Are there any DOJ Honors attorneys here?

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EijiMiyake
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Are there any DOJ Honors attorneys here?

Postby EijiMiyake » Wed Sep 12, 2012 6:03 pm

I've heard some negative things about both the quality of work & exit options recently even from some of the components that are traditionally thought of as "good" (for example, tax, antitrust, civil). Can anyone confirm?
Last edited by EijiMiyake on Wed Sep 12, 2012 9:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.

anon168
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Re: Are there any DOJ Honors attorneys here?

Postby anon168 » Wed Sep 12, 2012 6:16 pm

EijiMiyake wrote:I've heard some negative things about both the quality of work & exit options recently even from some of the components that are traditionally thought of as "good" (tax, antitrust, civil). Can anyone confirm?


I've worked with a bunch of them, and know of bunch of them personally, as well as many who have left various DOJ litigating components post-honors.

Define what you mean by "quality of work" and "exit options".

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EijiMiyake
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Re: Are there any DOJ Honors attorneys here?

Postby EijiMiyake » Wed Sep 12, 2012 6:20 pm

anon168 wrote:
EijiMiyake wrote:I've heard some negative things about both the quality of work & exit options recently even from some of the components that are traditionally thought of as "good" (tax, antitrust, civil). Can anyone confirm?


I've worked with a bunch of them, and know of bunch of them personally, as well as many who have left various DOJ litigating components post-honors.

Define what you mean by "quality of work" and "exit options".



Quality of work - I've been told that the structure of several of the divisions has changed in the last 5-10 years such that new attorneys are not given as much responsibility and high level work as they were in the past. New positions have been created by the front office to take over higher-profile cases and issues within cases from the staff attorneys.

Exit options - Mainly concerned with AUSA and transferring within the division. I've been told that some USAOs (including NY and SF, where I'd want to live) prefer candidates from firms.

anon168
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Re: Are there any DOJ Honors attorneys here?

Postby anon168 » Wed Sep 12, 2012 6:41 pm

EijiMiyake wrote:
anon168 wrote:
EijiMiyake wrote:I've heard some negative things about both the quality of work & exit options recently even from some of the components that are traditionally thought of as "good" (tax, antitrust, civil). Can anyone confirm?


I've worked with a bunch of them, and know of bunch of them personally, as well as many who have left various DOJ litigating components post-honors.

Define what you mean by "quality of work" and "exit options".



Quality of work - I've been told that the structure of several of the divisions has changed in the last 5-10 years such that new attorneys are not given as much responsibility and high level work as they were in the past. New positions have been created by the front office to take over higher-profile cases and issues within cases from the staff attorneys.


I'm not sure which divisions you are referring to, but the ones I am familiar with (Consumer Fraud, Torts, Criminal) are being run pretty much the same as before. There will always be changes, but nothing earth-shattering. The thing to note is that as admins change, the focus and how trial attorneys function will change. That's just part and parcel of working for the government. Politics will often dictate how and what types of cases are handled by DOJ litigating components.

I can tell you for a fact that having spoken with newly minted DOJ Honors folks, when they start, they're basically given a box for an office, a pile of cases and told, "go get 'em". And usually what happens is that the DOJ trial attorneys end up leaning, alot, on the local AUSAs (because most of the DOJ cases are either joined, or monitored).

And most of the DOJ Honors attorneys that I've dealt with (at least initially) all seemed either overwhelmed, or lost. It's quite a bit to digest for a young lawyer.

EijiMiyake wrote:Exit options - Mainly concerned with AUSA and transferring within the division. I've been told that some USAOs (including NY and SF, where I'd want to live) prefer candidates from firms.


That's probably true, but will vary from USAO to USAO. USAOs know that their gig (as a AUSA) is about 100x better than working at Main Justice, so there's always a flood of applications going from DC to the various USAOs -- esp. the glamour ones like SDNY, NDCA, etc. And that's always been the case.

But I can tell you that DOJ attorneys, not necessarily Honors kids who have only 4 years of experience, are generally still valued by firms.

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EijiMiyake
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Re: Are there any DOJ Honors attorneys here?

Postby EijiMiyake » Wed Sep 12, 2012 6:44 pm

What do your friends think about transferring within the Main Justice?

And why would being an AUSA be so much better than working in DC?

anon168
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Re: Are there any DOJ Honors attorneys here?

Postby anon168 » Wed Sep 12, 2012 6:55 pm

EijiMiyake wrote:What do your friends think about transferring within the Main Justice?


What do you mean what do they think about it?

EijiMiyake wrote:And why would being an AUSA be so much better than working in DC?


More interesting work. Faster paced. Less bureaucratic bullshit (e.g. you don't have to write a memo to get approval to write a memo kind of bullshit).

Being an AUSA is like being a naval fighter pilot, and being a DOJ trial attorney is like manning the radar controls on the aircraft carrier.

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EijiMiyake
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Re: Are there any DOJ Honors attorneys here?

Postby EijiMiyake » Wed Sep 12, 2012 6:57 pm

Do they think about it? For example, how feasible is it to go from crim to antitrust or vice versa.

anon168
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Re: Are there any DOJ Honors attorneys here?

Postby anon168 » Wed Sep 12, 2012 7:21 pm

EijiMiyake wrote:Do they think about it? For example, how feasible is it to go from crim to antitrust or vice versa.


I don't believe that's possible to do during your initial 4 year commitment.

After that it just depends.

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EijiMiyake
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Re: Are there any DOJ Honors attorneys here?

Postby EijiMiyake » Wed Sep 12, 2012 8:05 pm

Do any of your friends want to be AUSAs?

Also, you've mentioned 4 year commitment a few times - I thought that it was 3? I don't see anything about it on the website, except that you can get to GS-15 in 3.5 years.

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Re: Are there any DOJ Honors attorneys here?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 12, 2012 8:55 pm

EijiMiyake wrote:Quality of work - I've been told that the structure of several of the divisions has changed in the last 5-10 years such that new attorneys are not given as much responsibility and high level work as they were in the past. New positions have been created by the front office to take over higher-profile cases and issues within cases from the staff attorneys.

Exit options - Mainly concerned with AUSA and transferring within the division. I've been told that some USAOs (including NY and SF, where I'd want to live) prefer candidates from firms.

I worked for DOJ as a paralegal about 5 years ago (one of the divisions you listed). "Quality of work" concerns was true for important cases. I'm not sure that's a "new" thing. I mean, would you, as the management of the division, want your most important cases/issues handled by newbies? Probably not. I witnessed higher-ups essentially stepping in last minute to review and rewrite briefs written by very competent younger attorneys who worked on the case "in the trenches" for years. Further, if you are on the civil side, you will need to run many issues in important cases by attorneys in the criminal or SDNY office. SDNY criminal basically had veto power.

All of that being said, the fact that a "line attorney" with about 5 years experience was practically lead on a very important case was pretty cool. So it can be understood there will be oversight. The atmosphere at a firm for a 5th year associate might be different because unlike in government, the result of an important case will have widespread implications for MANY other cases your organization handles. (i.e., a firm might have a couple cases with a similar issue, but DOJ might have dozens or more, constituting hundreds of millions of dollars).

Exit options: I can't speak directly to this, but I did know someone who tried to get AUSA "back home" after serving some time with DOJ in DC. He was unable to do so; had to settle for the largest / highest-paying firm in the flyover market.

anon168
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Re: Are there any DOJ Honors attorneys here?

Postby anon168 » Wed Sep 12, 2012 10:52 pm

EijiMiyake wrote:Do any of your friends want to be AUSAs?

Also, you've mentioned 4 year commitment a few times - I thought that it was 3? I don't see anything about it on the website, except that you can get to GS-15 in 3.5 years.


Which friends?

You're right it's 3. My bad.




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