NYC ADA taking questions...

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NYC ADA taking questions...

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Mar 18, 2016 8:05 pm

From one of the four main city DA's offices. Know there's lots of you in the hiring processes for these offices, and still remembering that process myself and having had an extremely shitty day thanks to a supreme court judge who will go unnamed, but who obviously runs a courtroom unbound by the NY CPL, I am here to answer any questions you'd like about life after the glamour of having secured/started "that job" fades.

Anonymous for obvi reasons.

No, I will not say what judge.

No, I will not say what borough.

No, I will not say what county (nice try you sly fox).

Biglaw1990
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Re: NYC ADA taking questions...

Postby Biglaw1990 » Fri Mar 18, 2016 8:27 pm

Do you like being an ADA?
Do you have a lot of leeway when it comes to deciding how to move forward with a case (dismiss, plea bargain, go to trial, etc)?
What are the hours?
Do you wish you went the Biglaw route?
Do you think you're getting valuable trial experience?

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Re: NYC ADA taking questions...

Postby zot1 » Fri Mar 18, 2016 8:36 pm

What's your salary like?

Do you plan to move on to something else in the near future? If so, what?

What's your funniest trial story?

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Re: NYC ADA taking questions...

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Mar 18, 2016 8:36 pm

Biglaw1990 wrote:Do you like being an ADA?


YAY a fan. As much as I'm bitching about today, yes, I love it. For the most part the people I work with are fantastic. The cases are always interesting. The one downside I'm finding is that the state court system is very weak when it comes to case law/precedent on important issues that drastically impact the case (either for defense or prosecution). I've had to stop a judge who was about to make a favorable ruling for me because I knew it was wrong, and I don't get why we have so many judges, who are responsible for peoples' lives (both defendants and victims) who don't seem to know how to read things like law. This is easily the issue that has me the most disillusioned even though I still love my job.

Do you have a lot of leeway when it comes to deciding how to move forward with a case (dismiss, plea bargain, go to trial, etc)?


For the most part, yes. I do like that about the job and it's definitely a big part of my job satisfaction. When I've had a press case, frankly no. There's pressure to "appear tough" on celebrities or whatever when had this been any other person, I would've offered a non-criminal dispo. I still do. I just get yelled at via email and I ignore those emails. Can't be good for my promotability...

What are the hours?


Again, depends. If I'm on trial, easily rivals Biglaw hours. If I'm not on trial and don't have many cases on for update, then I could be skipping out early on Friday for a full weekend after coming in late. I definitely don't think our hours are as bad as Biglaw's as our hours aren't constantly that bad.

Do you wish you went the Biglaw route?


Nah. I find it dreadfully boring (I prefer being in court constantly even though it can be draining), and I was fortunate enough to yield the wisdom of TLS plus peers in negotiating a post-grad debt that was very small so I was able to take this job without worrying about how much I would have to pay back.

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Re: NYC ADA taking questions...

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Mar 18, 2016 8:44 pm

zot1 wrote:What's your salary like?


Think this is now true for all of the 4 NYC DA's offices, but it's starting out around 62K? So, not good. Again, not something I'd recommend if you have a high debt load.

Do you plan to move on to something else in the near future? If so, what?


City-wise? No. I've had thoughts about going federal at some point. I'm very interested in anti-trafficking work.

What's your funniest trial story?


Best one I can think of in recent memory is a burglary case where the D has a history of doing it. Now, in this case, when the police arrived he jumped out the window to get away. Problem was, it was a 2nd story apartment, and he didn't make it that far after the jump. So, there's this ridiculous claim at trial that he was fine, then he was arrested, and what do you know when he's arrested he has a broken ankle. I ask "how did you hurt your ankle?" and he goes "well I heard the cops coming so I just jumped!" I asked "from where," and he goes "oh you know out the window to get away from them."

I rest my case.

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Re: NYC ADA taking questions...

Postby zot1 » Fri Mar 18, 2016 8:47 pm

Haha! That's awesome. I've done some crim work and it is so surprising how easy some defendants give themselves away. Must make your work "easier."

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Re: NYC ADA taking questions...

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Mar 18, 2016 8:50 pm

zot1 wrote:Haha! That's awesome. I've done some crim work and it is so surprising how easy some defendants give themselves away. Must make your work "easier."


It was definitely one of the more productive exchanges I've had with D's on the stand.

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Re: NYC ADA taking questions...

Postby Biglaw1990 » Fri Mar 18, 2016 8:57 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
zot1 wrote:Haha! That's awesome. I've done some crim work and it is so surprising how easy some defendants give themselves away. Must make your work "easier."


It was definitely one of the more productive exchanges I've had with D's on the stand.

Do you get to go to trial as often as you want, or do your superiors pressure you to dismiss weak cases or offer plea bargains to save taxpayer dollars for minor offenses?
Do you work for the criminal court or supreme court?
Do you usually prosecute violent felonies, or do you also prosecute low-level misdemeanors?
Do the new ADA's get stuck with low-level offenses to start, or do new ADA's get to prosecute high-level cases from the beginning?
Thanks for starting this thread. Definitely one of the more interesting ones I've read. I'm used to hearing how much people dislike Biglaw and transactional work, so this is a change.

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Re: NYC ADA taking questions...

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Mar 18, 2016 9:14 pm

Really curious about this, did a recent internship with a PD office in NYC.

How do you generally feel about your interactions with public defenders? How is that interaction between them and your office more generally?

How many jury trials have you seen per year?

Thanks for this!

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Re: NYC ADA taking questions...

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Mar 18, 2016 9:19 pm

Biglaw1990 wrote:Do you get to go to trial as often as you want, or do your superiors pressure you to dismiss weak cases or offer plea bargains to save taxpayer dollars for minor offenses?


No, but that's more a product of scheduling and court calendar mechanics then supervisory oversight. I will say that I'm basically free to offer pleas (or not) based on the case itself.

Do you work for the criminal court or supreme court?


Both I guess? Misdemeanors are in criminal court and felonies are in supreme. Other applications like habeas, bail review, etc., happen in supreme.

Do you usually prosecute violent felonies, or do you also prosecute low-level misdemeanors?


Runs the gamut, but as you advance in an office you move away from low-levels to felonies. Then there's the breakdown between violent and non-violent felonies (think ID theft), and you are generally able to go for the type that interests you more.

Do the new ADA's get stuck with low-level offenses to start, or do new ADA's get to prosecute high-level cases from the beginning?


Yup, and it makes sense. As a new ADA, you have no idea what you're doing. Best to learn how to do basic level things on a random UGV or marijuana case than on a rape 1.

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Re: NYC ADA taking questions...

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Mar 18, 2016 9:29 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Really curious about this, did a recent internship with a PD office in NYC.

How do you generally feel about your interactions with public defenders? How is that interaction between them and your office more generally?


Ah, the money question. 8)

I have really good relationships with certain public defenders, and really terrible relationships with others.

I don't want to call any out or any offices out, but I have run into public defenders who just refuse to even meet me halfway at all (aka on a victim case or a serious recidivist case), and it's super frustrating. I am literally the first to get rid of every stupid "feet on the seats" arrest during arraignments, but as soon as I ask for some kind of time or bail on a serial forcible toucher on the subway, holy shit I'm being extreme. These are also the individuals who delay, delay, delay when I'm trying to schedule cases for trial, and then accuse me of malpractice when I try to get the judge to order a case backed in for a firm trial date. I'm sorry, your client has had to come to court 9 fucking times and wants his trial (which he's constitutionally entitled to do), so why are you waiting until 4:30 PM that day to sign the case up to be called when you know there are no court parts or judges available?

I've also had another public defender see me standing in a certain calendar part, start texting me while I'm on the record on other cases to re-negogitiate an offer that I'd made while sitting at my desk with the court file, the D's rap, etc., and then later accuse me of being unethical on the record when I refused to drop the offer via text while I was standing on the record answering for other cases. I had to reply with "your honor, as you can see I'm here on the record and have been all day, so you can understand why I wasn't willing to change something when I did not have the case file in front of me."

As you can tell, this is a sore spot. I do my best to remember that when I'm faced with a difficult public defender, to not take it out on his/her client because it's not that client's fault. It gets super frustrating though when some asshole defender goes off on a rant saying that I'm committing malpractice when I'd argue that their conduct is borderline as such. It's just incredible the difference between working with a public defender who's reasonable and willing to listen to the alternative side to his/her client's story and the public defender who is convinced I'm the devil.

How many jury trials have you seen per year?


Seen? Or been in? There are jury trials going on every day, so you can get you fill of observing as a new ADA. And all new ADA's should take advantage of this. This year not many unfortunately. Our courts have been plagued with a shortage of judges. So even when we get a firm date, it's 6 months out because we can't book a courtroom/judge until then.

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Re: NYC ADA taking questions...

Postby ajaxat » Sat Mar 19, 2016 12:44 pm

Do you get annual raises? If so, what are they like?

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Re: NYC ADA taking questions...

Postby PublicInterest » Sat Mar 19, 2016 2:47 pm

This thread brings back a lot of memories. I was an ADA in Manhattan for several years and loved it. Best job i ever had

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Re: NYC ADA taking questions...

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Mar 19, 2016 2:50 pm

ajaxat wrote:Do you get annual raises? If so, what are they like?


For the most part, yes. Nothing super substantial. Anywhere from $500 (thanks for the extra $17-something a paycheck) to a few thousand. I believe each office gives newly admitted attorneys (so 1st years after they get admitted to the bar) a bump up as well.

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Re: NYC ADA taking questions...

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Mar 19, 2016 2:51 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Do the new ADA's get stuck with low-level offenses to start, or do new ADA's get to prosecute high-level cases from the beginning?


Yup, and it makes sense. As a new ADA, you have no idea what you're doing. Best to learn how to do basic level things on a random UGV or marijuana case than on a rape 1.

Not the original OP, but as someone else in crim, when you don't know what you're doing/have little to no experience, you learn just as much on a low-level offense as on a high-level one.

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Re: NYC ADA taking questions...

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Mar 20, 2016 9:24 am

So I just got hired at one of these offices, but in Appeals. I am struggling to find any information about what my career is going to end up like.

All I get from references and general networking, is "Oh, it's probably because you are a good writer, and generally prosecutors are terrible at writing motions so they cluster the nerds together."

I have have bleh grades from a TTTT, and never really put myself out there in interviews as an appeals guy. I did moot court, but didn't exactly shower myself in glory (my interviewer cracked a joke at how I listed myself as a "participant" in a competition on my resume). A cursory LinkedIn search makes me think i'm going to stand out (holy hysccn).

Any insight would be greatly appreciated.

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Re: NYC ADA taking questions...

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Mar 22, 2016 12:25 am

Thanks for doing this. I just got an offer from one of the 4 NYC offices so I'm very interested in your insight. I have a few more questions:

1) How much leeway do you have when deciding to throw out a case? Is it true that you can't throw out cases without a supervisor's permission? Have you ever tried to dismiss a case and have your supervisor tell you no?
2) How often do you talk to actual clients? Do PDs let you negotiate with the client present? Is this common or uncommon?
3) How do you work with police? I understand they're your investigators, but how else do police serve your role as an ADA? Do you conduct trial prep with them and such? On that note, how much investigating (like visiting the crime scene) do you do yourself?
4) Is being an ADA accurately portrayed in legal dramas like Law and Order?

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Re: NYC ADA taking questions...

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Mar 22, 2016 12:34 am

Anonymous User wrote:Thanks for doing this. I just got an offer from one of the 4 NYC offices so I'm very interested in your insight. I have a few more questions:

1) How much leeway do you have when deciding to throw out a case? Is it true that you can't throw out cases without a supervisor's permission? Have you ever tried to dismiss a case and have your supervisor tell you no?
2) How often do you talk to actual clients? Do PDs let you negotiate with the client present? Is this common or uncommon?
3) How do you work with police? I understand they're your investigators, but how else do police serve your role as an ADA? Do you conduct trial prep with them and such? On that note, how much investigating (like visiting the crime scene) do you do yourself?
4) Is being an ADA accurately portrayed in legal dramas like Law and Order?


There are 5 NYC DA's Offices.

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Re: NYC ADA taking questions...

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Mar 22, 2016 12:41 am

Are you in an LRAP program?

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Re: NYC ADA taking questions...

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Mar 22, 2016 12:45 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Thanks for doing this. I just got an offer from one of the 4 NYC offices so I'm very interested in your insight. I have a few more questions:

1) How much leeway do you have when deciding to throw out a case? Is it true that you can't throw out cases without a supervisor's permission? Have you ever tried to dismiss a case and have your supervisor tell you no?
2) How often do you talk to actual clients? Do PDs let you negotiate with the client present? Is this common or uncommon?
3) How do you work with police? I understand they're your investigators, but how else do police serve your role as an ADA? Do you conduct trial prep with them and such? On that note, how much investigating (like visiting the crime scene) do you do yourself?
4) Is being an ADA accurately portrayed in legal dramas like Law and Order?


There are 5 NYC DA's Offices.


Indeed. But OP said 4 "main" ones in the original post, so I'm assuming they were referring to one of DANY, Kings, Queens, or Bronx. My offer is from one of those 4 that OP was likely referring to.

I guess I should've said 4 "main city" office like OP did, but it's really not that big of a deal.

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Re: NYC ADA taking questions...

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Mar 22, 2016 2:12 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Thanks for doing this. I just got an offer from one of the 4 NYC offices so I'm very interested in your insight. I have a few more questions:

1) How much leeway do you have when deciding to throw out a case? Is it true that you can't throw out cases without a supervisor's permission? Have you ever tried to dismiss a case and have your supervisor tell you no?
2) How often do you talk to actual clients? Do PDs let you negotiate with the client present? Is this common or uncommon?
3) How do you work with police? I understand they're your investigators, but how else do police serve your role as an ADA? Do you conduct trial prep with them and such? On that note, how much investigating (like visiting the crime scene) do you do yourself?
4) Is being an ADA accurately portrayed in legal dramas like Law and Order?


There are 5 NYC DA's Offices.


Indeed. But OP said 4 "main" ones in the original post, so I'm assuming they were referring to one of DANY, Kings, Queens, or Bronx. My offer is from one of those 4 that OP was likely referring to.

I guess I should've said 4 "main city" office like OP did, but it's really not that big of a deal.


Staten Island should run back to Jersey.

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Re: NYC ADA taking questions...

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Mar 22, 2016 10:07 am

Hi there, thanks for doing this. I'm asking this for my brother who is currently an ADA in county in Boston. He seems to be pulling longer hours than he should considering how little he is paid. He is interested in either political career/ DOJ/ Big law litigation trajectory after perhaps the forth/ third year of being an ADA. Care to share some thoughts on that?

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Re: NYC ADA taking questions...

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Mar 23, 2016 5:22 pm

So I guess OP only comes back to TLS on shitty days.

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Re: NYC ADA taking questions...

Postby encore1101 » Wed Mar 23, 2016 7:30 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Thanks for doing this. I just got an offer from one of the 4 NYC offices so I'm very interested in your insight. I have a few more questions:

1) How much leeway do you have when deciding to throw out a case? Is it true that you can't throw out cases without a supervisor's permission? Have you ever tried to dismiss a case and have your supervisor tell you no?
2) How often do you talk to actual clients? Do PDs let you negotiate with the client present? Is this common or uncommon?
3) How do you work with police? I understand they're your investigators, but how else do police serve your role as an ADA? Do you conduct trial prep with them and such? On that note, how much investigating (like visiting the crime scene) do you do yourself?
4) Is being an ADA accurately portrayed in legal dramas like Law and Order?


I'm not OP, but I'll chime in.


1) Extreme amounts in misdemeanor-land, less so in felony cases. Unless the case is a special interest (i.e. involves a politician's child or assault of a cop), the supervisors generally don't care if you dispose of a misdemeanor case. In felonies, they will generally go by your recommendation, although they might tweak the plea offer a bit.
2) Clients? Do you mean defendants or victims? Defendants, never. I generally didn't offer pleas to defense attorneys with their clients around.
3) Like you said, police serve as the primary investigation. In some cases, there are times when further investigation of a lateral/tangential issue is needed (i.e. subpoena of phone records), in which case my office has their own detective squad for that. For misdemeanors, you almost never visit the crime scene. For felonies, you can be on "beeper" duty, which means that if something happens in your jurisdiction while you're on call, you're expected to show up to the scene, go with the police to the precinct, watch them do line-ups, etc.
4) No. Nothing is ever as sexy or glamorous as it is on TV.

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Re: NYC ADA taking questions...

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Mar 24, 2016 12:59 am

encore1101 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Thanks for doing this. I just got an offer from one of the 4 NYC offices so I'm very interested in your insight. I have a few more questions:

1) How much leeway do you have when deciding to throw out a case? Is it true that you can't throw out cases without a supervisor's permission? Have you ever tried to dismiss a case and have your supervisor tell you no?
2) How often do you talk to actual clients? Do PDs let you negotiate with the client present? Is this common or uncommon?
3) How do you work with police? I understand they're your investigators, but how else do police serve your role as an ADA? Do you conduct trial prep with them and such? On that note, how much investigating (like visiting the crime scene) do you do yourself?
4) Is being an ADA accurately portrayed in legal dramas like Law and Order?


I'm not OP, but I'll chime in.


1) Extreme amounts in misdemeanor-land, less so in felony cases. Unless the case is a special interest (i.e. involves a politician's child or assault of a cop), the supervisors generally don't care if you dispose of a misdemeanor case. In felonies, they will generally go by your recommendation, although they might tweak the plea offer a bit.
2) Clients? Do you mean defendants or victims? Defendants, never. I generally didn't offer pleas to defense attorneys with their clients around.
3) Like you said, police serve as the primary investigation. In some cases, there are times when further investigation of a lateral/tangential issue is needed (i.e. subpoena of phone records), in which case my office has their own detective squad for that. For misdemeanors, you almost never visit the crime scene. For felonies, you can be on "beeper" duty, which means that if something happens in your jurisdiction while you're on call, you're expected to show up to the scene, go with the police to the precinct, watch them do line-ups, etc.
4) No. Nothing is ever as sexy or glamorous as it is on TV.


Same anon. Thanks for the answer! If you don't mind, could you also explain what your typical day was like as a first year ADA? How long were you in court most days? One thing I'm looking forward to is extensive courtroom experience.

I'm also glad to hear that ADAs have autonomy and discretion to throw out cases.One of my friends going PD route told me to expect the opposite.




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