Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Sometimes I wonder why I gave up firm jobs to pursue this route. The application process can be so demoralizing. I am a 3L at a T14 law school, in clinic, had trials already, between summers and semesters at law school I have worked at 4 PD offices, did mock trial, and nothing is working out for me.
I've practiced hypos with my clinic professor, have my why PD answer down, and don't consider myself to be awkward in interviews ... but I can't seem to get any constructive feedback about what I'm doing wrong aside from "oh, there are just so many qualified applicants ... its not a reflection on you, you'll land well somewhere else"
Like ugh. Someone PLEASE pay me 40k to do this work! I love it. I want to do it. I'm begging! lol
SERIOUSLY. All my friends are like, wow, you're putting in just so so much effort to get paid nothing when you could go make 160k at a firm with no effort. I want to be a PD so badly, but sometimes I wonder if I'm ever going to get anything at all.
Your credentials are good enough that you could get a biglaw offer with no effort, despite not having worked at a firm your second summer (and not having a permanent offer to come back), as a 3L at this time of year? If this is true, that means you're one of the tipity top students at a school like HYS, editor in chief of a law review, winner of moot court, etc. Why didn't you apply for federal circuit court clerkships? A federal circuit clerkship (and possibly followed by a SCOTUS clerkship) would be tremendously helpful for you.
FWIW, I think you're making a mistake trying to work for $40k /year as a PD with those credentials. You'll make so much more a reasonable salary working for a public defender's office that's funded by congress.
Just take the $160k /year in biglaw. It's not unheard of for biglaw attorneys to transition into federal public defender's office later in their careers (although, it is pretty rare). The assistant federal PD's I've spoken to, who had worked at large law firms, pretty much just said that they had some good pro bono cases where they got to meet a lot of the attorneys at the FPD's offices and that helped them transition into the offices. Being at a firm that encourages a lot of pro bono work will help. It's not the typical route into a PD's office, but, trust me, if you're one of the tipity top students at a TOP law school, federal public defender's offices and PDS will look at you.
You could also start applying for federal circuit court clerkships now, spend the next year in biglaw, while doing as much pro bono criminal work as you can, and then during your clerkship start applying to public defender's offices. A circuit court clerkship is very marketable for appellate positions at places like PDS and FPD offices in major cities--they tend to hire the top candidates (since a million and a half people apply every time there is an opening at places like FPD for the SDNY).
Best of luck!