How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

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A'nold
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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby A'nold » Sat May 14, 2011 9:21 pm

vanwinkle wrote:
A'nold wrote:Edit: I have noticed that many PD types at my school are very militant and closed minded about the system. However, there are many that seem to be pretty level headed. I understand that being a vigorous advocate is essential for a PD for obvious reasons but do they really have to buy into a way of thinking that may go against reason?

I don't think you have to be "militant" or "closed minded", but I do think you have to at least be obviously on the same side of the line that they are.

Also, this varies depending on where you're working. Some PD offices are more collegial than others...


I understand PD's offices wanting to see that you lean more toward a pro-defense mindset. Like I said above, I think it is essential b/c there is so much more riding on the representation of an accused than there is for the prosecutor in charging and taking a case to trial. I don't know if I like the idea that if PD's offices see anything in your application that might indicate any interest whatsoever in the other side of the isle that you are an auto-ding. It is what it is I guess.

On a purely personal note, I think the reason I have a problem with this kind of thing is that I don't like being forced into abiding by any kind of "beliefs" category. I've been chastised by "militant" (for lack of a better word) republicans, democrats, Christians, atheists, etc. many times in my life for not fully adhering to the "obviously correct" or "only morally possible" way of thinking. I think people should respect one's choice to embrace the gray. Prosecutors that strive to punish severely any and every accused that lands on their desks as well as militant, "all cops are crooked and all accused people have just had a hard life" PD's frustrate the hell out of me.

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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby seatown12 » Sat May 14, 2011 10:04 pm

A'nold wrote:Edit: I have noticed that many PD types at my school are very militant and closed minded about the system. However, there are many that seem to be pretty level headed.

I'm sure the same is true of the DAs at your school, whether you recognize it or not; both sides have a mix of reasonable people and fanatics. At my school many of the worst gunners tend to be wannabe DAs, but there are also several future DAs with whom I get along very well. Likewise, there are a few in the PD crowd who I feel are too idealistic and just don't get it.

A'nold wrote:I don't know if I like the idea that if PD's offices see anything in your application that might indicate any interest whatsoever in the other side of the isle that you are an auto-ding. It is what it is I guess.

This isn't just a purely ideological thing. It's stressful as shit to do defense work, especially indigent defense. Also the pay and prestige are almost always less for PDs than DAs. If a job applicant isn't 100% sure that this is what they want to do with their life there has to be a very real concern that they will burn out or jump ship. It just makes sense for the PD offices to prefer those who are sure they want to be PDs. There are DA offices that follow the same practice as well, although the reasoning is less clear (probably why it's less common).

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

Postby Tanicius » Sat May 14, 2011 10:27 pm

It's not childish to for an attorney who plays a cog in the system to hate the system when it is legitimately one of the worst in the First World. We have the highest prison population, the worst recidivism rate, and the most unchecked poverty of any truly modernized country. Tens of thousands of people get directly fucked over by this reality ever year, and millions more suffer its indirect effects. You will be hard pressed to find a single scholar in the field who thinks we need tougher prison terms or harder prison conditions. The system is worse than it has the power to be. This is not a matter of opinion. There is a correct position on the issue and there is a wrong position. Fighting for longer prison terms is, in most cases, the wrong thing to do. It is damaging to society to push for longer prison sentences, and it is especially damaging to society to punish most criminals the way we do. This doesn't, of course, make prosecutors evil for pushing a sociological position that is empirically damaging to society. Too often enough they're just another cog themselves and there's only so much they can do. Crime is a politicized issue and doing what would actually help society more would not be politically popular to most voting Americans. Unfortunately this is something elected officials need to consider, and it's not easily solvable until we witness/conduct a successful shift in the culture.

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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby Verity » Sat May 14, 2011 10:57 pm

Tanicius wrote:It's not childish to for an attorney who plays a cog in the system to hate the system when it is legitimately one of the worst in the First World. We have the highest prison population, the worst recidivism rate, and the most unchecked poverty of any truly modernized country. Tens of thousands of people get directly fucked over by this reality ever year, and millions more suffer its indirect effects. You will be hard pressed to find a single scholar in the field who thinks we need tougher prison terms or harder prison conditions. The system is worse than it has the power to be. This is not a matter of opinion. There is a correct position on the issue and there is a wrong position. Fighting for longer prison terms is, in most cases, the wrong thing to do. It is damaging to society to push for longer prison sentences, and it is especially damaging to society to punish most criminals the way we do. This doesn't, of course, make prosecutors evil for pushing a sociological position that is empirically damaging to society. Too often enough they're just another cog themselves and there's only so much they can do. Crime is a politicized issue and doing what would actually help society more would not be politically popular to most voting Americans. Unfortunately this is something elected officials need to consider, and it's not easily solvable until we witness/conduct a successful shift in the culture.



Well then carp about all this bull to your congressional reps, don't contribute to a borderline vendetta that results in nothing but a childish and miserable environment. Both sides are given tasks, and they both are subject to certain expectations. That they would hold this against one another (assuming they do nothing else that is specifically deviant and/or unethical) is just absurd, and yes, childish. Be professional.

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

Postby Tanicius » Sat May 14, 2011 11:57 pm

Verity wrote:
Tanicius wrote:It's not childish to for an attorney who plays a cog in the system to hate the system when it is legitimately one of the worst in the First World. We have the highest prison population, the worst recidivism rate, and the most unchecked poverty of any truly modernized country. Tens of thousands of people get directly fucked over by this reality ever year, and millions more suffer its indirect effects. You will be hard pressed to find a single scholar in the field who thinks we need tougher prison terms or harder prison conditions. The system is worse than it has the power to be. This is not a matter of opinion. There is a correct position on the issue and there is a wrong position. Fighting for longer prison terms is, in most cases, the wrong thing to do. It is damaging to society to push for longer prison sentences, and it is especially damaging to society to punish most criminals the way we do. This doesn't, of course, make prosecutors evil for pushing a sociological position that is empirically damaging to society. Too often enough they're just another cog themselves and there's only so much they can do. Crime is a politicized issue and doing what would actually help society more would not be politically popular to most voting Americans. Unfortunately this is something elected officials need to consider, and it's not easily solvable until we witness/conduct a successful shift in the culture.



Well then carp about all this bull to your congressional reps, don't contribute to a borderline vendetta that results in nothing but a childish and miserable environment. Both sides are given tasks, and they both are subject to certain expectations. That they would hold this against one another (assuming they do nothing else that is specifically deviant and/or unethical) is just absurd, and yes, childish. Be professional.


It comes down to individual attorneys. Some make poor and harmful choices. This happens. It's not childish to dislike these people. Acting "professional" doesn't mean always biting your tongue around these people. It also doesn't mean the environment is going to be turned hostile or miserable.

seatown12
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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby seatown12 » Sun May 15, 2011 12:15 am

Verity are you speaking from personal experience? No one here is espousing the attitude you are concerned about.

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Re: How to be a Prosecution Gunner?

Postby tyro » Sun May 15, 2011 12:21 am

Veyron wrote:This thread is relevant to my interests.


Really?

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A'nold
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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby A'nold » Sun May 15, 2011 12:31 am

seatown12 wrote:
A'nold wrote:Edit: I have noticed that many PD types at my school are very militant and closed minded about the system. However, there are many that seem to be pretty level headed.

I'm sure the same is true of the DAs at your school, whether you recognize it or not; both sides have a mix of reasonable people and fanatics. At my school many of the worst gunners tend to be wannabe DAs, but there are also several future DAs with whom I get along very well. Likewise, there are a few in the PD crowd who I feel are too idealistic and just don't get it.

A'nold wrote:I don't know if I like the idea that if PD's offices see anything in your application that might indicate any interest whatsoever in the other side of the isle that you are an auto-ding. It is what it is I guess.

This isn't just a purely ideological thing. It's stressful as shit to do defense work, especially indigent defense. Also the pay and prestige are almost always less for PDs than DAs. If a job applicant isn't 100% sure that this is what they want to do with their life there has to be a very real concern that they will burn out or jump ship. It just makes sense for the PD offices to prefer those who are sure they want to be PDs. There are DA offices that follow the same practice as well, although the reasoning is less clear (probably why it's less common).

Part 1: But I never said that there weren't DA gunners that act the same way. Actually, all of my posts have said as much.

Part 2: That wasn't what I way saying at all. I said that PD's offices especially should make sure that the person is 100% committed to vigorously representing his/her client and that that is the way it needs to be. What I was saying is that a PD applicant shouldn't have to have a crazy vendetta against everything legal, automatically assuming his/her client is being wronged by "the man."

Other dude: You seem to be exactly the true believer type that I take issue with. The fact that you believe that handing out longer prison sentences is always a bad thing and that our system is entirely inadequate leads me to question your ability to keep an open mind about the topic. It is not so cut-and-dried as you make it appear. One could argue that even longer prison sentences would better serve society's interest. Hell, if you took it to the extreme (crazy militant DA type thinking), handing out the death penalty for any kind of felony would pretty much cure our crime issue.

That is not how even minded, realistic people think. You can throw out 100 more studies or scholarly opinions, but that doesn't make them right. That you believe it is the only solution likely means you are extremely passionate and have tunnel vision on the topic. I think we'd all be better off in this situation if we could be passionate, yet at the same time be willing to open our eyes.

Anyway, this thread is not about which side is more moral, etc. I don't want people to be deprived of even more useful information such as has already been given and risk this turning into a lounge thread or something. Therefore, I will try to bring this thread back on topic in future posts.

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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby Tanicius » Sun May 15, 2011 12:51 am

That is not how even minded, realistic people think. You can throw out 100 more studies or scholarly opinions, but that doesn't make them right. That you believe it is the only solution likely means you are extremely passionate and have tunnel vision on the topic. I think we'd all be better off in this situation if we could be passionate, yet at the same time be willing to open our eyes.


Being passionate doesn't mean close-minded. We're all pretty passionate on some things. Often times this is because the things we are passionate about are objectively better views we've come to after spending a long time thinking about an issue from many different perspectives. I just hope you realize the epistemological double standard you're operating on here when you say that this level of passion is by definition close-minded. You are taking for granted that the situation isn't as bad as I say it is and that seeing it for yourself will not lead you to the same conclusions. That is a close-minded stance in and of itself.


Something I didn't really explain in my post above but bears mentioning:

A big part of the reason many PD's both think and act in ways some people in this thread find objectionable is that they are deliberately not simply acting in the role the system built for them. They are often times trying to change the system. Sometimes it works, but because you can only accomplish so much public policy change from a trial courtroom and local news headlines, often times it doesn't accomplish what it is meant to. I think the social worker mentality finds its way into a lot of PD offices, but their extremely specific role in society makes it very hard to make any differences beyond the lives of the clients and their families. I think this is going to be my biggest struggle while in law school - whether I want to put my energy into something narrowly focused but tangible, like pub defense, or try the harder odds at the public policy machine. If more people were conscious of this career distinction I think we could see more progression than we do.

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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby seatown12 » Sun May 15, 2011 1:16 am

A'nold wrote:Anyway, this thread is not about which side is more moral, etc. I don't want people to be deprived of even more useful information such as has already been given and risk this turning into a lounge thread or something.

QFT

How many here have gone/are planning to go to the EJW career fair in DC? Any other career fairs worth checking into?

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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby A'nold » Sun May 15, 2011 1:24 am

Tanicius wrote:
That is not how even minded, realistic people think. You can throw out 100 more studies or scholarly opinions, but that doesn't make them right. That you believe it is the only solution likely means you are extremely passionate and have tunnel vision on the topic. I think we'd all be better off in this situation if we could be passionate, yet at the same time be willing to open our eyes.


Being passionate doesn't mean close-minded. We're all pretty passionate on some things. Often times this is because the things we are passionate about are objectively better views we've come to after spending a long time thinking about an issue from many different perspectives.


If you look at the last line in the post you quoted, you will see that your first sentence either misunderstands what I was saying or just completely ignored it and came up with an easier argument to post against. I agree wholeheartedly with you that being passionate does not mean you must be closed-minded. That was actually my entire point.

Edit: rest of novel-sized response deleted for the sake of the thread.
Last edited by A'nold on Sun May 15, 2011 2:52 am, edited 1 time in total.

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A'nold
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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby A'nold » Sun May 15, 2011 1:27 am

seatown12 wrote:
A'nold wrote:Anyway, this thread is not about which side is more moral, etc. I don't want people to be deprived of even more useful information such as has already been given and risk this turning into a lounge thread or something.

QFT

How many here have gone/are planning to go to the EJW career fair in DC? Any other career fairs worth checking into?

Wow, that's a pretty long way to go for you. :)

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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby Veyron » Sun May 15, 2011 2:15 am

Tanicius wrote:
Veyron wrote:
seatown12 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Side-note: Six out of the nine paid defense attorneys I know are former prosecutors, so the personality differences can't be too strong.

There's a pretty big ideological difference between private defense attorneys, many of whom were prosecutors, and PDs.

PDs and DAs are not enemies, and I don't think anyone is saying either side is "immoral" or making any kind of judgement, but my value system is pretty different from that of a person who would become a DA.

Veyron wrote:How does knowing Spanish help? Tons of people speak it and most Latinos now speak English or have kids who do.

what are you serious?


Yes. My impression is that Spanish is no longer that marketable. If you think otherwise, I would love to hear why.



Your impression is wrong. Father's a public defender, he can't speak a lick of Spanish and deals with Spanish-speaking clients at least 20% of the time he's with clients. Needs a translator every single time this happens. He says that if his office could hire anyone (of course they can't cause of budget cuts) the first person he'd hire in the blink of an eye would be anyone with even a tidbit of Spanish under their belt. Fluent Spanish speakers? He'd probably cry and thank the gods.

Oh, and in case anyone mistakenly believes this issue only exists in border states... My father practices in suburban Minnesota.

Edit: This does come with the caveat that we're talking about attorneys with client relationships. Spanish skills aren't as important for prosecutors because they don't need to communicate with clients on a face-to-face basis. Both sides often deal with cases involving Spanish-speaking people, but being able to speak Spanish doesn't help a prosecutor during trial unless you're the paid translator, which a prosecutor would not be.


Maybe that's my issue then, I live in a state where a ton of people speak Spanish. Maybe I should look for work in MN.

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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby HyeMart » Sun May 15, 2011 2:26 am

what do PD's offer in terms of advancement opportunities?

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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby seatown12 » Sun May 15, 2011 3:13 am

HyeMart wrote:what do PD's offer in terms of advancement opportunities?

You start out doing misdemeanors and work your way up through felonies to capital cases. There is also the possibility in many offices of getting into the appellate division, or moving into a supervisory position as a veteran attorney.

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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby HyeMart » Sun May 15, 2011 3:44 am

I'd like to do persecution ( :mrgreen: ) or PD out of law school, and I would like the door open for advocate work (e.g. suing companies that make toys that kill babies). being that advocate work is more aggressive do you think someone better served to have experience with prosecution? I am aware of the option of going straight into firm work, but I ask because my #1 is PD but I also have a #2 underlying desire for advocate work.

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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby A'nold » Sun May 15, 2011 4:37 am

HyeMart wrote:I'd like to do persecution ( :mrgreen: ) or PD out of law school, and I would like the door open for advocate work (e.g. suing companies that make toys that kill babies). being that advocate work is more aggressive do you think someone better served to have experience with prosecution? I am aware of the option of going straight into firm work, but I ask because my #1 is PD but I also have a #2 underlying desire for advocate work.

Is "advocate work" code for personal injury? I don't know why you would go into prosecution or PD work with the goal of getting better at "suing companies that make toys that kill babies" fwiw. Why not just go work for a plaintiff's firm that does products liability and work your way into the courtroom the traditional way?

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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby HyeMart » Sun May 15, 2011 5:17 am

i had non-profit litigation in mind, which from what i'm reading on this site is very hard to get right out of school. My thinking is to gun for government out of law school and then with some experience try for big non-profits. Since the non-profit I'm thinking of would most likely be suing people rather than defending, signs seem to point to prosecution...but I would rather be a PD than gov. prosecutor.

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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby A'nold » Sun May 15, 2011 1:07 pm

HyeMart wrote:i had non-profit litigation in mind, which from what i'm reading on this site is very hard to get right out of school. My thinking is to gun for government out of law school and then with some experience try for big non-profits. Since the non-profit I'm thinking of would most likely be suing people rather than defending, signs seem to point to prosecution...but I would rather be a PD than gov. prosecutor.


O.k. One thing to think about that has been expressed many times in this thread is that you need to convince the office you are applying to that you are 100% committed to that line of work. The link b/w prosecution and big non-profit seems a little attenuated for me to plan your entire law school experience around. My initial thought (and I fully admit I could be very wrong) is that you should first and foremost shoot for tops grades and intern with nonprofits during your law school career and if you can't get into that line of work after law school you could shoot for some kind of civil litigation firm or, better yet, if you have the grades, work for a few years at a prestigious biglaw firm then apply.

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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby UCLAtransfer » Sun May 15, 2011 2:25 pm

A'nold wrote:
HyeMart wrote:i had non-profit litigation in mind, which from what i'm reading on this site is very hard to get right out of school. My thinking is to gun for government out of law school and then with some experience try for big non-profits. Since the non-profit I'm thinking of would most likely be suing people rather than defending, signs seem to point to prosecution...but I would rather be a PD than gov. prosecutor.


O.k. One thing to think about that has been expressed many times in this thread is that you need to convince the office you are applying to that you are 100% committed to that line of work. The link b/w prosecution and big non-profit seems a little attenuated for me to plan your entire law school experience around. My initial thought (and I fully admit I could be very wrong) is that you should first and foremost shoot for tops grades and intern with nonprofits during your law school career and if you can't get into that line of work after law school you could shoot for some kind of civil litigation firm or, better yet, if you have the grades, work for a few years at a prestigious biglaw firm then apply.


I agree with A'nold w/r/t the attenuated link. I don't think that working in criminal law (whether prosecution or defense) is going to help you land a gig working as a civil plaintiff's attorney any more than any other generic type of law you could do. In fact, working in ANY type of civil litigation (whether plaintiff or defense-side) is probably going to help you achieve your goal much more readily than doing nearly any type of criminal law. I just don't see that there enough enough overlap between crim and civil that it would make sense to do one in the hopes of moving into the other, unless you had no other options.

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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby jkay » Sun May 15, 2011 11:06 pm

A'nold wrote:One could argue that even longer prison sentences would better serve society's interest.



No, one couldn't. Unless he had some insane Calvinist bent, or thought it was somehow right to spend more money imprisoning people than educating them.

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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon May 16, 2011 5:26 pm

My situation:

1) Worked at state's attorney's office one summer during UG
2) median-ish at T13 after my first semester. i think my grades will drop after this latest semester but i'm not sure
3) Working at state AG appellate lit division this summer

What should my next steps be? I want to be an ADA but the problem is that I have absolutely no idea where I'm going to end up geographically as it is highly dependent on where my SO gets into a PhD program. We're thinking it'll probably end up being in the state where I'm doing the AG internship.

I'm thinking:
4) Hopefully nail down evidence/crim pro/trial ad/clinics during 2L
5) Externships with a local DAs. In my state, we can argue motions and such after completing three semesters, so I'm pr holding off on externing until spring semester. Would it be worth it to also extern fall semester anyways? I purposely didn't try writing on to any journals so I would have time to pursue the stuff that actually matters to me
6) Hopefully have a better picture of where I should to work 2L summer by the end of this summer and try to do SLIP or a DA internship
7) More externships during 3L year until I get a job


Any other suggestions?

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A'nold
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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby A'nold » Mon May 16, 2011 6:08 pm

Anonymous User wrote:My situation:

1) Worked at state's attorney's office one summer during UG
2) median-ish at T13 after my first semester. i think my grades will drop after this latest semester but i'm not sure
3) Working at state AG appellate lit division this summer

What should my next steps be? I want to be an ADA but the problem is that I have absolutely no idea where I'm going to end up geographically as it is highly dependent on where my SO gets into a PhD program. We're thinking it'll probably end up being in the state where I'm doing the AG internship.

I'm thinking:
4) Hopefully nail down evidence/crim pro/trial ad/clinics during 2L
5) Externships with a local DAs. In my state, we can argue motions and such after completing three semesters, so I'm pr holding off on externing until spring semester. Would it be worth it to also extern fall semester anyways? I purposely didn't try writing on to any journals so I would have time to pursue the stuff that actually matters to me
6) Hopefully have a better picture of where I should to work 2L summer by the end of this summer and try to do SLIP or a DA internship
7) More externships during 3L year until I get a job


Any other suggestions?

Welcome to the thread. :)

The one question that initially popped into my head was whether your school has a maximum amount of credits you can take for externships. I think mine does (I could have misunderstood, however) and because of that I think I might just straight volunteer during 3L year. I also passed up the opportunity to write onto journals so I could use my time to gain more experience and make more connections. Does your state allow you to practice as a full blown attorney after you complete your second year? My state allows us to have our own case load and basically be an ADA starting 2L summer, as long as there is an attorney with 5+ years experience "supervising" us. Supervision does not mean actually watching you in court, which is pretty cool IMO. Good luck and stick around the thread.

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A'nold
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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby A'nold » Mon May 16, 2011 6:18 pm

An ADA gunner question to you guys:

I know that 3L OCI is basically a ghost town for 3L's looking to get biglaw, but what about ADA/PD offices? I would think they'd like to interview 3L's even more than 2L's b/c 3L's could actually meet hiring needs (lol at these offices actually hiring people) and 3L's should theoretically have a lot more experience doing actual prosecution/PD work in the courtroom and the offices could grill us about these experiences and have a supervisor to talk to as a reference. Do any of you know anything about this topic? Thanks. :)

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Re: How to be a Prosecution/PD Gunner?

Postby seatown12 » Mon May 16, 2011 6:27 pm

Anonymous User wrote:5) Externships with a local DAs. In my state, we can argue motions and such after completing three semesters, so I'm pr holding off on externing until spring semester. Would it be worth it to also extern fall semester anyways? I purposely didn't try writing on to any journals so I would have time to pursue the stuff that actually matters to me

Start in the fall so you can get a sense of the job before you start going into court. You'll get a chance to write the motions and watch veteran attorneys argue them, and then you'll be ready to go in the spring. Good call passing on write-on btw.




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