Benefit of USAO internship when applying for DOJ Honors?

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Benefit of USAO internship when applying for DOJ Honors?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Aug 04, 2013 9:31 am

I've been offered an internship at my local USAO for Fall 2013/Spring2014. It's unpaid and I'm trying to decide whether to take it or hold out for a paid position (I'm interviewing at a couple other places over the next few weeks). I'm a 3L applying for the DOJ Honors program, will a USAO internship be really helpful there or just an average soft?

Cyne
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Re: Benefit of USAO internship when applying for DOJ Honors?

Postby Cyne » Sun Aug 04, 2013 9:52 am

I've spoken to a few prosecutors, and they seem to think it is an important soft. If you want DOJ, I cannot see another paid internship helping more. Shows dedication to the mission. Might depend on what other internships you are looking at though.

On a side note, if you are interested in a county-level prosecutor position, the USAO internship will also be helpful.

Just to clarify, the prosecutors I know are mainly in major markets, but were state level. I have only spoken with a couple of DOJ folks.

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Re: Benefit of USAO internship when applying for DOJ Honors?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Aug 04, 2013 10:04 am

Cyne wrote:I've spoken to a few prosecutors, and they seem to think it is an important soft. If you want DOJ, I cannot see another paid internship helping more. Shows dedication to the mission. Might depend on what other internships you are looking at though.

On a side note, if you are interested in a county-level prosecutor position, the USAO internship will also be helpful.

Just to clarify, the prosecutors I know are mainly in major markets, but were state level. I have only spoken with a couple of DOJ folks.
Cyne wrote:I've spoken to a few prosecutors, and they seem to think it is an important soft. If you want DOJ, I cannot see another paid internship helping more. Shows dedication to the mission. Might depend on what other internships you are looking at though.

On a side note, if you are interested in a county-level prosecutor position, the USAO internship will also be helpful.

Just to clarify, the prosecutors I know are mainly in major markets, but were state level. I have only spoken with a couple of DOJ folks.


Yeah I'm leaning towards taking it, just worried a lot of other DOJ Honors applicants also have a USAO internship or similar work experience under their belt and it won't look that impressive. I'm not what you'd call a strong applicant though so I need all the help I can get (30% at a T50-100. It's the best school in my state and I'm going for free so it was the right choice for me, but I know it's going to hurt applying for super competitive jobs like this)

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Re: Benefit of USAO internship when applying for DOJ Honors?

Postby Cyne » Sun Aug 04, 2013 10:12 am

Having some sort of criminal experience, whether prosecutor or defense, is often a necessary experience to get DOJ Honors, or really any other prosecutor position. If you are going to graduate debt free (or near it), you can also afford to take a county level prosecutor position for a few years and then lateral into being an attorney with the DOJ. They hire from counties quite often. Best way to get into those positions is to volunteer for the office you are interested in. If you do the USAO internship, the people you work with may be able to recommend you. That way you become a known quantity to the criminal bar.

I remember seeing in this forum a former prosecutor taking questions. It might be worthwhile to check that thread out for information.

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Re: Benefit of USAO internship when applying for DOJ Honors?

Postby anon168 » Sun Aug 04, 2013 10:26 am

On a scale of 1-10, with 10 being most important ... a USAO internship is about a 3.

If you don't have the grades, stellar Letters of Recs, a solid writing sample, the necessary academic and geographical criteria, whether you've interned at a local USAO is almost irrelevant.

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Re: Benefit of USAO internship when applying for DOJ Honors?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Aug 04, 2013 10:29 am

Cyne wrote:Having some sort of criminal experience, whether prosecutor or defense, is often a necessary experience to get DOJ Honors, or really any other prosecutor position. If you are going to graduate debt free (or near it), you can also afford to take a county level prosecutor position for a few years and then lateral into being an attorney with the DOJ. They hire from counties quite often. Best way to get into those positions is to volunteer for the office you are interested in. If you do the USAO internship, the people you work with may be able to recommend you. That way you become a known quantity to the criminal bar.

I remember seeing in this forum a former prosecutor taking questions. It might be worthwhile to check that thread out for information.


Thanks for the help and you reminded me of one more question. During the summers I've been working in the public defender's office in a division that handles nothing but death penalty cases. I wasn't sure if this would help or hinder me for DOJ honors. It's criminal defense but...the kinds of cases we defend are really bad facts, not your average caught with an ounce of pot case. Is that going to be a problem?

In the likely event I don't get into the program, I'm going to try for county prosecutor positions, I'm really interested in that kind of work, though USAO office is the ultimate goal.

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Re: Benefit of USAO internship when applying for DOJ Honors?

Postby Cyne » Sun Aug 04, 2013 10:47 am

Your defense background should be helpful. TLS consensus seems to be that having a background in prosecution can be a black mark for PD positions, but it does not work the other way around. Prosecutors do not care. Just be prepared to answer why you want this kind of work, and how the skills you learned in that internship will translate. I know a guy who worked with some nasty sex offenders on the defense side for an internship, and it helped him get a prosecutor position later.

Also, anon168 is correct. I would value the USAO higher, but only because there are many people with great grades, LORs, etc., who are not employed these days. No harm in trying though, it is not like they charge you to apply.

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Re: Benefit of USAO internship when applying for DOJ Honors?

Postby rad lulz » Sun Aug 04, 2013 10:50 am

anon168 wrote:On a scale of 1-10, with 10 being most important ... a USAO internship is about a 3.

If you don't have the grades, stellar Letters of Recs, a solid writing sample, the necessary academic and geographical criteria, whether you've interned at a local USAO is almost irrelevant.

This, plus these days, usually an AIII clerkship

If you don't have like a firm offer or something

And you can get a position during the year that has potential for full time work after grad

I'd take that instead

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Re: Benefit of USAO internship when applying for DOJ Honors?

Postby okinawa » Sun Aug 04, 2013 12:36 pm

I can't imagine it helping really at all with, say, ENRD or EOIR. But if you want Crim, or DEA, or even probably civil, USAO will be more helpful than most other potential internships.

Of course, you won't have even started at USAO when you apply for DOJH, and when they (likely) reject you--no offense, of course, they will reject the overwhelming majority of people who apply--will USAO help you for your Plan B or Plan C? If yes, take it. It's a great experience.

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Re: Benefit of USAO internship when applying for DOJ Honors?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Aug 04, 2013 12:44 pm

okinawa wrote:I can't imagine it helping really at all with, say, ENRD or EOIR. But if you want Crim, or DEA, or even probably civil, USAO will be more helpful than most other potential internships.

Of course, you won't have even started at USAO when you apply for DOJH, and when they (likely) reject you--no offense, of course, they will reject the overwhelming majority of people who apply--will USAO help you for your Plan B or Plan C? If yes, take it. It's a great experience.


They want me to start at the end of August, so I will have been working there about a month by the time applications are due (I think they're due end of September?) Well according to career services, yes, a USAO internship will help me get a job as a prosecutor, but so far their advice has been...um...yeah, so I take it with a grain of salt (they famously told my adviser, who wanted to be a public defender, to 'google *our state* public defenders' and apply to all the places that came up for our state. When he asked if they had any other suggestions they told him 'network.' When he asked the best way to go about doing that, they mumbled noncommittally and asked if they could do anything else for him). TL;DR, I think it'll help, but I don't really have a reliable source to go on.

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Re: Benefit of USAO internship when applying for DOJ Honors?

Postby okinawa » Sun Aug 04, 2013 1:04 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:I do think USAO can help for a job as a prosecutor (assuming you do crim work while there... you could in theory only do civil), but if you want a local/state prosecutorial position, experience in that office - especially if it hires its former interns! - or in a similar state office would be more directly helpful.


I agree. USAO is always helpful if someone wants to be a prosecutor, but if you are an unemployed 3L, interning somewhere that might actually hire you is going to be a lot more helpful. I don't think the boost for DOJH for USAO vs another prosecutor's office is really going to make much of a difference, but another prosecutor's office might actually hire you when you pass the bar.

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Re: Benefit of USAO internship when applying for DOJ Honors?

Postby dowu » Sun Aug 04, 2013 1:12 pm

IMO, if you want prosecution, take the internship. When you're there, try and work with an AUSA on trial(s). Building relationships with current AUSAs can go a long way.

Good luck.

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Re: Benefit of USAO internship when applying for DOJ Honors?

Postby kalvano » Sun Aug 04, 2013 2:39 pm

I don't think it will help much. But I did an internship at the USAO and it was a blast. I would easily reccomend it to people looking to get something for the résumé. I enjoyed pretty much everything I did there.

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Re: Benefit of USAO internship when applying for DOJ Honors?

Postby anon168 » Sun Aug 04, 2013 8:33 pm

To the OP: you're over thinking this.

If you want to do an internship at the USAO because you think it's interesting and/or you have no better options, then do it.

Don't do the internship as a means to an end (Honors Program).

In thinking about it since you posted this, I can't recall one Honors attorney I knew who previously interned at a local USAO. If I recall, one was a summer intern at Justice, but no one I knew was an intern at the USAO. Of course, this doesn't mean that no USAO interns ever made it into the Honor program, but just not all that relevant.

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Re: Benefit of USAO internship when applying for DOJ Honors?

Postby anonymous2012 » Mon Aug 05, 2013 8:59 am

USAO is drastically different than a position at a component in DC. Even then, it matters a lot whether you're at ENRD with has dozens of interns at a time, or OIP, which has 1-2 I believe.

USAO might be more helpful wrt immigration court clerkships, but it's not as good as immigration experience.

Also, your grades and rank clearly preclude you from DOJ honors, so if you want to prosecute work at a local prosecutors office and do great. Then in a few years you may have a shot at USAO. Alternatively, you'd have a much better shot at a magistrate clerkship in your home state than DOJ honors.




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