Internship - US Attorneys' Office or Court of Appeals?

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Internship - US Attorneys' Office or Court of Appeals?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 22, 2011 2:09 pm

Hi, just wanted to get an opinion from people - which spring internship would look better - the US Attorneys' Office or Court of Appeals? Thanks.

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RMstratosphere
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Re: Internship - US Attorneys' Office or Court of Appeals?

Postby RMstratosphere » Thu Sep 22, 2011 2:12 pm

What year are you? What are your career aspirations? Have you had a legal job before?

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aguacaliente
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Re: Internship - US Attorneys' Office or Court of Appeals?

Postby aguacaliente » Thu Sep 22, 2011 2:32 pm

Both would be good, but there are a number of things to consider:

1) How big is the US Attorney's Office/WIll you be working with one or two AUSAs, or just doing random assignments for anyone who needs it?

Reason being that chambers is a small atmosphere, and you'll get to know the judge (most of the time) and the clerks quite well, whereas if you are stuck in a corner at the USAO without regular contact with a few of the same AUSAs, you might lose out on the personal guidance aspect.

2) Are you doing either of these over your summers? If so, I'd do the one you wouldn't otherwise do.

3) Do you want to go into government/DOJ? If so, I'd lean towards doing that, since once you graduate, you can clerk, whereas law school is the only chance you get to work for a USAO before you are applying for AUSA gigs. As a clerkship applicant, it will have helped to have been in chambers as an extern, but at the same time, it isn't necessary.

Also relevant is whether you'd like to do trial or appellate work. That is obvious, though.

Are you a 3L? If not, then there is no reason why you can't do both in different semesters.

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Re: Internship - US Attorneys' Office or Court of Appeals?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 22, 2011 2:40 pm

RMstratosphere wrote:What year are you? What are your career aspirations? Have you had a legal job before?


Im a 3L, I want to work in a government agency, but Im not too picky given the economy. Ive interned in a corporate in house department, and 2 federal agencies.

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Re: Internship - US Attorneys' Office or Court of Appeals?

Postby CanadianWolf » Thu Sep 22, 2011 2:45 pm

Assuming that this is a federal, and not state, appellate court, then the Court of Appeals may be the better choice.

traydeuce
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Re: Internship - US Attorneys' Office or Court of Appeals?

Postby traydeuce » Thu Sep 22, 2011 2:52 pm

I've externed for 2 COA judges. Some thoughts:

Firms really don't give a shit about COA externships. For the most part.
The government, dist. ct. judges hiring clerks, like the prosecutorial internships.
Appellate judges think COA externships are cool if you can say you actually did real stuff.
COA externships are great in terms of getting advice from clerks on how to get a clerkship. If you're there during the hiring process (possible if this judge is super-off-plan), you can really see quite a lot about how clerk hiring really works.
COA externships can be a ton of fun. Even writing bench memos in easy cases can be fun. You learn a great deal, though mostly about criminal law, habeas, sentencing, 1983 suits, possibly immigration depending on the circuit.
Avoid working for a judge who's a total dick; you want someone who's nice enough to give you a nice reference, even though odds are slim that the judge will be too cognizant of what you did there.
Ask what they let you do. In the chambers I've worked in, kids who came in part-time weren't allowed to write bench memos in any but the easiest of cases. The sorts of research projects they'll put you on, if you're not writing memos, aren't that great, and no one will care if you were essentially just a clerk's research assistant.

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Re: Internship - US Attorneys' Office or Court of Appeals?

Postby CanadianWolf » Thu Sep 22, 2011 2:57 pm

OP: What would you do if you interned for the US Attorney's office ?

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Re: Internship - US Attorneys' Office or Court of Appeals?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 22, 2011 3:58 pm

aguacaliente wrote:Both would be good, but there are a number of things to consider:

1) How big is the US Attorney's Office/WIll you be working with one or two AUSAs, or just doing random assignments for anyone who needs it?

Reason being that chambers is a small atmosphere, and you'll get to know the judge (most of the time) and the clerks quite well, whereas if you are stuck in a corner at the USAO without regular contact with a few of the same AUSAs, you might lose out on the personal guidance aspect.

2) Are you doing either of these over your summers? If so, I'd do the one you wouldn't otherwise do.

3) Do you want to go into government/DOJ? If so, I'd lean towards doing that, since once you graduate, you can clerk, whereas law school is the only chance you get to work for a USAO before you are applying for AUSA gigs. As a clerkship applicant, it will have helped to have been in chambers as an extern, but at the same time, it isn't necessary.

Also relevant is whether you'd like to do trial or appellate work. That is obvious, though.

Are you a 3L? If not, then there is no reason why you can't do both in different semesters.


1. Not sure how big the office is at the USAO, but it seemed like I would be doing random tasks for whoever needs.

2. No, not doing any of these over the summer.

3. Yes I would like to do government when i graduate. Thanks, this is a good point.

I think Id rather do trial work. I am a 3L but since I already have an internship this fall, I only have room in the spring for one more. Thanks.

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Re: Internship - US Attorneys' Office or Court of Appeals?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 22, 2011 4:01 pm

CanadianWolf wrote:OP: What would you do if you interned for the US Attorney's office ?


Yes, the COA is federal, sorry should have been more clear. The USAO is Tax Division. Not sure if a career in tax is what I want to pursue however. I guess mostly I am looking to see what looks best on a resume. Im sure there are great learning opportunities at both internships.

traydeuce
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Re: Internship - US Attorneys' Office or Court of Appeals?

Postby traydeuce » Thu Sep 22, 2011 4:02 pm

Then I would not do the COA externship. Part-time COA externships, in my experience seeing part-time COA externs, are a worthless waste of time. They'll have a case on rape shield laws and they'll go to you and say, "so... look up every state's rape shield statute and tell us what they do, kthxbye."

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Re: Internship - US Attorneys' Office or Court of Appeals?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 22, 2011 4:10 pm

traydeuce wrote:I've externed for 2 COA judges. Some thoughts:

Firms really don't give a shit about COA externships. For the most part.
The government, dist. ct. judges hiring clerks, like the prosecutorial internships.
Appellate judges think COA externships are cool if you can say you actually did real stuff.
COA externships are great in terms of getting advice from clerks on how to get a clerkship. If you're there during the hiring process (possible if this judge is super-off-plan), you can really see quite a lot about how clerk hiring really works.
COA externships can be a ton of fun. Even writing bench memos in easy cases can be fun. You learn a great deal, though mostly about criminal law, habeas, sentencing, 1983 suits, possibly immigration depending on the circuit.
Avoid working for a judge who's a total dick; you want someone who's nice enough to give you a nice reference, even though odds are slim that the judge will be too cognizant of what you did there.
Ask what they let you do. In the chambers I've worked in, kids who came in part-time weren't allowed to write bench memos in any but the easiest of cases. The sorts of research projects they'll put you on, if you're not writing memos, aren't that great, and no one will care if you were essentially just a clerk's research assistant.



Thanks for the response. Any particular reason why firms dont especially care for COA externships? I always thought it was looked favorably upon by them.

traydeuce
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Re: Internship - US Attorneys' Office or Court of Appeals?

Postby traydeuce » Thu Sep 22, 2011 4:14 pm

I would've thought they would care, but (a) they're easy to get and the fact you got them is just a reflection of your grades, which they already see, (b) the sense, though it's incorrect in my experience, is that the interns don't do much, and (c) working on the disposition of sentencing appeals doesn't really help you be anything but an appellate lawyer, if that. Indeed, clerking isn't all that useful to being a litigator, but it looks good to clients, or so firms think. Internships don't matter to clients.




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