When to decide - public or private sector?

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TLSNYC
Posts: 509
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When to decide - public or private sector?

Postby TLSNYC » Sun Sep 11, 2011 2:04 pm

I'm a couple of weeks into 1L and thinking a bit about what the future holds, and I was hoping someone could advise me at the timetable I have for making a decision about my post-LS career. I'm currently debating between doing litigation at a big firm or going to work for a prosecutor's office once I graduate. By what point do I need to decide one way or the other? Before OCI, so I don't do it if I don't intend on working for these firms?

terribleperson
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Joined: Mon Aug 22, 2011 4:28 pm

Re: When to decide - public or private sector?

Postby terribleperson » Sun Sep 11, 2011 2:10 pm

TLSNYC wrote:I'm a couple of weeks into 1L and thinking a bit about what the future holds, and I was hoping someone could advise me at the timetable I have for making a decision about my post-LS career. I'm currently debating between doing litigation at a big firm or going to work for a prosecutor's office once I graduate. By what point do I need to decide one way or the other? Before OCI, so I don't do it if I don't intend on working for these firms?


Your 1L summer should just be law-related. It doesn't matter one bit at that stage. And I know plenty of people that intend to summer at a firm 2L summer and then leverage that into a public sector job after graduation.

Admittedly I don't know much about the public sector track, so someone correct me if I'm wrong, but my impression is that you don't need to figure this out for a long time. Then again, if you don't do a 2L summer at a BigLaw firm, the general (albeit slightly flawed) consensus is that BigLaw is out.

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leobowski
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Re: When to decide - public or private sector?

Postby leobowski » Sun Sep 11, 2011 2:25 pm

terribleperson wrote:
Your 1L summer should just be law-related. It doesn't matter one bit at that stage. And I know plenty of people that intend to summer at a firm 2L summer and then leverage that into a public sector job after graduation.

Admittedly I don't know much about the public sector track, so someone correct me if I'm wrong, but my impression is that you don't need to figure this out for a long time. Then again, if you don't do a 2L summer at a BigLaw firm, the general (albeit slightly flawed) consensus is that BigLaw is out.


This isn't really accurate at all. Summering at a firm will definitely hurt your chances at almost all kinds of PI/govt gigs (public defenders, prosecution, ACLU-type organizations). The notable exception is biglaw -> DOJ. PI employers generally want to see commitment/dedication. In fact, externing/interning is often the ONLY way into certain govt. jobs. Your friends who intend to leverage a SA into a public sector job are in for a world of hurt. Fed govt. gigs are basically not hiring at all compared to previous years (see, e.g., reduced DOJ honors hires).

I personally worked for public defenders and prosecutors throughout law school, and now I have a great job waiting after I pass the bar. Some of my classmates who worked SAs got no-offered and now they are basically screwed for govt and biglaw jobs. Small sample size, I know, but if anyone is considering a public interest career you need to start right away. Those kinds of jobs are crazy competitive now.

terribleperson
Posts: 58
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Re: When to decide - public or private sector?

Postby terribleperson » Sun Sep 11, 2011 2:37 pm

leobowski wrote:
terribleperson wrote:
Your 1L summer should just be law-related. It doesn't matter one bit at that stage. And I know plenty of people that intend to summer at a firm 2L summer and then leverage that into a public sector job after graduation.

Admittedly I don't know much about the public sector track, so someone correct me if I'm wrong, but my impression is that you don't need to figure this out for a long time. Then again, if you don't do a 2L summer at a BigLaw firm, the general (albeit slightly flawed) consensus is that BigLaw is out.


This isn't really accurate at all. Summering at a firm will definitely hurt your chances at almost all kinds of PI/govt gigs (public defenders, prosecution, ACLU-type organizations). The notable exception is biglaw -> DOJ. PI employers generally want to see commitment/dedication. In fact, externing/interning is often the ONLY way into certain govt. jobs. Your friends who intend to leverage a SA into a public sector job are in for a world of hurt. Fed govt. gigs are basically not hiring at all compared to previous years (see, e.g., reduced DOJ honors hires).

I personally worked for public defenders and prosecutors throughout law school, and now I have a great job waiting after I pass the bar. Some of my classmates who worked SAs got no-offered and now they are basically screwed for govt and biglaw jobs. Small sample size, I know, but if anyone is considering a public interest career you need to start right away. Those kinds of jobs are crazy competitive now.


My friends either want DOJ (see your post) or PD offices (which are not difficult to get into). I know almost nothing about other options.

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Sentry
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Re: When to decide - public or private sector?

Postby Sentry » Sun Sep 11, 2011 3:13 pm

leobowski wrote:
terribleperson wrote:
Your 1L summer should just be law-related. It doesn't matter one bit at that stage. And I know plenty of people that intend to summer at a firm 2L summer and then leverage that into a public sector job after graduation.

Admittedly I don't know much about the public sector track, so someone correct me if I'm wrong, but my impression is that you don't need to figure this out for a long time. Then again, if you don't do a 2L summer at a BigLaw firm, the general (albeit slightly flawed) consensus is that BigLaw is out.


This isn't really accurate at all. Summering at a firm will definitely hurt your chances at almost all kinds of PI/govt gigs (public defenders, prosecution, ACLU-type organizations). The notable exception is biglaw -> DOJ. PI employers generally want to see commitment/dedication. In fact, externing/interning is often the ONLY way into certain govt. jobs. Your friends who intend to leverage a SA into a public sector job are in for a world of hurt. Fed govt. gigs are basically not hiring at all compared to previous years (see, e.g., reduced DOJ honors hires).

I personally worked for public defenders and prosecutors throughout law school, and now I have a great job waiting after I pass the bar. Some of my classmates who worked SAs got no-offered and now they are basically screwed for govt and biglaw jobs. Small sample size, I know, but if anyone is considering a public interest career you need to start right away. Those kinds of jobs are crazy competitive now.

I have to say this makes it sound like everyone going for P.I. is taking a huge risk. Gun for P.I.->hiring freeze pwned->unemployed and screwed.

johndhi
Posts: 358
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Re: When to decide - public or private sector?

Postby johndhi » Sun Sep 11, 2011 4:16 pm

TLSNYC wrote:I'm a couple of weeks into 1L and thinking a bit about what the future holds, and I was hoping someone could advise me at the timetable I have for making a decision about my post-LS career. I'm currently debating between doing litigation at a big firm or going to work for a prosecutor's office once I graduate. By what point do I need to decide one way or the other? Before OCI, so I don't do it if I don't intend on working for these firms?


Use your 1L summer to help you decide. Since it's so hard to get a firm job as a 1L, maybe this would be a good time to take a look at one of the prosecutor's jobs you are considering. Don't think "doesn't matter what I do 1L," because it matters to you and will help you decide. One regret I have about 1L summer is not going to a different market to see if I liked it there. 1L summer is also helpful in trying out a new city.

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leobowski
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Re: When to decide - public or private sector?

Postby leobowski » Sun Sep 11, 2011 5:42 pm

terribleperson wrote:
My friends either want DOJ (see your post)


Honors hiring is so sparse as to be practically non-existent.

terribleperson wrote:or PD offices (which are not difficult to get into)


Wrong.


Sentry wrote:I have to say this makes it sound like everyone going for P.I. is taking a huge risk. Gun for P.I.->hiring freeze pwned->unemployed and screwed.


That's a valid point. Although, gunning for PI from the start is less risky than assuming you can fall back on PI/govt gigs.




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