Anonymous User wrote:I was selected as a Judicial Law Clerk for OCIJ on Tuesday (early afternoon). I got my top location choice (which is one of the top three most popular locations - infer as you will). My status was flipped to finalist two weeks ago, and my references contacted by email two weeks ago. Hope that helps.
I was hoping for some advice though.
Can anyone please give me some compelling reasons to accept an offer as a JLC if you have NO interest in a career in immigration law, though I am highly interested in doing future work with the government (likely state department, AUSA, or Crim Division).
I have a back-up firm job (regular $160K offer), and am having a tough time picking OCIJ. I am graduating from a top-five law school, with good grades, so not worried about a job. Just trying to figure out really a) how prestigious is federal honors if you are being appointed to an immigration clerk position (which is itself not prestigious unless you're doing immigration work), b) how much easier it would be to lateral from OCIJ into another government position at the end of two years (AUSA, Crim, State), and c) would big firms even care about this position?
Any thoughts would be appreciated.
I think you should take job.
Full disclosure: I am an OCIJ finalist (without offer) and you prob got one of my top choices.
Here's why you should take the job.
if you really want to work in public service, by turning down a prime 160K firm job in favor of a govt job that pays less than half of that, you automatically have unlimited credibility for your public service ambitions. Conversely, taking the firm job, it's harder to argue you're committed to public service, it shows that you're like most of us, and if afforded the chance to make a ton of cash right out of law school, we would take it. Taking the OCIJ job shows you're diff (above the fray?) and serious about public service.
Going forward, your exit options are prob the same. If you're top 5 school with good grades, you'll have interest from firms and govt jobs across the board after the 2 yrs. For selling the firms later on, you can honestly say, you weren't sure if you were interested in Immigration and found out you wasn't, so now you want to work for a firm. You tried it and it wasn't for you. That's simple, honest, and believable. Plus, you're early on in your career, you can afford to take risks now to get to where you want to go later on, which is public service.
For govt jobs, you can say the same thing, you wanted to give Immigration a try, but it wasn't for you, that's why you're applying to AUSA, Crim, State, etc. Also point out you turned down a 160K job in favor of public service. Again, plausible and simple. With your background, they'll be interested and you'll get lots of interviews even if you were a "lowly, unprestigious EOIR clerk".
I know of at least one person who went from OCIJ to State immediately. She had a fed coa clerkship and big firm summer on her resume. Now she's at State. There you go.
While it's true, OCIJ sets you up primarily for Immigration work, you're more credible for public service going forward even if it's in a diff area. And with your background out of law school, you're competitive for a lot of law jobs. So when you get the interviews, you gotta sell the shift away from Immigration. Although, the key is to do well enough that your judge offers a good recommendation, but if you did well in law school, you know how to do well in a subj that doesn't interest you.