BigFed Strategy

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Anonymous User
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BigFed Strategy

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jun 05, 2011 12:13 am

Rising 2L at H. Median-ish grades (2/5 H's last semester, expect about the same this semester), secondary journal, some but not much WE. Working at a nonprofit in the Boston area this summer. Doing EIP but also very interested in federal government internships next summer. Any advice on how to hit the ground running and hopefully lock something up? Any hints on agencies/departments that are typically overlooked? Do I have a realistic/good shot without a federal govt. internship this summer or ties to DC? Any advice (even--especially--anecdotal) would be helpful.

2LLLL
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Re: BigFed Strategy

Postby 2LLLL » Sun Jun 05, 2011 7:37 am

I think that University of Arizona has a database of federal agencies that hire law students, complete with deadlines, requirements, etc... Your CSO will definitely be able to link you to it. I doubt your lack of ties to DC will matter, and from what I've seen federal agencies have no problems giving phone interviews if you're not in the DC area.

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Re: BigFed Strategy

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jun 05, 2011 9:46 am

I just graduated from HLS and did 2 federal internships.

If you are interning for the federal government as a 2L, you should try to pick an agency that has an honors program so that you might have a shot at permanent employment. Some of the agencies that have honors programs are:

NLRB (which, I'm told sometimes does try to secure honors program offers to good interns, but this is purely anecdotal)
EEOC (though no honors program this year)
DOL
DOJ (though the honors program is extremely competitive)
HUD
FTC

There are definitely more as well, which you can find at the Arizona Guide. OPIA can also help you a lot at figuring at the best fit. You may also consider contacting some Heyman fellows at agencies you are interested in.

To answer your other questions-- I can't imagine the lack of ties really hurting you. And where I interned, non-profit work was looked upon favorably, so I can't really see that hurting you either. My bet would be that you could almost certainly land an internship with some federal agency, but the most competitive federal internships, like SLIP, will be a long shot.

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RMstratosphere
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Re: BigFed Strategy

Postby RMstratosphere » Sun Jun 05, 2011 10:05 am

Anonymous User wrote:
If you are interning for the federal government as a 2L, you should try to pick an agency that has an honors program so that you might have a shot at permanent employment. Some of the agencies that have honors programs are:


What a stark contrast to the biglaw firm hiring model. Do most students who work in the federal government their 2L summer take the risk of graduating unemployed? How do students who want to work for the federal government get full time employment following graduation? Apply during 3L year?

Anonymous User
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Re: BigFed Strategy

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jun 05, 2011 11:04 am

RMstratosphere wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
If you are interning for the federal government as a 2L, you should try to pick an agency that has an honors program so that you might have a shot at permanent employment. Some of the agencies that have honors programs are:


What a stark contrast to the biglaw firm hiring model. Do most students who work in the federal government their 2L summer take the risk of graduating unemployed? How do students who want to work for the federal government get full time employment following graduation? Apply during 3L year?


Yes, it's a risk. Federal government hiring and public interest hiring is a very different employment model from biglaw (and in general, far more competitive than biglaw). Yeah, you can apply during 3Lyear, though for many agencies (and definitely for the more competitive honors programs), students typically clerk first.

Anonymous User
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Re: BigFed Strategy

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jun 05, 2011 2:03 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I just graduated from HLS and did 2 federal internships.

If you are interning for the federal government as a 2L, you should try to pick an agency that has an honors program so that you might have a shot at permanent employment. Some of the agencies that have honors programs are:

NLRB (which, I'm told sometimes does try to secure honors program offers to good interns, but this is purely anecdotal)
EEOC (though no honors program this year)
DOL
DOJ (though the honors program is extremely competitive)
HUD
FTC

There are definitely more as well, which you can find at the Arizona Guide. OPIA can also help you a lot at figuring at the best fit. You may also consider contacting some Heyman fellows at agencies you are interested in.

To answer your other questions-- I can't imagine the lack of ties really hurting you. And where I interned, non-profit work was looked upon favorably, so I can't really see that hurting you either. My bet would be that you could almost certainly land an internship with some federal agency, but the most competitive federal internships, like SLIP, will be a long shot.


So what sort of positions besides SLIP do you think are a "long shot"? What sort of grades do you think make you competitive for these positions? Would they be the sort of thing where 5-6 H's after the first year makes you competitive, or are they strictly for those with truly elite numbers?

Anonymous User
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Re: BigFed Strategy

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jun 05, 2011 2:34 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
So what sort of positions besides SLIP do you think are a "long shot"? What sort of grades do you think make you competitive for these positions? Would they be the sort of thing where 5-6 H's after the first year makes you competitive, or are they strictly for those with truly elite numbers?


The State Department is also highly competitive. There may be others that fall into that range too. I'm just not sure.

And when I said SLIP is probably a long shot, I didn't mean that you shouldn't apply. It's more that the hiring process for it is unpredictable, and your grades are on the low end for it. But it doesn't mean you have no chance-- I know some people with middling grades who happened to have strong credentials for particular sections who were successful in the SLIP hiring process. (I guess I should confess that I did SLIP myself, so I can answer some further questions if you are interested).

The one thing with SLIP though is that most sections that don't give funnel offers (and many that do give funnel offers) will extend honors program offers primarily to clerks and then possibly to a very small number of absolutely stellar 3L's. Those that I know who did SLIP but did not have the grades to clerk all struck out of the honors program hiring process. So...I guess what I'm getting at is that if your grades are middling, you unfortunately probably don't have a great shot at the honors program and might want to focus on an agency with a somewhat less competitive honors program. (and I'm sorry if that came across as a little harsh/overly pessimistic).

As an addendum: You really should talk to Alexa and Joan at OPIA. They are really helpful and can give you better advice than anyone on this board. And I don't think I said this before, but federal agencies really like to see experience that is relevant to their agency, so a lot is going to come down to your experience and interests.

teem705
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Re: BigFed Strategy

Postby teem705 » Sun Jun 05, 2011 6:13 pm

I'm interested in this as well. I'm a rising 3L at an agency this summer, but the odds of getting into the honors program (like most), are statistically slim to none.

In this case, do we wait until we pass the bar and hunt jobs down through USA jobs? That seems horrifying because (1) USA jobs seems like the place where resumes go to die, and (2) the federal govt. doesn't seem to do much entry-level hiring (I don't necessarily blame them- what skills does a recent law grad have).

So then, do we abandon bigfed in the immediate future and look at state level work? That way at least we could build some marketable skill set (e.g. learn how to try a case), then go back to fed gov later?

It's very very confusing/overwhelming. I think I'm seeing why the firm route is infinitely easier.

Anonymous User
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Re: BigFed Strategy

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jun 05, 2011 8:24 pm

teem705 wrote:I'm interested in this as well. I'm a rising 3L at an agency this summer, but the odds of getting into the honors program (like most), are statistically slim to none.

In this case, do we wait until we pass the bar and hunt jobs down through USA jobs? That seems horrifying because (1) USA jobs seems like the place where resumes go to die, and (2) the federal govt. doesn't seem to do much entry-level hiring (I don't necessarily blame them- what skills does a recent law grad have).

So then, do we abandon bigfed in the immediate future and look at state level work? That way at least we could build some marketable skill set (e.g. learn how to try a case), then go back to fed gov later?

It's very very confusing/overwhelming. I think I'm seeing why the firm route is infinitely easier.


Honors programs and PMF are the main ways that the federal government hires new lawyers. New grad hiring is pretty rare outside of those two channels. Is clerking realistic for you? Applying from a clerkship will give you better chances of landing an honors program offer.

bigtttymer
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Re: BigFed Strategy

Postby bigtttymer » Mon Jun 06, 2011 1:47 pm

Not for summer, but definitely consider the PMF program in the fall of your 3L year. You apply around October.

bigtttymer
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Re: BigFed Strategy

Postby bigtttymer » Mon Jun 06, 2011 1:50 pm

RMstratosphere wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
If you are interning for the federal government as a 2L, you should try to pick an agency that has an honors program so that you might have a shot at permanent employment. Some of the agencies that have honors programs are:


What a stark contrast to the biglaw firm hiring model. Do most students who work in the federal government their 2L summer take the risk of graduating unemployed? How do students who want to work for the federal government get full time employment following graduation? Apply during 3L year?


Yes - many who do bigfed 2L summer graduate unemployed, as there are frequently hiring freezes in bigfed. If I were you I'd get a biglaw SA lined up and then try for PMF your 3L year. If you make the finalist cut it won't be a big deal what you did 2L year as long as you have some relevant resume experience - e.g. make sure you do a clinic or two to show you are committed to public service.

Anonymous User
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Re: BigFed Strategy

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jun 06, 2011 2:17 pm

.

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gwuorbust
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Re: BigFed Strategy

Postby gwuorbust » Mon Jun 06, 2011 2:51 pm

when did BigFed become a 'thing'? Is there SmallFed?

teem705
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Re: BigFed Strategy

Postby teem705 » Mon Jun 06, 2011 7:00 pm

But with PMF I'm guessing you'll never see the inside of a courtroom? It sounds like we're being faced with a choice: if you want to be in court, you need to look everywhere to try and find your way into an AG/DA office (hiring freezes = death; USAO - no entry level), or you have to be willing to take any job in fed. govt. which might mean never seeing a courtroom, and if that's your first job it seems like you'll never switch to the trial side of things.

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Holly Golightly
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Re: BigFed Strategy

Postby Holly Golightly » Mon Jun 06, 2011 7:04 pm

Even though the idea of doing biglawl makes me die a little inside, I'm considering doing it for a few years, just because it seems that the best way to get the fed gov positions I want is to lateral. :|

Also, I'm terrified of graduating unemployed.
Last edited by Holly Golightly on Mon Jun 06, 2011 7:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Anonymous User
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Re: BigFed Strategy

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jun 06, 2011 7:15 pm

How tough is it to break into the FTC?

Keeper1125
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Re: BigFed Strategy

Postby Keeper1125 » Mon Jun 06, 2011 7:18 pm

Holly Golightly wrote:Even though the idea of doing biglawl makes me die a little inside, I'm considering doing it for a few years, just because it seems that the best way to get the fed gov positions I want is to lateral.


Pretty much where I'm at.

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RMstratosphere
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Re: BigFed Strategy

Postby RMstratosphere » Mon Jun 06, 2011 7:56 pm

bigtttymer wrote:
RMstratosphere wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
If you are interning for the federal government as a 2L, you should try to pick an agency that has an honors program so that you might have a shot at permanent employment. Some of the agencies that have honors programs are:


What a stark contrast to the biglaw firm hiring model. Do most students who work in the federal government their 2L summer take the risk of graduating unemployed? How do students who want to work for the federal government get full time employment following graduation? Apply during 3L year?


Yes - many who do bigfed 2L summer graduate unemployed, as there are frequently hiring freezes in bigfed. If I were you I'd get a biglaw SA lined up and then try for PMF your 3L year. If you make the finalist cut it won't be a big deal what you did 2L year as long as you have some relevant resume experience - e.g. make sure you do a clinic or two to show you are committed to public service.


Thank you very much. I appreciate the insight.

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

Re: BigFed Strategy

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jun 07, 2011 11:25 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
So what sort of positions besides SLIP do you think are a "long shot"? What sort of grades do you think make you competitive for these positions? Would they be the sort of thing where 5-6 H's after the first year makes you competitive, or are they strictly for those with truly elite numbers?


The State Department is also highly competitive. There may be others that fall into that range too. I'm just not sure.

And when I said SLIP is probably a long shot, I didn't mean that you shouldn't apply. It's more that the hiring process for it is unpredictable, and your grades are on the low end for it. But it doesn't mean you have no chance-- I know some people with middling grades who happened to have strong credentials for particular sections who were successful in the SLIP hiring process. (I guess I should confess that I did SLIP myself, so I can answer some further questions if you are interested).

The one thing with SLIP though is that most sections that don't give funnel offers (and many that do give funnel offers) will extend honors program offers primarily to clerks and then possibly to a very small number of absolutely stellar 3L's. Those that I know who did SLIP but did not have the grades to clerk all struck out of the honors program hiring process. So...I guess what I'm getting at is that if your grades are middling, you unfortunately probably don't have a great shot at the honors program and might want to focus on an agency with a somewhat less competitive honors program. (and I'm sorry if that came across as a little harsh/overly pessimistic).

As an addendum: You really should talk to Alexa and Joan at OPIA. They are really helpful and can give you better advice than anyone on this board. And I don't think I said this before, but federal agencies really like to see experience that is relevant to their agency, so a lot is going to come down to your experience and interests.


What SLIP sections did your friends who struck out work at?




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