How Competitive is DOJ Honors?

(On Campus Interviews, Summer Associate positions, Firm Reviews, Tips, ...)
Forum rules
Anonymous Posting

Anonymous posting is only appropriate when you are revealing sensitive employment related information about a firm, job, etc. You may anonymously respond on topic to these threads. Unacceptable uses include: harassing another user, joking around, testing the feature, or other things that are more appropriate in the lounge.

Failure to follow these rules will get you outed, warned, or banned.
MarkL234
Posts: 19
Joined: Fri Feb 27, 2009 10:06 pm

How Competitive is DOJ Honors?

Postby MarkL234 » Wed Jun 15, 2011 9:09 pm

I was wondering how competitive it is to get into the DOJ honors program. I've been told it is very competitive but I am trying to get a grasp on just how competitive it is. I know some of it will depend on which department you are applying to and also know that they frequently take clerks.

I just finished my 1L year at MVP around the top 15% and am hoping to get a district court clerkship. If I stay around the same rank would I have a decent shot after my clerkship? What other criteria do they look for?

Thanks!

User avatar
nealric
Posts: 2391
Joined: Fri Sep 25, 2009 9:53 am

Re: How Competitive is DOJ Honors?

Postby nealric » Thu Jun 16, 2011 11:23 pm

It's very competitive, but it's also a huge crapshoot compared to biglaw. Sure, you would have a shot, but government hiring can be very capricious. You might be applying in the year they decide to hire nobody, or you might be applying in the year they decide to go on a hiring orgy. Things aren't steady in the land of congressionally mandated budgets.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273082
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: How Competitive is DOJ Honors?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jun 17, 2011 12:30 am

A co-worker of mine graduated #2 in his/her class at one of MVP, had a top board position on LR, clerked for a well-respected CoA judge, had a SLIP internship + a DOJ externship, and had some decent pre-LS work experience. S/he was above to land a DOJ Honors position in one of the more sought-after divisions. Less probably would have been necessary to get something in one of the larger divisions.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273082
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: How Competitive is DOJ Honors?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jun 17, 2011 4:05 am

Extremely competitive. You would likely need top 3-5% from MVP to have a realistic shot.

User avatar
Br3v
Posts: 4174
Joined: Mon Jun 13, 2011 7:18 pm

Re: How Competitive is DOJ Honors?

Postby Br3v » Fri Jun 17, 2011 4:08 am

so If you had to decide....it is competitive or luck? I feel like it cant be a majority of both?

What the f.supp?
Posts: 137
Joined: Mon May 23, 2011 7:18 pm

Re: How Competitive is DOJ Honors?

Postby What the f.supp? » Sat Jun 18, 2011 12:54 pm

I think it's solid academics as well as people liking you during the interviews. My college roommate was top 10% + journal + merit scholarship at a school ranked mid-80s, no prior government experience, and got an offer through Honors. Said he really hit it off with the interviewers on the callback. He did have great previous summer internship experience, but went straight from UG to LS.

However, this is only one person so it is difficult to generalize--just thought I would share the anecdote with y'all.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273082
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: How Competitive is DOJ Honors?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jun 20, 2011 4:59 pm

Honors is a much different beast than BigLaw and the general thought on TLS isn't too accurate. While a school's prestige does factor in, it isn't the deciding factor. The average rank of schools that DOJ has hired from since 2009 (start of the Obama administration) is 28. So they aren't only hiring from T14 schools. While attending East Western Side College of Law will certainly reduce your chances, if you're going to a T50 school, you have a good chance of Honors.

That being said, grades are critical. Outside of the T14, you will have to be at least in the top quarter, more likely top 10%, to get a fair chance at an interview. Where you are is a fantastic position, especially if you do a clerkship and can demonstrate an interest in some area. Apply broadly. (Civil appellate, criminal, and civil rights are among the most competitive.)

Total Litigator
Posts: 695
Joined: Tue Jul 06, 2010 12:17 pm

Re: How Competitive is DOJ Honors?

Postby Total Litigator » Mon Jun 20, 2011 5:18 pm

I know a guy who was top 1/3 at a 50-60 T2 got an interview with the Immigration division. However, his resume (prior positions, classes, interest, etc.) was basically perfectly tailored for the division. All that being said, he didn't get the job.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273082
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: How Competitive is DOJ Honors?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jun 20, 2011 5:33 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Honors is a much different beast than BigLaw and the general thought on TLS isn't too accurate. While a school's prestige does factor in, it isn't the deciding factor. The average rank of schools that DOJ has hired from since 2009 (start of the Obama administration) is 28. So they aren't only hiring from T14 schools. While attending East Western Side College of Law will certainly reduce your chances, if you're going to a T50 school, you have a good chance of Honors.

That being said, grades are critical. Outside of the T14, you will have to be at least in the top quarter, more likely top 10%, to get a fair chance at an interview. Where you are is a fantastic position, especially if you do a clerkship and can demonstrate an interest in some area. Apply broadly. (Civil appellate, criminal, and civil rights are among the most competitive.)


I did SLIP and agree with this entirely. The DOJ will consider applicants from pretty much any school, but grades are crucial. Clerking is a very major factor as well for many, if not most, divisions.

I think the DOJ application process resembles the clerkship process in many ways. A certain set of credentials (i.e. top grades, clerkship, etc.) will get your application attention, but fit is very important, so the process is not very predictable. Your background experiences will have tremendous weight for many of the divisions, and how your interview goes is very important as well.




Return to “Legal Employment”

Who is online

The online users are hidden on this forum.