ADA in New York City taking questions

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ADA in New York City taking questions

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Aug 19, 2012 12:14 am

Happy to answer any questions about internships, full time jobs, etc.

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Re: ADA in New York City taking questions

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Aug 19, 2012 5:01 am

did they teach you a fair reading of brady when you started?

kenji
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Re: ADA in New York City taking questions

Postby kenji » Sun Aug 19, 2012 5:47 am

what you do in law school to be a competitive applicant?

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Re: ADA in New York City taking questions

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Aug 19, 2012 9:32 am

What factors do you think are most important in being hired for a full time ADA position out of law school?

ahem
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Re: ADA in New York City taking questions

Postby ahem » Sun Aug 19, 2012 9:53 am

1. Did you spend 2L summer as an intern in the office? If so, what is the internship interview like (hypos, looking for fit, etc.). Would you say a lot of the entry level class is recruited from the summer intern pool?

2. Is moot court really necessary to get hired? My resume screams crim and my credentials are strong (3.5 & Law Review) but my school picks its moot court members based solely on your LRW oral argument grade and I guess I didn't do well enough to get selected.

3. Coming from a lower ranked school just across the Hudson from Manhattan, what do I need to know about maximizing my chances coming from a non t-14? Manhattan DA is my absolute dream job, and 1 or 2 people from my school make it in there every year, but I've read a lot about Vance wanting to recruit more heavily from higher ranked schools now.

Thanks in advance!

llachans
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Re: ADA in New York City taking questions

Postby llachans » Sun Aug 19, 2012 10:24 am

Thanks for taking questions!

Can you describe your average work day? How often a week are you in court? Finally, I've always wanted to be a DA. I used to be extremely shy, but am much more comfortable public speaking now. Are most DAs you meet natural extroverts, or is it easy to increase your ease with public speaking through practical classes your 2L and 3L years?

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Re: ADA in New York City taking questions

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Aug 19, 2012 10:40 am

Anonymous User wrote:did they teach you a fair reading of brady when you started?


Yes.

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Re: ADA in New York City taking questions

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Aug 19, 2012 10:46 am

kenji wrote:what you do in law school to be a competitive applicant?


One of the most important things is demonstrating an interest in public service generally. Less important for my office at least is criminal law specifically. It helps, but they're also willing to take people who genuinely want to serve in government and who can express why they want to be criminal prosecutors. Summer internships/clinics go a long way in helping to do this. Law school and grades do count, but nowhere near as much as they do for firms.

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Re: ADA in New York City taking questions

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Aug 19, 2012 10:51 am

Anonymous User wrote:What factors do you think are most important in being hired for a full time ADA position out of law school?


Big things are commitment to public service, and the office has to be confident that you'll be able to handle a ton of responsibility early on. My office isn't looking for gung ho prosecutors or people who have an "us vs. them" mentality. Rather, we look for people who are committed to the rule or law and the role prosecutors play in the system. We actually like people with public defender or legal aid experience, because a lot of our victims and witnesses come from the margins of society. Above all, we're looking for people who have the ability to be very good lawyers, and who will hold their own in the courtroom and be effective in working with people from all different backgrounds. It's hard to quantify, but that's why most offices have 3 or 4 rounds of interviews in all types of different formats.

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Re: ADA in New York City taking questions

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Aug 19, 2012 10:59 am

ahem wrote:1. Did you spend 2L summer as an intern in the office? If so, what is the internship interview like (hypos, looking for fit, etc.). Would you say a lot of the entry level class is recruited from the summer intern pool?

2. Is moot court really necessary to get hired? My resume screams crim and my credentials are strong (3.5 & Law Review) but my school picks its moot court members based solely on your LRW oral argument grade and I guess I didn't do well enough to get selected.

3. Coming from a lower ranked school just across the Hudson from Manhattan, what do I need to know about maximizing my chances coming from a non t-14? Manhattan DA is my absolute dream job, and 1 or 2 people from my school make it in there every year, but I've read a lot about Vance wanting to recruit more heavily from higher ranked schools now.

Thanks in advance!


1. No I didn't. About 1/2 to 2/3 of my class did. I did intern at another office (most people interned at at least one prosecutor's office sometime in law school). The interview is very straightforward. No hypos. Just trying to get a sense of what you're interested in and what kind of background you have.

2. No. I wasn't on moot court. I'm sure some people are, but it's not a huge deal. I guess it could help, but you could also do a clinic, or do anything where you get any experience either arguing or negotiating with real clients.

3. I've heard that too. The office has always recruited from many different law schools. Usually 20+ schools are represented in each class.I think it's tougher from lower ranked schools because more people are applying. The hiring process can be a bit of a black box, and it's changed a lot over the past few years. I think they're looking more for hard workers and intellectual prowress. I think showing them that you're committed and would work your tail off would be helpful.

gobosox
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Re: ADA in New York City taking questions

Postby gobosox » Sun Aug 19, 2012 5:13 pm

Thanks for this-- really interested in what you have to say... Let me know if I'm asking too many questions!

1) How many hours a week do you work, and what percentage of those hours are actually in court?

2) How are promotions structured? How do you advance?

3) About how many people are hired each year? And how many apply?

4) What's compensation like for someone starting out, and how does it progress (not only salary, but retirement benefits, health insurance, etc.)?

5) How much autonomy do you have?

6) Do you like your job?

Thanks so much!

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JCFindley
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Re: ADA in New York City taking questions

Postby JCFindley » Sun Aug 19, 2012 5:56 pm

Thank you for taking questions.

Does your office take 1L summer interns?

Probably my biggest question is about age. I was spent 20 in the military before LS so I am a rather extreme nontraditional. Is that a big issue in your office? (I know the general official answer but I also know reality can sometimes vary from that.)

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Re: ADA in New York City taking questions

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Aug 19, 2012 8:05 pm

As someone who did not intern at that office, did you find yourself having to justify your desire to work there and/or establish ties to the area during the interview process?

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Re: ADA in New York City taking questions

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Aug 19, 2012 9:00 pm

What advice would you give to a new ADA in an NYC office? Is there anything you wish you knew during your first few months? Anything you would do differently?

Do most ADAs drive or take the subway to work?

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Re: ADA in New York City taking questions

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Aug 20, 2012 8:18 am

gobosox wrote:Thanks for this-- really interested in what you have to say... Let me know if I'm asking too many questions!

1) How many hours a week do you work, and what percentage of those hours are actually in court?

2) How are promotions structured? How do you advance?

3) About how many people are hired each year? And how many apply?

4) What's compensation like for someone starting out, and how does it progress (not only salary, but retirement benefits, health insurance, etc.)?

5) How much autonomy do you have?

6) Do you like your job?

Thanks so much!

Happy to help.

1. This varies a bit depending on how long you've been there. When I started, 50-60 hours a week on average. I'd usually be assigned to cover a court part maybe 2-3 days a week. On those days I'd be in court close to all the day. THe other 2 days or so would be desk days, but I'd often end up in court for 15-30 minutes dealing with one of my cases or a classmates that had some issue. When I started, roughly 2-3 shifts a month were either intake or arraignment on a nigh or weekend. Now that I've been there longer, it's a more steady 40-50 hours a week with only occasional intake nights/weekends, and almost no covering court parts.

2. Depends. Little promotions, like moving up to felonies or transfering to a specialized unit, are based entirely on merit. Big promotions, like being a bureau chief, are made by the DA and I have no idea.

3. Roughly 40-50 people from 2,500 applications.

4. Salary goes up maybe $2-$4k a year on average. It's not great. It starts around $60k. Benefits don't change much.

5. Tons. You have complete control over your cases. On more serious cases, supervisors will have more imput, but they will virtually never tell you what to do with a certain issue. Maybe 5 times If they disagree with a plea offer you're making, they'll push you on it, and they'll want to discuss it at length, but they'll almost always let you do what you think is best.

6. It's a phenominal job, and I genuinely enjoy it.

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Re: ADA in New York City taking questions

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Aug 20, 2012 8:22 am

JCFindley wrote:Thank you for taking questions.

Does your office take 1L summer interns?

Probably my biggest question is about age. I was spent 20 in the military before LS so I am a rather extreme nontraditional. Is that a big issue in your office? (I know the general official answer but I also know reality can sometimes vary from that.)


Yes, we do, but focus more on 2Ls.

No, not at all. We have many people who are in their 30s when they start, and quite a few who are switching to law after 10-20 years in the workplace. Military experience is looked at extremely highly, and a lot of ADAs are in the reserves. They will press you on whether you're going to be able to be supervised at times by someone 30-35 years old but who has a lot more legal experience than you.

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Re: ADA in New York City taking questions

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Aug 20, 2012 8:22 am

Anonymous User wrote:As someone who did not intern at that office, did you find yourself having to justify your desire to work there and/or establish ties to the area during the interview process?


Yes. They're going to ask you specifically why you want to work in this jurisdiction and why you didn't intern in that city/office in law school.

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Re: ADA in New York City taking questions

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Aug 20, 2012 8:26 am

Anonymous User wrote:What advice would you give to a new ADA in an NYC office? Is there anything you wish you knew during your first few months? Anything you would do differently?

Do most ADAs drive or take the subway to work?


The best advice I have is keep your common sense, have an open mind, and most importantly, to be honest when you make a mistake. You'll mess up. A lot. Sometimes really badly. It can be tempting to try to cover this up to your bosses, defense counsel, and even judges. Don't. No one cares that much if you screw up. They expect you to. But if you come across as being shady or dishonest about it, that reputation will hammer you your entire career.

Also, don't become a cop. Some people start to view the world through a police officer's eyes since we spend so much time with them. Don't do this. It will make you a terrible prosecutor.

llachans
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Re: ADA in New York City taking questions

Postby llachans » Mon Aug 20, 2012 11:39 am

llachans wrote:Thanks for taking questions!

Can you describe your average work day? How often a week are you in court? Finally, I've always wanted to be a DA. I used to be extremely shy, but am much more comfortable public speaking now. Are most DAs you meet natural extroverts, or is it easy to increase your ease with public speaking through practical classes your 2L and 3L years?


I think you missed my original post. Still curious about these questions (minus the one you already answered for someone else) :)

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Re: ADA in New York City taking questions

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Aug 20, 2012 11:50 am

What is the progression of cases like for a new ADA? I assume you start off on misdemeanors. When are you allowed to start taking on felonies? Is there a set time frame or is it just whenever your supervisor feels you're ready?

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Re: ADA in New York City taking questions

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Aug 20, 2012 2:21 pm

Can you describe a typical day during your first few months? What hours did you typically work during a normal week?

Thanks a lot for doing this!

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Re: ADA in New York City taking questions

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Aug 20, 2012 5:35 pm

How does one going about best establishing "ties" to an office/jurisdiction that they don't live in, go school in, and have not interned in?

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Re: ADA in New York City taking questions

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Aug 20, 2012 6:22 pm

Anonymous User wrote:What is the progression of cases like for a new ADA? I assume you start off on misdemeanors. When are you allowed to start taking on felonies? Is there a set time frame or is it just whenever your supervisor feels you're ready?


In my office it's usually about a year and a half. You generally move up as a class, though you may get one or two a little earlier if a supervisor thinks you're ready for it. Lateral hires tend to move up sooner. It also depends on the needs of your bureau. If they're down a lot of felony people they might start you a few months sooner than you otherwise would.

Once you move up to felonies, you progress at your own pace. Some people are ready for robberies and gun cases within months of moving to felonies. Others take more time. And then others like to focus more on sex crimes or DV. It's a mix of your interests and what supervisors think you're ready for. Everyone gets a decent amount of drug cases too, at least for a little while.

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Re: ADA in New York City taking questions

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Aug 20, 2012 6:25 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Can you describe a typical day during your first few months? What hours did you typically work during a normal week?

Thanks a lot for doing this!

Typical day:
8:45, arrive, check messages, deal with things that need to be done first thing.
9:15, head to court
9:30-1, staff court part
1-2:15, lunch/catch up on things
2:15-4, more court
4-4:15, get coffee
4:15-7:30 or 8, work on my cases, meet with witnesses, investigate things, prep for trial, etc.

On an office day it's more like 9-6 or 7 or so. If you're on intake you're basically spending 8-5 evaluating cases and writing criminal court complaints.

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Re: ADA in New York City taking questions

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Aug 20, 2012 6:25 pm

Anonymous User wrote:How does one going about best establishing "ties" to an office/jurisdiction that they don't live in, go school in, and have not interned in?


By being able to credibly explain why it is you want to live and work here, just like in any other job sector.




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