd err on the side of being too relaxed in the interview.

- "Why public defense" is a common question in interviews/theme in cover letters. You should have a good answer. But the question is not "how can you defend criminals?". If you find yourself explaining in the middle of your cover letter or interview how you can find it within yourself to defend the obviously guilty, I think you've messed up. If I was a Marine recuiter, and I asked you "Why apply for the Marines?", and you responded by talking about the ethics of killing and just war theory, I'd think you were a naive idiot. Same principle applies to public defenders.

- If you get asked an ethics hypo, err on the side of your client. Don't suggest that you'd do anything that would risk your bar license, but always err on the side of your client. Having said that, PD's are unusually sensitive to getting bar complaints (due to the sheer number of ineffective assistance of counsel claims we receive), but still, client comes first.

- Good questions to ask in interviews: " How's discovery in this jurisdiction?" (Probably the single most important factor affecting the outcome of cases) and " What's the jail like?" (You'd be amazed how much a bad jail can affect your quality of life as a PD).



I want to frame this post on my office wall. This is probably the single best post of advice concerning public defenders I've ever read. The point about client skills being the most important skill is something I never really realized until I had already done all of my interviews. Those questions to ask the office are also awesome.

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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jul 23, 2014 10:48 pm

Tanicius wrote:
Displeased wrote:Think I've derailed the thread enough with the jury trial talk. Time to offer some unsolicited opinions on applying for PD jobs.

- Client relations is the primary skill. Courtroom acumen is secondary, and legal knowledge is a distant third. Write your cover letter and handle your interviews accordingly.

I want to frame this post on my office wall. This is probably the single best post of advice concerning public defenders I've ever read. The point about client skills being the most important skill is something I never really realized until I had already done all of my interviews. Those questions to ask the office are also awesome.

About the client relations from the other side - this is so important, even the prosecutors comment on which defense attorneys have good "client control" and which don't. (I don't mean to suggest it's only about "controlling" your client, that's just how we talk about it.)

cooperlaserpup
Posts: 179
Joined: Thu Jul 10, 2014 3:36 pm

Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby cooperlaserpup » Sat Jul 26, 2014 1:01 pm

Helloooo anyone in this thread know anyone starting at Brooklyn Defenders (BDS) this fall? Hoping to find others in my class. No dice in the 3L PD apps thread.

Happy to answer questions if you PM me about the application process for PD jobs (I'm a true believer, can't help you with prosecution nonsense :P )




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