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Anonymous User
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Public Defender

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jun 04, 2017 8:55 am

I am interested in becoming a public defender - preferably, I want to work in a juvenile unit. Top 5% at high T2 school (GPA 3.80). Rising 2L. Are PD positions like BigLaw, in which it's hard to get a job without connections, etc. Or could I try and get an internship in a city where I'd like to work but have no connections?

Civilservant

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Re: Public Defender

Postby Civilservant » Sun Jun 04, 2017 9:20 am

Ties to a geographic area might be helpful in some offices, particularly close knit communities. Having experience doing indigent defense is essential though. By doing internships, clinics, etc, you show that it isn't a fall back. Plus, if you worked on a student order, you probably would be able to handle a misdemeanor calendar from day one, which is helpful.

Large city pd offices make you run the gauntlet through several rounds of interviews, so having charm and the ability to think on your feet is probably the most important skill in getting an offer. Smaller offices in less desirable areas will be a lot less picky, because retention is difficult.

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Re: Public Defender

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jun 04, 2017 10:48 pm

It's hard to get a post-grad PD job with no PD experience during law school (*at least* 1 summer, or an externship during the school year). That being said, PD internships aren't really that hard to get. The process is kind of annoying - it's not like the OCI process, where you get all your interviews done in a week and get answers in relatively the same timeframe. Each office has their own schedule so it's hard to get multiple offers to compare at once. But the internships don't pay and PDs can generally use all the help they can get so they load up on interns and in my experience aren't that picky. I don't think you need local connections to get an internship - I stayed local but most of my fellow PD friends went to different offices around the country with no connections.

Post-law school jobs are a different beast and yes, can be quite competitive with no connections or experience. Some offices prefer to hire people who did a summer there, some don't.

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Re: Public Defender

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jun 05, 2017 1:32 am

"Good" offices are competitive for employment and will almost assuredly reject you if you don't have law school experience. For a good office, I'd say you NEED to intern in a state with a 3rd year practice rule. (So you'll have real cases/clients).

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Re: Public Defender

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jun 07, 2017 6:32 pm

Former juvenile PD here. Started out in adult court and then moved to juvenile after a year. I suggest applying in rural areas. You may not find a juvenile opening at first since juvenile divisions tend to be relatively small. However, I recommend working in adult court and then expressing your interest in juvenile law to the powers that be along the way.

Whether in a "good" office or bad, the experience you get at a PD office really is worthwhile. In fact you would probably get more litigation experience and less micromanagement in a rural office. You could then try moving to a PD office in a more desirable area.



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