Mroberts3 wrote:This thread has been very useful, so thanks for all the good posts.
I realize in retrospect that I kind of screwed the pooch a bit my quest to be a prosecutor. I did well during 1L and got onto law review and did a firm job for 2L summer thinking that this was the best way to build a resume. I guess it is for some things, but I realized I wouldn't be able to stand biglaw for the 5 years it would take to be even minimally competitive for the USAO. Now I realize this resume isn't all that great to become an ADA.
I did extremely well in evidence, but have no moot court experience (we can't do LR and moot court), and haven't taken trial ad or crim pro yet (will in spring). I guess the question is do I have a realistic shot at getting an ADA job after graduation? Should I just apply everywhere in the state (CA)? Should I look for other government jobs like the AG and then try and lateral in later?
I would still go for prosecution out the gate. If I were you, here's how I would do it. Focus on your cover letter. THis will be the most important thing you hand in (not true of everyone, but since you lack criminal credentials, you gotta make it happen on the cover letter).
I would start the cover letter with Something about how you are a hard worker and you can succeed at whatever you put your mind too. When you first started law school, you thought you wanted to work for a big firm. So you put your mind to that and worked hard and: law review, good grades, summer job witha big firm. But then talk about how you have had a revelation that now you want to work as a prosecutor. I think it will need to be better than: big law hours suck and big law seems boring.
I don't think prosecutors are interested in "skills." Lawyers went to law school. They know you hardly learn shit. I bet a DA gets more trial experience in 1 month then someone who did moot court for 3 years. What they are looking for is people who are committed to the cause and people who they think will be good at it.
That's why in the first part you show that you are a hardworker, that you can do what you want. Get them thinking- if he turns his mind to prosecution, he'll rip it up. But then you have to show why you really want to work prosecution. Don't let them think: he got rejected by his 2l firm (I have no idea if this happened or not) and now this is his backup. If that is conveyed in teh cover letter, I have to imagine it would be an instant ding.
Just convey two things: (1) Your hard-work, dedicated workstyle and your (2) passion for prosecution
OH- another route. You could go PD. A lot of people do PD for 2-4 years than switch to prosecution.
Of course, this stuff is my opinion. my credentials (or lack thereof): Worked for the attorney general in my state, applied to and got accepted to several DA's offices for my 2l summer, worked at a DA's office for my 2L summer, and right now I'm starting to get some interviews for permanent positions at big DA offices. I definitely don't have a job yet though, so don't take my word as gospel. That's just how I would play it. Hope this helps!