Career Trajectories for someone starting at a DOJ litigating component?

(On Campus Interviews, Summer Associate positions, Firm Reviews, Tips, ...)
Forum rules
Anonymous Posting

Anonymous posting is only appropriate when you are revealing sensitive employment related information about a firm, job, etc. You may anonymously respond on topic to these threads. Unacceptable uses include: harassing another user, joking around, testing the feature, or other things that are more appropriate in the lounge.

Failure to follow these rules will get you outed, warned, or banned.
Anonymous User
Posts: 309406
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Career Trajectories for someone starting at a DOJ litigating component?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Nov 29, 2016 12:40 pm

My research is turning up short. Whats the 5-10-20 year outlook when you start as an honors attorney? My offer is from Commercial Lit or Antitrust, to be a bit vague.

How soon can you lateral to big law, if you want or need to? Whats the promotion within DOJ look like? Are there advantages to leaving the government later?

andythefir

Silver
Posts: 560
Joined: Mon Jul 05, 2010 1:56 am

Re: Career Trajectories for someone starting at a DOJ litigating component?

Postby andythefir » Tue Nov 29, 2016 1:10 pm

Why the heck would you leave the DOJ for biglaw? The only non-insane reason to do biglaw is to get top notch training and resume line that you can leverage later. I'm sure you'd get outstanding training within honors, and it's a solid resume line. I bet federal experience, background check, and so on would be very helpful in moving around within the federal government.

Anonymous User
Posts: 309406
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Career Trajectories for someone starting at a DOJ litigating component?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Nov 29, 2016 1:10 pm

andythefir wrote:Why the heck would you leave the DOJ for biglaw? The only non-insane reason to do biglaw is to get top notch training and resume line that you can leverage later. I'm sure you'd get outstanding training within honors, and it's a solid resume line. I bet federal experience, background check, and so on would be very helpful in moving around within the federal government.


To move markets for personal reasons, need the $$$, etc.

Anonymous User
Posts: 309406
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Career Trajectories for someone starting at a DOJ litigating component?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Nov 29, 2016 1:23 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Whats the promotion within DOJ look like?


I have an offer from the Honors program, and I asked this question during one of my interviews. Based on what I was told, there isn't a whole lot of internal promotion like you would see in big law (associate, senior associate, junior partner, partner, etc.). Instead, people get that sense of accomplishment by becoming known within their division as the expert on a particular statute, subject matter, etc. Tough thing to put on a resume though.

andythefir

Silver
Posts: 560
Joined: Mon Jul 05, 2010 1:56 am

Re: Career Trajectories for someone starting at a DOJ litigating component?

Postby andythefir » Tue Nov 29, 2016 2:06 pm

Anonymous User wrote:To move markets for personal reasons, need the $$$, etc.


But there is a DOJ presence in every major market and most minor markets, too. And if you can't make low 6 figures 6 years into your career work without full student loan payments, you've got a pretty expensive lifestyle. If the trump administration savages PAYE, though, then I could see it being close.

https://www.justice.gov/usao/career-cen ... lan-charts

Anonymous User
Posts: 309406
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Career Trajectories for someone starting at a DOJ litigating component?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Nov 29, 2016 2:14 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Whats the promotion within DOJ look like?


I have an offer from the Honors program, and I asked this question during one of my interviews. Based on what I was told, there isn't a whole lot of internal promotion like you would see in big law (associate, senior associate, junior partner, partner, etc.). Instead, people get that sense of accomplishment by becoming known within their division as the expert on a particular statute, subject matter, etc. Tough thing to put on a resume though.

Yeah, this makes sense, in that the feds don't really have the same kind of hierarchy as firms. In my component everyone who isn't a supervisor has the same title and does the same job, except that the experienced folks do much more complex stuff than I do; to the extent there's any kind of promotion, it's to work on bigger/more complex matters, or the matters that you choose. Also, your salary increases are based on years of experience so generally automatic, rather than based on achievement.

That said, once you're in DOJ, my sense is it's much easier to move to other components that might be more of a "promotion," in the sense of doing more specialized stuff, or taking on a more policy role in main justice.

I'm not on the civil side of things so I'm not sure what kinds of private sector options are open to you from those jobs, though I'm sure there are some - basically anyone who's going to be on the other side, suing the government (or dealing with government investigations or whatever civil folks do :D ) is going to be interested in someone who knows how the government operates. Whether that's biglaw is going to depend on your field, I'd guess.

My sense is also that if you want to go into the private sector as a partner, you're going to need a good 7-10 years experience, so that your expertise and familiarity with the players in a given area makes you desirable/capable of bringing in business. If you want to do so as an associate, 3-4 years is best - more than that and you'd be coming in too senior for your private sector capabilities, if that makes any sense (you'd be a 5th-6th year associate with no experience of running stuff in a firm).

But that's really me spitballing wrt years of experience and options. I think, despite what TLS tends to say about exit options, that they are largely what you make of them. Not to say that the sky is the limit, but once you get some experience people go in a lot of different directions and a lot of it is going to be determined kind of by happenstance - what experience you actually end up getting, who you meet, where you need to live, etc. Also life just isn't very predictable, so while it makes sense to make plans, there's only so far that goes.

Anonymous User
Posts: 309406
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Career Trajectories for someone starting at a DOJ litigating component?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Nov 29, 2016 4:33 pm

andythefir wrote:Why the heck would you leave the DOJ for biglaw? The only non-insane reason to do biglaw is to get top notch training and resume line that you can leverage later. I'm sure you'd get outstanding training within honors, and it's a solid resume line. I bet federal experience, background check, and so on would be very helpful in moving around within the federal government.


Because burnout is high in Commercial Lit National Courts



Return to “Legal Employment�

Who is online

The online users are hidden on this forum.