What do you all think about state AG jobs?

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What do you all think about state AG jobs?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Oct 28, 2011 12:39 am

Obviously harder to get these days, but what are the benefits to working for one? Negatives?

Edit: Post-graduation, not internships.

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Re: What do you all think about state AG jobs?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Oct 28, 2011 9:43 am

(Current state AG.)

Pros: Outside of the major cities, you'll generally get the best work. Seriously -- in 3.5 years, I've argued in front of the local federal COA twice and the state Supreme Court twice more, and I've briefed the merits in US Supreme Court litigation. You'll get lots of responsibility quickly -- the job is like a hybrid between a DA job and a federal government job. Hours are generally pretty good. I usually work 8:30-5:30, with maybe a half day on the weekend once a month.

Cons: The pay sucks. Much worse than federal jobs. State budgets are a mess, so it won't get better soon. State employees can be difficult to deal with. It's not super prestigious, so exit options are limited.

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Re: What do you all think about state AG jobs?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Oct 28, 2011 9:58 am

Pay sucks as in...?
[If you don't mind announcing, esp. since you're anon anyway, what're you making a year?]

BeautifulSW
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Re: What do you all think about state AG jobs?

Postby BeautifulSW » Fri Oct 28, 2011 10:23 am

I worked for my State Attorney General many years ago when I was still a new lawyer. Everything the second poster says was true for me, too. Wonderful learning opportunity, more valuable resume entry than you might think (if you don't stay too long and are interested in doing administrative law), truly AWFUL pay. I think my State AG pays new lawyers somewhere in the mid $40s and the AG Office is located in the most expensive city in the State. A significant other making a decent living is almost indispensable.

I don't know whether this will be useful to the OP, but in the late 80s, I was paid (hard to believe) about $25,000/year. But I owed almost nothing for my State University law degree so it wasn't quite as bad as it sounds.

One other note: My State, New Mexico, periodically recruits new AAGs from all over the country. If you think you might be interested, take a look at their listings on the State Personnel Office website. You can get there through http://www.newmexico.gov If you are already licensed elsewhere, we can give you a temporary license until you pass our Bar exam.

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Re: What do you all think about state AG jobs?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Oct 28, 2011 10:54 am

Pay sucks as in...?


(Poster from above.)

I think they start new lawyers (when they hire them, which is rarely) around $50k. I have around 10 years of experience and make around $70k -- I was at $65k when I started, which shows you how awful the raises are. The attorneys who have been here for 20 years usually make $80k-$110k, depending on promotions.

(The area is probably about median COL-wise, maybe a bit more expensive. Just to give you some flavor on my background, I was at a V15 firm for 5 years or so when my wife got a can't-refuse job out here. I worked for a midsized litigation boutique for about 6 seconds before I realized that the midlaw firm work out here -- at least at that now-defunct firm -- is soul-killingly boring. Someone recommended the AG's office as the place to go to get the best work.)

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Re: What do you all think about state AG jobs?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Oct 28, 2011 11:49 am

I'm currently pursuing federal agency jobs, but I think state AG jobs are fantastic. I would love to work at one in the future. It seems to me that, as people have said, the only downside is the money. I think the exit options can be quite good, though it depends on the office and what sort of work you do. As an extreme example, one of the current FTC Commissioners spent almost her entire career doing consumer protection and antitrust at the Vermont AG office.

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Re: What do you all think about state AG jobs?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Oct 28, 2011 2:07 pm

Anonymous User wrote:(Current state AG.)

Pros: Outside of the major cities, you'll generally get the best work. Seriously -- in 3.5 years, I've argued in front of the local federal COA twice and the state Supreme Court twice more, and I've briefed the merits in US Supreme Court litigation. You'll get lots of responsibility quickly -- the job is like a hybrid between a DA job and a federal government job. Hours are generally pretty good. I usually work 8:30-5:30, with maybe a half day on the weekend once a month.

Cons: The pay sucks. Much worse than federal jobs. State budgets are a mess, so it won't get better soon. State employees can be difficult to deal with. It's not super prestigious, so exit options are limited.

Thank you so much for the response.

What do you all think about the prestige/lack of prestige? For example, if you work your way up to the Antitrust or white collar crime unit, would you be well received by the better white collar crime defense firms in the state?

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Re: What do you all think about state AG jobs?

Postby BeautifulSW » Fri Oct 28, 2011 2:36 pm

The really sexy stuff in our State AG office generally goes to career AAGs. By the time you are lead counsel on a State Medicaid Fraud prosecution (or whatever) you are pretty much a career State employee. Not that this is a BAD thing; it's the route I went and I've been satisfied overall, but you aren't building your own client base and therefore won't be very attractive to private firms.

Now, what I have seen attempted is to open your own shop doing, say, environmental regulation appeals, and accept referrals from major firms that know you from your AAG days and don't want to acquire the expertise for themselves because they don't see enough of that kind of litigation to make it worthwhile. I don't know how well this works. Larger firms these days seem willing to go to pretty extreme lengths to avoid farming anything out that might pay well (which this stuff does).

AAGs seem to do this with between five and ten years of AG experience. I don't think you are very credible with less and more means you should stick around until retirement.

My own plan is to do a limited private administrative law practice (tax appeals) once I retire but that will develop however it does. I will have a pension to live on regardless.

Please understand that my comments come from New Mexico. I don't know how it works anywhere else.

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Re: What do you all think about state AG jobs?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Oct 28, 2011 8:57 pm

It largely depends on the state. AG jobs in bigger states with more resources are likely to provide a better experience and definitely better prestige. These antitrust and consumer protection divisions will often work with other states and federal agencies on big cases and investigations, so you may make useful connections or gain references who have connections. It's not uncommon, in my experience, for BigState people to get jobs in BigGov or BigLaw after a short time working or interning at the AG. Very context-specific, though, as in it depends on the division or department you're working in, what kind of experience and connections you are getting, and what kind of work your state AG is doing.

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Re: What do you all think about state AG jobs?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Oct 28, 2011 9:16 pm

Anonymous User wrote:It largely depends on the state. AG jobs in bigger states with more resources are likely to provide a better experience and definitely better prestige. These antitrust and consumer protection divisions will often work with other states and federal agencies on big cases and investigations, so you may make useful connections or gain references who have connections. It's not uncommon, in my experience, for BigState people to get jobs in BigGov or BigLaw after a short time working or interning at the AG. Very context-specific, though, as in it depends on the division or department you're working in, what kind of experience and connections you are getting, and what kind of work your state AG is doing.

What about states like WA, GA, OH, VA, etc.? (i.e., not NY, CA, TX, IL but not rural or small states).

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Re: What do you all think about state AG jobs?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Oct 29, 2011 2:24 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:It largely depends on the state. AG jobs in bigger states with more resources are likely to provide a better experience and definitely better prestige. These antitrust and consumer protection divisions will often work with other states and federal agencies on big cases and investigations, so you may make useful connections or gain references who have connections. It's not uncommon, in my experience, for BigState people to get jobs in BigGov or BigLaw after a short time working or interning at the AG. Very context-specific, though, as in it depends on the division or department you're working in, what kind of experience and connections you are getting, and what kind of work your state AG is doing.

What about states like WA, GA, OH, VA, etc.? (i.e., not NY, CA, TX, IL but not rural or small states).


Not sure because my experience is with one of those big states where people often move on to DC for firm or federal jobs.

My best advice for these states:
-Regarding the kind of work and experience, for some divisions at least, check out their website for what cases they've been involved with and run some Google News queries. I think Ohio AG is pretty active and involved.
-Regarding exit options, search LinkedIn for people who had whatever job or position you're looking at and see where they went.

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Re: What do you all think about state AG jobs?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Oct 29, 2011 3:34 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:It largely depends on the state. AG jobs in bigger states with more resources are likely to provide a better experience and definitely better prestige. These antitrust and consumer protection divisions will often work with other states and federal agencies on big cases and investigations, so you may make useful connections or gain references who have connections. It's not uncommon, in my experience, for BigState people to get jobs in BigGov or BigLaw after a short time working or interning at the AG. Very context-specific, though, as in it depends on the division or department you're working in, what kind of experience and connections you are getting, and what kind of work your state AG is doing.

What about states like WA, GA, OH, VA, etc.? (i.e., not NY, CA, TX, IL but not rural or small states).


Not sure because my experience is with one of those big states where people often move on to DC for firm or federal jobs.

My best advice for these states:
-Regarding the kind of work and experience, for some divisions at least, check out their website for what cases they've been involved with and run some Google News queries. I think Ohio AG is pretty active and involved.
-Regarding exit options, search LinkedIn for people who had whatever job or position you're looking at and see where they went.

Thanks. I'll probably make a career out of it but was definitely curious about the exit options.




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