3L Public Defender Applications

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Anonymous User
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Re: 3L Public Defender Applications

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jan 25, 2016 12:15 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Anybody out there like me who's PD hiring process has been a total bust this cycle? I saw an earlier poster on here saying they plan to volunteer for another year but financially that's not an option for everybody.... what other jobs are gung-ho PD people considering while still in the hunt/waiting for next cycle? Or any suggestions from anyone that's been in this predicament before/know somebody who has? This sucks :cry:


Despite having it's own public defender agency, some states contract with private attorneys to take on criminal cases that are conflicted out, etc. The other option I'm considering is to apply a broad range of non-profits. I can't make volunteering financially feasible, either. [Actually, I'd be curious to hear from how others plan to make it work. Maybe I can borrow some tips to swing it.]

I'm sorry to hear about how your cycle ended. But I will be rooting for your success in the next cycle!


Thanks, you too! But same, I've done some off-cycle clerkship apps, non-profits, some fellowship apps, some criminal justice policy reform apps, some civil legal aid apps... and i've been getting some luck with those. Best of luck to everyone!

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Re: 3L Public Defender Applications

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jan 25, 2016 1:33 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:This wait from LAS is killing me. I had flew out to NYC twice (no reimbursement btw, I actually asked about that), but had my Tina round back in late-December. I know the answer is probably no, but does anybody have any insight into when we can expect LAS offers/rejections?


I think Tina's being serious this time when she says offers aren't coming out till April/May. I know of at least three people (a couple of whom had interned at LAS) who reached the Tina stage, told her they had offers pending but wanted Legal Aid, and were all told that b/c there were so few misdemeanor arrests last year Legal Aid really couldn't make early offers.

That being said, I would still reach out to LAS if you have an offer and it's your first choice, because it really seems like you never know with LAS. And chances of getting hired seemed to go up as more people accept other offers, so if you can stand the waiting game, maybe all that travel $$ will become worth it


Wow. Not doubting you necessarily, but I just find this kinda hard to believe. When I interviewed with Tina last month she specifically said to let her know about other offers and that LAS would try to work something out. The fact that they're evidently turning away even former interns doesn't bode well...

Unless you meant that these individuals already had offers going into their Tina rounds? Is that the case? Or are these people who had received offers from other offices after the Tina round, went to tell Tina, and were rejected? I think that's an important distinction.

Anonymous User
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Re: 3L Public Defender Applications

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jan 25, 2016 2:53 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:This wait from LAS is killing me. I had flew out to NYC twice (no reimbursement btw, I actually asked about that), but had my Tina round back in late-December. I know the answer is probably no, but does anybody have any insight into when we can expect LAS offers/rejections?


I think Tina's being serious this time when she says offers aren't coming out till April/May. I know of at least three people (a couple of whom had interned at LAS) who reached the Tina stage, told her they had offers pending but wanted Legal Aid, and were all told that b/c there were so few misdemeanor arrests last year Legal Aid really couldn't make early offers.

That being said, I would still reach out to LAS if you have an offer and it's your first choice, because it really seems like you never know with LAS. And chances of getting hired seemed to go up as more people accept other offers, so if you can stand the waiting game, maybe all that travel $$ will become worth it


Wow. Not doubting you necessarily, but I just find this kinda hard to believe. When I interviewed with Tina last month she specifically said to let her know about other offers and that LAS would try to work something out. The fact that they're evidently turning away even former interns doesn't bode well...

Unless you meant that these individuals already had offers going into their Tina rounds? Is that the case? Or are these people who had received offers from other offices after the Tina round, went to tell Tina, and were rejected? I think that's an important distinction.


They either went in with offers or had offers right around the same time in December. They were told that LAS couldn't make early offers this year - so they weren't rejected, but they'd have to turn down their other offers to stay in the running for Legal Aid. I believe they all took their other offers.

Could be that Tina's just not ready to give out offers this early, but might do early offers later in the cycle. That's why I said I would still reach out to Legal Aid if you get an offer because everything about their process just seems pretty hard to read

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Re: 3L Public Defender Applications

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jan 26, 2016 1:49 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:This wait from LAS is killing me. I had flew out to NYC twice (no reimbursement btw, I actually asked about that), but had my Tina round back in late-December. I know the answer is probably no, but does anybody have any insight into when we can expect LAS offers/rejections?


I think Tina's being serious this time when she says offers aren't coming out till April/May. I know of at least three people (a couple of whom had interned at LAS) who reached the Tina stage, told her they had offers pending but wanted Legal Aid, and were all told that b/c there were so few misdemeanor arrests last year Legal Aid really couldn't make early offers.

That being said, I would still reach out to LAS if you have an offer and it's your first choice, because it really seems like you never know with LAS. And chances of getting hired seemed to go up as more people accept other offers, so if you can stand the waiting game, maybe all that travel $$ will become worth it


Wow. Not doubting you necessarily, but I just find this kinda hard to believe. When I interviewed with Tina last month she specifically said to let her know about other offers and that LAS would try to work something out. The fact that they're evidently turning away even former interns doesn't bode well...

Unless you meant that these individuals already had offers going into their Tina rounds? Is that the case? Or are these people who had received offers from other offices after the Tina round, went to tell Tina, and were rejected? I think that's an important distinction.


They either went in with offers or had offers right around the same time in December. They were told that LAS couldn't make early offers this year - so they weren't rejected, but they'd have to turn down their other offers to stay in the running for Legal Aid. I believe they all took their other offers.

Could be that Tina's just not ready to give out offers this early, but might do early offers later in the cycle. That's why I said I would still reach out to Legal Aid if you get an offer because everything about their process just seems pretty hard to read



Thanks for clearing that up for me. Again, I wasn't doubting you, but just wanted some clarification.

Their process is indeed hard to read. But hopefully somebody hears something positive from LAS soon. Fingers crossed!

Anonymous User
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Re: 3L Public Defender Applications

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jan 26, 2016 8:59 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Anybody out there like me who's PD hiring process has been a total bust this cycle? I saw an earlier poster on here saying they plan to volunteer for another year but financially that's not an option for everybody.... what other jobs are gung-ho PD people considering while still in the hunt/waiting for next cycle? Or any suggestions from anyone that's been in this predicament before/know somebody who has? This sucks :cry:


Despite having it's own public defender agency, some states contract with private attorneys to take on criminal cases that are conflicted out, etc. The other option I'm considering is to apply a broad range of non-profits. I can't make volunteering financially feasible, either. [Actually, I'd be curious to hear from how others plan to make it work. Maybe I can borrow some tips to swing it.]

I'm sorry to hear about how your cycle ended. But I will be rooting for your success in the next cycle!


Thanks, you too! But same, I've done some off-cycle clerkship apps, non-profits, some fellowship apps, some criminal justice policy reform apps, some civil legal aid apps... and i've been getting some luck with those. Best of luck to everyone!


No luck here, either. Saw someone in the PD gunner thread mention that seeing someone with non-profit, "think tank" work is a way to ferret out non-true believers? Thoughts on this? If you're striking out in PD interviews, can't afford to volunteer, and you have an opportunity to help reform relevant laws and policies that affect PD clients while still planning to ultimately be a PD, I don't see the issue... Thoughts?

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Re: 3L Public Defender Applications

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jan 26, 2016 11:31 pm

Hey everyone,

I work at the Nassau County Legal Aid Society, and we have a wave of people leaving. There are open positions NOW, and we'll also hopefully hire a bigger-than-usual class to start in the fall (by which I mean 6-7 rather than 4-5). Selling points: you can live in NYC, many of your co-workers will be pretty great, you can get more litigation than in the city, and you'll have more of an opportunity to push for systemic change than you would at other PD offices (basically because both the courts and the office itself have significant problems that NEED to be addressed).

I get that it's not anyone's first choice -- it certainly wasn't mine -- but we're in dire need of new hires who are committed to PD work. Seriously, our next crop of attorneys could determine whether we can force our office and the courts to get their shit together, or whether we'll remain forever complicit in injustice.

Anyway, I thought I'd put Nassau on everyone's radar as options start to dry up (isn't it an awful feeling?), and I'd be happy to talk with anyone who is at all interested in applying.

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CaptainLeela
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Re: 3L Public Defender Applications

Postby CaptainLeela » Wed Jan 27, 2016 2:16 am

Anonymous User wrote:Hey everyone,

I work at the Nassau County Legal Aid Society, and we have a wave of people leaving. There are open positions NOW, and we'll also hopefully hire a bigger-than-usual class to start in the fall (by which I mean 6-7 rather than 4-5). Selling points: you can live in NYC, many of your co-workers will be pretty great, you can get more litigation than in the city, and you'll have more of an opportunity to push for systemic change than you would at other PD offices (basically because both the courts and the office itself have significant problems that NEED to be addressed).

I get that it's not anyone's first choice -- it certainly wasn't mine -- but we're in dire need of new hires who are committed to PD work. Seriously, our next crop of attorneys could determine whether we can force our office and the courts to get their shit together, or whether we'll remain forever complicit in injustice.

Anyway, I thought I'd put Nassau on everyone's radar as options start to dry up (isn't it an awful feeling?), and I'd be happy to talk with anyone who is at all interested in applying.

I'd love to know more, please PM me!

Anonymous User
Posts: 273311
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: 3L Public Defender Applications

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jan 27, 2016 3:16 am

CaptainLeela wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Hey everyone,

I work at the Nassau County Legal Aid Society, and we have a wave of people leaving. There are open positions NOW, and we'll also hopefully hire a bigger-than-usual class to start in the fall (by which I mean 6-7 rather than 4-5). Selling points: you can live in NYC, many of your co-workers will be pretty great, you can get more litigation than in the city, and you'll have more of an opportunity to push for systemic change than you would at other PD offices (basically because both the courts and the office itself have significant problems that NEED to be addressed).

I get that it's not anyone's first choice -- it certainly wasn't mine -- but we're in dire need of new hires who are committed to PD work. Seriously, our next crop of attorneys could determine whether we can force our office and the courts to get their shit together, or whether we'll remain forever complicit in injustice.

Anyway, I thought I'd put Nassau on everyone's radar as options start to dry up (isn't it an awful feeling?), and I'd be happy to talk with anyone who is at all interested in applying.

I'd love to know more, please PM me!


Apply here:
http://www.nclas.org/jobs.html

Anonymous User
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Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: 3L Public Defender Applications

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jan 27, 2016 10:25 am

Anonymous User wrote:Hey everyone,

I work at the Nassau County Legal Aid Society, and we have a wave of people leaving. There are open positions NOW, and we'll also hopefully hire a bigger-than-usual class to start in the fall (by which I mean 6-7 rather than 4-5). Selling points: you can live in NYC, many of your co-workers will be pretty great, you can get more litigation than in the city, and you'll have more of an opportunity to push for systemic change than you would at other PD offices (basically because both the courts and the office itself have significant problems that NEED to be addressed).

I get that it's not anyone's first choice -- it certainly wasn't mine -- but we're in dire need of new hires who are committed to PD work. Seriously, our next crop of attorneys could determine whether we can force our office and the courts to get their shit together, or whether we'll remain forever complicit in injustice.

Anyway, I thought I'd put Nassau on everyone's radar as options start to dry up (isn't it an awful feeling?), and I'd be happy to talk with anyone who is at all interested in applying.



I'm definitely applying! Would you be open to share your experience working in the office via PM?

Anonymous User
Posts: 273311
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: 3L Public Defender Applications

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jan 27, 2016 8:21 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Hey everyone,

I work at the Nassau County Legal Aid Society, and we have a wave of people leaving. There are open positions NOW, and we'll also hopefully hire a bigger-than-usual class to start in the fall (by which I mean 6-7 rather than 4-5). Selling points: you can live in NYC, many of your co-workers will be pretty great, you can get more litigation than in the city, and you'll have more of an opportunity to push for systemic change than you would at other PD offices (basically because both the courts and the office itself have significant problems that NEED to be addressed).

I get that it's not anyone's first choice -- it certainly wasn't mine -- but we're in dire need of new hires who are committed to PD work. Seriously, our next crop of attorneys could determine whether we can force our office and the courts to get their shit together, or whether we'll remain forever complicit in injustice.

Anyway, I thought I'd put Nassau on everyone's radar as options start to dry up (isn't it an awful feeling?), and I'd be happy to talk with anyone who is at all interested in applying.



I'm definitely applying! Would you be open to share your experience working in the office via PM?
Yeah, definitely. I'm pretty sure I can't PM an anon, though, right?

Anonymous User
Posts: 273311
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: 3L Public Defender Applications

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jan 27, 2016 9:13 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Hey everyone,

I work at the Nassau County Legal Aid Society, and we have a wave of people leaving. There are open positions NOW, and we'll also hopefully hire a bigger-than-usual class to start in the fall (by which I mean 6-7 rather than 4-5). Selling points: you can live in NYC, many of your co-workers will be pretty great, you can get more litigation than in the city, and you'll have more of an opportunity to push for systemic change than you would at other PD offices (basically because both the courts and the office itself have significant problems that NEED to be addressed).

I get that it's not anyone's first choice -- it certainly wasn't mine -- but we're in dire need of new hires who are committed to PD work. Seriously, our next crop of attorneys could determine whether we can force our office and the courts to get their shit together, or whether we'll remain forever complicit in injustice.

Anyway, I thought I'd put Nassau on everyone's radar as options start to dry up (isn't it an awful feeling?), and I'd be happy to talk with anyone who is at all interested in applying.



I'm definitely applying! Would you be open to share your experience working in the office via PM?
Yeah, definitely. I'm pretty sure I can't PM an anon, though, right?


Not the same poster you were replying to, but I'd also be very interested in learning some of your experience there. Mind sharing a few details with the thread?

My specific questions are about the workload, type of work, culture at the office, etc. General stuff. Thanks!

Anonymous User
Posts: 273311
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: 3L Public Defender Applications

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jan 27, 2016 11:39 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Hey everyone,

I work at the Nassau County Legal Aid Society, and we have a wave of people leaving. There are open positions NOW, and we'll also hopefully hire a bigger-than-usual class to start in the fall (by which I mean 6-7 rather than 4-5). Selling points: you can live in NYC, many of your co-workers will be pretty great, you can get more litigation than in the city, and you'll have more of an opportunity to push for systemic change than you would at other PD offices (basically because both the courts and the office itself have significant problems that NEED to be addressed).

I get that it's not anyone's first choice -- it certainly wasn't mine -- but we're in dire need of new hires who are committed to PD work. Seriously, our next crop of attorneys could determine whether we can force our office and the courts to get their shit together, or whether we'll remain forever complicit in injustice.

Anyway, I thought I'd put Nassau on everyone's radar as options start to dry up (isn't it an awful feeling?), and I'd be happy to talk with anyone who is at all interested in applying.



I'm definitely applying! Would you be open to share your experience working in the office via PM?
Yeah, definitely. I'm pretty sure I can't PM an anon, though, right?


Not the same poster you were replying to, but I'd also be very interested in learning some of your experience there. Mind sharing a few details with the thread?

My specific questions are about the workload, type of work, culture at the office, etc. General stuff. Thanks!
Sure.

First, there's a very particular structure to an entry-level job at Nassau. We commit to the office for three years, and about 97% of us get fired after those three years. The lucky (*cough*) few who don't get fired move up to felony court, and the rest of us do all misdemeanors all the time. The three-and-out system has some very perverse effects: it makes it hard for us to organize to change the office; it creates a disincentive for training and support; and overall contributes to an attitude that misdemeanor attorneys are just interchangeable parts, performing certain functions in a machine designed and controlled by management. A lot of how we operate is still very horizontal. Misdemeanor court is at least beginning to aspire to verticality, but a lot of times we're covering other people's cases and other people are covering ours. We staff courtrooms first, and have caseloads second.

So on to your questions:

Workload varies. An established misdemeanor attorney will have 150-200 cases at a time, but for some people it's a 9-5 job and for others it's 12-hour days and work on the weekends. Some people work VERY hard, and some people coast. (Management doesn't reward the former nearly as much as you'd hope.)

In terms of types of cases, we have a lot of drug possession, DWIs, other traffic bullshit, petit larceny, and assault, and then an assortment of other things. Right now, DWIs end up in litigation and trial most often because the DAs almost never give offers on them. Later in the three years everyone gets assigned to a specialty courtroom, and your workload will shift in that direction (DV, vets, drugs, mental health, sex work, etc.).

Culture-wise, almost everyone believes deeply in the work, and there's a general recognition that the status quo in Nassau County is not okay. Some people are very committed to pushing for systemic change; some want to tinker around the edges; others want to fight for their clients but aren't interested in the bigger fight (even if they recognize the problems). Overall, misdemeanor court is a pretty tight-knit group for a workplace, because we're all in court together every day and we all have the same frustrations, but inter-bureau socializing is rare.

The office is definitely changing (for better or worse depends on who you ask). For years management has been locked into the way things have always been in Nassau, but now more people are coming in from outside who have seen public defense done right and aren't okay with just being part of the plea-bargaining assembly line. So, honestly, even though there are a lot of issues with the office, there are also lots of opportunities for improvement, and I think it's an exciting time to be here.

Anonymous User
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Re: 3L Public Defender Applications

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jan 28, 2016 12:29 pm

I just had an initial interview with the Brooklyn Defenders (recent grad) - does anyone know how long they take to make decisions as to who they invite to the next rounds?

Thanks.

Anonymous User
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Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: 3L Public Defender Applications

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jan 29, 2016 3:52 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Hey everyone,

I work at the Nassau County Legal Aid Society, and we have a wave of people leaving. There are open positions NOW, and we'll also hopefully hire a bigger-than-usual class to start in the fall (by which I mean 6-7 rather than 4-5). Selling points: you can live in NYC, many of your co-workers will be pretty great, you can get more litigation than in the city, and you'll have more of an opportunity to push for systemic change than you would at other PD offices (basically because both the courts and the office itself have significant problems that NEED to be addressed).

I get that it's not anyone's first choice -- it certainly wasn't mine -- but we're in dire need of new hires who are committed to PD work. Seriously, our next crop of attorneys could determine whether we can force our office and the courts to get their shit together, or whether we'll remain forever complicit in injustice.

Anyway, I thought I'd put Nassau on everyone's radar as options start to dry up (isn't it an awful feeling?), and I'd be happy to talk with anyone who is at all interested in applying.



I'm definitely applying! Would you be open to share your experience working in the office via PM?
Yeah, definitely. I'm pretty sure I can't PM an anon, though, right?


Not the same poster you were replying to, but I'd also be very interested in learning some of your experience there. Mind sharing a few details with the thread?

My specific questions are about the workload, type of work, culture at the office, etc. General stuff. Thanks!
Sure.

First, there's a very particular structure to an entry-level job at Nassau. We commit to the office for three years, and about 97% of us get fired after those three years. The lucky (*cough*) few who don't get fired move up to felony court, and the rest of us do all misdemeanors all the time. The three-and-out system has some very perverse effects: it makes it hard for us to organize to change the office; it creates a disincentive for training and support; and overall contributes to an attitude that misdemeanor attorneys are just interchangeable parts, performing certain functions in a machine designed and controlled by management. A lot of how we operate is still very horizontal. Misdemeanor court is at least beginning to aspire to verticality, but a lot of times we're covering other people's cases and other people are covering ours. We staff courtrooms first, and have caseloads second.

So on to your questions:

Workload varies. An established misdemeanor attorney will have 150-200 cases at a time, but for some people it's a 9-5 job and for others it's 12-hour days and work on the weekends. Some people work VERY hard, and some people coast. (Management doesn't reward the former nearly as much as you'd hope.)

In terms of types of cases, we have a lot of drug possession, DWIs, other traffic bullshit, petit larceny, and assault, and then an assortment of other things. Right now, DWIs end up in litigation and trial most often because the DAs almost never give offers on them. Later in the three years everyone gets assigned to a specialty courtroom, and your workload will shift in that direction (DV, vets, drugs, mental health, sex work, etc.).

Culture-wise, almost everyone believes deeply in the work, and there's a general recognition that the status quo in Nassau County is not okay. Some people are very committed to pushing for systemic change; some want to tinker around the edges; others want to fight for their clients but aren't interested in the bigger fight (even if they recognize the problems). Overall, misdemeanor court is a pretty tight-knit group for a workplace, because we're all in court together every day and we all have the same frustrations, but inter-bureau socializing is rare.

The office is definitely changing (for better or worse depends on who you ask). For years management has been locked into the way things have always been in Nassau, but now more people are coming in from outside who have seen public defense done right and aren't okay with just being part of the plea-bargaining assembly line. So, honestly, even though there are a lot of issues with the office, there are also lots of opportunities for improvement, and I think it's an exciting time to be here.


Thanks for sharing your experience in detail. Can you clarify what happens at the end of the three year commitment for the misdemeanor attorneys? Some get moved up to try felonies, and a) do the rest remain doing misdemeanor b) or the rest are let go completely?

Also, in your experience of having gone through the hiring process. How was it structured when you were applying?

Thank you again for being so helpful!

Anonymous User
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Re: 3L Public Defender Applications

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jan 29, 2016 4:04 pm

Have we still not heard from MD fall class? Can anyone report as to whether they got an offer? The silence is deafening. And beyond annoying. Just want to stop thinking about it.

kmb458
Posts: 1
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Re: 3L Public Defender Applications

Postby kmb458 » Fri Jan 29, 2016 4:12 pm

In the same boat with Maryland. I thought for sure everyone would know this week, but I think they were closed at least Monday and Tuesday with the snow. Maybe that's holding them up? Anyway, I feel your pain.

Anonymous User
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Re: 3L Public Defender Applications

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jan 29, 2016 4:28 pm

Maryland interviewees unite!

I'm almost tempted to shoot them an email.... This is more agonizing that studying for the bar.

Anonymous User
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Re: 3L Public Defender Applications

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jan 29, 2016 4:44 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Maryland interviewees unite!

I'm almost tempted to shoot them an email.... This is more agonizing that studying for the bar.


Thank you for responding! I'm sorry for everyone's pain but am glad to know I'm not the only one thinking "Wtf??" over here. Good luck all!

Anonymous User
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Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: 3L Public Defender Applications

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jan 29, 2016 6:13 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Maryland interviewees unite!

I'm almost tempted to shoot them an email.... This is more agonizing that studying for the bar.


Thank you for responding! I'm sorry for everyone's pain but am glad to know I'm not the only one thinking "Wtf??" over here. Good luck all!

Fourth (?) MD waiter here. Are you all waiting to hear back from initial interviews, or panel interviews?

Anonymous User
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Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: 3L Public Defender Applications

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jan 29, 2016 6:36 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Hey everyone,

I work at the Nassau County Legal Aid Society, and we have a wave of people leaving. There are open positions NOW, and we'll also hopefully hire a bigger-than-usual class to start in the fall (by which I mean 6-7 rather than 4-5). Selling points: you can live in NYC, many of your co-workers will be pretty great, you can get more litigation than in the city, and you'll have more of an opportunity to push for systemic change than you would at other PD offices (basically because both the courts and the office itself have significant problems that NEED to be addressed).

I get that it's not anyone's first choice -- it certainly wasn't mine -- but we're in dire need of new hires who are committed to PD work. Seriously, our next crop of attorneys could determine whether we can force our office and the courts to get their shit together, or whether we'll remain forever complicit in injustice.

Anyway, I thought I'd put Nassau on everyone's radar as options start to dry up (isn't it an awful feeling?), and I'd be happy to talk with anyone who is at all interested in applying.



I'm definitely applying! Would you be open to share your experience working in the office via PM?
Yeah, definitely. I'm pretty sure I can't PM an anon, though, right?


Not the same poster you were replying to, but I'd also be very interested in learning some of your experience there. Mind sharing a few details with the thread?

My specific questions are about the workload, type of work, culture at the office, etc. General stuff. Thanks!
Sure.

First, there's a very particular structure to an entry-level job at Nassau. We commit to the office for three years, and about 97% of us get fired after those three years. The lucky (*cough*) few who don't get fired move up to felony court, and the rest of us do all misdemeanors all the time. The three-and-out system has some very perverse effects: it makes it hard for us to organize to change the office; it creates a disincentive for training and support; and overall contributes to an attitude that misdemeanor attorneys are just interchangeable parts, performing certain functions in a machine designed and controlled by management. A lot of how we operate is still very horizontal. Misdemeanor court is at least beginning to aspire to verticality, but a lot of times we're covering other people's cases and other people are covering ours. We staff courtrooms first, and have caseloads second.

So on to your questions:

Workload varies. An established misdemeanor attorney will have 150-200 cases at a time, but for some people it's a 9-5 job and for others it's 12-hour days and work on the weekends. Some people work VERY hard, and some people coast. (Management doesn't reward the former nearly as much as you'd hope.)

In terms of types of cases, we have a lot of drug possession, DWIs, other traffic bullshit, petit larceny, and assault, and then an assortment of other things. Right now, DWIs end up in litigation and trial most often because the DAs almost never give offers on them. Later in the three years everyone gets assigned to a specialty courtroom, and your workload will shift in that direction (DV, vets, drugs, mental health, sex work, etc.).

Culture-wise, almost everyone believes deeply in the work, and there's a general recognition that the status quo in Nassau County is not okay. Some people are very committed to pushing for systemic change; some want to tinker around the edges; others want to fight for their clients but aren't interested in the bigger fight (even if they recognize the problems). Overall, misdemeanor court is a pretty tight-knit group for a workplace, because we're all in court together every day and we all have the same frustrations, but inter-bureau socializing is rare.

The office is definitely changing (for better or worse depends on who you ask). For years management has been locked into the way things have always been in Nassau, but now more people are coming in from outside who have seen public defense done right and aren't okay with just being part of the plea-bargaining assembly line. So, honestly, even though there are a lot of issues with the office, there are also lots of opportunities for improvement, and I think it's an exciting time to be here.


Thanks for sharing your experience in detail. Can you clarify what happens at the end of the three year commitment for the misdemeanor attorneys? Some get moved up to try felonies, and a) do the rest remain doing misdemeanor b) or the rest are let go completely?

Also, in your experience of having gone through the hiring process. How was it structured when you were applying?

Thank you again for being so helpful!

Yeah, people are pretty much let go. It's not that harsh ultimately, because people generally have time to find other jobs and WANT other jobs. The office will also extend your contract if they need to cover staffing shortages and if you want it extended. Overall, though, you can't stay here long-term as a misdemeanor attorney.

Pretty standard hiring process, sending in your application then interviews. It was only really one round, but it's three interviews --- one with the District Court Bureau Chief, one with the attorney-in-chief, and one with the County Court Bureau. They're all pretty straightforward but I don't really want to publicly go into detail about the content. Some hypos, some questions about PD philosophy, some questions about experiences. Standard stuff.

Anonymous User
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Re: 3L Public Defender Applications

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Feb 01, 2016 10:17 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Pretty standard hiring process, sending in your application then interviews. It was only really one round, but it's three interviews --- one with the District Court Bureau Chief, one with the attorney-in-chief, and one with the County Court Bureau. They're all pretty straightforward but I don't really want to publicly go into detail about the content. Some hypos, some questions about PD philosophy, some questions about experiences. Standard stuff.



Thank you!! I totally understand not going into detail about content. In the chance I were to be invited to interview, I just wanted an idea of how many I was potentially getting myself into.

Anonymous User
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Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: 3L Public Defender Applications

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Feb 01, 2016 10:18 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Pretty standard hiring process, sending in your application then interviews. It was only really one round, but it's three interviews --- one with the District Court Bureau Chief, one with the attorney-in-chief, and one with the County Court Bureau. They're all pretty straightforward but I don't really want to publicly go into detail about the content. Some hypos, some questions about PD philosophy, some questions about experiences. Standard stuff.



Thank you!! I totally understand not going into detail about content. In the chance I were to be invited to interview, I just wanted an idea of how many I was potentially getting myself into.

Anonymous User
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Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: 3L Public Defender Applications

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Feb 01, 2016 10:21 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Maryland interviewees unite!

I'm almost tempted to shoot them an email.... This is more agonizing that studying for the bar.


Thank you for responding! I'm sorry for everyone's pain but am glad to know I'm not the only one thinking "Wtf??" over here. Good luck all!

Fourth (?) MD waiter here. Are you all waiting to hear back from initial interviews, or panel interviews?


I'm waiting to hear back after panel. Any news, anybody?

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fratstar1
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Re: 3L Public Defender Applications

Postby fratstar1 » Mon Feb 01, 2016 11:27 am

That whole bit about Nassau County really irks me. Whats the point of having an organization that cuts you off after 3 years of doing Misdemeanors??

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Re: 3L Public Defender Applications

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Feb 01, 2016 12:28 pm

Heeeeeya! Any movement from BDS?




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