Working in a DA's office: 0L or 1L

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When should I intern?

This summer (0L)
8
47%
Next summer (1L)
9
53%
 
Total votes: 17

Anonymous User
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Working in a DA's office: 0L or 1L

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 15, 2011 2:03 am

I know I'm getting ahead of myself, since I'm just starting my senior year of college, but I was informed by my father that we have an "in" with our local county DA's office, and that getting an internship there would be as easy as making a phone call. What I was wondering was whether I should make that phone call now, or wait a year, and spend my 1L summer there.

This summer, it'll either be that or working as a camp counselor, and the former is obviously preferable. Next summer, I sure as hell hope I'll be doing something else legally-related, so in terms of resume building, this summer looks better. But what the hell would someone with no legal training do in a DA's office? Make photocopies? Get coffee? Would it be looked down upon?

Here's to hoping the collective wisdom knows more than I do about this.

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California Babe
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Re: Working in a DA's office: 0L or 1L

Postby California Babe » Thu Sep 15, 2011 2:36 am

I can't imagine any real benefit from working there before law school. In contrast, you'll need a legal job during your 1L summer, so even if it isn't your first choice it will make your 1L job search a lot easier knowing you have a good backup.

seatown12
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Re: Working in a DA's office: 0L or 1L

Postby seatown12 » Thu Sep 15, 2011 9:56 am

The undergrad internship with the DA won't help your resume and you won't be paid. I'd do anything else, and call the DA for a 1L position.

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okinawa
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Re: Working in a DA's office: 0L or 1L

Postby okinawa » Thu Sep 15, 2011 10:43 am

.
Last edited by okinawa on Fri Apr 19, 2013 10:32 am, edited 1 time in total.

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los blancos
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Re: Working in a DA's office: 0L or 1L

Postby los blancos » Thu Sep 15, 2011 11:16 am

I will say this: Working there before law school MAY (and I emphasize MAY) help you get another job in government during 1L summer.

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Nicholasnickynic
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Re: Working in a DA's office: 0L or 1L

Postby Nicholasnickynic » Thu Sep 15, 2011 11:30 am

seatown12 wrote:The undergrad internship with the DA won't help your resume and you won't be paid. I'd do anything else, and call the DA for a 1L position.


What are you going to do? File papers?

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leobowski
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Re: Working in a DA's office: 0L or 1L

Postby leobowski » Thu Sep 15, 2011 1:20 pm

los blancos wrote:I will say this: Working there before law school MAY (and I emphasize MAY) help you get another job in government during 1L summer.


Yup. Shows initiative and interest.

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California Babe
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Re: Working in a DA's office: 0L or 1L

Postby California Babe » Thu Sep 15, 2011 1:25 pm

leobowski wrote:
los blancos wrote:I will say this: Working there before law school MAY (and I emphasize MAY) help you get another job in government during 1L summer.


Yup. Shows initiative and interest.


Eh, let's remember OP's original post:

Next summer, I sure as hell hope I'll be doing something else legally-related


Sounds like OP does not actually want to pursue this path as a legal career, and it would be a last resort for 1L summer. Again, if that's the case, there's no reason to do the internship before law school.

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leobowski
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Re: Working in a DA's office: 0L or 1L

Postby leobowski » Thu Sep 15, 2011 4:01 pm

California Babe wrote:
leobowski wrote:
los blancos wrote:I will say this: Working there before law school MAY (and I emphasize MAY) help you get another job in government during 1L summer.


Yup. Shows initiative and interest.


Eh, let's remember OP's original post:

Next summer, I sure as hell hope I'll be doing something else legally-related


Sounds like OP does not actually want to pursue this path as a legal career, and it would be a last resort for 1L summer. Again, if that's the case, there's no reason to do the internship before law school.



Meh. I did a 0L internship at a DA, and it was a great talking point during interviews (not just govt. positions).

I would do it if money's not an issue. Reasonable minds may differ.

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California Babe
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Re: Working in a DA's office: 0L or 1L

Postby California Babe » Thu Sep 15, 2011 5:12 pm

leobowski wrote:Meh. I did a 0L internship at a DA, and it was a great talking point during interviews (not just govt. positions).

I would do it if money's not an issue. Reasonable minds may differ.


You know what else is a great talking point? The leadership role you took working as a camp counselor and how you really enjoyed being able to a role model for the young campers.

My only point is that it doesn't seem like OP is trying to build a "DA resume," and so if OP has this job pocketed to use anytime, it makes sense to save it for 1L summer. First off, it will make searching for a 1L summer job tremendously less stressful to know that the DA job is a great second-option that is available. And second, if OP does end up taking it 1L summer, now OP has two different job experiences on the resume to talk about during OCI, rather than the same employer two summers in a row.

It's not that there is anything wrong with doing a DA internship before law school, but in OP's specific position, I don't think there is much upside.

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okinawa
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Re: Working in a DA's office: 0L or 1L

Postby okinawa » Thu Sep 15, 2011 6:10 pm

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Last edited by okinawa on Fri Apr 19, 2013 10:31 am, edited 1 time in total.

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daesonesb
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Re: Working in a DA's office: 0L or 1L

Postby daesonesb » Thu Sep 15, 2011 6:22 pm

I voted this summer. It will probably help your 1L job search greatly to have some legal experience on that resume. If you love it, you can always come back again.

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BarbellDreams
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Re: Working in a DA's office: 0L or 1L

Postby BarbellDreams » Thu Sep 15, 2011 6:50 pm

Every classmate I had who worked at DA/PD office during undergrad said it was basically making copies, getting coffee and observing a lot. There is nothing worthwhile they will ever let you do as a 0L.

adonai
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Re: Working in a DA's office: 0L or 1L

Postby adonai » Thu Sep 15, 2011 7:37 pm

daesonesb wrote:I voted this summer. It will probably help your 1L job search greatly to have some legal experience on that resume. If you love it, you can always come back again.

This, particularly if you want to go into prosecution. Camp counselor would be fine too, but I would find it harder to spin in a DA interview (probably would be better for children's rights or something of that nature). DAs (at least in my county) look for commitment and interest. This is a good time to get ahead in the game if you want to become a DA later down the road. I would suggest you join the Victim Assistance division of your DA's office instead. There will probably be a little more substantive work to do in that than when you work directly under the DAs filing and copying.

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Re: Working in a DA's office: 0L or 1L

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 15, 2011 11:59 pm

bump

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California Babe
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Re: Working in a DA's office: 0L or 1L

Postby California Babe » Fri Sep 16, 2011 12:30 am

adonai wrote:
daesonesb wrote:I voted this summer. It will probably help your 1L job search greatly to have some legal experience on that resume. If you love it, you can always come back again.

This, particularly if you want to go into prosecution. Camp counselor would be fine too, but I would find it harder to spin in a DA interview (probably would be better for children's rights or something of that nature). DAs (at least in my county) look for commitment and interest. This is a good time to get ahead in the game if you want to become a DA later down the road. I would suggest you join the Victim Assistance division of your DA's office instead. There will probably be a little more substantive work to do in that than when you work directly under the DAs filing and copying.


Again, OP clearly doesn't want to be a DA given that OP stated that they "sure as hell hope" they'll be doing something other than working for the DA 1L summer.

Anonymous User
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Re: Working in a DA's office: 0L or 1L

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 16, 2011 12:41 am

California Babe wrote:
adonai wrote:
daesonesb wrote:I voted this summer. It will probably help your 1L job search greatly to have some legal experience on that resume. If you love it, you can always come back again.

This, particularly if you want to go into prosecution. Camp counselor would be fine too, but I would find it harder to spin in a DA interview (probably would be better for children's rights or something of that nature). DAs (at least in my county) look for commitment and interest. This is a good time to get ahead in the game if you want to become a DA later down the road. I would suggest you join the Victim Assistance division of your DA's office instead. There will probably be a little more substantive work to do in that than when you work directly under the DAs filing and copying.


Again, OP clearly doesn't want to be a DA given that OP stated that they "sure as hell hope" they'll be doing something other than working for the DA 1L summer.


As OP, that's not quite what I intended to say. What I meant by that statement was that I sure as hell hope I'll be in a position where I won't have to fall back on this internship, not that I'd like to avoid it at all costs. And I really did want to go into prosecution...before I realized what it paid. The question, really, was whether a 0L internship means anything, or really how good interning at a DA's office even looks on a resume compared to what my classmates will be doing 1L summer.

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California Babe
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Re: Working in a DA's office: 0L or 1L

Postby California Babe » Fri Sep 16, 2011 1:12 am

Anonymous User wrote:As OP, that's not quite what I intended to say. What I meant by that statement was that I sure as hell hope I'll be in a position where I won't have to fall back on this internship, not that I'd like to avoid it at all costs. And I really did want to go into prosecution...before I realized what it paid. The question, really, was whether a 0L internship means anything, or really how good interning at a DA's office even looks on a resume compared to what my classmates will be doing 1L summer.


As indicated by the back-and-forth in this thread, the answer depends.

DA/PI-type orgs like to see students who really are devoted to pursuing that career. It sounds to me like you aren't really devoted to pursuing that career, and would rather work in the private sector. If you were dead-set on being a prosecutor, then the job might be a good idea, but again, an 0L internship is really not going to be much and you won't have much to put on your resume.

To answer your question about your 1L summer: a DA's office looks fine. Employers want to hear interesting stories about what you did during the summer that was law related, and maybe something you wrote. A DA's office will likely give you a lot more experience (stories to tell in an interview) than working at many firms. The students I know who did public interest-type positions did a lot more substantive writing over the summer that they could talk about during interviews.

But what you shouldn't be doing (again, unless you are gung-ho on wanting to be a DA), is wasting your time doing an 0L internship because you think it will look good on your resume. It won't. Do something you will enjoy during your last summer of freedom. A big-paying firm is not going to hire you because they're impressed with all the photocopies you made during your 0L summer as your pursued a job that isn't at all related to what they do in their office. "Oh but it shows you are interested in law!" You know what else shows that? Going to law school. If you can't tell a 1L employer about a class you found interesting or why you are interested in being a lawyer without relying on a meaningless 0L internship, there are bigger problems.

The tl;dr of this is: if you aren't dying to be a prosecutor, do whatever you will enjoy the most your 0L summer.

Edit to clarify: I don't think interning at a DA's office during your 0L summer indicates to a future prosecutor that you really want to be a prosecutor anymore than working there during your 1L summer will. If you want to work there because you will enjoy it, then that's great. But it will not help further your career in any way. It's less helpful than "0L prep" for classes.

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Nicholasnickynic
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Re: Working in a DA's office: 0L or 1L

Postby Nicholasnickynic » Fri Sep 16, 2011 9:03 am

California Babe wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:As OP, that's not quite what I intended to say. What I meant by that statement was that I sure as hell hope I'll be in a position where I won't have to fall back on this internship, not that I'd like to avoid it at all costs. And I really did want to go into prosecution...before I realized what it paid. The question, really, was whether a 0L internship means anything, or really how good interning at a DA's office even looks on a resume compared to what my classmates will be doing 1L summer.


As indicated by the back-and-forth in this thread, the answer depends.

DA/PI-type orgs like to see students who really are devoted to pursuing that career. It sounds to me like you aren't really devoted to pursuing that career, and would rather work in the private sector. If you were dead-set on being a prosecutor, then the job might be a good idea, but again, an 0L internship is really not going to be much and you won't have much to put on your resume.

To answer your question about your 1L summer: a DA's office looks fine. Employers want to hear interesting stories about what you did during the summer that was law related, and maybe something you wrote. A DA's office will likely give you a lot more experience (stories to tell in an interview) than working at many firms. The students I know who did public interest-type positions did a lot more substantive writing over the summer that they could talk about during interviews.

But what you shouldn't be doing (again, unless you are gung-ho on wanting to be a DA), is wasting your time doing an 0L internship because you think it will look good on your resume. It won't. Do something you will enjoy during your last summer of freedom. A big-paying firm is not going to hire you because they're impressed with all the photocopies you made during your 0L summer as your pursued a job that isn't at all related to what they do in their office. "Oh but it shows you are interested in law!" You know what else shows that? Going to law school. If you can't tell a 1L employer about a class you found interesting or why you are interested in being a lawyer without relying on a meaningless 0L internship, there are bigger problems.

The tl;dr of this is: if you aren't dying to be a prosecutor, do whatever you will enjoy the most your 0L summer.

Edit to clarify: I don't think interning at a DA's office during your 0L summer indicates to a future prosecutor that you really want to be a prosecutor anymore than working there during your 1L summer will. If you want to work there because you will enjoy it, then that's great. But it will not help further your career in any way. It's less helpful than "0L prep" for classes.



As a 2L that has worked for/with multiple prosecutors... everything this woman has said in this thread is, IMO, pretty much dead on.

Edit: Hey, I cali'd a class because of 0L prep. My 0L prep also only got me median in another class...

Anonymous User
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Re: Working in a DA's office: 0L or 1L

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Dec 29, 2011 3:31 am

At my 0L suburban DA internship I responded to motions, drafted briefs, observed trials and oral argument. I did do data entry, etc, but the only person I got coffee for was myself. Employers scan your resume for ~2 seconds, they'll be seeing an obviously legal position and it could urge a second look. I've also been a camp counselor and listing responsibilities from that job doesn't make the cut on a resume- the DA stuff does.

ran12
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Re: Working in a DA's office: 0L or 1L

Postby ran12 » Thu Dec 29, 2011 11:51 am

I was a 0L DA intern and got to do substantive stuff like lawsuits and actual research. I was one of the luckier interns though b/c the bureau I was in let me do real work unlike other interns, many of whom were 1Ls an 2Ls, in different bureaus. Often if you ask for work they'll give it to you. Just take the initiative. You don't need actual law school education to do most of the stuff that goes on in the DA's office b/c it's pretty easy to figure out and if you can't there are resources to help you.

Interning at the DA as a 0L gives you an advantage when you're looking for 1L summer work b/c you've already had a legal experience. Employers I've spoken with all liked the fact that I was ahead of the curve already due to my DA experience. Also, it definitely helps to get in the door for things like USAO and judges for 1L summer.

One last thing is that I actually ended up realizing that I don't ever want to be a DA. If you do the internship as a 0L then you get a head start in figuring out what kind of law you want to practice.

adonai
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Re: Working in a DA's office: 0L or 1L

Postby adonai » Thu Dec 29, 2011 3:44 pm

ran12 wrote:I was a 0L DA intern and got to do substantive stuff like lawsuits and actual research. I was one of the luckier interns though b/c the bureau I was in let me do real work unlike other interns, many of whom were 1Ls an 2Ls, in different bureaus. Often if you ask for work they'll give it to you. Just take the initiative. You don't need actual law school education to do most of the stuff that goes on in the DA's office b/c it's pretty easy to figure out and if you can't there are resources to help you.

Interning at the DA as a 0L gives you an advantage when you're looking for 1L summer work b/c you've already had a legal experience. Employers I've spoken with all liked the fact that I was ahead of the curve already due to my DA experience. Also, it definitely helps to get in the door for things like USAO and judges for 1L summer.

One last thing is that I actually ended up realizing that I don't ever want to be a DA. If you do the internship as a 0L then you get a head start in figuring out what kind of law you want to practice.

+1 to bolded




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