Two different public defender offers

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Anonymous User
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Two different public defender offers

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Dec 02, 2014 1:02 am

Looking for career advice for a future in public defense.

I have two offers. One is with a state public defender in NYC and another with a Federal Defender in CA. Which one would provide more opportunities for post-grad employment in the field. Federal Defenders don't hire that often, but I'm wondering if working there would nonetheless be better.

GOATlawman
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Re: Two different public defender offers

Postby GOATlawman » Tue Dec 02, 2014 3:58 pm

do you want to practice in CA or NY?

Start there

Anonymous User
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Re: Two different public defender offers

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Dec 02, 2014 10:39 pm

As a current PD. I would take the Federal one because you can always go to different jurisdictions.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Two different public defender offers

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Tue Dec 02, 2014 10:42 pm

I don't think FPD hires people out of law school, though it might vary by office. (Also, if southern California, are you fluent in Spanish?)

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Re: Two different public defender offers

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Dec 02, 2014 11:24 pm

I'd like to be in NYC after graduation and I'm also considering clerkships or impact litigation. My thinking is that other pd offices, clerkships, and firms in general will be more impressed and likely to hire me if I've interned at a federal defender rather than a state one. Is this orally off the mark?

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FlanAl
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Re: Two different public defender offers

Postby FlanAl » Tue Dec 02, 2014 11:28 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I'd like to be in NYC after graduation and I'm also considering clerkships or impact litigation. My thinking is that other pd offices, clerkships, and firms in general will be more impressed and likely to hire me if I've interned at a federal defender rather than a state one. Is this orally off the mark?

is this for 1l or 2l? PD offices won't care about the prestige of your federal internship unless it lets you stand up in court. the kid who did 5 bench trials and wrote 15 suppression motions his 2l summer at flyover pd will most likely have a better chance at employment than a fed intern who wrote important memos on complex legal issues.

If i misread your post and this is for a fed job out of law school then I'd say probably take the fed job.

GOATlawman
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Re: Two different public defender offers

Postby GOATlawman » Wed Dec 03, 2014 1:27 am

It sounds like you're a 1L, in which case neither internship is "prestigious"

Pick the one that will give you the better experience and/or be more likely to lead to your post-grad job

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transferror
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Re: Two different public defender offers

Postby transferror » Wed Dec 03, 2014 2:26 am

No way this is a 1L. Apps couldn't go out until this Monday, Dec. 1.

OP, are these offers for entry-level positions or 2L summer? It's most likely 2L summer but we need to know to give the right advice.

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Re: Two different public defender offers

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Dec 03, 2014 2:35 am

Im a 2L and this would be for the summer.

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Meow Meowsworth
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Re: Two different public defender offers

Postby Meow Meowsworth » Wed Dec 03, 2014 2:41 am

GOATlawman wrote:It sounds like you're a 1L, in which case neither internship is "prestigious"

Pick the one that will give you the better experience and/or be more likely to lead to your post-grad job


Although you're a 2L, the latter part of this post is TCR. PD hiring is tough. You want to put yourself in the best position possible to get a entry-level PD position next year. Working at an office that might actually hire you (in contrast to the Federal Defender) is the way to go.

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Displeased
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Re: Two different public defender offers

Postby Displeased » Wed Dec 03, 2014 9:16 am

By the time you actually might get a federal PD job (aka several years into your career), nobody is going to care where you interned 2L summer. On the other hand, a 2L internship at a state PD can turn into a job once you pass the bar.

If you are worried about prestige, don't be. Public defenders don't care about prestige or rankings. Honestly, sometimes an overly "prestigious" resume can rub PDs the wrong way.

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Tanicius
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Re: Two different public defender offers

Postby Tanicius » Wed Dec 03, 2014 9:34 am

These are all the reasons the consensus is leaning towards the state PD job, regardless of whether this is a 1L or 2L internship:

1. State PD offices usually give you more exposure to court, sometimes with the opportunity to do really cool stuff in court; fed PDs will never give you this opportunity for a summer internship.

2. State PD offices will, in a vacuum, get you hired at the office much more easily than the fed PD office will.

3. You aren't really giving up any kind of prospects for prestige-heavy work like a clerkship or impact litigation office by working for a state PD. If you are super gungho about those jobs and this is your 2L summer internship we're talking about, then you probably should be looking for summer jobs besides just public defense.

4. You want to be in New York. This is honestly probably the most important reason either way, though the other three may have overridden it if the state job was in CA and the fed one was in NY.

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Re: Two different public defender offers

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Dec 03, 2014 11:25 am

I also agree with the state PD office recommendation. I interned at a Fed Defender one summer, and while I had a great experience, I didn't get to stand up in court or argue anything, and I've had a hard time convincing post-grad employers (state PDs) that my experience there was valuable. Plus, of course, the Feds don't hire recent grads, so that means that avenue isn't open to me.

I will say that my supervisor at the Fed Defender helped me get my Art III clerkship, so if that's something you're really interested in, that may be a slight factor weighing the other way.

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Re: Two different public defender offers

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Dec 04, 2014 3:09 pm

Displeased wrote:By the time you actually might get a federal PD job (aka several years into your career), nobody is going to care where you interned 2L summer. On the other hand, a 2L internship at a state PD can turn into a job once you pass the bar.

If you are worried about prestige, don't be. Public defenders don't care about prestige or rankings. Honestly, sometimes an overly "prestigious" resume can rub PDs the wrong way.


This isn't exactly true for federal public defender offices in many major cities, especially when you start looking at places like S.D. of NY which has a pretty small office relative to the size of the city. Some of these offices post attorney bios, and you'd be surprised just how prestige oriented they are. Most newer attorneys went to t14s (with a ton of top 3 law school grads), most did some type of fed clerkship and some even did SCOTUS clerkships. Places like the federal defender's office for the SD of NY get 1000s of applications every time there is an opening, and they are extremely competitive. They do place a significant amount of weight on experience and writing ability, but they consider everything. Where you did a 2L internship isn't going to matter much (as long as it's at a PD's office), but where you went to law school, grades, clerkships, and the PD office you worked for after law school (e.g. working at DC PDS is much, much better than working for a local PD office in NJ) is going to matter a ton.

Anon because a most of this info came from an attorney at the SDNY federal public defender office.




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