Work Hours per Week for New York Attorneys

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rocon7383
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Work Hours per Week for New York Attorneys

Postby rocon7383 » Sun May 15, 2011 6:58 pm

I am curious to know how many hours an attorney in NYC puts in per week. I know this varies from job to job so I'll just list some generic titles and would appreciate feedback from anyone with knowledge on the subject.

Big Law:

Mid Law:

Assistant District Attorney:

AUSA:

Public Defender:

Obviously, I know this is an impossible question to answer because im sure it varies. But is there some sort of hierarchy of hours spent at work? I assume big law would be at the top of this list.

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PKSebben
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Re: Work Hours per Week for New York Attorneys

Postby PKSebben » Sun May 15, 2011 7:01 pm

I am a NYC biglaw atty. I work on average 55-60 a week. Sometimes significantly more. For workable to billable ratio, I'm on track to hit 2400 hours this year. The worst part is that I'm significantly more efficient than more senior people because of the type of work I get along with my workflow.

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rocon7383
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Re: Work Hours per Week for New York Attorneys

Postby rocon7383 » Sun May 15, 2011 7:04 pm

PKSebben wrote:I am a NYC biglaw atty. I work on average 55-60 a week. Sometimes significantly more. For workable to billable ratio, I'm on track to hit 2400 hours this year. The worst part is that I'm significantly more efficient than more senior people because of the type of work I get along with my workflow.



Thanks for the response... Do you like your work and plan to stay in big law for the long haul? Also, is 55-60 hrs per week atypical?? I mean, that seems more than agreeable with the salary you're making. Its when people start talking about 70-80 per week regularly when my eyes widen.

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Big Shrimpin
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Re: Work Hours per Week for New York Attorneys

Postby Big Shrimpin » Sun May 15, 2011 7:09 pm

PKSebben wrote:I am a NYC biglaw atty. I work on average 55-60 a week. Sometimes significantly more. For workable to billable ratio, I'm on track to hit 2400 hours this year. The worst part is that I'm significantly more efficient than more senior people because of the type of work I get along with my workflow.


2400. Noiyce. Lockstep bonuses? Merit-formula would be sick on big billable years (e.g. 1/3 billables over 2100...so like 30k). I turned down some firms with that policy in favor of guaranteed market lockstep. We'll see how it turns out.

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Re: Work Hours per Week for New York Attorneys

Postby The Insider » Sun May 15, 2011 7:13 pm

I'd like to second what the poster said, how content are you with the work, do you find it engaging or unengaging, and do you plan to stay with it long-term? If not, what is your exit strategy? Thank you.

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PKSebben
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Re: Work Hours per Week for New York Attorneys

Postby PKSebben » Sun May 15, 2011 7:46 pm

Big Shrimpin wrote:
PKSebben wrote:I am a NYC biglaw atty. I work on average 55-60 a week. Sometimes significantly more. For workable to billable ratio, I'm on track to hit 2400 hours this year. The worst part is that I'm significantly more efficient than more senior people because of the type of work I get along with my workflow.


2400. Noiyce. Lockstep bonuses? Merit-formula would be sick on big billable years (e.g. 1/3 billables over 2100...so like 30k). I turned down some firms with that policy in favor of guaranteed market lockstep. We'll see how it turns out.


Bonuses are not lockstep. I'll be straight up honest here: my firm is pretty much a sweatshop and a little on the cheap side. I was pretty much told to bill 2400 this year or they would stab me in the face. That said, people at my firm that billed north of 2400 generally destroyed Cravath bonus this year. But I heard rumblings from people between 2100 - 2400 that they felt they were getting screwed. Nobody has any idea of how the comp system really works. I won't go much more detail than that.

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nealric
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Re: Work Hours per Week for New York Attorneys

Postby nealric » Sun May 15, 2011 8:02 pm

I am an NYC biglaw associate and average out to 55hr weeks. Many of the people talking about 70+ hour weeks only do them once in a blue moon. Plenty of people throw in a 70-80 hour week, but many of the same will do 45 hours the next week. It evens out.

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Re: Work Hours per Week for New York Attorneys

Postby PKSebben » Sun May 15, 2011 8:06 pm

The Insider wrote:I'd like to second what the poster said, how content are you with the work, do you find it engaging or unengaging, and do you plan to stay with it long-term? If not, what is your exit strategy? Thank you.


I'm a first year IP associate. I have been EXTREMELY lucky and I have excellent work right now. But I have also had periods where I've done really low level work (think: like doc review, but not doc review) for 30+ days straight without a day off. During that period, I billed several 80+ weeks. That's over 100 workables, easy. It was probably the worst period in my entire life, no hyperbole. It was extremely stressful and we had a couple back-to-back (quasi) all nighters in there. 2 hours of sleep, etc. Maybe I'm just a big pussy or something, but it was horrendous.

Whether the work is engaging or not I think is largely a function of who you work for. The most important aspect of working in a firm, for me, is who I get my work from and who I directly report to. Right now, I work for people that have similar writing styles, give me awesome substantive work, and are laid back. I've also worked for some complete monsters. There are partners that I avoid like the plague. Since I'm a billing machine and have enough work to last a while, I have a little more leverage to turn down work from shitty partners. But if I got slow and had to work for some of those dicks again, I would not enjoy life.

My exit plan will be completely dependant on how I'm treated. If they allow me to consistently progress as a lawyer and I'm treated well (both in market $$$ and with professional respect), I'll stick it out and see what happens. However, I have simply no tolerance for being treated unprofessionally or having my career trajectory withheld for some bullshit reason. I don't mind doing workhorse pitching out of the bullpen so long as I get a chance to start when there is a spot in the rotation, so to speak. And I expect my pitching to evaluated on its merit and not by office politics. But like almost all corporate jobs, there is always someone trying to knife you in the back and frankly I'm just not very good at playing that game. So, we'll see. My philosophy on the whole thing is basically ripped from the movie Heat: "Don't let yourself get attached to anything you are not willing to walk out on in 30 seconds flat if you feel the heat around the corner."

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Big Shrimpin
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Re: Work Hours per Week for New York Attorneys

Postby Big Shrimpin » Sun May 15, 2011 8:22 pm

PKSebben wrote:
Big Shrimpin wrote:
PKSebben wrote:I am a NYC biglaw atty. I work on average 55-60 a week. Sometimes significantly more. For workable to billable ratio, I'm on track to hit 2400 hours this year. The worst part is that I'm significantly more efficient than more senior people because of the type of work I get along with my workflow.


2400. Noiyce. Lockstep bonuses? Merit-formula would be sick on big billable years (e.g. 1/3 billables over 2100...so like 30k). I turned down some firms with that policy in favor of guaranteed market lockstep. We'll see how it turns out.


Bonuses are not lockstep. I'll be straight up honest here: my firm is pretty much a sweatshop and a little on the cheap side. I was pretty much told to bill 2400 this year or they would stab me in the face. That said, people at my firm that billed north of 2400 generally destroyed Cravath bonus this year. But I heard rumblings from people between 2100 - 2400 that they felt they were getting screwed. Nobody has any idea of how the comp system really works. I won't go much more detail than that.


Dang dood. At least you're not under 2400-hun then.

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Re: Work Hours per Week for New York Attorneys

Postby PKSebben » Sun May 15, 2011 8:25 pm

Big Shrimpin wrote:
PKSebben wrote:
Big Shrimpin wrote:
PKSebben wrote:I am a NYC biglaw atty. I work on average 55-60 a week. Sometimes significantly more. For workable to billable ratio, I'm on track to hit 2400 hours this year. The worst part is that I'm significantly more efficient than more senior people because of the type of work I get along with my workflow.


2400. Noiyce. Lockstep bonuses? Merit-formula would be sick on big billable years (e.g. 1/3 billables over 2100...so like 30k). I turned down some firms with that policy in favor of guaranteed market lockstep. We'll see how it turns out.


Bonuses are not lockstep. I'll be straight up honest here: my firm is pretty much a sweatshop and a little on the cheap side. I was pretty much told to bill 2400 this year or they would stab me in the face. That said, people at my firm that billed north of 2400 generally destroyed Cravath bonus this year. But I heard rumblings from people between 2100 - 2400 that they felt they were getting screwed. Nobody has any idea of how the comp system really works. I won't go much more detail than that.


Dang dood. At least you're not under 2400-hun then.


In all fairness to the firm, the reason for the unofficial (but it's official) 2400 minimum is because we have boatloads of work at the junior level, pretty much in all practice groups. It's not a terrible thing to say "get while the gettin's good."

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beachbum
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Re: Work Hours per Week for New York Attorneys

Postby beachbum » Sun May 15, 2011 8:25 pm

Thanks for the info. 50-60 hours/week with occasional 70-80 hour weeks doesn't sound that bad, particularly for NYC. And I'm hoping things are even better in secondary markets.

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Re: Work Hours per Week for New York Attorneys

Postby rocon7383 » Sun May 15, 2011 8:33 pm

PKSebben wrote:
The Insider wrote:I'd like to second what the poster said, how content are you with the work, do you find it engaging or unengaging, and do you plan to stay with it long-term? If not, what is your exit strategy? Thank you.


I'm a first year IP associate. I have been EXTREMELY lucky and I have excellent work right now. But I have also had periods where I've done really low level work (think: like doc review, but not doc review) for 30+ days straight without a day off. During that period, I billed several 80+ weeks. That's over 100 workables, easy. It was probably the worst period in my entire life, no hyperbole. It was extremely stressful and we had a couple back-to-back (quasi) all nighters in there. 2 hours of sleep, etc. Maybe I'm just a big pussy or something, but it was horrendous.

Whether the work is engaging or not I think is largely a function of who you work for. The most important aspect of working in a firm, for me, is who I get my work from and who I directly report to. Right now, I work for people that have similar writing styles, give me awesome substantive work, and are laid back. I've also worked for some complete monsters. There are partners that I avoid like the plague. Since I'm a billing machine and have enough work to last a while, I have a little more leverage to turn down work from shitty partners. But if I got slow and had to work for some of those dicks again, I would not enjoy life.

My exit plan will be completely dependant on how I'm treated. If they allow me to consistently progress as a lawyer and I'm treated well (both in market $$$ and with professional respect), I'll stick it out and see what happens. However, I have simply no tolerance for being treated unprofessionally or having my career trajectory withheld for some bullshit reason. I don't mind doing workhorse pitching out of the bullpen so long as I get a chance to start when there is a spot in the rotation, so to speak. And I expect my pitching to evaluated on its merit and not by office politics. But like almost all corporate jobs, there is always someone trying to knife you in the back and frankly I'm just not very good at playing that game. So, we'll see. My philosophy on the whole thing is basically ripped from the movie Heat: "Don't let yourself get attached to anything you are not willing to walk out on in 30 seconds flat if you feel the heat around the corner."


This all makes sense to me. I feel like I would feel the exact same way if I was getting screamed at-- "f*ck you, f*ck you, f*ck you, you're cool, f*ck you. IM OUT"

Does any one have any idea how much an ada or ausa works? How much they are paid?

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Re: Work Hours per Week for New York Attorneys

Postby Anonymous User » Sun May 15, 2011 9:01 pm

rocon7383 wrote:Does any one have any idea how much an ada or ausa works? How much they are paid?


Attorneys working for the federal government will be paid according to the GS scale. For a new attorney, this would most likely be GS-11. How much you earn depends on where you live as the salary is adjusted for the cost of living. The salary tables are available at http://www.opm.gov/oca/11tables/indexGS.asp

Looks like NY GS-11 would be $64,729.

Working for the fed, attorneys can earn extra leave for time worked in excess of 80 hours in a pay period (a pay period is 2 weeks) through "credit hours" or "compensatory time off." Not going to go too much into the details of it and there are limits, but say you work 90 hours in a pay period then you could get 10 hours of extra leave.

The Office of Personnel Management (http://www.opm.gov) has info on federal employment policies.

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Re: Work Hours per Week for New York Attorneys

Postby rocon7383 » Sun May 15, 2011 10:27 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
rocon7383 wrote:Does any one have any idea how much an ada or ausa works? How much they are paid?


Attorneys working for the federal government will be paid according to the GS scale. For a new attorney, this would most likely be GS-11. How much you earn depends on where you live as the salary is adjusted for the cost of living. The salary tables are available at http://www.opm.gov/oca/11tables/indexGS.asp

Looks like NY GS-11 would be $64,729.

Working for the fed, attorneys can earn extra leave for time worked in excess of 80 hours in a pay period (a pay period is 2 weeks) through "credit hours" or "compensatory time off." Not going to go too much into the details of it and there are limits, but say you work 90 hours in a pay period then you could get 10 hours of extra leave.

The Office of Personnel Management (http://www.opm.gov) has info on federal employment policies.


Thanks for the info. I noticed the huge difference in pay between AUSAs with no experience and those with, say 4 years experience. Does anyone know if the form of your experience matters? Would a clerkship in a federal court potentially get you a higher starting salary than a biglaw attorney?

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Re: Work Hours per Week for New York Attorneys

Postby kalvano » Mon May 16, 2011 12:23 am

AUSA's are not hired straight of out school except for those from DOJ Honors. Plan on working for a few years before getting on with the USAO.

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Re: Work Hours per Week for New York Attorneys

Postby Anonymous User » Mon May 16, 2011 12:42 am

In all fairness to the firm, the reason for the unofficial (but it's official) 2400 minimum is because we have boatloads of work at the junior level, pretty much in all practice groups. It's not a terrible thing to say "get while the gettin's goo

were the firms telling the truth when they were telling me their firm is great b/c their minimum billable is only 1850, 1900 etc? but they really expect u to do 2000, 2200?

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Re: Work Hours per Week for New York Attorneys

Postby PKSebben » Mon May 16, 2011 12:46 am

Anonymous User wrote:
In all fairness to the firm, the reason for the unofficial (but it's official) 2400 minimum is because we have boatloads of work at the junior level, pretty much in all practice groups. It's not a terrible thing to say "get while the gettin's goo

were the firms telling the truth when they were telling me their firm is great b/c their minimum billable is only 1850, 1900 etc? but they really expect u to do 2000, 2200?


Our officewide min is 2000. But because work is so abundant for 1st years, we're all expected to jump in and give it some love. There is a ton of efficient work available and we're sort of expected to get the easy hours while they are there. it's not like anyone works 9-5 anyways, so what's 9-9 and getting a (hopefully) phatty bonus. It's stressful when you work 14 hours a day to get 10 billables. That sucks.

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Re: Work Hours per Week for New York Attorneys

Postby pleasetryagain » Mon May 16, 2011 1:01 am

These threads always make me want to not be a lawyer. I don't mind 55-65 hour weeks but I'd rather throw cinderblocks than do law 14 hours a day for 30 days straight with no days off. How do you not rip your eyes out, or burst into the occasional sob? Is it just that you find the work genuinely interesting? (or at least relatively interesting?) Or have you come to just love the law (dont laugh at me)?

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Re: Work Hours per Week for New York Attorneys

Postby kalvano » Mon May 16, 2011 1:10 am

pleasetryagain wrote:These threads always make me want to not be a lawyer. I don't mind 55-65 hour weeks but I'd rather throw cinderblocks than do law 14 hours a day for 30 days straight with no days off. How do you not rip your eyes out, or burst into the occasional sob? Is it just that you find the work genuinely interesting? (or at least relatively interesting?) Or have you come to just love the law (dont laugh at me)?


$160K a year plus bonuses, that's how.

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Re: Work Hours per Week for New York Attorneys

Postby The Insider » Mon May 16, 2011 2:11 am


My exit plan will be completely dependant on how I'm treated. If they allow me to consistently progress as a lawyer and I'm treated well (both in market $$$ and with professional respect), I'll stick it out and see what happens. However, I have simply no tolerance for being treated unprofessionally or having my career trajectory withheld for some bullshit reason. I don't mind doing workhorse pitching out of the bullpen so long as I get a chance to start when there is a spot in the rotation, so to speak. And I expect my pitching to evaluated on its merit and not by office politics. But like almost all corporate jobs, there is always someone trying to knife you in the back and frankly I'm just not very good at playing that game. So, we'll see. My philosophy on the whole thing is basically ripped from the movie Heat: "Don't let yourself get attached to anything you are not willing to walk out on in 30 seconds flat if you feel the heat around the corner."


You mean to tell me that you get treated like crap, or get yelled at and are not treated with respect? How so? Do they condescend you? Can you give me an example of a typical day? I saw that some treat you with respect, which is great, but when it comes to negative bosses how do you define one? Thanks

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Re: Work Hours per Week for New York Attorneys

Postby Anonymous User » Mon May 16, 2011 2:20 am

PKSebben wrote:
The Insider wrote:I'd like to second what the poster said, how content are you with the work, do you find it engaging or unengaging, and do you plan to stay with it long-term? If not, what is your exit strategy? Thank you.


I'm a first year IP associate. I have been EXTREMELY lucky and I have excellent work right now. But I have also had periods where I've done really low level work (think: like doc review, but not doc review) for 30+ days straight without a day off. During that period, I billed several 80+ weeks. That's over 100 workables, easy. It was probably the worst period in my entire life, no hyperbole. It was extremely stressful and we had a couple back-to-back (quasi) all nighters in there. 2 hours of sleep, etc. Maybe I'm just a big pussy or something, but it was horrendous.

Whether the work is engaging or not I think is largely a function of who you work for. The most important aspect of working in a firm, for me, is who I get my work from and who I directly report to. Right now, I work for people that have similar writing styles, give me awesome substantive work, and are laid back. I've also worked for some complete monsters. There are partners that I avoid like the plague. Since I'm a billing machine and have enough work to last a while, I have a little more leverage to turn down work from shitty partners. But if I got slow and had to work for some of those dicks again, I would not enjoy life.

My exit plan will be completely dependant on how I'm treated. If they allow me to consistently progress as a lawyer and I'm treated well (both in market $$$ and with professional respect), I'll stick it out and see what happens. However, I have simply no tolerance for being treated unprofessionally or having my career trajectory withheld for some bullshit reason. I don't mind doing workhorse pitching out of the bullpen so long as I get a chance to start when there is a spot in the rotation, so to speak. And I expect my pitching to evaluated on its merit and not by office politics. But like almost all corporate jobs, there is always someone trying to knife you in the back and frankly I'm just not very good at playing that game. So, we'll see. My philosophy on the whole thing is basically ripped from the movie Heat: "Don't let yourself get attached to anything you are not willing to walk out on in 30 seconds flat if you feel the heat around the corner."


Can you specify as to why are you more efficient than senior associates?

Also, because I'm trying to figure out what practice group to go into, did you ENJOY legal practice/writing in law school? Are there any legit differences between writing for a firm and writing for legal practice? What made you choose litigation? Just how much are you expected to research and write and in what period of time? (Can you give me an example of an assignment?)

Any idea what the corporate guys do at your firm on a daily basis and what their schedules are like? Do corp attorneys have a worse billable:working hour ratio?

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Re: Work Hours per Week for New York Attorneys

Postby 2009 Prospective » Mon May 16, 2011 2:31 am

kalvano wrote:AUSA's are not hired straight of out school except for those from DOJ Honors. Plan on working for a few years before getting on with the USAO.


I don't come around here too much anymore but for clarity's sake, those in DOJ Honors are not considered AUSAs and they're not guaranteed to become AUSAs immediately after participating in the honors program.

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Re: Work Hours per Week for New York Attorneys

Postby Anonymous User » Mon May 16, 2011 6:58 am

2009 Prospective wrote:
kalvano wrote:AUSA's are not hired straight of out school except for those from DOJ Honors. Plan on working for a few years before getting on with the USAO.


I don't come around here too much anymore but for clarity's sake, those in DOJ Honors are not considered AUSAs and they're not guaranteed to become AUSAs immediately after participating in the honors program.



I don't think he said that. He merely said that of an AUSA were to be hired out of law school, he'd have to be coming from the DOJ honors program- which I believe to be accurate. Looking at the pay scale for AUSAs, though, it would seem to me that the ideal move is to try and get big law for a few years and then lateral into ausa with a significantly higher salary than you would have straight out of LS.

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Re: Work Hours per Week for New York Attorneys

Postby kalvano » Mon May 16, 2011 7:42 am

Anonymous User wrote:
2009 Prospective wrote:
kalvano wrote:AUSA's are not hired straight of out school except for those from DOJ Honors. Plan on working for a few years before getting on with the USAO.


I don't come around here too much anymore but for clarity's sake, those in DOJ Honors are not considered AUSAs and they're not guaranteed to become AUSAs immediately after participating in the honors program.



I don't think he said that. He merely said that of an AUSA were to be hired out of law school, he'd have to be coming from the DOJ honors program- which I believe to be accurate. Looking at the pay scale for AUSAs, though, it would seem to me that the ideal move is to try and get big law for a few years and then lateral into ausa with a significantly higher salary than you would have straight out of LS.



Correct. DOJ honors is no guarantee of a job, but it's the only to even possibly get an AUSA position straight out of law school.

USAO also tends to like people with prosecution experience.

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Re: Work Hours per Week for New York Attorneys

Postby rocon7383 » Mon May 16, 2011 2:22 pm

kalvano wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
2009 Prospective wrote:
kalvano wrote:AUSA's are not hired straight of out school except for those from DOJ Honors. Plan on working for a few years before getting on with the USAO.


I don't come around here too much anymore but for clarity's sake, those in DOJ Honors are not considered AUSAs and they're not guaranteed to become AUSAs immediately after participating in the honors program.



I don't think he said that. He merely said that of an AUSA were to be hired out of law school, he'd have to be coming from the DOJ honors program- which I believe to be accurate. Looking at the pay scale for AUSAs, though, it would seem to me that the ideal move is to try and get big law for a few years and then lateral into ausa with a significantly higher salary than you would have straight out of LS.



Correct. DOJ honors is no guarantee of a job, but it's the only to even possibly get an AUSA position straight out of law school.

USAO also tends to like people with prosecution experience.


Regarding the bolded, would you say that prosecution experience is the best pre-ausa job to have? How do federal clerkship/big law stack up?




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