tips for successful summer at fed. government?

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tips for successful summer at fed. government?

Postby anonymcoffee » Sun May 13, 2012 8:08 pm

I was reading through the top 5 tips for summer SAs, and were I an SA, it would have been helpful haha

any students here worked for the federal government during the summer? I realize the agencies vary, but I wanted to maximize my experiences, connections, etc. The attorneys in my division are older, always seem busy (or say they are when I knock on their door), and are mostly in their offices. Also, there is less of a support system/guidance than at a firm and only another clerk working in another division. I tried contacting a younger attorney for lunch, but she responded that she is busy and to reschedule, but haven't heard anything since.

So...anyone who has spent time in government for the summer, any advice would be appreciated.

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frank galvin
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Re: tips for successful summer at fed. government?

Postby frank galvin » Sun May 13, 2012 10:02 pm

I spent last summer at a Top-5 USAO, but I think advice applies to anywhere.

Basically, just do quality work in a timely fashion. In most cases you will not have difficult deadlines, so take your time and produce quality and trustworthy work product. As with all things, it is about creating an "internal market" for your work. You may want to read Curmudgeon's Guide on this, but the principle is rather simple. The more people trust your work, the more it is in demand. Likewise, the more you mess up, fewer people will want you working on their cases.

Also be advised that attorneys do talk to each other about their experiences working with particular clerks. This is good if you do good work, but bad if you sloppy and produce sub-par work.

Finally, do not be afraid to ask for advice and tips. From my experience, oftentimes government lawyers are very helpful. People generally like hooking young people up with connections so long as you have a good attitude and do good work. This tendency to want to help is either born out of simply wanting to aid a promising law student, or the demonstration of exercising their own power and influence. Either way you can benefit.

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Re: tips for successful summer at fed. government?

Postby Starscream15 » Mon May 14, 2012 5:51 pm

Agree with the above poster. Also try to keep looking for someone who you can talk to. Be sure to find someone you generally want to talk to or someone you have something in common with. If you can find someone who went to your school even better. Also if they tell you they are busy but offer to reschedule then reschedule! Don't be a total pest, but don't disappear into the background. Sometimes support staff can also be a good pipeline into getting an attorney's attention. Hopefully you can find someone willing to engage with you. Don't lose hope. If you continue to work hard and remain positive someone will notice.

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Re: tips for successful summer at fed. government?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed May 16, 2012 11:30 pm

Just out of curiosity, what qualifies as a Top-5 USAO?

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Re: tips for successful summer at fed. government?

Postby anonymcoffee » Thu May 17, 2012 9:34 am

thanks for the advice everyone. would love to hear more from people - I know a lot of govt agencies have summer honors programs.

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Re: tips for successful summer at fed. government?

Postby bgg2011 » Mon May 21, 2012 9:18 am

Worked at a USACE Division for both of my law school summers.

They appreciate quality work done in a timely manner. Simple as that. Most times they'll give you work with little direction and expect you to take initiative.

It seemed that they really appreciated my willingness to be personable with them. We would hang out after work sometimes, etc. During the company picnic I got us to all sign up for the volleyball team. USACE legal division was headed up by ex-Air Force, so there was a definite military mentality in the office. Not in a negative way, but in a work ethic and "team player" sort of way.

So, with all this, it really depends on the folks you're working for. Fed gov is great. They let you do as much work as you can handle.

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