Government Hiring "Funding Hurdles"

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Government Hiring "Funding Hurdles"

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Nov 14, 2011 10:57 am

Just about every federal agency I've interviewed with this year has stated that they have to go through funding hurdles before they can actually hire people. Does anyone happen to know what those hurdles are and typically when those hurdles can be overcome?

I know that budgets are released in October, so I'm unsure what additional hurdles come next. It'd be good to know in order to get an idea of when (or if) these agencies will actually be able to hire.

Thanks!

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Re: Government Hiring "Funding Hurdles"

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Nov 14, 2011 11:26 am

I don't think "typically" applies anymore. Everything has changed and nothing in DC works like it used to.

I was at DOJ this summer, and they were nervous because the debt-ceiling gridlock nearly shut down their department. Then several divisions had to cut budgets and slashed hiring for Honors. There were a couple divisions, Antitrust and Civil Rights I think, that withdrew from Honors hiring entirely. The FAA also shut down for a month this summer, and there were a whole lot of pissed off, laid off employees in town.

Congress keeps making short-term deals to keep things running. But until they start passing long-term funding authorizations like they used to, a lot of federal agencies are unsure how much money they'll get and when, and that makes hiring difficult.

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Re: Government Hiring "Funding Hurdles"

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Nov 14, 2011 2:24 pm

It's just sort of amazing that agencies are still interviewing candidates (usually at the candidates own expense) despite the budget uncertainties. You would think they would wait until the money became available.

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Re: Government Hiring "Funding Hurdles"

Postby Patriot1208 » Mon Nov 14, 2011 2:27 pm

At this point budgets came out but we don't actually know how much money will be appropriated to certain groups. The DOJ, for the most part, is on a hiring freeze. But there is some money available for hiring and the different agencies and groups must be able to show need for why they should get to hire while other groups cannot. There is also the looming budget cuts that we are expecting soon. These may or may not allow for money to get freed up to hire more or for money to be taken away to other areas for less hiring. Essentially there is a lot of internal politicking that goes on in a time like this to try and get funding for things. Hiring is one of those things and I wouldn't hold my breath.

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Re: Government Hiring "Funding Hurdles"

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Nov 14, 2011 2:32 pm

Patriot1208 wrote:At this point budgets came out but we don't actually know how much money will be appropriated to certain groups. The DOJ, for the most part, is on a hiring freeze. But there is some money available for hiring and the different agencies and groups must be able to show need for why they should get to hire while other groups cannot. There is also the looming budget cuts that we are expecting soon. These may or may not allow for money to get freed up to hire more or for money to be taken away to other areas for less hiring. Essentially there is a lot of internal politicking that goes on in a time like this to try and get funding for things. Hiring is one of those things and I wouldn't hold my breath.


Well, I guess then the question is whether it is worth waiting things out. I know some people at my T14, including myself, who are deadset on working for the government. If we take private sector jobs, then that knocks us out of eligibility for current and future honors program positions (you can only apply to honors programs out of law school if youve been doing a fellowship/clerkship/other non-private sector work). Is it worth trying to bide time, or do we think these freezes are going to go on for years to come?

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Re: Government Hiring "Funding Hurdles"

Postby Patriot1208 » Mon Nov 14, 2011 2:50 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Patriot1208 wrote:At this point budgets came out but we don't actually know how much money will be appropriated to certain groups. The DOJ, for the most part, is on a hiring freeze. But there is some money available for hiring and the different agencies and groups must be able to show need for why they should get to hire while other groups cannot. There is also the looming budget cuts that we are expecting soon. These may or may not allow for money to get freed up to hire more or for money to be taken away to other areas for less hiring. Essentially there is a lot of internal politicking that goes on in a time like this to try and get funding for things. Hiring is one of those things and I wouldn't hold my breath.


Well, I guess then the question is whether it is worth waiting things out. I know some people at my T14, including myself, who are deadset on working for the government. If we take private sector jobs, then that knocks us out of eligibility for current and future honors program positions (you can only apply to honors programs out of law school if youve been doing a fellowship/clerkship/other non-private sector work). Is it worth trying to bide time, or do we think these freezes are going to go on for years to come?

I'd say this depends on a bunch of factors. What are your other options, is there any other option you'd be happy with, what is the timeline on those options, how strong of a candidate are you really, etc. Listen, when it comes down to it hiring will likely be half this year what it was in the past for fedgov jobs. And fedgov jobs were already hard to come by and small in number. And I can't say with any certainty whether next year hiring will be better than this year, but my informed speculation would be that hiring will, at the end of it all, be a bloodbath this year for the fedgov jobs. And next year will be slightly better, but certainly not great.

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Re: Government Hiring "Funding Hurdles"

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Nov 14, 2011 8:50 pm

What impact would the upcoming election have on all this? (if any)

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Re: Government Hiring "Funding Hurdles"

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Nov 14, 2011 9:04 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Patriot1208 wrote: If we take private sector jobs, then that knocks us out of eligibility for current and future honors program positions



I'm a paralegal for DOJ and this isn't quite right. From all of my interactions with attorneys it's much, much better if you work for a private firm and then transfer to DOJ, because DOJ will try and match your salary, or at least get you the best possible deal (usually ~125,000 if you're above that threshold/in BigLaw). If you start out in the Honors program right out of school, your salary is not nearly that much, and you need to work your ass off for years to get to that level. Also, being in the "Honors Program" may seem prestigious, but inside, no one really gives a shit.
Last edited by Anonymous User on Mon Nov 14, 2011 9:12 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Government Hiring "Funding Hurdles"

Postby tennisking88 » Mon Nov 14, 2011 9:05 pm

Anonymous User wrote:What impact would the upcoming election have on all this? (if any)


Romney pledged to cut the federal workforce by 10%. Can't imagine that would make things better.

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Re: Government Hiring "Funding Hurdles"

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Nov 14, 2011 9:15 pm

tennisking88 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:What impact would the upcoming election have on all this? (if any)


Romney pledged to cut the federal workforce by 10%. Can't imagine that would make things better.


Oh dear god. After having spent my 2L summer in the fed govt. and staring down the barrel of being shut out from them after grad., I can't help but wonder- aren't law school career offices setting people up to fail by having them do govt. or making people think it's a viable option post-grad?

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Re: Government Hiring "Funding Hurdles"

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Nov 14, 2011 9:16 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Patriot1208 wrote: If we take private sector jobs, then that knocks us out of eligibility for current and future honors program positions



I'm a paralegal for DOJ and this isn't quite right. From all of my interactions with attorneys it's much, much better if you work for a private firm and then transfer to DOJ, because DOJ will try and match your salary, or at least get you the best possible deal (usually ~125,000 if you're above that threshold/in BigLaw). If you start out in the Honors program right out of school, your salary is not nearly that much, and you need to work your ass off for years to get to that level. Also, being in the "Honors Program" may seem prestigious, but inside, no one really gives a shit.


Well the catch is getting in the door. I didn't say that it knocks you out of DOJ employment all together, just Honors Program eligibility. If you're committed to working for the DOJ, then its risky to just hope youll have that door open after working in the private sector for a while (although, you might not have any other choice).
Last edited by Anonymous User on Mon Nov 14, 2011 9:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Government Hiring "Funding Hurdles"

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Nov 14, 2011 9:19 pm

Anonymous User wrote:What impact would the upcoming election have on all this? (if any)


I think Congress has more to do with it than the president, but I don't think either branch is on our side. It's a matter of timing when the government is going to stop with their cuts and freezes, but unfortunately, none of us can predict that.

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Re: Government Hiring "Funding Hurdles"

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Nov 14, 2011 9:21 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
tennisking88 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:What impact would the upcoming election have on all this? (if any)


Romney pledged to cut the federal workforce by 10%. Can't imagine that would make things better.


Oh dear god. After having spent my 2L summer in the fed govt. and staring down the barrel of being shut out from them after grad., I can't help but wonder- aren't law school career offices setting people up to fail by having them do govt. or making people think it's a viable option post-grad?


I don't want to agree, but I'm going to have to agree on this one. I did one of the most prestigious 2L government honors internship programs (and was encouraged to do as such by my law school), and am staring down that same barrel (although praying for SOMETHING to happen still).

Good luck!

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Re: Government Hiring "Funding Hurdles"

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Nov 14, 2011 10:17 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Patriot1208 wrote: If we take private sector jobs, then that knocks us out of eligibility for current and future honors program positions



I'm a paralegal for DOJ and this isn't quite right. From all of my interactions with attorneys it's much, much better if you work for a private firm and then transfer to DOJ, because DOJ will try and match your salary, or at least get you the best possible deal (usually ~125,000 if you're above that threshold/in BigLaw). If you start out in the Honors program right out of school, your salary is not nearly that much, and you need to work your ass off for years to get to that level. Also, being in the "Honors Program" may seem prestigious, but inside, no one really gives a shit.


Well the catch is getting in the door. I didn't say that it knocks you out of DOJ employment all together, just Honors Program eligibility. If you're committed to working for the DOJ, then its risky to just hope youll have that door open after working in the private sector for a while (although, you might not have any other choice).


To my knowledge it is not easier to get hired through the Honors Program than lateral from a firm. If anything, there is much less competition.

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Re: Government Hiring "Funding Hurdles"

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Nov 14, 2011 11:11 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
I'm a paralegal for DOJ and this isn't quite right. From all of my interactions with attorneys it's much, much better if you work for a private firm and then transfer to DOJ, because DOJ will try and match your salary, or at least get you the best possible deal (usually ~125,000 if you're above that threshold/in BigLaw). If you start out in the Honors program right out of school, your salary is not nearly that much, and you need to work your ass off for years to get to that level. Also, being in the "Honors Program" may seem prestigious, but inside, no one really gives a shit.


Thanks for posting - this is good to know. Generally how many years of private firm work is needed before you can be considered for a DOJ position as a lateral? Is a couple of years enough, or do they want more than that?

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Re: Government Hiring "Funding Hurdles"

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Nov 14, 2011 11:37 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
tennisking88 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:What impact would the upcoming election have on all this? (if any)


Romney pledged to cut the federal workforce by 10%. Can't imagine that would make things better.


Oh dear god. After having spent my 2L summer in the fed govt. and staring down the barrel of being shut out from them after grad., I can't help but wonder- aren't law school career offices setting people up to fail by having them do govt. or making people think it's a viable option post-grad?


I don't want to agree, but I'm going to have to agree on this one. I did one of the most prestigious 2L government honors internship programs (and was encouraged to do as such by my law school), and am staring down that same barrel (although praying for SOMETHING to happen still).

Good luck!


Ah good luck to you too!! What happens to people like us (who intern for gov. 2L??) Where do we go?

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Re: Government Hiring "Funding Hurdles"

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Nov 14, 2011 11:45 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
I'm a paralegal for DOJ and this isn't quite right. From all of my interactions with attorneys it's much, much better if you work for a private firm and then transfer to DOJ, because DOJ will try and match your salary, or at least get you the best possible deal (usually ~125,000 if you're above that threshold/in BigLaw). If you start out in the Honors program right out of school, your salary is not nearly that much, and you need to work your ass off for years to get to that level. Also, being in the "Honors Program" may seem prestigious, but inside, no one really gives a shit.


Thanks for posting - this is good to know. Generally how many years of private firm work is needed before you can be considered for a DOJ position as a lateral? Is a couple of years enough, or do they want more than that?


This is totally unscientific, but I'd say at least a few years. Though it's less how many years you put in than what type of work you do, if you lateral. But, again, this is all constrained by constant budget problems and a hiring freeze. I was just making the point that if you really want DOJ, you don't have to be in the Honors Program right out of college to get in, and in fact, it can help if you're not.

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Re: Government Hiring "Funding Hurdles"

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Nov 14, 2011 11:52 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Ah good luck to you too!! What happens to people like us (who intern for gov. 2L??) Where do we go?


:( To the broken toy pile in Santa's workshop? Hahaha...that's what it feels like sometimes. It really is a shame that a lot of people, myself (and likely you) included, just did what we thought was best for our career paths in choosing a government 2L position. I was just completely blind to what the realities would be with regards to hiring.

I'm still waiting to hear back from some honors programs, and I suppose I'm reluctantly going to start searching in the private sector too. You? What makes going to the private sector tough for me, though, is that I'm not going to be covered by my school's loan repayment if I go back into public interest after a year or two in the private sector (you have to go straight through). At this point, I'm not going to be getting market firm jobs, so it's not like I can just work a few years at a firm to pay off my loans, either. Le sigh.

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Re: Government Hiring "Funding Hurdles"

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Nov 14, 2011 11:55 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
I'm a paralegal for DOJ and this isn't quite right. From all of my interactions with attorneys it's much, much better if you work for a private firm and then transfer to DOJ, because DOJ will try and match your salary, or at least get you the best possible deal (usually ~125,000 if you're above that threshold/in BigLaw). If you start out in the Honors program right out of school, your salary is not nearly that much, and you need to work your ass off for years to get to that level. Also, being in the "Honors Program" may seem prestigious, but inside, no one really gives a shit.


Thanks for posting - this is good to know. Generally how many years of private firm work is needed before you can be considered for a DOJ position as a lateral? Is a couple of years enough, or do they want more than that?


I'm also concerned that a lot of people take "Honors" to mean more than it does. "Honors Attorney" sounds good, but this isn't middle school. You're starting off with a salary of 65K, and you'll be lucky to make it to 100 in 5 years, especially with constant budget cuts and pay freeze threats. People who really wanna work for DOJ should of course apply, and it's a great job to get nonetheless, but just keep this is mind.

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Re: Government Hiring "Funding Hurdles"

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Nov 14, 2011 11:58 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
I'm a paralegal for DOJ and this isn't quite right. From all of my interactions with attorneys it's much, much better if you work for a private firm and then transfer to DOJ, because DOJ will try and match your salary, or at least get you the best possible deal (usually ~125,000 if you're above that threshold/in BigLaw). If you start out in the Honors program right out of school, your salary is not nearly that much, and you need to work your ass off for years to get to that level. Also, being in the "Honors Program" may seem prestigious, but inside, no one really gives a shit.


Thanks for posting - this is good to know. Generally how many years of private firm work is needed before you can be considered for a DOJ position as a lateral? Is a couple of years enough, or do they want more than that?


I'm also concerned that a lot of people take "Honors" to mean more than it does. "Honors Attorney" sounds good, but this isn't middle school. You're starting off with a salary of 65K, and you'll be lucky to make it to 100 in 5 years, especially with constant budget cuts and pay freeze threats. People who really wanna work for DOJ should of course apply, and it's a great job to get nonetheless, but just keep this is mind.


Right, but the thing is, for some people, the honors program is a heck of a lot better than their other alternatives straight out of law school. Thus, the cuts and freezes are especially detrimental for some. In past years, when things were good, I know a lot of people who have gotten into honors programs that couldn't crack big or even mid law. I know that sounds crazy, but agencies and firms look for different things.

(Also, dont forget to keep the loan repayment you'd get working at DOJ in mind)

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Re: Government Hiring "Funding Hurdles"

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Nov 15, 2011 12:17 am

Anonymous User wrote: Right, but the thing is, for some people, the honors program is a heck of a lot better than their other alternatives straight out of law school. Thus, the cuts and freezes are especially detrimental for some. In past years, when things were good, I know a lot of people who have gotten into honors programs that couldn't crack big or even mid law. I know that sounds crazy, but agencies and firms look for different things. (Also, dont forget to keep the loan repayment you'd get working at DOJ in mind)


Right, of course, I'm with you on that. I'm just saying not to fall in love with the "Honors" of it.

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Re: Government Hiring "Funding Hurdles"

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Nov 15, 2011 12:18 am

Ya, I'm just sad and ranting about all the freezes. I get what you all are saying, however.

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Re: Government Hiring "Funding Hurdles"

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 19, 2012 5:25 pm

Just accepted offer to major-congressional agency for this summer. I was still waiting on another executive agency summer honors program but I called and they basically said they've hired ONLY one of their summers from 2011 & 2012 combined... The place I'm going streamlines it and only brings on Summers that they want to hire... Although, even they said that the budget is always a concern and despite the fact that they plan ahead to hire summers, we can't expect to have post-grad employment.

It was my best bet though so I went with it.

Post-grad employment = #1 goal

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Re: Government Hiring "Funding Hurdles"

Postby LawIdiot86 » Wed Sep 19, 2012 5:58 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
tennisking88 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:What impact would the upcoming election have on all this? (if any)


Romney pledged to cut the federal workforce by 10%. Can't imagine that would make things better.


Oh dear god. After having spent my 2L summer in the fed govt. and staring down the barrel of being shut out from them after grad., I can't help but wonder- aren't law school career offices setting people up to fail by having them do govt. or making people think it's a viable option post-grad?


I don't want to agree, but I'm going to have to agree on this one. I did one of the most prestigious 2L government honors internship programs (and was encouraged to do as such by my law school), and am staring down that same barrel (although praying for SOMETHING to happen still).

Good luck!

Going to the govt for a 2L summer with the idea of working in the govt is a big mistake. My three friends who got honors programs did biglaw 2L. Counting on being the special snowflake for fed honors is simply unrealistic. You just need to fall on your sword and try for the private sector. If you can't get a firm or an association or something else private, then do govt as a last resort. Student loans and ITE don't permit principles like coming to law school just to work in the public service.

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Re: Government Hiring "Funding Hurdles"

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 19, 2012 7:00 pm

LawIdiot86 wrote:Going to the govt for a 2L summer with the idea of working in the govt is a big mistake. My three friends who got honors programs did biglaw 2L. Counting on being the special snowflake for fed honors is simply unrealistic. You just need to fall on your sword and try for the private sector. If you can't get a firm or an association or something else private, then do govt as a last resort. Student loans and ITE don't permit principles like coming to law school just to work in the public service.

This. You can apply to govt positions as an experienced attorney and you'll have better odds of getting in, with an income source in the meantime. At least that's what I was told by a number of DOJ attorneys I spoke to last summer.




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