Staff Attorney for District Court

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Anonymous User
Posts: 283976
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Staff Attorney for District Court

Postby Anonymous User » Thu May 18, 2017 11:52 am

Hi All,

I have an upcoming interview for a staff attorney position at a district court and would love any and all insight and advice.

I know generally the work is mainly habeas and pro se matters, but I don't know anyone who has ever served in this role and would love to hear from people who have. How did you like it? What was your day like?

Also, any insights as to what interview questions you might have had would be super helpful, or tips on how to prepare.

Thanks in advance!

Anonymous User
Posts: 283976
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Staff Attorney for District Court

Postby Anonymous User » Fri May 19, 2017 1:53 am

I have not worked as a staff attorney but I interviewed for a position as one last year and talked to a few of staff attorneys to prepare. Also my current officemate did this job temporarily, and has told me about it.

In my district it works like this: the staff attorneys handle all prisoner litigation that concerns the conditions of confinement. This means pro se complaints, very often handwritten, that can range from 2 to 50 pages, usually about things that are very sad and/or unjust in general, but not legally actionable. Many of the litigants are serial filers, and will just throw garbage motion after garbage motion onto the case. The staff attorneys write draft opinions, and the judge usually just rubberstamps them. There is not a lot of interaction with chambers.

It sounds boring, but most law jobs are boring. I am a magistrate clerk now, so I have a little bit of overlap with what the staff attorneys do. It's not my favorite part of the job, but it's not that bad... not particularly taxing and a lot of courthouses have a very cordial, relaxed atmosphere. Federal benefits and salary are pretty good for a low stress job that is never going to require you to think about work for after you go home at 5 o'clock. My main concern about the job would be exit options, I don't know what it might lead to, maybe the AG's office would hire, since they're the defendants for most of these cases. The familiarity you'd get with federal lit would help with some other jobs, you could maybe spin it into a higher level clerkship.

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mjb447
Posts: 870
Joined: Fri Jul 26, 2013 4:36 am

Re: Staff Attorney for District Court

Postby mjb447 » Fri May 19, 2017 10:01 am

What I've heard is basically consistent with what the anon above me said. Pay and benefits and quality of life are decent, and the work isn't particularly taxing, but it can be monotonous and monastic (some people work from home where I am) and it doesn't prepare you to do a lot).

Anonymous User
Posts: 283976
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Staff Attorney for District Court

Postby Anonymous User » Fri May 19, 2017 10:20 am

Op here - appreciate the insight!




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