Do I Actually Have a BigFed Shot or Just for Internships?

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Do I Actually Have a BigFed Shot or Just for Internships?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Jan 18, 2014 2:21 pm

I have had a couple of internships in labor/employment law with BigFed (think EEOC, DOL, NLRB).

My grades are not good (hope to graduate median or just below; right now below median; one more year of classes to go), but I have 4.5 years of labor/employment law experience (combined before and during law school). This is why I've been able to get good internships. I also don't struggle with being social, or have any obvious candidate flaws outside of my grades.

That said, my concern is that, come time I'll need a job, grades will matter and thus I'm just here for the internships. I worry that I should turn my focus somewhere else if that's the case. Anyone have thoughts on this issue or suggestions for the best way to still get in to a position in one of these agencies? The location is the DC area, but I'm open to others. Thanks.

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gdane
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Re: Do I Actually Have a BigFed Shot or Just for Internships?

Postby gdane » Sat Jan 18, 2014 2:52 pm

Never expect internships with federal agencies to turn into jobs. I'd say you're kind of wasting your time doing so many internships. However, the connections that you make are very valuable. Talk to people. Talk to them about their experiences. How they got to where they are. Do good work and impress.

These jobs usually have a formal application process that you do online. If you want to land a job with one of them talk to people around the office, maybe hr, and see if someone can forward your application to the appropriate person. You never know.

Good luck.

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Re: Do I Actually Have a BigFed Shot or Just for Internships?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Jan 18, 2014 4:49 pm

OP here, thanks for the response.

Yeah, it's hard to figure out exactly who big fed prefers to hire. The reputation is that it's extremely competitive. However, I will just say that anecdotally, it seems like there's a decent advantage in being in the DC area and having interned there. Of course, these jobs are technically open to everyone in the country. But, from what I've seen (and there are certainly different experiences than mine) they really prefer people in the area. I'm just hoping that swings enough in my favor come graduation if I hold on in an agency and intern a couple semesters for them.

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Re: Do I Actually Have a BigFed Shot or Just for Internships?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Jan 18, 2014 6:30 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I have had a couple of internships in labor/employment law with BigFed (think EEOC, DOL, NLRB).

My grades are not good (hope to graduate median or just below; right now below median; one more year of classes to go), but I have 4.5 years of labor/employment law experience (combined before and during law school). This is why I've been able to get good internships. I also don't struggle with being social, or have any obvious candidate flaws outside of my grades.

That said, my concern is that, come time I'll need a job, grades will matter and thus I'm just here for the internships. I worry that I should turn my focus somewhere else if that's the case. Anyone have thoughts on this issue or suggestions for the best way to still get in to a position in one of these agencies? The location is the DC area, but I'm open to others. Thanks.



I'm going to work for BigFed after I graduate and know a few others who went to work at different agencies straight out of law school. BigFed cares less about grades and which law school you attended than BigLaw, especially if you have relevant experience. The honors programs are still pretty competitive, but outside of that if it's an agency that just has an opening it needs to fill, you will have a good shot. A lot has to do with luck and timing. All you can do is get in there and do a good job at your internship. Good luck!
Last edited by Anonymous User on Sat Jan 18, 2014 9:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Do I Actually Have a BigFed Shot or Just for Internships?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Jan 18, 2014 7:22 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I have had a couple of internships in labor/employment law with BigFed (think EEOC, DOL, NLRB).

My grades are not good (hope to graduate median or just below; right now below median; one more year of classes to go), but I have 4.5 years of labor/employment law experience (combined before and during law school). This is why I've been able to get good internships. I also don't struggle with being social, or have any obvious candidate flaws outside of my grades.

That said, my concern is that, come time I'll need a job, grades will matter and thus I'm just here for the internships. I worry that I should turn my focus somewhere else if that's the case. Anyone have thoughts on this issue or suggestions for the best way to still get in to a position in one of these agencies? The location is the DC area, but I'm open to others. Thanks.



I'm going to work for BigFed after I graduate and know a few others who went to work at different agencies straight out of law school. BigFed cares less about grades and which law school you attended than BigLaw, especially if you have relevant experience. The honors programs are still pretty competitive, but outside of that if it's an agency that just has an opening it needs to fill, you will have a good shot. A lot has to do with luck and timing. All you can do it get in there and do a good job at your internship. Good luck!



OP here, thanks for this info and the well wishes! I still might try for a few different honors programs with my grades (total long-shot, I know) but that's good to hear about the other positions. I know those won't open up very often, but hey, it's something.

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Re: Do I Actually Have a BigFed Shot or Just for Internships?

Postby M&ADE » Sun Jan 19, 2014 3:56 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I have had a couple of internships in labor/employment law with BigFed (think EEOC, DOL, NLRB).

My grades are not good (hope to graduate median or just below; right now below median; one more year of classes to go), but I have 4.5 years of labor/employment law experience (combined before and during law school). This is why I've been able to get good internships. I also don't struggle with being social, or have any obvious candidate flaws outside of my grades.

That said, my concern is that, come time I'll need a job, grades will matter and thus I'm just here for the internships. I worry that I should turn my focus somewhere else if that's the case. Anyone have thoughts on this issue or suggestions for the best way to still get in to a position in one of these agencies? The location is the DC area, but I'm open to others. Thanks.



I'm going to work for BigFed after I graduate and know a few others who went to work at different agencies straight out of law school. BigFed cares less about grades and which law school you attended than BigLaw, especially if you have relevant experience. The honors programs are still pretty competitive, but outside of that if it's an agency that just has an opening it needs to fill, you will have a good shot. A lot has to do with luck and timing. All you can do it get in there and do a good job at your internship. Good luck!

OP here, thanks for this info and the well wishes! I still might try for a few different honors programs with my grades (total long-shot, I know) but that's good to hear about the other positions. I know those won't open up very often, but hey, it's something.


I clerked at a fed. agency (non-DC) related to banking/finance/$$$ (OCC, FDIC, Fed, Treasury) and the only people they've hired directly from law school went through the Honors program. I got lucky and was asked to continue working during the school year, and did so for my last 2 years of law school, but a full-time position would have been available only if I did the Honors program, and those spots are very limited/competitive (as mentioned above). I have family that works in a non-legal role at the same agency and they said that do consider JD candidates for some positions in non-legal roles right out of law school (think bank examiner, risk management, compliance, etc.). So if you're not specifically looking at agency legal positions, I'd recommend connecting with people w/ ties to the agencies that you're looking at, because they'll have the internal postings for openings before anything ever gets put on USAjobs.gov (which is a just a dandy of a website, but that's par for the course...see healthcare.gov). Otherwise, get legal experience in a relevant/related field, and if you get an internship, express interest in a regulatory career in that field while you're working there, and (since it's rare for one to leave a gov't position b/c of the easy lifestyle and fatty pension), apply/reapply for legal positions as they come up and the same people you worked at the agency will be making those hiring decisions.

As an aside, if you're married (or in LT relationship), do be aware that the Honors programs are based out of DC for most agencies and then you get rotated between the regional offices to get experience in other places, so the travel and rotations can kind of suck, especially for people in relationships. Otherwise, the few Honors programs people I know have loved it and it helped them decide what area they wanted to focus on.

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Re: Do I Actually Have a BigFed Shot or Just for Internships?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jan 19, 2014 8:11 pm

M&ADE wrote:
I clerked at a fed. agency (non-DC) related to banking/finance/$$$ (OCC, FDIC, Fed, Treasury) and the only people they've hired directly from law school went through the Honors program. I got lucky and was asked to continue working during the school year, and did so for my last 2 years of law school, but a full-time position would have been available only if I did the Honors program, and those spots are very limited/competitive (as mentioned above). I have family that works in a non-legal role at the same agency and they said that do consider JD candidates for some positions in non-legal roles right out of law school (think bank examiner, risk management, compliance, etc.). So if you're not specifically looking at agency legal positions, I'd recommend connecting with people w/ ties to the agencies that you're looking at, because they'll have the internal postings for openings before anything ever gets put on USAjobs.gov (which is a just a dandy of a website, but that's par for the course...see healthcare.gov). Otherwise, get legal experience in a relevant/related field, and if you get an internship, express interest in a regulatory career in that field while you're working there, and (since it's rare for one to leave a gov't position b/c of the easy lifestyle and fatty pension), apply/reapply for legal positions as they come up and the same people you worked at the agency will be making those hiring decisions.

As an aside, if you're married (or in LT relationship), do be aware that the Honors programs are based out of DC for most agencies and then you get rotated between the regional offices to get experience in other places, so the travel and rotations can kind of suck, especially for people in relationships. Otherwise, the few Honors programs people I know have loved it and it helped them decide what area they wanted to focus on.


OP here, thanks for the info. The rotational aspect wouldn't be that fun for relationship purposes, but at least it would give a range of experiences. I'd be open to non-legal positions, but most of us hope we land somewhere where the degree is useful :lol: . Yeah, the fact that so many hiring positions are limited to honors attorneys is the reason I'll still give it a shot even if the grades aren't amazing. Gotta at least throw my hat in.

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Re: Do I Actually Have a BigFed Shot or Just for Internships?

Postby sparty99 » Sun Jan 19, 2014 8:53 pm

You have little shot at BigFed, especially honors programs. Unless, perhaps, you are a top 10 school and are at median. Your best bet would be applying to non-legal positions through the government in the agency that you want to work for. Perhaps, after a year working at the agency, you can seek a legal position. The honors programs are very competitive and have grade cut-offs.

You should also try employment law firms, even the big ones. With your strong focus, specifically, pre law, you might have a shot. Don't go through HR, email the Partners directly. Consider attending the ABA labor law conference so you can network. Try mid-law or small firms that do a lot of work in front of the EEOC or NLRB.

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Re: Do I Actually Have a BigFed Shot or Just for Internships?

Postby downinDtown » Mon Jan 20, 2014 12:17 pm

sparty99 wrote:You have little shot at BigFed, especially honors programs. Unless, perhaps, you are a top 10 school and are at median.

This is not entirely true. While preftige still matters in BigFed to some degree, I know that this past year at one of the banking regulatory agencies, 2 of the honors attorneys selected went to Univ. of Baltimore Law School and the other was another Maryland Law school - neither are T1/T2 ranked, let alone T10. Of the two other Honors attorneys I know, one went to school in 40-60 range and the other went to a Texas school. It will certainly be more competitive if you're targeting headquarters/DC, but many BigFed have regional offices as well, if you can target those. For example, grade cutoffs for the FDIC Honors program are to "have, at minimum, a B average or equivalent or be in the top 33 percent of your law school class" so not overly difficult, but it may vary from agency to agency

sparty99 wrote: Your best bet would be applying to non-legal positions through the government in the agency that you want to work for. Perhaps, after a year working at the agency, you can seek a legal position.

This is possible, just unlikely. But once you're in, you do see all the internal postings so you'd have first crack at applying or know people who could recommend you for the position.

sparty99 wrote: You should also try employment law firms, even the big ones. With your strong focus, specifically, pre law, you might have a shot. Don't go through HR, email the Partners directly. Consider attending the ABA labor law conference so you can network. Try mid-law or small firms that do a lot of work in front of the EEOC or NLRB.

Good advice, just keep your work experience targeted at what you want to do. Also consider state regulatory agencies in your desired field. There will be less jobs for the taking, but it would help you learn whether you like the regulatory aspect of the job and provide good experience and a potential launching pad for BigFed or a transition to the law firm side of things. I know multiple attorneys who went this route and are now working for one of the federal banking regulatory agencies.

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Re: Do I Actually Have a BigFed Shot or Just for Internships?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jan 20, 2014 2:34 pm

sparty99 wrote:You have little shot at BigFed, especially honors programs. Unless, perhaps, you are a top 10 school and are at median. Your best bet would be applying to non-legal positions through the government in the agency that you want to work for. Perhaps, after a year working at the agency, you can seek a legal position. The honors programs are very competitive and have grade cut-offs.


Not entirely true. Yes, its still competitive (mostly due to the sheer number of applicants, making him, even with his years of experience, less of a special snowflake) but you underestimate how far relevant work experience in will get you with BigFed. I know several attorneys that did not have top grades or attend top schools that were able to land agency jobs because of their pre-law school work experience. If his GPA is sub 3.0 that may be an issue, but just because he is at median doesn't make him DOA, especially if he has several years of substantive experience.

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Re: Do I Actually Have a BigFed Shot or Just for Internships?

Postby sparty99 » Mon Jan 20, 2014 2:48 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
sparty99 wrote:You have little shot at BigFed, especially honors programs. Unless, perhaps, you are a top 10 school and are at median. Your best bet would be applying to non-legal positions through the government in the agency that you want to work for. Perhaps, after a year working at the agency, you can seek a legal position. The honors programs are very competitive and have grade cut-offs.


Not entirely true. Yes, its still competitive (mostly due to the sheer number of applicants, making him, even with his years of experience, less of a special snowflake) but you underestimate how far relevant work experience in will get you with BigFed. I know several attorneys that did not have top grades or attend top schools that were able to land agency jobs because of their pre-law school work experience. If his GPA is sub 3.0 that may be an issue, but just because he is at median doesn't make him DOA, especially if he has several years of substantive experience.


He is below median, which means he won't qualify for many honors programs. I also have WE and getting a federal government interview has been nearly impossible. I got one because they came to my school.

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Re: Do I Actually Have a BigFed Shot or Just for Internships?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jan 20, 2014 2:56 pm

OP here, thanks for the replies everyone.

From what I've seen, those GPA requirements are kind of soft right? I've seen some places (though I of course haven't seen all of of them) say that if you fall below the GPA requirement but have good experience you should still apply. Is that what you've all seen as well?

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Re: Do I Actually Have a BigFed Shot or Just for Internships?

Postby sparty99 » Mon Jan 20, 2014 3:17 pm

Anonymous User wrote:OP here, thanks for the replies everyone.

From what I've seen, those GPA requirements are kind of soft right? I've seen some places (though I of course haven't seen all of of them) say that if you fall below the GPA requirement but have good experience you should still apply. Is that what you've all seen as well?


I think some of the agencies have hard requirements. Like, the SEC. I mean, you should apply to government jobs regardless. But
i would really focus on the non-honors programs route. Maybe even paralegal specialist or jobs that list JD in the job requirements. Just so you can get into the government. Some of these jobs pay really good.

Also try networking with government attorneys. Again, the labor law conference is really something you need to attend. There is an annual and mid-winter meeting.

Some agencies do say that if you do not match the GPA requirements, but have WE, to still apply. I have seen those. Yes.

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Re: Do I Actually Have a BigFed Shot or Just for Internships?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Mon Jan 20, 2014 3:53 pm

The language about grades varies. Language from a few honors programs:

DOL:
Selection is highly competitive, and candidates will be considered based on academic achievement, writing skills, law review and/or moot court experience, clinic or extracurricular activities, as well as demonstrated interest in government service or public interest law.

NLRB:
Selection is based on the consideration of many factors including academic achievement (G.P.A. of 3.2 or greater); law journal or other relevant writing experience; relevant labor relations and/or law courses; moot court competition, legal aid, and legal clinic experience; and summer and/or part-time employment, particularly experience dealing with labor and employment matters. Some Regional offices have special needs where specific skills, such as bilingual skills, may be a factor in selecting the candidate. If your GPA falls below that necessary to qualify for consideration under the requirements of the NLRB Honors Program, you may nevertheless still qualify outside the Honors Program for a position in a Headquarters or Field Office. Please apply directly to the Hiring Office in which you are interested.

[of course, the thing about "3.2 or greater" is that depending on where you go to school, the class rank that translates into varies wildly.]

IRS:
Minimum Criteria:

Top 20% class rank required (or minimum LSAT score of 160 or higher, if school does not provide a class rank at the time a selection is made);
Grade of "B" or above in any tax course completed (or equivalent, if the school does not provide letter grades) for tax positions;
Must attend an ABA accredited law school; and
Must be a US citizen.

Attributes of an Ideal Candidate:

Evidence of background or experience in the position to be filled, such as taking relevant law school classes (e.g., tax law classes for tax positions) or relevant legal experience (e.g., tax legal experience);
Work or achievement in the law school’s law review or other recognized law journal;
Special high-level recognition for academic excellence in law school, such as selection to Order of the Coif or receipt of the American Jurisprudence Award in related courses; or top grades in related course work (e.g., "A" grades in tax courses);
Winning a moot court or mock trial competition or membership on a moot court or mock trial team

DHS:
DHS selects candidates based on multiple factors, including:

Superior academic achievement: 3.5 GPA or above or top 1/3 class ranking strongly encouraged[2];
Excellent research, writing, and analytical skills;
Participation in law review or a secondary law journal, moot court, trial advocacy, legal aid, or clinical experience; and/or
Specialized academic studies or post-graduate work or extracurricular activities that relate to the mission of DHS.

[2] We understand that not all law schools follow a standard GPA or class ranking. Applicants applying from such schools are asked to submit a one-page explanation of grading and ranking policies at their schools.

DOJ:
Justice takes pride in the fact that we consider the “whole candidate” when making selections for employment. Selections are made based on many elements of a candidate’s background including a demonstrated commitment to government service, academic achievement, leadership, law review or moot court experience, legal aid and clinical experience, past employment, and extracurricular activities that relate to the work of Justice and the relevant component.

FDIC:
[candidates must] have, at minimum, a B average or equivalent or be in the top 33 percent of your law school class

State Department:
Competition for attorney positions in the Office is intense. Approximately 13 to 15 of the nearly 1,000 applicants for permanent employment each year are selected. New hires are drawn from third-year law students, judicial clerks, and practicing attorneys from other Federal agencies and the private sector. Outstanding academic performance, analytical ability, writing skills, special honors, or achievements, professional experience, publications, and relevant extracurricular activities are important considerations in all selections. International legal training or experience and knowledge of a foreign language are not mandatory. The Office encourages applications from persons with an interest or experience in general government work.

FTC:
Every fall the Bureau of Competition recruits students in their final year of law school and judicial clerks for 8 entry-level attorney positions. We accept applications from August 1 through September 15. Positions are highly competitive: we typically receive over 700 applications and many positions are filled through offers made to law students from the Bureau’s Summer Program.

CFPB:
Applicants will be evaluated for minimum qualifications, as well as program eligibility. We will further evaluate your application by reviewing your résumé, transcript, and letter. The program is highly selective, and successful candidates should have a distinguished academic and professional record, which may include membership in Order of the Coif (or similar honor society), graduation with honors, high class rank, law review or moot court experience, judicial clerkships or other post-graduate legal experience, and a demonstrated commitment to public service and/or consumer protection.

HUD:
[Candidates must] Meet at least one of the following additional criteria:
- Have at least a B average; OR
- Be in the top 50% of their class; OR
- Have relevant past work experience (including summer jobs); OR
- Have special training; OR
- Have engaged in significant extracurricular activities, e.g., law review, moot court, or participation in a clinical program.

Nuclear Regulatory Commission:
Be in the upper thirty percent (30%) of your law school class and/or have an overall grade point average (GPA) of 3.25 based on a scale of 4.0. (These criteria may be waived if your school utilizes a non-traditional grading system or you have unusual compensating qualifications, such as other academic degrees or pertinent work experience.)

FCC:
Selection for the Honors Program is highly competitive. Before making a selection, the FCC reviews many facets of a candidate's background, including academic achievement, writing skills, law review and/or moot court experience, clinic or other extracurricular activities, and demonstrated interest in government service and/or the communications industry. Graduating students and judicial clerks with strong qualifications are encouraged to apply.

US Army Corps of Engineers:
Generally, only those students who are in the top one-third of their law school class will be considered. However, this criterion may be waived for applicants who demonstrate unusual compensating qualifications, such as significant pertinent public service experience, technical background, or other academic degrees. Candidates must also exhibit excellent oral and written communication skills. Demonstration of academic excellence such as law review, Order of the Coif or similar honors, or competitive participation in moot court is highly desirable.

EPA Office of General Counsel:
The 2014 OGC Honors Legal Fellowship Program is open to highly-qualified applicants with outstanding academic records who are graduating law school (May 2014) or have completed a judicial clerkship or have prior law experience within 2 to 3 years of graduation from an ABA-accredited law school. OGC is seeking applicants with excellent analytical and writing abilities, a strong commitment to public service, effective "people" skills, and an ability to take on significant responsibility.
[However, the AZ Honors Handbook also notes as requirements: "Applicants should possess excellent analytical and writing abilities, a strong commitment to public service, effective “people” skills, and an ability to take on significant responsibility. Top 10% or 3.0 GPA preferred."]

USPS: according to the AZ Handbook, "Applicants must possess outstanding analytical, advocacy, and writing skills, and at least one of the following: membership on a law journal; standing in the top 20%; min. GPA of 3.5 (or 3.0 if graduating from a “top 25 law school”); completion of at least 1 year of a federal or state Supreme Court clerkship. U.S. citizenship or permanent resident alien status required, as well as successful completion of pre-employment drug and background security screening." (The job postings on the USPS website are fairly barebones.)

Dept of the Interior:
Applicants should possess significant academic achievement (i.e., a GPA of 3.0 or higher) and/or legal or programmatic work experience as described in at least one of the areas below:

High Academic Achievement (graduated top 25% of class)
Law journal or other relevant writing experience
Moot court competition, legal aid, or legal clinic experience
Law Clerk or Legal Intern experience
Natural Resources, Indian or Environmental law interest as demonstrated by course work, professional experiences, etc.


(CIA doesn't really say anything about grades...but it's the CIA.)

And this is only honors programs - not suggesting anything about other agency hiring. And who knows how exactly all this translates into practice.

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Re: Do I Actually Have a BigFed Shot or Just for Internships?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jan 20, 2014 4:46 pm

OP here, that was an incredible post, thanks! :D

At least for the areas I'm interested in, that looks like there is some flexibility. Good compiled info for others interested in other fed agencies as well.




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