How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

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

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Oct 17, 2014 8:48 am

Or, as displeased says, start with traffic tickets. literally hang out outside county/municipal court/the dmv. lots of lawyers do this. traffic clients are high volume and if you do a good job your traffic clients will come to you with their other legal problems. As with any other new business, you need a good chunk of change for startup costs (including malpractice insurance of course) and you'll be lucky to break even at the start, but if putting up a shingle was easy and instantly profitable then everyone would be doing it.

I have practiced not in Denver, but elsewhere in CO this is quite common.

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

Postby BlueLotus » Fri Oct 17, 2014 12:35 pm

spleenworship wrote:I don't have as negative an opinion as Displeased, but I will say that it would be an incredibly uphill battle, with loads of mistakes and many many lean months at first - and that's a good scenario. It's entirely possible you'd end up bankrupt and sued within your first three years. I strongly recommend working for someone else for your first two years.


Credited stuff. And yet Boomers at TTTTs like Cooley scream at their jobless grads, "Just go solo!!" :roll:

DayTripper1967
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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby DayTripper1967 » Fri Oct 17, 2014 7:22 pm

My main concern is finding enough clients in order to make it profitable. I've spent both summers interning at public defender offices, so I do have some experience, and my friend worked with a criminal defense attorney for a few years as well. I know it'll take us both at least a year or two to learn the ropes and there will be stumbling blocks, but I just don't know how we would be able get enough cases. I spoke with the woman who runs the CO Alternate Defender and she said that they want attorneys who have at least 5-6 years experience, so we won't be able to rely on getting cases appointed to us.

I don't have any student loans (my parents are well off) but I know my friend is probably looking at 6 figure debt at graduation. I just don't know how this would work financially.

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

Postby Displeased » Sat Oct 18, 2014 10:17 am

DayTripper1967 wrote:My main concern is finding enough clients in order to make it profitable. I've spent both summers interning at public defender offices, so I do have some experience, and my friend worked with a criminal defense attorney for a few years as well. I know it'll take us both at least a year or two to learn the ropes and there will be stumbling blocks, but I just don't know how we would be able get enough cases. I spoke with the woman who runs the CO Alternate Defender and she said that they want attorneys who have at least 5-6 years experience, so we won't be able to rely on getting cases appointed to us.

I don't have any student loans (my parents are well off) but I know my friend is probably looking at 6 figure debt at graduation. I just don't know how this would work financially.


Have you actually independently handled cases in Denver, or at least Colorado, using a third-year practice certificate? Has your friend done so? If you have, I'll maybe concede that its not instant malpractice for you to handle a case solo, but still, there's more to it than "stumbling blocks" and learning the ropes. A stumbling block as a criminal defense attorney means that somebody goes to jail. "Learning the ropes" requires trying several hundreds of cases. Its a hard job when you have a whole office of experienced attorneys to back you up, I don't know how you could ever do it solo.

If you're really set on doing this, I wouldn't rent any office space, advertise on craigslist and on the Internet, and meet your clients at the coffee shop. You won't get more than a couple clients, so you'll need costs to be zero.

Maybe you could have a "solo firm" for a few months while you try to get a job with the PD's office, but I really sincerely doubt that two people fresh out of law school could support themselves with a solo criminal defense firm. At best, it might be a stop-gap measure for a few months, handling a couple cases here or there while you work full-time somewhere else to pay the bills.

Still, I sincerely recommend that you not do this. Its a disservice to your clients and it probably won't be profitable.

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

Postby samcro_op » Sun Oct 19, 2014 5:37 pm

Anyone know how long places took to get back to applicants after EJW? I went through the old thread and looked at EJW last year in this thread and it was hard to tell.

Thanks!

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anon sequitur
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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby anon sequitur » Sun Oct 19, 2014 6:15 pm

samcro_op wrote:Anyone know how long places took to get back to applicants after EJW? I went through the old thread and looked at EJW last year in this thread and it was hard to tell.

Thanks!


Some responded within a couple weeks. Last year Colorado didn't ever bother getting back to everyone.

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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby samcro_op » Mon Oct 20, 2014 12:16 am

anon sequitur wrote:
samcro_op wrote:Anyone know how long places took to get back to applicants after EJW? I went through the old thread and looked at EJW last year in this thread and it was hard to tell.

Thanks!


Some responded within a couple weeks. Last year Colorado didn't ever bother getting back to everyone.


Wow was that for 2L or 3L? I am worried because I should be hearing back from a top choice this week but there are places I am interviewing with at EJW that I might want more :/ (I am 2L)

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anon sequitur
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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby anon sequitur » Mon Oct 20, 2014 12:50 am

samcro_op wrote:
Wow was that for 2L or 3L? I am worried because I should be hearing back from a top choice this week but there are places I am interviewing with at EJW that I might want more :/ (I am 2L)


2L, annoyingly common for places not to ever get back to you.

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

Postby BlueLotus » Mon Oct 20, 2014 7:20 pm

samcro_op wrote:Anyone know how long places took to get back to applicants after EJW? I went through the old thread and looked at EJW last year in this thread and it was hard to tell.

Thanks!


I got my 2L summer jerb thru EJW. After EJW, I had two follow-up interviews (one by phone, one in person) and found out I got the jerb on December 31. GL!

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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Oct 24, 2014 12:52 am

I apologize if this has been asked before, but how do DAs offices look at Fed clerkships? Will it be hugely problematic? I will be applying next year with a stint in BigLaw and two clerkships (Circuit and District) on my resume.

Thanks!

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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby BlueLotus » Fri Oct 24, 2014 10:00 am

Anonymous User wrote:I apologize if this has been asked before, but how do DAs offices look at Fed clerkships? Will it be hugely problematic? I will be applying next year with a stint in BigLaw and two clerkships (Circuit and District) on my resume.

Thanks!


The TLS conventional wisdom is that clerkships are never a negative.

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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby adonai » Fri Oct 24, 2014 1:33 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I apologize if this has been asked before, but how do DAs offices look at Fed clerkships? Will it be hugely problematic? I will be applying next year with a stint in BigLaw and two clerkships (Circuit and District) on my resume.

Thanks!

Depends on where you apply. In LA at least, it's well-liked.

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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Oct 24, 2014 1:55 pm

I'm interning post-bar and pre-results at my dream DA's office. It's looking like there will be maybe 1 spot available when results come out. There are at least 3 interns potentially competing for it. Apparently the big boss comes around and gently tells people right after the results come out. It looks like the options are either getting hired, getting told to look elsewhere (b/c they will never hire you), or getting told to kind of hang around until an opening pops up.

I think I've done good work, but I'm in no way confident about getting a job offer. Assuming they tell me they'd like to hire me in the future if an opening becomes available, what should I do in the meantime? I'm thinking about working at a victim-services sort of non-profit. I don't really want to work for a defense attorney here. I luckily have a stipend thing from my school so I won't starve. Any advice?

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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby adonai » Fri Oct 24, 2014 8:56 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I'm interning post-bar and pre-results at my dream DA's office. It's looking like there will be maybe 1 spot available when results come out. There are at least 3 interns potentially competing for it. Apparently the big boss comes around and gently tells people right after the results come out. It looks like the options are either getting hired, getting told to look elsewhere (b/c they will never hire you), or getting told to kind of hang around until an opening pops up.

I think I've done good work, but I'm in no way confident about getting a job offer. Assuming they tell me they'd like to hire me in the future if an opening becomes available, what should I do in the meantime? I'm thinking about working at a victim-services sort of non-profit. I don't really want to work for a defense attorney here. I luckily have a stipend thing from my school so I won't starve. Any advice?

Hang around so you will be number one in line for sure. If finances get tough, I would suggest going part time so at least your foot is still wedged in the door. At least that is what I would do.

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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Oct 25, 2014 10:31 pm

BlueLotus wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I apologize if this has been asked before, but how do DAs offices look at Fed clerkships? Will it be hugely problematic? I will be applying next year with a stint in BigLaw and two clerkships (Circuit and District) on my resume.

Thanks!


The TLS conventional wisdom is that clerkships are never a negative.


I don't know about prosecutor offices, but this is definitely not true at many PD offices. I do hiring at the PD office where I work, and whenever we see a clerkship, we worry that the candidate wasn't serious about becoming a PD and is hedging his bets. We view them as negative. I think most other PD offices view them as either negative, or neutral at best.

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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby Tanicius » Sat Oct 25, 2014 10:58 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
BlueLotus wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I apologize if this has been asked before, but how do DAs offices look at Fed clerkships? Will it be hugely problematic? I will be applying next year with a stint in BigLaw and two clerkships (Circuit and District) on my resume.

Thanks!


The TLS conventional wisdom is that clerkships are never a negative.


I don't know about prosecutor offices, but this is definitely not true at many PD offices. I do hiring at the PD office where I work, and whenever we see a clerkship, we worry that the candidate wasn't serious about becoming a PD and is hedging his bets. We view them as negative. I think most other PD offices view them as either negative, or neutral at best.


That's both an unrealistic and harmful (to your own office) conclusion to draw, but okay.

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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Oct 28, 2014 4:36 am

Tanicius wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
BlueLotus wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I apologize if this has been asked before, but how do DAs offices look at Fed clerkships? Will it be hugely problematic? I will be applying next year with a stint in BigLaw and two clerkships (Circuit and District) on my resume.

Thanks!


The TLS conventional wisdom is that clerkships are never a negative.


I don't know about prosecutor offices, but this is definitely not true at many PD offices. I do hiring at the PD office where I work, and whenever we see a clerkship, we worry that the candidate wasn't serious about becoming a PD and is hedging his bets. We view them as negative. I think most other PD offices view them as either negative, or neutral at best.


That's both an unrealistic and harmful (to your own office) conclusion to draw, but okay.


Thanks for giving us the 'okay,' internet commentator.

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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby Tanicius » Tue Oct 28, 2014 8:52 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Thanks for giving us the 'okay,' internet commentator.


Fine. Here are some specifics:

1. The market is shitty. People take clerkships so they can have at least one extra year to apply to jobs while not starving or living with their parents. It doesn't really demonstrate anything about their career dedication or lackthereof, other than that they were capable enough to get a clerkship. You're just lying to yourself if you think it's a problem that they weren't able to get a PD job right out of graduation or work for free.

2. A lot of clerks aren't just "hedging their bets"; they are gaining worthwhile experience that will cut down on the training you have to give them now that they understand how court systems work. Out of my class of 10+ people starting at a public defender office this year, the former state court law clerk is probably the most prepared. She knows how all the databases work, how all the scheduling and court dockets work, how best to communicate with the bench and other clerks by email and phone, how to locate clients and resolve their post-conviction sentencing problems, what the reputations of all the prosecutors are, and what kind of deals are crappy or good. She knows the stuff that takes 6+ months to get down.

3. There's less risk involved than I think you realize. Judicial law clerks are trying to get their careers started after having to put things on hold for the past 1+ years. You think they've watched public defenders appear in court for that time, decided they want to be one, and then will just realize, "Oh, this job actually sucks" and leave? They probably have more exposure to the sucky parts of the job than most of us who went straight through to the PD job do, since they've been watching the majority of the public defenders in front of their own judge get their ass chewed out over bullshit they can't control. The people who don't always know what they're getting into are the die-hard true believer public defenders like us who have "always known" they wanted to do the job since college. Our summer internships and semester externships are probably a lot more limited in exposure to the downsides of the job than a judicial law clerk's observations.

Your shorting both the applicants and your own office here. (But okay.)

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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby anon sequitur » Tue Oct 28, 2014 12:01 pm

Tanicius wrote:
Your shorting both the applicants and your own office here. (But okay.)


I can't imagine it's a controversial assertion that the hiring process most PD offices (and DA's as well) is inefficient and frequently arbitrary. I think a lot of PD offices do a really good job at defending their clients (especially considering their limited resources), but I don't think they seem particularly well managed from an HR perspective.

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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby Displeased » Tue Oct 28, 2014 7:02 pm

Tanicius wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
BlueLotus wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I apologize if this has been asked before, but how do DAs offices look at Fed clerkships? Will it be hugely problematic? I will be applying next year with a stint in BigLaw and two clerkships (Circuit and District) on my resume.

Thanks!


The TLS conventional wisdom is that clerkships are never a negative.


I don't know about prosecutor offices, but this is definitely not true at many PD offices. I do hiring at the PD office where I work, and whenever we see a clerkship, we worry that the candidate wasn't serious about becoming a PD and is hedging his bets. We view them as negative. I think most other PD offices view them as either negative, or neutral at best.


That's both an unrealistic and harmful (to your own office) conclusion to draw, but okay.


Agreed with Tanicius, especially with his lengthier 2nd post.

An opening at a PD's office means that the remaining attorneys in the office are dealing with an increased caseload, and the only way to alleviate that is to hire someone competent ASAP. You want someone who can roll in on day 1 and start handling cases. That's it. Competence is how you get hired. The way you get competent at criminal law is through court experience. A clerkship is court experience. Is it as good as actually being a PD? No. But I can't see how its a negative or even a neutral. As Tanicius indicated, a former clerk just learns things that a lifelong PD can't.

This thread is getting a little too fixated on the idea that, to get a PD job, you need to spend every waking moment fellating the indigent and proving your dedication. Dedication is good, but you don't prove it through summer internships. I know you feel like its your calling, and that you really loved watching Mark Paul Gossalar in Raising the Bar, and that those dozen or so misdemeanor cases you handled as a third year practitioner made you feel warm and fuzzy, but you have no idea what the job is like. You prove your dedication to being a PD by being a PD.

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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Oct 28, 2014 7:08 pm

Displeased wrote:
Tanicius wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
BlueLotus wrote:I apologize if this has been asked before, but how do DAs offices look at Fed clerkships? Will it be hugely problematic? I will be applying next year with a stint in BigLaw and two clerkships (Circuit and District) on my resume.

Thanks!

The TLS conventional wisdom is that clerkships are never a negative.


I don't know about prosecutor offices, but this is definitely not true at many PD offices. I do hiring at the PD office where I work, and whenever we see a clerkship, we worry that the candidate wasn't serious about becoming a PD and is hedging his bets. We view them as negative. I think most other PD offices view them as either negative, or neutral at best.


That's both an unrealistic and harmful (to your own office) conclusion to draw, but okay.


Agreed with Tanicius, especially with his lengthier 2nd post.

An opening at a PD's office means that the remaining attorneys in the office are dealing with an increased caseload, and the only way to alleviate that is to hire someone competent ASAP. You want someone who can roll in on day 1 and start handling cases. That's it. Competence is how you get hired. The way you get competent at criminal law is through court experience. A clerkship is court experience. Is it as good as actually being a PD? No. But I can't see how its a negative or even a neutral. As Tanicius indicated, a former clerk just learns things that a lifelong PD can't.

This thread is getting a little too fixated on the idea that, to get a PD job, you need to spend every waking moment fellating the indigent and proving your dedication. Dedication is good, but you don't prove it through summer internships. I know you feel like its your calling, and that you really loved watching Mark Paul Gossalar in Raising the Bar, and that those dozen or so misdemeanor cases you handled as a third year practitioner made you feel warm and fuzzy, but you have no idea what the job is like. You prove your dedication to being a PD by being a PD.


I disagree about needing to be experienced on your way in, my office hires laterals and people with ZERO in court experience and puts us all through the same exact training.....BUT I agree that a clerkship isn't negative. I've never heard of it being negative at all, and typically its viewed positively, especially if you can explain what you learned, why you clerked, and how it will apply to your practice.

This most competent future PD I know is doing federal clerkships and might even clerk for the supreme court before they become a PD. That won't hurt one bit!

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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby forty-two » Wed Oct 29, 2014 7:22 am

Displeased wrote:
Tanicius wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
I don't know about prosecutor offices, but this is definitely not true at many PD offices. I do hiring at the PD office where I work, and whenever we see a clerkship, we worry that the candidate wasn't serious about becoming a PD and is hedging his bets. We view them as negative. I think most other PD offices view them as either negative, or neutral at best.


That's both an unrealistic and harmful (to your own office) conclusion to draw, but okay.


Agreed with Tanicius, especially with his lengthier 2nd post.

An opening at a PD's office means that the remaining attorneys in the office are dealing with an increased caseload, and the only way to alleviate that is to hire someone competent ASAP. You want someone who can roll in on day 1 and start handling cases. That's it. Competence is how you get hired. The way you get competent at criminal law is through court experience. A clerkship is court experience. Is it as good as actually being a PD? No. But I can't see how its a negative or even a neutral. As Tanicius indicated, a former clerk just learns things that a lifelong PD can't.

This thread is getting a little too fixated on the idea that, to get a PD job, you need to spend every waking moment fellating the indigent and proving your dedication. Dedication is good, but you don't prove it through summer internships. I know you feel like its your calling, and that you really loved watching Mark Paul Gossalar in Raising the Bar, and that those dozen or so misdemeanor cases you handled as a third year practitioner made you feel warm and fuzzy, but you have no idea what the job is like. You prove your dedication to being a PD by being a PD.


I don't think anyone is saying that clerking is bad or won't give you good experience, but the truth is that some offices could see it as a negative or neutral. Just because you don't agree with their reasoning doesn't make it any less true. And anyone who is considering clerking should probably know that some offices will probably consider it a plus but that others might not. The same goes for things like being on a journal and a bunch of other topics we've discussed in this thread. There really is no one size fits all answer to most of this stuff because every PD office is different.

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

Postby Displeased » Wed Oct 29, 2014 8:26 am

forty-two wrote:
I don't think anyone is saying that clerking is bad or won't give you good experience, but the truth is that some offices could see it as a negative or neutral. Just because you don't agree with their reasoning doesn't make it any less true. .


In my experience as a PD, I've never seen anyone suggest that a clerkship is a negative thing to have. And the reasoning makes no sense. For both those reasons, I'm disputing the truth of what some anon said.

But lets give him the benefit of the doubt, maybe his office does view a clerkship as a negative. If it is, I want it clear that the views of his office are not universal. In fact, I'd argue his office is the anomaly.

I don't want people passing on clerkships out of fear that being a clerk for a year will forever disqualify them from public defender work. Realistically, if post-graduation you have a choice between a paying clerkship or unemployment, or a paying clerkship or an unpaid internship at a PD's office, I think you are making a mistake if you pass on the clerkship.

Also, lets not forget the peripheral benefits of a year-long clerkship. You get contacts, references, more raw life experience, you'll actually probably meet the local public defenders, etc. You'll also be able to apply for PD jobs while you're already employed, so you'll come off as less desperate than an unemployed kid fresh out of law school. Its much easier to get a job when you are already employed.

There really is no one size fits all answer to most of this stuff because every PD office is different


Absolutely true.

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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Oct 30, 2014 11:40 am

2L interview with the NY Federal PD. Half the interview was hypos.

That was laughably bad...

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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby Scruffy_the_Janitor » Thu Oct 30, 2014 2:32 pm

If anyone has any hints or tips on the interview with New Hampshire PD second panel, I'd mightily appreciate it. Enough to maybe call the Robot Devil in for a favor.




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