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.
Anonymous User
Posts: 273241
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Oct 01, 2015 9:23 am

carmensandiego wrote:
Tanicius wrote:
carmensandiego wrote:Not sure else where I could put this question, so I thought I'd ask you wonderful folk. Anyways, 2L here wanting to be a PD. Several interviews with PD offices for the upcoming summer. I'm currently working for a Judge, but for next semester I'm trying to decide if I should do my school's criminal defense clinic or work at a PD office in my city?

If you have any insight, let me have it.


Ask around for opinions about how good the crimdef clinic is. If it sounds good, then try it. They might teach some good stuff. If it sounds mezzo-mezzo, then extern instead.


My school has two criminal defense clinics, both lead by very reputable defense attorneys in my city (chicago). From what I've heard they are both hands-on and many students get their 711 and talk in court (even on an appellate level.) I'm more curious to see what PD offices think about one or the other. I know they're both favorable, but are there serious pros/cons to one or the other during 2L year?


The only drawback to interning at a PDs office is casework & training is totally luck of the draw and the supervisors-while usually as awesome and helpful as can be for interns-are focused on clients and their heavy workload. Usually clinics get to be a bit more patient and student focused; but you'll learn by sitting at a PD's desk also. Cook County is a really cool place to spend time and if you want to apply to CCPD in the future it should be on your resume.

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

Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby Tanicius » Thu Oct 01, 2015 10:50 am

Anonymous User wrote:
The only drawback to interning at a PDs office is casework & training is totally luck of the draw and the supervisors-while usually as awesome and helpful as can be for interns-are focused on clients and their heavy workload. Usually clinics get to be a bit more patient and student focused; but you'll learn by sitting at a PD's desk also. Cook County is a really cool place to spend time and if you want to apply to CCPD in the future it should be on your resume.


Generally speaking, I think that working at PD offices directly is the best way to build a resume. Forget the experience you get at any individual office -- what employers most like to see is that you've worked at a PD office a lot. Clinics, if we're being honest, probably involve better learning opportunities most of the time, if what you're trying to learn are the substantive skills. There's never any substitute to doing actual client interviews or hearings at a PD office, but short of that, clinics are going to teach some pretty useful skills in a vacuum, where you can take it slow and focus on how to do something analytically.

So, I think it really depends on how you want to polish the resume. If you think you have sufficient "experience" on the resume for a PD employer, then do the clinic and pick up some interesting and useful skills. If you think you've met the skill threshold of other good candidates, then drive up the amount of experience the employer will see on your resume by externing instead.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273241
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Oct 01, 2015 11:19 am

Anyone have experience with the Northern Virginia Capital Defender's Office? Or any Capital Defender's office in general? Mostly interested in terms of culture and hiring out of law school. Thank you!

Anonymous User
Posts: 273241
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Oct 01, 2015 1:41 pm

Don't know anything about the NoVa office, but my understanding is that these offices don't hire out of law school, they want people with pretty significant appellate experience.

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

Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby Displeased » Thu Oct 01, 2015 8:33 pm

The Virginia Capital Defenders are almost certainly not going to hire anybody straight out of law school. There is an opening for a Norfolk Assistant Capital Defender, and it requires that the applicant be:

Qualified to serve as co-counsel in Virginia capital trials (Be an active member in good standing of the Virginia State Bar; have at least five years of criminal litigation practice within the past seven years including acting as primary counsel (defense or prosecution) in at least five jury trials involving violent crimes with a maximum penalty of 20 years or more);;

Its very difficult for an experienced defense attorney to meet what they look for in a capital defender, never mind a kid straight out of law school. Also keep in mind that a deputy public defender in Virginia makes less than what an assistant capital defender makes, and a deputy public defender is the 2nd highest ranking person in a non-capital public defender's office. Point is, people with decades of experience are competing for assistant capital defender jobs in Virginia.

User avatar
A. Nony Mouse
Posts: 22835
Joined: Tue Sep 25, 2012 11:51 am

Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Fri Oct 02, 2015 12:32 am

Yeah, I don't think any capital defender's office is going to hire someone right out of law school (and frankly I think that's right).

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

Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby Displeased » Fri Oct 02, 2015 7:23 am

A. Nony Mouse wrote:Yeah, I don't think any capital defender's office is going to hire someone right out of law school (and frankly I think that's right).


Its related to the earlier conversation about handling felony charges straight out of law school. You can't say "its such a shame that the indigent don't get good representation" while applying to take on capital cases or felonies as a 25 year old lawyer with zero real trial experience.

Besides, the capital defenders in Virginia handle maybe 3 cases a year. The skills you'd learn probably aren't transferable to any other form of criminal defense except maybe pure appellate work.

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

Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby FlanAl » Fri Oct 02, 2015 10:13 pm

I know some of the capital places hire for like 2 year post-graduate clerkships. You're obviously not representing the defendant in court, but you get to help out with the whole process.

User avatar
Borhas
Posts: 4854
Joined: Sun Sep 27, 2009 6:09 pm

Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby Borhas » Sat Oct 03, 2015 7:50 pm

andythefir wrote:
tehwetbandit wrote:Hello,

I'm a 3L and I would like to eventually work at the big city PD that I clerk at now. But this office starts new attorneys in traffic and misdemeanors for a few years, is pretty well resourced, and I've heard of attorneys here who did like one jury trial in two years. So I really want to just go somewhere and get a bunch of felony trial experience first. I know someone posted here about going rural southwest and putting up some amazing numbers, but I think that was for ADAs. Does anyone have any advice for where to go if I just want to do as many jury trials as possible from the defense side for a year or two? Is the South a good option?


The Deep South would be horrific. Mississippi is actually the most over-lawyered state in the country (http://www.theatlantic.com/business/arc ... ds/276463/). I would also bet that most of the true horror stories re under-staffed PDs come from that region.

The Mountain West, on the other hand, is completely different. Southeastern New Mexico is a different universe from what I thought I was facing out of law school. I spent around 15 months in the 5th Judicial District and the district was fully staffed for a total of 1 week. And at the end of that week, there were 3 resignations. I don't doubt the PD's offices are the same way.


I'm almost two years in and I am 2nd chair on a trial set on monday where the guy WILL get 32 years of prison if we lose (and it's not a terrible case)

misdemeanors are great, you can go to trial on any misdemeanor and probably not do much worse than the offer. I've had many misdemeanors that were more complicated than a lot of felonies I handle now. The big exception is those fucking driving without a license cases (I hate traffic cases). The only reason to ever want to do felonies is maybe because you have fewer cases so a higher quality of life, but felony land can be soul crushing as fuck. Don't ever be in too much of a hurry to go to felonies. Got to toughen up first.

But if you want to do a ton of trials, whether felony or misdemeanor then Colorado is where you want to come (but regional offices vary widely, I'm at an office where we do more trials and have more clients). I've done 17 jury trials in about 21 months. And that is probably about average for around 2 years experience. I know other people around my experience who have 25-30 trials under their belt.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273241
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Oct 04, 2015 3:17 pm

Got an interview at Defender Association of Philadelphia. Any tips? All of my legal experience is civil (immigration, family, disability law)

User avatar
carmensandiego
Posts: 452
Joined: Mon Oct 28, 2013 6:23 am

Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby carmensandiego » Mon Oct 05, 2015 1:30 pm

Borhas wrote:
andythefir wrote:
tehwetbandit wrote:Hello,

I'm a 3L and I would like to eventually work at the big city PD that I clerk at now. But this office starts new attorneys in traffic and misdemeanors for a few years, is pretty well resourced, and I've heard of attorneys here who did like one jury trial in two years. So I really want to just go somewhere and get a bunch of felony trial experience first. I know someone posted here about going rural southwest and putting up some amazing numbers, but I think that was for ADAs. Does anyone have any advice for where to go if I just want to do as many jury trials as possible from the defense side for a year or two? Is the South a good option?


The Deep South would be horrific. Mississippi is actually the most over-lawyered state in the country (http://www.theatlantic.com/business/arc ... ds/276463/). I would also bet that most of the true horror stories re under-staffed PDs come from that region.

The Mountain West, on the other hand, is completely different. Southeastern New Mexico is a different universe from what I thought I was facing out of law school. I spent around 15 months in the 5th Judicial District and the district was fully staffed for a total of 1 week. And at the end of that week, there were 3 resignations. I don't doubt the PD's offices are the same way.


I'm almost two years in and I am 2nd chair on a trial set on monday where the guy WILL get 32 years of prison if we lose (and it's not a terrible case)

misdemeanors are great, you can go to trial on any misdemeanor and probably not do much worse than the offer. I've had many misdemeanors that were more complicated than a lot of felonies I handle now. The big exception is those fucking driving without a license cases (I hate traffic cases). The only reason to ever want to do felonies is maybe because you have fewer cases so a higher quality of life, but felony land can be soul crushing as fuck. Don't ever be in too much of a hurry to go to felonies. Got to toughen up first.

But if you want to do a ton of trials, whether felony or misdemeanor then Colorado is where you want to come (but regional offices vary widely, I'm at an office where we do more trials and have more clients). I've done 17 jury trials in about 21 months. And that is probably about average for around 2 years experience. I know other people around my experience who have 25-30 trials under their belt.


@Borhas - hey I've noticed that you seem to work for Colorado's PD office. I have two main question for you as a 2L who is super interested in working there this summer and beyond.
1. What does Colorado's office look for most in a candidate?
2. I got negged from Colorado's paid intern program that they are interviewing for at the Equal Justice Works conference at the end of the month. I heard from others that applying to them directly for a non-paid position is a very good idea. Do you think so too? And should I mention Equal Justice Works Conference or nah? I do plan on editing my cover letter and resume because I recently accepted a PD job for the Spring semester (currently working for a Judge.)

pdwannabe
Posts: 41
Joined: Tue Nov 04, 2014 1:14 pm

Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby pdwannabe » Mon Oct 05, 2015 2:36 pm

is Colorado known for going to trial a lot? do they push for you to take cases to trial - and would they want you to say something like that in an interview?

ive noticed some PDs want you to focus more on the helping the poor perspective vs other PDs care more about your trial skills. it'd be good to get some kind of list of which PDs fall on which side of the scale

User avatar
Borhas
Posts: 4854
Joined: Sun Sep 27, 2009 6:09 pm

Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby Borhas » Tue Oct 06, 2015 4:33 pm

carmensandiego wrote:
Borhas wrote:
andythefir wrote:
tehwetbandit wrote:Hello,

I'm a 3L and I would like to eventually work at the big city PD that I clerk at now. But this office starts new attorneys in traffic and misdemeanors for a few years, is pretty well resourced, and I've heard of attorneys here who did like one jury trial in two years. So I really want to just go somewhere and get a bunch of felony trial experience first. I know someone posted here about going rural southwest and putting up some amazing numbers, but I think that was for ADAs. Does anyone have any advice for where to go if I just want to do as many jury trials as possible from the defense side for a year or two? Is the South a good option?


The Deep South would be horrific. Mississippi is actually the most over-lawyered state in the country (http://www.theatlantic.com/business/arc ... ds/276463/). I would also bet that most of the true horror stories re under-staffed PDs come from that region.

The Mountain West, on the other hand, is completely different. Southeastern New Mexico is a different universe from what I thought I was facing out of law school. I spent around 15 months in the 5th Judicial District and the district was fully staffed for a total of 1 week. And at the end of that week, there were 3 resignations. I don't doubt the PD's offices are the same way.


I'm almost two years in and I am 2nd chair on a trial set on monday where the guy WILL get 32 years of prison if we lose (and it's not a terrible case)

misdemeanors are great, you can go to trial on any misdemeanor and probably not do much worse than the offer. I've had many misdemeanors that were more complicated than a lot of felonies I handle now. The big exception is those fucking driving without a license cases (I hate traffic cases). The only reason to ever want to do felonies is maybe because you have fewer cases so a higher quality of life, but felony land can be soul crushing as fuck. Don't ever be in too much of a hurry to go to felonies. Got to toughen up first.

But if you want to do a ton of trials, whether felony or misdemeanor then Colorado is where you want to come (but regional offices vary widely, I'm at an office where we do more trials and have more clients). I've done 17 jury trials in about 21 months. And that is probably about average for around 2 years experience. I know other people around my experience who have 25-30 trials under their belt.


@Borhas - hey I've noticed that you seem to work for Colorado's PD office. I have two main question for you as a 2L who is super interested in working there this summer and beyond.
1. What does Colorado's office look for most in a candidate?
2. I got negged from Colorado's paid intern program that they are interviewing for at the Equal Justice Works conference at the end of the month. I heard from others that applying to them directly for a non-paid position is a very good idea. Do you think so too? And should I mention Equal Justice Works Conference or nah? I do plan on editing my cover letter and resume because I recently accepted a PD job for the Spring semester (currently working for a Judge.)

1. Trial experience, otherwise general litigation experience, no sympathy or internships at DA offices, trial advocacy and clinical practice are big pluses too, social worky stuff is a plus too but not as big
2. non-paid internship is also very good, you will be treated just like the paid interns, minus having money of course. As far as mentioning it, unless you had a really bad interview it probably wouldn't hurt

User avatar
Borhas
Posts: 4854
Joined: Sun Sep 27, 2009 6:09 pm

Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby Borhas » Tue Oct 06, 2015 4:35 pm

pdwannabe wrote:is Colorado known for going to trial a lot? do they push for you to take cases to trial - and would they want you to say something like that in an interview?

ive noticed some PDs want you to focus more on the helping the poor perspective vs other PDs care more about your trial skills. it'd be good to get some kind of list of which PDs fall on which side of the scale


honestly I have no idea. I don't think it is so much that we try more cases (though I suspect we do) than other states, but that you may very well just be thrown into a court room and be expected to know, at least generally, how criminal litigation works from start to finish on a practical level.

User avatar
carmensandiego
Posts: 452
Joined: Mon Oct 28, 2013 6:23 am

Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby carmensandiego » Tue Oct 06, 2015 5:30 pm

Borhas wrote:
carmensandiego wrote:
Borhas wrote:
andythefir wrote:
tehwetbandit wrote:
@Borhas - hey I've noticed that you seem to work for Colorado's PD office. I have two main question for you as a 2L who is super interested in working there this summer and beyond.
1. What does Colorado's office look for most in a candidate?
2. I got negged from Colorado's paid intern program that they are interviewing for at the Equal Justice Works conference at the end of the month. I heard from others that applying to them directly for a non-paid position is a very good idea. Do you think so too? And should I mention Equal Justice Works Conference or nah? I do plan on editing my cover letter and resume because I recently accepted a PD job for the Spring semester (currently working for a Judge.)

1. Trial experience, otherwise general litigation experience, no sympathy or internships at DA offices, trial advocacy and clinical practice are big pluses too, social worky stuff is a plus too but not as big
2. non-paid internship is also very good, you will be treated just like the paid interns, minus having money of course. As far as mentioning it, unless you had a really bad interview it probably wouldn't hurt


Thanks! One last (administrative) question - the website says that applications are being accepted starting 12/01/15 - can/should I apply sooner? I assume the 12/01 start date is for 1L restrictions, so I'm not sure if it applies for 2Ls but I also don't want my application to be lost or not viewed since its about 2 months early before that date haha.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273241
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Oct 07, 2015 1:11 pm

2L here, have an upcoming interview for a spring internship with the PD office I'd love to work at. Is it a good idea to ask about the possibility of continuing to intern there over the summer/3L year/after graduation? Or is that something you find out along the way? I can't decide if I should tone down my excitement during the interview.

User avatar
Borhas
Posts: 4854
Joined: Sun Sep 27, 2009 6:09 pm

Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby Borhas » Wed Oct 07, 2015 5:21 pm

carmensandiego wrote:Thanks! One last (administrative) question - the website says that applications are being accepted starting 12/01/15 - can/should I apply sooner? I assume the 12/01 start date is for 1L restrictions, so I'm not sure if it applies for 2Ls but I also don't want my application to be lost or not viewed since its about 2 months early before that date haha.

I have no idea.

It may be a good idea to call the state office and ask them what that date is for

Anonymous User
Posts: 273241
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Oct 07, 2015 7:25 pm

It feels so weird to be reading through this thread as an ex-prosecutor.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273241
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Oct 19, 2015 2:03 pm

2L Summer PD Applicants how are your interviews shaping up? Anybody heard from PDS yet?

Anonymous User
Posts: 273241
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Oct 20, 2015 8:33 pm

Anonymous User wrote:2L Summer PD Applicants how are your interviews shaping up? Anybody heard from PDS yet?


Interviewed with them several weeks ago but haven't heard back yet.

User avatar
carmensandiego
Posts: 452
Joined: Mon Oct 28, 2013 6:23 am

Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby carmensandiego » Wed Oct 21, 2015 6:20 pm

I have an interview with Wake County PD (Raleigh) and can't really find much about them online (I'm going to see if I can find any of their cases on westlaw soon) but regardless, can anyone enlighten me about their office? Much appreciated!

Anonymous User
Posts: 273241
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Oct 21, 2015 8:02 pm

carmensandiego wrote:I have an interview with Wake County PD (Raleigh) and can't really find much about them online (I'm going to see if I can find any of their cases on westlaw soon) but regardless, can anyone enlighten me about their office? Much appreciated!


If you'll be interning there for the summer after your second year, you'll be assigned to work with an attorney in the misdemeanor division. The North Carolina bar has a student certification rule that allows students to represent clients in court under the supervision of a licensed attorney. During the summer you'll have the opportunity to appear in court to do pleas, continuance motions, argue pre-trial motions, and try cases (bench trials). You'll also have a decent amount of client interaction. The amount of responsibility that you're given will fluctuate depending on your supervising attorney. But most interns that I know we're able to get a trial if they wanted one, and if the case actually went to trial (sometimes it pleads out, or the client just doesn't show up). The work day is generally 9-4:30 or so depending on what's going on. They're also flexible about vacation, given that it's unpaid.

The interview is the standard, "why PD?" Interview. No hypos that I can recall. If you're outside of NC, you may get a "why NC/why this office?" question.

If you intern there during the summer after your 1L year, you'll be assigned to the felony unit, where your work will consist of mostly research and writing. (This is about all you can do since you wouldn't have been in law school long enough to be certified under the student practice rule). 1L interns are also sent to the jail a lot to get information from clients.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273241
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Oct 28, 2015 6:18 pm

Anyone here have any advice as to the best way to break into public defense in the Los Angeles area? I graduated from law school at a T30 in another state with pretty good grades (3.6) and spent considerable time doing externships and have gotten a fair amount of experience in public defense (no trials unfortunately). I had plenty of connections in my home state, but after much debate, my fiance and I decided that it was better for her to take her best BigLaw opportunity since I didn't have any firm prospects back home. The decision to go to Cali and take the bar there was sort of a last minute decision so I didn't spend my 3L year applying/researching.

I have the fortune to have my fiance being able to support us both financially while I wait for something to pan out (and bar results). But everything that I've seen written in this thread and others is that the area is almost impossible to break into. I know that PD jobs can be had if you are flexible on location, but the downside of the financial support is that my location is inflexible. I've tried contacting the 3 surrounding counties where the commute would be plausible but phone calls/emails aren't replied to so I'm at a loss of what to do to follow up. Seems kind of bogus that I can't even get a response from an agency when I'm offering free labor. I've contacted a couple small firms/solo practitioners doing private criminal defense to see if that could at least get me some experience in the area and get to know the players - but still coming up short.

Is my best bet at this point to just think about working solo/pro bono doing overflow/confict work?

Anonymous User
Posts: 273241
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Oct 29, 2015 8:27 pm

I interned in Ventura County, just north of LA one summer. I'm almost positive they had a couple of people working pro bono who were trying to score a job somewhere. But then again, I'm not positive. If you haven't reached out up there then you should. I'm guessing you have reached out to Kern, San Bernadino, Ventura, Orange and Riverside. If things are at all like they used to be, Kern is probably your best bet. I'm pretty sure most of the counties surrounding LA don't hire on a strict schedule. Also, look into Fresno, from what I hear in the news they'd probably let you give them a hand. (Fresno wouldn't be a doable commute I guess but maybe you'd get paid there and just do a little long distance for a bit).

So the issue that you are probably going to run into is the fact that even though you are willing to work for free you still have to be trained and monitored. I think a lot of offices sort of take ineffective claims as a whole, or at least a malpractice insurance plan together that will get hit if an ineffective claim against one of their people comes through. Taking someone on pre-bar results is a risk, and costs them money if they are going to train you and have someone follow you around.

I'd say your best bet now is to reach out to the network in your home state and your school and see if anyone knows anyone doing anything in LA. Public defenders are generally pretty easy going people if someone knows someone they'll probably be happy to meet you for coffee. The more you talk with people in the area the better. The local bar association is also probably a great resource.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273241
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Oct 29, 2015 9:48 pm

I've tried Ventura and Orange. Orange replied that they would pass my application materials around - haven't heard back. I have contacted Ventura but I have not sent them any materials since the person who I was directed to hasn't answered the phone or responded to my voicemails. I haven't tried Kern, San Bernadino or Riverside because the commute seems to be untenable, 1.5-2 hours each way from where I'm at. At this point, however, I'm thinking you may be correct and I'll just have to bite the bullet with the driving and expand my horizons. If Fresno can offer some kind of pay then it that might be an option.

It sounds like you say once bar results come out then the options get a bit better for volunteer work?




Return to “Legal Employment”

Who is online

The online users are hidden on this forum.