How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

(On Campus Interviews, Summer Associate positions, Firm Reviews, Tips, ...)
Forum rules
Anonymous Posting

Anonymous posting is only appropriate when you are revealing sensitive employment related information about a firm, job, etc. You may anonymously respond on topic to these threads. Unacceptable uses include: harassing another user, joking around, testing the feature, or other things that are more appropriate in the lounge.

Failure to follow these rules will get you outed, warned, or banned.
User avatar
Displeased
Posts: 131
Joined: Fri Mar 20, 2009 11:10 am

Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby Displeased » Sun Aug 31, 2014 10:48 am

spleenworship wrote:Here, you have to pick and choose when you are going to call the cop a liar, since you have to deal with the same cops over and over again, and it helps sometimes to have them not actively hostile to you. In Philly and Miami they saw my reluctance as a weakness, because they have the luxury of dealing with a thousand or more cops, so they don't really run into the same people day after day.


I think the correct answer to that question is "I wouldn't call the cop a liar unless I had incontrovertible proof that he was lying/misremembering, because calling a cop a liar without incontrovertible proof will just hurt the client, hurt future clients, and hurt my reputation in the courtroom".

In my experience, if a cop testifies the sky is green, then the sky is green. Judges will ALWAYS side with the cop.

Don't get me wrong, I love to insinuate that the cop was lazy, didn't take good notes, doesn't remember everything, didn't investigate something he should have, etc. I do that because its often true, you'd be amazed how often cops just arrest somebody without talking to important witnesses. But when a cop directly testifies to something, you're screwed.

The best example is if the cop testifies to something your client said. Your client can deny it up and down, but if the cop testifies to something your client said, its an immutable fact of the universe and you need to accept it.

Also, a good relationship with a cop is invaluable for discovery purposes. You'd be amazed sometimes how cops will just disclose relevant things about a case while you're just shooting the shit waiting for a case to be called.

User avatar
Tanicius
Posts: 2957
Joined: Sat Feb 07, 2009 12:54 am

Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby Tanicius » Sun Aug 31, 2014 11:15 am

Don't get me wrong, I love to insinuate that the cop was lazy, didn't take good notes, doesn't remember everything, didn't investigate something he should have, etc. I do that because its often true, you'd be amazed how often cops just arrest somebody without talking to important witnesses. But when a cop directly testifies to something, you're screwed.


Yep, saying the cop made honest mistakes tends to go over better than arguing he lied, unless you're in an urban office with a jury pool that has a good chunk of victims of police abuses. In the Bronx, you're often better off arguing whatever the cop says is not true just because it's a cop who said it. In Staten Island, not so hot a defense.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273123
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Aug 31, 2014 11:18 am

BlueLotus wrote:
spleenworship wrote:
BlueLotus wrote:How ties conscious are PD/Legal Aid places? Has anyone here gotten a FTLT jerb from a PD/Legal Aid office in a state they've never lived, worked, or gone to school in?


Philly, NH, and Miami PDs all asked me why I wanted to live in their cities since I was so far away. I told them I 1) wanted a PD job more than anything, and 2) What I liked about their city (in the case of Philly I also had some remote ties). Philly and Miami were both satisfied with this, while NH didn't seem to believe me. Honestly one of the biggest hurdles I faced was the very different cultures between big city philosophy and small city/rural philosophy. Here, you have to pick and choose when you are going to call the cop a liar, since you hve to deal with the same cops over and over again, and it helps sometimes to have them not actively hostile to you. In Philly and Miami they saw my reluctance as a weakness, because they have the luxury of dealing with a thousand or more cops, so they don't really run into the same people day after day.


How do I answer the inevitable "why VT" and "why Maine" questions when I've never stepped foot in the state of VT, and only vacationed in Maine?


Obviously NH is different than VT and ME but I'll be working here and the first time in the state was my interview. I had sort of a three prong attack to this question.

The first was on the lifestyle bonuses of not being in a city office. I have bounced around a whole lot of my life and told them that I'd like to settle somewhere and that NH seemed like a much more reasonable place to do that compared to NYC etc..

The second was just researching the office's website and coming up with specific programs and opportunities that they had there compared to other offices. Again, mostly making the comparison to NYC.

The third was that I have an outdoor activity listed on my resume under interests. Although its not something NH is known for, its something that you can do here pretty easily. I emphasized that in interviews. Given that ME and VT are pretty great for the outdoors I think that if you even have a mild interest in hiking or something mentioning it and then mentioning how its a possibility there vs. NYC or whatever.

The Dark Shepard
Posts: 450
Joined: Thu Mar 06, 2014 3:49 pm

Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby The Dark Shepard » Sun Aug 31, 2014 12:32 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I am a member of a journal, and last year, i went through pd interviews. I don't think that my academic writing came up as much as I thought. While a PD's office did ask about one of my research projects, the vast majority of the interviews I went through focused on why I want to PD and how I could relate to clients and handle PD work. I think ultimately, while journal membership helps, trial skills and passion are more important.


Does that go more for secondary journals? In this case, would Moot Court>Secondary Journal? And where would LR fit in?

User avatar
Displeased
Posts: 131
Joined: Fri Mar 20, 2009 11:10 am

Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby Displeased » Sun Aug 31, 2014 12:42 pm

Tanicius wrote:
Don't get me wrong, I love to insinuate that the cop was lazy, didn't take good notes, doesn't remember everything, didn't investigate something he should have, etc. I do that because its often true, you'd be amazed how often cops just arrest somebody without talking to important witnesses. But when a cop directly testifies to something, you're screwed.


Yep, saying the cop made honest mistakes tends to go over better than arguing he lied, unless you're in an urban office with a jury pool that has a good chunk of victims of police abuses. In the Bronx, you're often better off arguing whatever the cop says is not true just because it's a cop who said it. In Staten Island, not so hot a defense.


That's a good thought. I practice in the overwhelmingly republican parts of VA, where juries are like unicorns (rarely seen and sparkling white), and you'd be a fool to argue that the cop was abusive and a liar. But a Bronx jury is a different story.

The 2Ls and 3Ls might want to keep that in mind, location REALLY affects office culture and tactics. Change your interview answers accordingly.

User avatar
Tanicius
Posts: 2957
Joined: Sat Feb 07, 2009 12:54 am

Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby Tanicius » Sun Aug 31, 2014 12:46 pm

Displeased wrote:The 2Ls and 3Ls might want to keep that in mind, location REALLY affects office culture and tactics. Change your interview answers accordingly.


That's the most important part here, for this thread. I made a theory of innocence argument for the closing argument I gave Legal Aid in NYC, and they thought it was terrible and that I should always just hammer reasonable doubt. If you hammered reasonable doubt in the part of the country where I'm from and where I was taught how to do trial ad, the jury would laugh their way to a guilty verdict. In NYC though, the jury will yell at you for not hammering reasonable doubt after they get back from finding the same defendant not guilty.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273123
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Aug 31, 2014 12:47 pm

The Dark Shepard wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I am a member of a journal, and last year, i went through pd interviews. I don't think that my academic writing came up as much as I thought. While a PD's office did ask about one of my research projects, the vast majority of the interviews I went through focused on why I want to PD and how I could relate to clients and handle PD work. I think ultimately, while journal membership helps, trial skills and passion are more important.


Does that go more for secondary journals? In this case, would Moot Court>Secondary Journal? And where would LR fit in?


I was in a really good secondary journal in my school. And my sense is that Moot Court experience, for the most part, looks better on the resume than secondary journal. Although writing always helps, it seems that trial skills are more important.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273123
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Aug 31, 2014 11:07 pm

I am a public defender. I was on law review and I think the only time it came up in interviews was when interviewers asked why I wasted my time with that instead of doing mock trial or something practical.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273123
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Sep 01, 2014 9:04 am

is mentioning that you're part of a religious club on campus a red flag for resumes? (i.e. buddhism club, christian legal society, jewish law students ass'n, etc.)

User avatar
FlanAl
Posts: 1474
Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2010 4:53 pm

Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby FlanAl » Mon Sep 01, 2014 9:27 am

I'd say it totally depends on which office and which religion and also whether this is for prosecution or defense.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273123
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Sep 01, 2014 9:29 am

FlanAl wrote:I'd say it totally depends on which office and which religion and also whether this is for prosecution or defense.


interested in defense/immigration/legal aid. organization is buddhism club.

User avatar
BlueLotus
Posts: 2428
Joined: Tue Aug 14, 2012 8:07 pm

Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby BlueLotus » Mon Sep 01, 2014 10:08 am

Made a thread for the EJW Conference and Career Fair, FYI:
viewtopic.php?f=23&t=235106

Do BDS Immigration Practice interviews and Bronx Defenders Family Defense Practice interviews involve hypos? Should I know my immigration/family law outlines cold?

Will I get asked about my lack of journal and Moot Ct.? I do have in-court litigation experience, both in immigration court and family court.

ash0117
Posts: 246
Joined: Tue Jun 28, 2011 10:10 pm

Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby ash0117 » Mon Sep 01, 2014 12:49 pm

BlueLotus wrote:Made a thread for the EJW Conference and Career Fair, FYI:
viewtopic.php?f=23&t=235106

Do BDS Immigration Practice interviews and Bronx Defenders Family Defense Practice interviews involve hypos? Should I know my immigration/family law outlines cold?

Will I get asked about my lack of journal and Moot Ct.? I do have in-court litigation experience, both in immigration court and family court.


Seann Riley, the Deputy Director, said that they don't do hypos. And their entire process is one interview. I believe he was referencing the criminal defense division, but I can't imagine that there would be huge differences in the process.

For the screeners I've had so far, I've never been asked about my journal experience at all. They all focused on my internships and in court experience as well as general "Why us?" and "Why public defense?" questions.

User avatar
gdane
Posts: 12331
Joined: Sat Sep 26, 2009 2:41 pm

Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby gdane » Mon Sep 01, 2014 1:54 pm

The Dark Shepard wrote:Does that go more for secondary journals? In this case, would Moot Court>Secondary Journal? And where would LR fit in?

Do both journal and moot court, especially moot court. Public service announcement: not everyone here will get to be a public defender or prosecutor, even if you try really hard and even if you really want it.

You need to make sure that your resume is as complete as possible in case you need to find a job in another sector, which many of you will have to do.

User avatar
BlueLotus
Posts: 2428
Joined: Tue Aug 14, 2012 8:07 pm

Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby BlueLotus » Mon Sep 01, 2014 2:34 pm

Anyone here have experience interviewing with Legal Aid Society Juvenile Practice?

User avatar
Borhas
Posts: 4852
Joined: Sun Sep 27, 2009 6:09 pm

Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby Borhas » Mon Sep 01, 2014 4:21 pm

Tanicius wrote:
Displeased wrote:The 2Ls and 3Ls might want to keep that in mind, location REALLY affects office culture and tactics. Change your interview answers accordingly.


That's the most important part here, for this thread. I made a theory of innocence argument for the closing argument I gave Legal Aid in NYC, and they thought it was terrible and that I should always just hammer reasonable doubt. If you hammered reasonable doubt in the part of the country where I'm from and where I was taught how to do trial ad, the jury would laugh their way to a guilty verdict. In NYC though, the jury will yell at you for not hammering reasonable doubt after they get back from finding the same defendant not guilty.


The thing is that almost every great trial lawyer I know gives a different take on fundamental trial strategy. Some offices have particular policies though. Colorado state pd is big on coming up w/ a coherent positive theory of innocence and saving reasonable doubt harping for shit cases, but (humble brag coming) I just won a resisting arrest trial w/ 4 cops testifying to some bad facts by just harping on there not being enough evidence and coming up w/ some lame alternative explanations (he wasn't spitting at officers, he was spitting blood on the ground because he had a broken nose). If you have a chance to gain some insight into the policies and especially the training methods of particular offices then do it and repeat what they want to hear at the interview.

User avatar
Borhas
Posts: 4852
Joined: Sun Sep 27, 2009 6:09 pm

Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby Borhas » Mon Sep 01, 2014 4:22 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
FlanAl wrote:I'd say it totally depends on which office and which religion and also whether this is for prosecution or defense.


interested in defense/immigration/legal aid. organization is buddhism club.

It wont hurt you anywhere but it's not exactly relevant or helpful either

User avatar
FlanAl
Posts: 1474
Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2010 4:53 pm

Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby FlanAl » Mon Sep 01, 2014 8:48 pm

Borhas wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
FlanAl wrote:I'd say it totally depends on which office and which religion and also whether this is for prosecution or defense.


interested in defense/immigration/legal aid. organization is buddhism club.

It wont hurt you anywhere but it's not exactly relevant or helpful either

Yeah, I would say that its fine and you can add it if you want but it may be better to use the line on your resume to flesh out your experience more or something.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273123
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Sep 01, 2014 9:12 pm

FlanAl wrote:
Borhas wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
FlanAl wrote:I'd say it totally depends on which office and which religion and also whether this is for prosecution or defense.


interested in defense/immigration/legal aid. organization is buddhism club.

It wont hurt you anywhere but it's not exactly relevant or helpful either

Yeah, I would say that its fine and you can add it if you want but it may be better to use the line on your resume to flesh out your experience more or something.


yeah, i'm not too involved with clubs on campus (since i hear that they don't count for much in terms of the jerb hunt unless they involve working with clients)

User avatar
Displeased
Posts: 131
Joined: Fri Mar 20, 2009 11:10 am

Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby Displeased » Tue Sep 02, 2014 8:02 am

Borhas wrote:
Tanicius wrote:
Displeased wrote:The 2Ls and 3Ls might want to keep that in mind, location REALLY affects office culture and tactics. Change your interview answers accordingly.


That's the most important part here, for this thread. I made a theory of innocence argument for the closing argument I gave Legal Aid in NYC, and they thought it was terrible and that I should always just hammer reasonable doubt. If you hammered reasonable doubt in the part of the country where I'm from and where I was taught how to do trial ad, the jury would laugh their way to a guilty verdict. In NYC though, the jury will yell at you for not hammering reasonable doubt after they get back from finding the same defendant not guilty.


The thing is that almost every great trial lawyer I know gives a different take on fundamental trial strategy. Some offices have particular policies though. Colorado state pd is big on coming up w/ a coherent positive theory of innocence and saving reasonable doubt harping for shit cases, but (humble brag coming) I just won a resisting arrest trial w/ 4 cops testifying to some bad facts by just harping on there not being enough evidence and coming up w/ some lame alternative explanations (he wasn't spitting at officers, he was spitting blood on the ground because he had a broken nose). If you have a chance to gain some insight into the policies and especially the training methods of particular offices then do it and repeat what they want to hear at the interview.


This is very true, its astonishing how much tactics can vary from lawyer to lawyer.

I think generally speaking, if you have a reasonable and plausible explanation for how your client wound up in the defendant's chair, you want to present that. I think some trial lawyers are afraid that a positive theory of innocence can be disproven, or too effectively criticized by the government. If you stake everything on a positive theory of innocence, you are effectively surrendering reasonable doubt, because then all the state has to do is disprove your theory. Technically you still have reasonable doubt, but the problem is that you've now made the case about your own theory, which handicaps you.

To put it another way, its much easier to poke holes in the state's case then it is to establish and defend your own case. By the way, all you can do as a defense attorney is offer the second most plausible explanation for how your client got arrested. The state always has the most plausible explanation (he's guilty!). Your version of events will almost always be stranger and less believable than the state's version of events.

At the same time, anybody can hammer reasonable doubt. By the time the defense attorney has resorted to using the phrase "has the state proven its case beyond a reasonable doubt?", the judge has already checked off the guilty box on the verdict form.

And to raise another issue, you don't always have full control over what theory you present at trial. Clients can be aggressive, and though I think the lawyer always has control over trial strategy, sometimes the client can commandeer the case. Sometimes you have a client who wants to testify that the man on video committing the robbery was his identical twin cousin, and cannot be dissuaded from testifying.

whereskyle
Posts: 713
Joined: Tue Sep 25, 2012 5:37 am

Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby whereskyle » Tue Sep 02, 2014 8:58 pm

Hey all I'm a 1L at NU (chose it for scholly considerations), and Im looking to prime myself for a largely independent and unsupported job search. I've heard talk of a few PI/PD job fairs outside of the midwest region. Could someone give me a rundown of some of these fairs (name/when/where)? I expect that I will be responsible for organizing my own arrangements and calendar for events such as these. Thank you all for your help! I and the other PI/PD inclined NUers (like the 2 other ones) could really use your support!

User avatar
samcro_op
Posts: 560
Joined: Wed Dec 04, 2013 10:55 pm

Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby samcro_op » Thu Sep 04, 2014 5:19 pm

How much do we need to tailor cover letters to specific locations. Working on CLs for EJW and other places for 2L summer and am just curious. Some I have never been to so obviously don't but some, like CO, I have visited a few times. Is it necessary or helpful/harmful to talk about visiting? I do have friends that live in Denver.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273123
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 04, 2014 9:05 pm

samcro_op wrote:How much do we need to tailor cover letters to specific locations. Working on CLs for EJW and other places for 2L summer and am just curious. Some I have never been to so obviously don't but some, like CO, I have visited a few times. Is it necessary or helpful/harmful to talk about visiting? I do have friends that live in Denver.


Several hiring people at various offices have told me that they assume that by virtue of applying, they infer that you would be willing to work in that area. That is for permanent positions, however, although I don't see how it would be much different for summer. I think dedication to the cause/ passion is more important for a summer. Especially because you are simply committing for a summer, not a permanent move.

User avatar
FlanAl
Posts: 1474
Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2010 4:53 pm

Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby FlanAl » Thu Sep 04, 2014 10:44 pm

samcro_op wrote:How much do we need to tailor cover letters to specific locations. Working on CLs for EJW and other places for 2L summer and am just curious. Some I have never been to so obviously don't but some, like CO, I have visited a few times. Is it necessary or helpful/harmful to talk about visiting? I do have friends that live in Denver.


I'd say you're really into the outdoors or something. Maybe something about working in a state with an innovative new law? They grilled me on this at the table talk at EJW. I did not have legitimate reason other than everyone I met from there was cool and that it seemed like a great office. I got an offer for a I guess second round interview or at least a Skype interview after that but it was way after most of the people on this thread got one so I'd think at least coming up with a realistic narrative about what your life might be like in Colorado and why that sounds great to you would be good.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273123
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 04, 2014 10:46 pm

FlanAl wrote:
samcro_op wrote:How much do we need to tailor cover letters to specific locations. Working on CLs for EJW and other places for 2L summer and am just curious. Some I have never been to so obviously don't but some, like CO, I have visited a few times. Is it necessary or helpful/harmful to talk about visiting? I do have friends that live in Denver.


I'd say you're really into the outdoors or something. Maybe something about working in a state with an innovative new law? They grilled me on this at the table talk at EJW. I did not have legitimate reason other than everyone I met from there was cool and that it seemed like a great office. I got an offer for a I guess second round interview or at least a Skype interview after that but it was way after most of the people on this thread got one so I'd think at least coming up with a realistic narrative about what your life might be like in Colorado and why that sounds great to you would be good.


I got a trial attorney offer without ever having been to CO. I mentioned people I know who enjoyed working there and said that I'd be willing to go anywhere to do the work. That seemed sufficient.




Return to “Legal Employment”

Who is online

The online users are hidden on this forum.