Anonymous User wrote:I thought CA only hired post bar? Did you hear about these opportunities through your school or are there postings somewhere? Your ability to easily get jobs in CA this summer make me assume you have significantly better stats than me.
I posted this in the PD/DA Gunner thread
about a year and a half ago. Some of it might be outdated, but it's mostly correct to my knowledge:
California PD offices could have their own thread. The ones that hire 3Ls tend to follow the same scheme of interviewing Fall/Winter of 3L year and hiring you for a < $20/hour & no benefits law clerk position for the following 6-12 months after graduation. Hopefully you get selected for those law clerk positions; otherwise, you volunteer at an office and hopefully secure some kind of funding so you don't starve. And at the end of your 6-12 months, hopefully a position opens up, either at that office or other places you've been interviewing, and hopefully you're in the minority of law clerk candidates at the office who actually gets hired as a real misdemeanor attorney with a caseload.The only counties that hire 3Ls before graduation:
- Contra Costa County
- Alameda County
- Santa Clara County
- (sometimes) San Diego County
The offices that never
hire pre-graduates and tend not to hire recent graduates, though they do have volunteer programs:
- LA County (in fact, all the surrounding counties as well)
- San Francisco County
- Solano County
It's a very frustrating process all around. Alameda, Santa Clara and Contra Costa tend to take most of their law clerk hires from their pool of intern/extern alums, so if you haven't interned at at least one of these offices, you're pretty much already dead in the water. Furthermore, they get back to you at different times. Alameda and CoCo interview and do callbacks in the Fall of your 3L year, and they get back to you on the hiring outcome before Santa Clara even starts looking
at applications (late March).Often times, the game is far from over once you get hired as a law clerk, and it is rage-inducingly random. Here are three big reasons why:
1.) I've had some friends that got hired off a law clerk position and into a full-time misdemeanor deputy position within 3 months of their clerkship, just because there were enough openings at that time. I've had other friends that got let go from their law clerk position at the end of their 6 or 12 months and had to take another law clerk position at one of the other three counties and wait another 6-12 months before they even got to do the work of a real attorney (representing people in court and managing cases, not just doing research and writing motions with a supervisor's name on the front page).
2.) This has the other frustrating effect of making it more difficult to impress interviewing employers from other offices. "How many trials have you done in the year since graduation?" "Well, uh, none, cause they won't let me." "Oh, okay. How many second chairs you get to do?" "None." "... Okay, how many prelims or motions in limine you do?" "Well, none. I've done a lot of boiler plate suppression hearings and speedy trial hearings though!"
3.) Finally, law clerks also suffer from their location at the very bottom of the totem pole. I have one friend who worked his ass off on a group of motions for a case over the span of several months, and right when it was time to argue the material in front of the judge, his supervising attorney came in and yanked the entire file up the ladder to a misdemeanor deputy. The justification was, "We need our misdemeanor attorneys to have this experience; you're not the priority." Never mind that it basically robbed him of 3-4 months of work and a line on his resume.
The few offices that hire 3Ls here in CA are so ridiculously competitive that it has often been easier for the law clerks who don't get hired here to get federal defender or even prestigious public defense teaching fellowships than it is to get the coveted misdemeanor position out here.