Post-LS Capitol Hill Fellowship: Worth It?

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Post-LS Capitol Hill Fellowship: Worth It?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Nov 29, 2016 9:39 pm

Hey all, hoping to get some perspective on the wisdom of doing a one-year fellowship (funded) working on Capitol Hill immediately after law school.

Let's assume:

- The position would be either with a Senate/House committee or in the personal office of a Senator/House member.
- The area of law on which I would be working would be the area of law in which I would practice for the rest of my career.
- I have a prestigious position (e.g., clerkship or BigLaw) lined up for after the fellowship (so exit options are not a concern), and if I did not do the fellowship, I would do BigLaw for the year instead.

Assuming that I wish to make a career as a lawyer, would the sorts of positions available to law students immediately after graduation be worthwhile? Would they provide meaningful legal experience? I don't want to get stuck doing work that, while important, would not help me develop the sorts of skills relevant to legal practice.

misterjames

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Re: Post-LS Capitol Hill Fellowship: Worth It?

Postby misterjames » Tue Nov 29, 2016 9:42 pm

You should definitely do this. The connections alone will make it worthwhile.

FSK

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Re: Post-LS Capitol Hill Fellowship: Worth It?

Postby FSK » Tue Nov 29, 2016 11:52 pm

Do it. You'll do bitch work but the connections are worth their weight in gold. The value is determinate on what connections you can make. I.e., if this is for a year on judiciary in the feinstien office, do it. But if this is for a year with some goober freshman congressman on bhengazi, dont.
Last edited by FSK on Sat Jan 27, 2018 2:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Post-LS Capitol Hill Fellowship: Worth It?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Nov 30, 2016 12:05 am

You probably won't develop any meaningful legal skills (other than knowing your way around statutes) as they pertain to the actual practice of law and whether you make connections will solely depend on how much you like networking but if you ever want to return to the Hill or a role in politics then it is a great opportunity.

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Re: Post-LS Capitol Hill Fellowship: Worth It?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Nov 30, 2016 12:24 am

I echo the above anon. I know someone who did this exact fellowship, and he did not necessarily perform substantial legal work, but he knew he wanted to eventually have a future in politics and not necessarily "be a lawyer". It was tough afterwards (although I know OP is not worried about exit options) but he had to stick it out as some sort of hybrid LC and counsel, even though his pay, duties, and title all reflected the LC position. He did grunt work like mail. He only recently was upgraded to counsel for one of the highly desired committees, but with the election results, the committee will be turned over to another member. These are the types of things to consider. Connections were not automatic as others may make it seem and even with the best networking skills, it will take some time to build the connections to be able to progress.

Really depends what you want to do after. Seems like OP is committed to practicing. If you're fine just going back to BigLaw and practicing law, you will probably not gain any real substantive legal skills doing this type of fellowship.

Posting anon out of respect for this person.

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Re: Post-LS Capitol Hill Fellowship: Worth It?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Nov 30, 2016 12:25 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Hey all, hoping to get some perspective on the wisdom of doing a one-year fellowship (funded) working on Capitol Hill immediately after law school.

Let's assume:

- The position would be either with a Senate/House committee or in the personal office of a Senator/House member.
- The area of law on which I would be working would be the area of law in which I would practice for the rest of my career.
- I have a prestigious position (e.g., clerkship or BigLaw) lined up for after the fellowship (so exit options are not a concern), and if I did not do the fellowship, I would do BigLaw for the year instead.

Assuming that I wish to make a career as a lawyer, would the sorts of positions available to law students immediately after graduation be worthwhile? Would they provide meaningful legal experience? I don't want to get stuck doing work that, while important, would not help me develop the sorts of skills relevant to legal practice.


If it's a personal office, I would REALLY look into exactly the type of work you'd be doing. Personal offices are way different than working on a committee.

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Re: Post-LS Capitol Hill Fellowship: Worth It?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Apr 12, 2017 10:57 am

Going to hijack this thread for collective TLS knowledge because I have a scenario that is some what similar:

Accepted an offer to join an AmLaw 200's (Non-DC) general commercial lit practice this fall. Recently was presented with the opportunity to join a committee as counsel in the fall. I'm interested in either staying on the Hill long term, lateraling to DOJ, or trying my hand with a white collar/investigations practice after a few years. Loans aren't really an issue, so I'd like to pick the route that best suits my interests while not burning too many bridges. Wondering if anyone has any insight.

grixxlybear99

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Re: Post-LS Capitol Hill Fellowship: Worth It?

Postby grixxlybear99 » Wed Apr 12, 2017 11:09 am

I would not accept this fellowship if I were working in a personal office.

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Re: Post-LS Capitol Hill Fellowship: Worth It?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Apr 12, 2017 5:24 pm

grixxlybear99 wrote:I would not accept this fellowship if I were working in a personal office.

Sorry I revived an old thread, but my above post is not about a fellowship.

globetrotter659

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Re: Post-LS Capitol Hill Fellowship: Worth It?

Postby globetrotter659 » Fri Apr 14, 2017 10:45 am

Do you want to be a lawyer or do policy?

foregetaboutdre

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Re: Post-LS Capitol Hill Fellowship: Worth It?

Postby foregetaboutdre » Fri Apr 14, 2017 1:04 pm

If you are going to spend just one year at this then clerk/go to biglaw, I personally don't think you'll make enough connections to be worthwhile. This fellowship would be worthwhile you want to spend time on the Hill and go into government relations. They are two beasts. You'll have no pull on capitol hill as someone who worked on a committee for a year and did a federal clerkship when compared to a 26 year old who interned for his Congressman in district, got involved in state politics, and has spent 4 years in DC.

If you do the Capitol Hill thing - I'd be sure to try to stay on Capitol Hill for 2-3 years and then try to wiggle into Govt Relations and/or a firm regulatory group etc... Just my advice though.

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Re: Post-LS Capitol Hill Fellowship: Worth It?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Apr 16, 2017 7:44 am

Anonymous User wrote:Going to hijack this thread for collective TLS knowledge because I have a scenario that is some what similar:

Accepted an offer to join an AmLaw 200's (Non-DC) general commercial lit practice this fall. Recently was presented with the opportunity to join a committee as counsel in the fall. I'm interested in either staying on the Hill long term, lateraling to DOJ, or trying my hand with a white collar/investigations practice after a few years. Loans aren't really an issue, so I'd like to pick the route that best suits my interests while not burning too many bridges. Wondering if anyone has any insight.

Caveat: I have some knowledge of the Hill, but I am not the most informed person. You should probably talk to someone in real life about this, not just the TLS hive mind. While the TLS hive mind is useful for some things (like conventional routes to BigLaw), there just aren't going to be many people with enough Hill knowledge to give you good advice.

Only thing about going to the Hill straight out of law school (without an exit to a firm or clerkship lined up after) is that exit options to a more traditional legal role could be limited. OP said they have an exit to either BigLaw or a clerkship, so that's not a risk for them. But if you're going to be a committee counsel (without an exit lined up), it could be tough to transition to practice later on (particularly at a firm). If you started at the firm, OTOH, that would signal that you are capable of doing actual legal work (such that a couple years on the Hill down the line would not prevent you from going back to practice).

Of course, if you're committed to the Hill long term, then none of that is a concern, and you should probably take the committee counsel gig, because those are hard to come by, particularly if your AmLaw 200 firm is not in DC. It's more the lateraling to DOJ or a firm stuff that could prove difficult.

I should also add that much of this may depend on the committee you're working for and the area of law you're interested in.

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Re: Post-LS Capitol Hill Fellowship: Worth It?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Apr 17, 2017 1:10 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Going to hijack this thread for collective TLS knowledge because I have a scenario that is some what similar:

Accepted an offer to join an AmLaw 200's (Non-DC) general commercial lit practice this fall. Recently was presented with the opportunity to join a committee as counsel in the fall. I'm interested in either staying on the Hill long term, lateraling to DOJ, or trying my hand with a white collar/investigations practice after a few years. Loans aren't really an issue, so I'd like to pick the route that best suits my interests while not burning too many bridges. Wondering if anyone has any insight.

Caveat: I have some knowledge of the Hill, but I am not the most informed person. You should probably talk to someone in real life about this, not just the TLS hive mind. While the TLS hive mind is useful for some things (like conventional routes to BigLaw), there just aren't going to be many people with enough Hill knowledge to give you good advice.

Only thing about going to the Hill straight out of law school (without an exit to a firm or clerkship lined up after) is that exit options to a more traditional legal role could be limited. OP said they have an exit to either BigLaw or a clerkship, so that's not a risk for them. But if you're going to be a committee counsel (without an exit lined up), it could be tough to transition to practice later on (particularly at a firm). If you started at the firm, OTOH, that would signal that you are capable of doing actual legal work (such that a couple years on the Hill down the line would not prevent you from going back to practice).

Of course, if you're committed to the Hill long term, then none of that is a concern, and you should probably take the committee counsel gig, because those are hard to come by, particularly if your AmLaw 200 firm is not in DC. It's more the lateraling to DOJ or a firm stuff that could prove difficult.

I should also add that much of this may depend on the committee you're working for and the area of law you're interested in.


This is very helpful! Thanks. Definitely is in line with some of the other knowledge I've gathered, just wanted to see if there's anything I was missing.

HamlinMcgill

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Re: Post-LS Capitol Hill Fellowship: Worth It?

Postby HamlinMcgill » Mon Apr 17, 2017 1:32 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Going to hijack this thread for collective TLS knowledge because I have a scenario that is some what similar:

Accepted an offer to join an AmLaw 200's (Non-DC) general commercial lit practice this fall. Recently was presented with the opportunity to join a committee as counsel in the fall. I'm interested in either staying on the Hill long term, lateraling to DOJ, or trying my hand with a white collar/investigations practice after a few years. Loans aren't really an issue, so I'd like to pick the route that best suits my interests while not burning too many bridges. Wondering if anyone has any insight.

Caveat: I have some knowledge of the Hill, but I am not the most informed person. You should probably talk to someone in real life about this, not just the TLS hive mind. While the TLS hive mind is useful for some things (like conventional routes to BigLaw), there just aren't going to be many people with enough Hill knowledge to give you good advice.

Only thing about going to the Hill straight out of law school (without an exit to a firm or clerkship lined up after) is that exit options to a more traditional legal role could be limited. OP said they have an exit to either BigLaw or a clerkship, so that's not a risk for them. But if you're going to be a committee counsel (without an exit lined up), it could be tough to transition to practice later on (particularly at a firm). If you started at the firm, OTOH, that would signal that you are capable of doing actual legal work (such that a couple years on the Hill down the line would not prevent you from going back to practice).

Of course, if you're committed to the Hill long term, then none of that is a concern, and you should probably take the committee counsel gig, because those are hard to come by, particularly if your AmLaw 200 firm is not in DC. It's more the lateraling to DOJ or a firm stuff that could prove difficult.

I should also add that much of this may depend on the committee you're working for and the area of law you're interested in.


Isn't the usual exit option for congressional staff lobbying work? I realize that's a bit different than the traditional biglaw position, but if you have a law degree and a few years of substantive work on an important committee, I can't imagine it would be that hard to find a good-paying job in DC. A lot of firms in DC have big "government relations" practices.

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Re: Post-LS Capitol Hill Fellowship: Worth It?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Apr 18, 2017 9:05 am

HamlinMcgill wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Going to hijack this thread for collective TLS knowledge because I have a scenario that is some what similar:

Accepted an offer to join an AmLaw 200's (Non-DC) general commercial lit practice this fall. Recently was presented with the opportunity to join a committee as counsel in the fall. I'm interested in either staying on the Hill long term, lateraling to DOJ, or trying my hand with a white collar/investigations practice after a few years. Loans aren't really an issue, so I'd like to pick the route that best suits my interests while not burning too many bridges. Wondering if anyone has any insight.

Caveat: I have some knowledge of the Hill, but I am not the most informed person. You should probably talk to someone in real life about this, not just the TLS hive mind. While the TLS hive mind is useful for some things (like conventional routes to BigLaw), there just aren't going to be many people with enough Hill knowledge to give you good advice.

Only thing about going to the Hill straight out of law school (without an exit to a firm or clerkship lined up after) is that exit options to a more traditional legal role could be limited. OP said they have an exit to either BigLaw or a clerkship, so that's not a risk for them. But if you're going to be a committee counsel (without an exit lined up), it could be tough to transition to practice later on (particularly at a firm). If you started at the firm, OTOH, that would signal that you are capable of doing actual legal work (such that a couple years on the Hill down the line would not prevent you from going back to practice).

Of course, if you're committed to the Hill long term, then none of that is a concern, and you should probably take the committee counsel gig, because those are hard to come by, particularly if your AmLaw 200 firm is not in DC. It's more the lateraling to DOJ or a firm stuff that could prove difficult.

I should also add that much of this may depend on the committee you're working for and the area of law you're interested in.


Isn't the usual exit option for congressional staff lobbying work? I realize that's a bit different than the traditional biglaw position, but if you have a law degree and a few years of substantive work on an important committee, I can't imagine it would be that hard to find a good-paying job in DC. A lot of firms in DC have big "government relations" practices.

Yes, the Hill is definitely a good place to be if you want to become a lobbyist. But this poster mentioned DOJ and white collar/investigations practice, which are traditional lawyer jobs, not lobbying jobs.



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