Too much DA experience on PD resume?

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Anonymous User
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Too much DA experience on PD resume?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jun 05, 2011 1:59 am

By the time 2L starts, I'll have interned for two PD's offices, two DA's offices, a Chief District Judge and (maybe) be set to work for a Federal Public Defender's Office in the Fall. The whole "public service" distinction should be rather clear by now and I suspect if I was going the Prosecution route this wouldn't be an issue. There a few other legal matters on my resume but they aren't that relevant (pro bono work, etc.)

...However, it becomes quite clear after a while that certain PD's offices don't have the most - shall we say - appreciative view of people who work on the other side. I don't know if that extends to people who intern - but the very specific office PD I'll be applying to for a job after law school had a boss that didn't appear to like Prosecutor's very much; when I say that, I'm saying there was a visceral dislike in the "way too much of a true believer" sense rather than a purely professional adversary sense, if the distinction makes a difference to anyone.

My question is whether I should lay off any other experience in a DA's office or even think about taking off the second DA experience entirely. It should be noted that I was also told specifically by public service folks at the law school to be wary of adding any further kind of Prosecution experience on my resume when I got there. It's not as if I won't be able to handle spinning the reason why I continued interning for DA's offices - I don't see how you can be the best in an adversarial system if you don't have at least a moderate understanding of how the other side thinks - but any other insight would be appreciated.

Gideon Strumpet
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Joined: Wed May 18, 2011 10:31 am

Re: Too much DA experience on PD resume?

Postby Gideon Strumpet » Sun Jun 05, 2011 3:34 am

It is what it is. Not all PD offices have a "problem" with someone who has had any connection with prosecution; but some do. At the ones that do, the damage is already done. You can't have gaping holes on your resume, and some will even ask in the interview if you would ever consider being a prosecutor.

Also, if you do get an internship or something and they only find out later you did some prosecution work and didn't tell them about it, especially because you knew they had a bias against former DA interns, then that's going to screw your chances of getting anything long term. To the extent that you have limited yourself in which offices might consider you, you're not going to get any more limited by doing more DA internships now, and there is no way to get around the ones you have already done.

For what it's worth, don't expect to get much mileage out of the spin of knowing how the other side thinks. In the end it's all just litigation, and defense attorneys know plenty about how prosecutors think just from working with them every day. There is also, right or wrong, a perception, at least at the state level, that people choose prosecution because they like to win, and that the state has the "easy" side of the job in every case.

seatown12
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Joined: Fri Feb 20, 2009 9:16 pm

Re: Too much DA experience on PD resume?

Postby seatown12 » Sun Jun 05, 2011 11:46 am

These internships were during UG right? Obviously you didn't do 5 internships during 1L.

If you want to be a PD then yes leave the DA internships off your resume. If someone asks, you could tell them that you worked with a DA's office during UG and now know that it is definitely not for you.

The problem with working for a DA during LS is you only have a limited time frame in which to get legal experience, and if you choose to get DA experience PDs will assume that is a serious career option for you. If you just worked there during UG the same does not apply.

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

Re: Too much DA experience on PD resume?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jun 05, 2011 3:30 pm

OP here - Two of those intenrships were done during UG.

Thanks for the advice.




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