how hard is it to become an ALJ?

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anyriotgirl
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how hard is it to become an ALJ?

Postby anyriotgirl » Fri May 01, 2015 8:44 pm

seems like a pretty cushy job and since it's gov't there's PSLF. Apparently you have to take a four hour civil service test to get placed. Anybody know how often it happens or how hard it is?

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Re: how hard is it to become an ALJ?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri May 01, 2015 8:52 pm

Federal ALJ jobs usually pay around 160k per year, so you won't get much benefit from PSLF. But that's a moot point because it usually takes years of experience in a specialized field to get one of those jobs.

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anyriotgirl
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Re: how hard is it to become an ALJ?

Postby anyriotgirl » Fri May 01, 2015 9:27 pm

so "hard" is the answer I see

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MCFC
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Re: how hard is it to become an ALJ?

Postby MCFC » Fri May 01, 2015 9:49 pm

In 2013, the Social Security Administration had by far the largest number of ALJs at over 1,400, who adjudicate over 700,000 cases each year. The average SSA hearing process occurs over a period of 373 days

Makes sense, but wow.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: how hard is it to become an ALJ?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Sat May 02, 2015 12:04 am

I know someone who worked as a state ALJ after working in biglaw for ~5? years - she may have done something in between for a couple of years, I can't remember. But I doubt state gigs pay as well, and she left it for a career clerk gig.

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Re: how hard is it to become an ALJ?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat May 02, 2015 2:00 am

A. Nony Mouse wrote:I know someone who worked as a state ALJ after working in biglaw for ~5? years - she may have done something in between for a couple of years, I can't remember. But I doubt state gigs pay as well, and she left it for a career clerk gig.

I worked at for a state ALJ my 1L summer. They required at LEAST six years of experience, and the most recent hire was from local biglaw. It paid ~90k/yr.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: how hard is it to become an ALJ?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Sat May 02, 2015 12:52 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
A. Nony Mouse wrote:I know someone who worked as a state ALJ after working in biglaw for ~5? years - she may have done something in between for a couple of years, I can't remember. But I doubt state gigs pay as well, and she left it for a career clerk gig.

I worked at for a state ALJ my 1L summer. They required at LEAST six years of experience, and the most recent hire was from local biglaw. It paid ~90k/yr.

If you liked the practice area (I think the person I knew did worker's comp), that would probably be a decent gig - not biglaw money, obviously, but decent money for state government, and work/life balance could be really great. You might get really sick of slackers trying to get money they don't deserve/employers or the state trying to get out of paying money they should, though.

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banjo
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Re: how hard is it to become an ALJ?

Postby banjo » Sat May 02, 2015 1:14 pm

There was a poster here who got a state ALJ gig after law school, but he had extensive internship/externship experience: viewtopic.php?f=23&t=237527.

toolfan wrote:I think the Board interviewed roughly 30 candidates for the position. Fortunately they hired two of us. The position pays 60k with good benefits, and I get the sense that the office opens at 9 and closes by 5.

My background really helped me land the interview, and I think my personality took it from there. Graduated from a midwestern T2 and really honed in on L&E during school. Clerked for 3 years at a law firm during school and acquired a lot of skills and experience (tons of research and writing, and developed a professional tone etc). Wasn't law review or moot court, but I did write for and edit a L&E trade journal. Participated in an arbitration competition. Won a few L&E related scholarships. And ensured my resume aligned with the job (predominately public sector labor law and general employment law - which is a huge area of interest for me).

I think they liked me mostly because I am more of a subject matter expert in L&E than the average attorney, and they think I possess the right demeanor to conduct a hearing (utilizing civ pro, evidence, and taming opposing counsel).

Can an admin please move this post to "Legal Employment"? Might be able to get a little more traction over there.

Thx.

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BVest
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Re: how hard is it to become an ALJ?

Postby BVest » Sat May 02, 2015 2:53 pm

I'll speak for Texas: Most of our ALJs are in one single dept, the State Office of Administrative Hearings, which has about 50-60 ALJs (about half in Austin, the rest in various other cities). I don't know of any there who were less than 8 years out of school when they got hired. Pay runs from low $60s for an ALJ I (which, unlike Attorney I in state government, is not a no/1-year experience slot) to $120 for the most experienced ALJs with some management authority. They don't all come from big law... many come from smaller firms in Austin that have heavy admin dockets (such as representing professional licensees who get in trouble).

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Re: how hard is it to become an ALJ?

Postby z0rk » Sat May 02, 2015 3:42 pm

I think it depends on the agency and your experience. Federal hiring has veterans preference, which makes the competition quite tough. Moreover, you need experience and qualifications to get the job. My admin law professor, who used to work at ACUS and did a study on ALJ hiring, noted that many agencies will hire from the Social Security Administration pool to fill ALJ needs. SSA has so many ALJ's that the odds of getting hired there are easier than, say, the SEC, FERC, FTC, etc.

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Re: how hard is it to become an ALJ?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon May 04, 2015 11:45 am

Most recent federal announcement was in 2013, SSA is still hiring from the cert generated by this announcement. SSA hires over 90% of new Fed ALJs then they leave for agencies after working at SSA.

https://www.usajobs.gov/GetJob/PrintPreview/338848600

They look for litigation exp. and reported cases. Requires 7 years of legal experience so don't know how much PSLF will help plus like somone said b4 your getting paid well into 6 figures.

There is a forum devoted to the hiring process its pretty comprehensive.

http://aljdiscussion.proboards.com/board/1#page=1




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