Fed Not that Great

(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.
sparty99

Gold
Posts: 1554
Joined: Sat Dec 11, 2010 8:41 pm

Re: Fed Not that Great

Postby sparty99 » Fri Aug 11, 2017 3:10 pm

adil91 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I do federal employment law at my agency and love it.


This is my career goal. Did you start out with the feds? How did you end up in that position?


I'd gladly PM you with details, but you're anon.


Oops didn't realize that haha. If you can PM me that would be fantastic. Thanks.


Can you PM me too?

Anonymous User
Posts: 324901
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Fed Not that Great

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Aug 11, 2017 8:54 pm

I used to do federal employment law. I thought it sucked. 99% of all claims were from the same employees "trying to get back" at their co-worker or supervisors. I can think of very, very few legit claims, and those we settled quickly. That being said, since there are so many albeit frivolous claims made, there's a lot of work and opportunities with the feds for people who like employment law. Practically every agency needs employment law attorneys. You'll get a lot of experience since, again, so many claims are filed and go to EEOC trial hearings - so many that you'll end up throwing $500 settlement offers for ridiculous claims just so you can focus on the more substantial ones.

sparty99

Gold
Posts: 1554
Joined: Sat Dec 11, 2010 8:41 pm

Re: Fed Not that Great

Postby sparty99 » Fri Aug 11, 2017 10:31 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I used to do federal employment law. I thought it sucked. 99% of all claims were from the same employees "trying to get back" at their co-worker or supervisors. I can think of very, very few legit claims, and those we settled quickly. That being said, since there are so many albeit frivolous claims made, there's a lot of work and opportunities with the feds for people who like employment law. Practically every agency needs employment law attorneys. You'll get a lot of experience since, again, so many claims are filed and go to EEOC trial hearings - so many that you'll end up throwing $500 settlement offers for ridiculous claims just so you can focus on the more substantial ones.


That's the case on many employment claims.

Anonymous User
Posts: 324901
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Fed Not that Great

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Aug 12, 2017 11:22 am

Tangent for those who do fed employment law: to what extent is your job making sure "the right thing" gets done and to what extent is it to reflexively defend the agency? I helped a family member with a retaliation/whistleblower claim (not Title VII) for a supervisor who was pretty clearly retaliating. I expected agency council to step in and act as a mediator to discipline supervisor, but instead the reaction was what I would expect from a private defense attorney. ("You don't have a claim, even if you do have a claim, you can't prove it" and hard nosed negotiating tactics.) Really soured me on the agency's attorneys.

User avatar
A. Nony Mouse

Diamond
Posts: 29316
Joined: Tue Sep 25, 2012 11:51 am

Re: Fed Not that Great

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Sat Aug 12, 2017 11:39 am

I think in that case, the federal lawyers *are* just like private attorneys - they're representing their client, and have to act in their client's best interests - it just so happens that their client is the United States. I don't think there is a "do the right thing" obligation like you see in the criminal context, where the role of the prosecutor is to do justice, not to win. (Not trying to start an argument about whether that's what prosecutors *actually* do, just talking about how the role is described.)

User avatar
Hildegard15

Gold
Posts: 2161
Joined: Wed Aug 05, 2015 6:26 pm

Re: Fed Not that Great

Postby Hildegard15 » Sat Aug 12, 2017 12:56 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:I think in that case, the federal lawyers *are* just like private attorneys - they're representing their client, and have to act in their client's best interests - it just so happens that their client is the United States. I don't think there is a "do the right thing" obligation like you see in the criminal context, where the role of the prosecutor is to do justice, not to win. (Not trying to start an argument about whether that's what prosecutors *actually* do, just talking about how the role is described.)


This is interesting because I worked at the US Attorney's office this summer and all the civil attorneys we talked to said they approach their job with the idea of "doing justice". So if they thought an agency employee really was in the wrong, they would settle the case and then go talk to the agency about what not to do in the future. I guess this just goes to show that it all depends on the individual attorney's view as to their role.

User avatar
A. Nony Mouse

Diamond
Posts: 29316
Joined: Tue Sep 25, 2012 11:51 am

Re: Fed Not that Great

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Sat Aug 12, 2017 4:50 pm

Ha, yeah, I should definitely not speak in absolutes.

Anonymous User
Posts: 324901
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Fed Not that Great

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Aug 12, 2017 5:13 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Tangent for those who do fed employment law: to what extent is your job making sure "the right thing" gets done and to what extent is it to reflexively defend the agency? I helped a family member with a retaliation/whistleblower claim (not Title VII) for a supervisor who was pretty clearly retaliating. I expected agency council to step in and act as a mediator to discipline supervisor, but instead the reaction was what I would expect from a private defense attorney. ("You don't have a claim, even if you do have a claim, you can't prove it" and hard nosed negotiating tactics.) Really soured me on the agency's attorneys.


Im the anon that worked in federal employment law. I always did what I thought was the right thing. So, I wouldn't take a claim to trial merely because I knew I would win. However, it just happens that the vast majority of cases were, in my opinion, baseless. There are of course legitimate EEO claims, and I do recall a serious one that my regional office settled right off the bat. But overall "doing the right" thing was getting Motions for Summary Judgment granted all day.

Altair

New
Posts: 3
Joined: Tue Jan 16, 2018 7:56 pm

Re: Fed Not that Great

Postby Altair » Tue Jan 16, 2018 10:03 pm

Can someone tell me the best way to find BigFed jobs for attorneys? There seem to be a mind-numbing array of agencies.

Anonymous User
Posts: 324901
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Fed Not that Great

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jan 17, 2018 3:26 pm

I do not mean to hijack this thread. Fortunately, I got a fed job upon graduation. I start next week. What can I expect? I know it's agency-specific, but I rather not state my agency for anon sakes.

Anonymous User
Posts: 324901
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Fed Not that Great

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jan 17, 2018 3:40 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I do not mean to hijack this thread. Fortunately, I got a fed job upon graduation. I start next week. What can I expect? I know it's agency-specific, but I rather not state my agency for anon sakes.

Respectfully, I don’t think anyone can answer this without knowing what agency, or at least some more information than you’ve given, or more specific questions. Like are you in DC? Litigation or policy or L&E or what? You can probably expect semi-comfortable but slightly aged/grubby furnishings, a fair amount of hanging around before you can get access to a computer and the like, and probably a decent amount of bureaucracy and paperwork to get through to start. Also probably a fair amount of responsibility over the work you’re given. But I’m not sure what you’re really looking for.

blueapple

Silver
Posts: 599
Joined: Thu Dec 20, 2012 10:56 am

Re: Fed Not that Great

Postby blueapple » Wed Jan 17, 2018 3:47 pm

Altair wrote:Can someone tell me the best way to find BigFed jobs for attorneys? There seem to be a mind-numbing array of agencies.


You can start by searching usajobs for these series: 0905 (general attorney), 0904 (law clerk - so probably should only look up this one if you aren't barred yet). Set up an email alert for the search.

User avatar
Rowinguy2009

Bronze
Posts: 363
Joined: Mon Oct 12, 2009 7:37 pm

Re: Fed Not that Great

Postby Rowinguy2009 » Wed Jan 17, 2018 4:49 pm

blueapple wrote:
Altair wrote:Can someone tell me the best way to find BigFed jobs for attorneys? There seem to be a mind-numbing array of agencies.


You can start by searching usajobs for these series: 0905 (general attorney), 0904 (law clerk - so probably should only look up this one if you aren't barred yet). Set up an email alert for the search.


Just to piggy-back off this slightly, when I was searching/applying I did what blueapple suggested. To make the process more manageable I would do the search every single day (normally once early in the morning and once in the evening) and would limit my results to jobs that were posted that day. This normally gave me anywhere from 3-10 results. I would eliminate the ones that I was either completely unqualified or uninterested in, and would apply for the rest, which meant I would send anywhere from 2-6 applications a day.

Anonymous User
Posts: 324901
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Fed Not that Great

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jan 29, 2018 9:13 pm

Even though Fed is not as great as people make it out to be, you should feel very lucky you got a position. According to someone who handles HR postings for one agency, 500 applications are received within a few hours of an attorney position being posted. It’s fucking brutal to get a federal attorney job, and with the security it affords hardly anyone leaves. If you are still trying to get one, just keep applying; if applying feels like a part time job, then you’re doing it right.

Anonymous User
Posts: 324901
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Fed Not that Great

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Feb 13, 2018 2:55 pm

Your experience in federal government will be highly dependent on exactly which agency you're in. I spent a few years in a backwater agency that had horrible office politics and was extraordinarily rigid in its hierarchy. Things were also set up to make it extremely difficult to leave. Attorneys had little to no contact with the outside world, so it was virtually impossible to build much of a network, which can be pretty vital for finding a new job, especially in a niche practice area. Because the office lagged behind other agencies in advancing attorneys along the GS scale (in most places, it's one grade per year, in this agency it averaged one grade every 2-3 years), I wasn't eligible for similar positions in other agencies, since even though I had the required number of years of experience, those years weren't at the required GS level. It was also extraordinarily difficult to get challenging, substantive assignments, as everyone was constantly fighting over the crumbs. And before you jump to the conclusion that I was just a poor performer, keep in mind that after leaving the agency and volunteering for 6 months, I was able to land a very high-responsibility job elsewhere. I wouldn't ever go back to that agency.

Anonymous User
Posts: 324901
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Fed Not that Great

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Feb 13, 2018 3:07 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Your experience in federal government will be highly dependent on exactly which agency you're in. I spent a few years in a backwater agency that had horrible office politics and was extraordinarily rigid in its hierarchy. Things were also set up to make it extremely difficult to leave. Attorneys had little to no contact with the outside world, so it was virtually impossible to build much of a network, which can be pretty vital for finding a new job, especially in a niche practice area. Because the office lagged behind other agencies in advancing attorneys along the GS scale (in most places, it's one grade per year, in this agency it averaged one grade every 2-3 years), I wasn't eligible for similar positions in other agencies, since even though I had the required number of years of experience, those years weren't at the required GS level. It was also extraordinarily difficult to get challenging, substantive assignments, as everyone was constantly fighting over the crumbs. And before you jump to the conclusion that I was just a poor performer, keep in mind that after leaving the agency and volunteering for 6 months, I was able to land a very high-responsibility job elsewhere. I wouldn't ever go back to that agency.


Was it a regulatory agency? HQ or regional/field?

Anonymous User
Posts: 324901
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Fed Not that Great

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Feb 13, 2018 5:56 pm

Non-regulatory, only one location in DC. I'd be more specific, except that I'm still in the general practice area, and obviously don't want to make any enemies :)

Anonymous User
Posts: 324901
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Fed Not that Great

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Feb 18, 2018 11:43 am

Anonymous User wrote:Non-regulatory, only one location in DC. I'd be more specific, except that I'm still in the general practice area, and obviously don't want to make any enemies :)


Yeeaahh, I know exactly what agency you are talking about. It is horrendous.

Anonymous User
Posts: 324901
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Fed Not that Great

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Feb 20, 2018 4:58 pm

Can anyone speak to fed attorney hiring plans, particularly at DOJ? I've been applying since last summer and noticed postings have dried up since November, which I'm hoping is more a product of the holidays plus jumping from one CR and shutdown crisis to the next.

Anonymous User
Posts: 324901
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Fed Not that Great

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Feb 21, 2018 11:35 am

Anonymous User wrote:Can anyone speak to fed attorney hiring plans, particularly at DOJ? I've been applying since last summer and noticed postings have dried up since November, which I'm hoping is more a product of the holidays plus jumping from one CR and shutdown crisis to the next.


I think it’s a shot in the dark for most of us, unforuntately. Persistence pays off,though. I applied to over 200 attorney positions (all positions where I met the minimum requirements) before landing a job. I got a total of two interviews: one was a dead end because the hiring freeze killed the position and the selecting official told me he/she couldn’t move forward and the other one resulted in an offer. FWIW I went to a top-20 school, but my office has a spread of people from all kinds of schools. Not DOJ.

Anonymous User
Posts: 324901
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Fed Not that Great

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Feb 21, 2018 11:05 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Can anyone speak to fed attorney hiring plans, particularly at DOJ? I've been applying since last summer and noticed postings have dried up since November, which I'm hoping is more a product of the holidays plus jumping from one CR and shutdown crisis to the next.


I'm at DOJ. I put my boss on notice that I was interviewing for a new position (also within DOJ, FWIW) approx two weeks ago. She said that would be tough for the office because we couldn't hire anyone to replace me. Maybe that was because we were still under a CR at the time?

Anonymous User
Posts: 324901
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Fed Not that Great

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Feb 26, 2018 10:14 am

Can anyone speak to how it goes quitting from a federal attorney job? For reference, I've been at my agency for less than a year, but I truly hate the work and I'm not getting any experience. I have several potential opportunities outside of D.C., and I plan on taking one.

I know the expectation is two weeks, but could I theoretically give a week and be okay on my SF-50? I'm not looking for a reference here, just a clean exit. My agency has high turnover and I'm in a fairly replaceable role, hence why I'm curious as to whether I could exit with less than normal notice.

Anonymous User
Posts: 324901
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Fed Not that Great

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Feb 26, 2018 12:05 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Can anyone speak to how it goes quitting from a federal attorney job? For reference, I've been at my agency for less than a year, but I truly hate the work and I'm not getting any experience. I have several potential opportunities outside of D.C., and I plan on taking one.

I know the expectation is two weeks, but could I theoretically give a week and be okay on my SF-50? I'm not looking for a reference here, just a clean exit. My agency has high turnover and I'm in a fairly replaceable role, hence why I'm curious as to whether I could exit with less than normal notice.


There is no general code in federal jobs when it comes to resigning. In my agency, you can turn in your resignation papers and only have to serve out the remainder of the pay period. If you turned in your papers today and pay day is Friday, that’s your last day. It is more out of convenience for HR because we have a small HR office but hundreds of attorneys.

Edit: Be warned, go out with a pleasant attitude. I’ve seen sour supervisors write shady things on an SF-50 when an unliked employee resigned.

Anonymous User
Posts: 324901
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Fed Not that Great

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Feb 26, 2018 12:29 pm

Anonymous User wrote:There is no general code in federal jobs when it comes to resigning. In my agency, you can turn in your resignation papers and only have to serve out the remainder of the pay period. If you turned in your papers today and pay day is Friday, that’s your last day. It is more out of convenience for HR because we have a small HR office but hundreds of attorneys.

Edit: Be warned, go out with a pleasant attitude. I’ve seen sour supervisors write shady things on an SF-50 when an unliked employee resigned.

Original poster here. What's to stop someone from resigning mid-pay period? The SF-50 gets coded differently? I plan on resigning with a pleasant attitude and saying something along the lines of, "This isn't the type of law for me, plus a sudden opportunity came up back home, and also family/relocation reasons..." I'm not looking to go out unpleasantly.

Anonymous User
Posts: 324901
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Fed Not that Great

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Feb 26, 2018 2:17 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:There is no general code in federal jobs when it comes to resigning. In my agency, you can turn in your resignation papers and only have to serve out the remainder of the pay period. If you turned in your papers today and pay day is Friday, that’s your last day. It is more out of convenience for HR because we have a small HR office but hundreds of attorneys.

Edit: Be warned, go out with a pleasant attitude. I’ve seen sour supervisors write shady things on an SF-50 when an unliked employee resigned.

Original poster here. What's to stop someone from resigning mid-pay period? The SF-50 gets coded differently? I plan on resigning with a pleasant attitude and saying something along the lines of, "This isn't the type of law for me, plus a sudden opportunity came up back home, and also family/relocation reasons..." I'm not looking to go out unpleasantly.


There’s nothing really stopping you, but I have heard of my agency writing in “resigned in lieu of termination” in the SF-50 as opposed to “resigned” even when the employee actually tendered his resignation.



Return to “Legal Employment?

Who is online

The online users are hidden on this forum.