1L internship - which DOJ component would be better?

(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: 324717
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

1L internship - which DOJ component would be better?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Dec 28, 2017 12:26 am

PLEASE DON'T QUOTE!
I'm very fortunate to have two DOJ offers for my 1L internship - one is with one of the components within the Civil Division, and the other is with one of the law enforcement components. I'm having a difficult time picking which would be better.

The position within the Civil Division lines up a lot more with my past experience as well as the area in which I'd like to practice. I would get to do a lot more substantive work in this component (they said I would leave with 6-7 potential work products). I also got a sense that the attorneys here were a bit more well-connected and had worked with the DOJ for much longer. The specific day-to-day work sounded kind of boring, though, and because this office has a very narrow focus I don't know how much exposure I would get working here.

The position within the enforcement component frankly sounds a lot more interesting and is probably more prestigious, but it didn't sound like I would get to do as much substantive work (they said I would have 1-2 potential writing samples). Also over the phone, the intern coordinators didn't sound very organized and couldn't really answer a lot of my questions about what I'd be doing. The attorneys who interviewed me are both extremely new to the DOJ (less than a year, each) so I don't know how well-connected they would be in terms of getting recommendations down the line.

What are your thoughts?

User avatar
UVA2B

Gold
Posts: 3421
Joined: Sun May 22, 2016 10:48 pm

Re: 1L internship - which DOJ component would be better?

Postby UVA2B » Thu Dec 28, 2017 12:40 am

It's an unpaid 1L job at the DOJ. Unless you're hyper-focused on a DOJ-related type of outcome right out of law school, it won't matter in the least.

Pick the one that interests you more and enjoy your summer.

Anonymous User
Posts: 324717
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: 1L internship - which DOJ component would be better?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Dec 28, 2017 1:42 am

Sorry, using the anonymous function because I have a DOJ SLIP offer and am still doing my background check.

I'm making an assumption that you want to work for the DOJ later down the line, so my advice is geared towards that.

That being said, I didn't work with the DOJ during 1L. I know the DOJ likes to see a commitment to public interest and government work, but in terms of what component, it really is just whatever you want. There are so many DOJ volunteers, and, speaking with DOJ attorneys before my interview process, it's not really a big differentiator either way (in terms of what component or even whether or not you have prior DOJ experience). One of the key takeaways I had from my meetings was that "when it comes time for SLIP and Honors applications, the best candidate will be chosen regardless of prior work."

Make connections so that your recommendations will be strong, don't worry about the relative influence of your recommenders. If you want to do the SLIP program or the Honors Program, your grades, essays, and interview matter much more.

And, if all of that was too much (or you have a different career path), just listen to UVA2B. Pick whichever one interests you the most. Hope that helps!

Anonymous User
Posts: 324717
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: 1L internship - which DOJ component would be better?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Dec 28, 2017 1:54 am

^^ [OP here] thanks so much, that was really helpful. I definitely want to work for the DOJ down the line (if Honors doesn't work out, I'm hoping to lateral in at some point in time) but I'm worried about burning bridges if I turn down one of the components...

Anonymous User
Posts: 324717
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: 1L internship - which DOJ component would be better?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Dec 28, 2017 2:13 am

If the law enforcement component is the FBI, just be aware that the security clearance process involves a lot of scrutiny and can take several months. If there's anything that might make your screening take longer (large number of foreign contacts, for example) you might not be able to do the internship (not because you won't pass, but because they won't clear you before the end of the summer). I believe FBI also requires a poly for summer internships, which has to be scheduled, and I believe they only give you one bite at the apple (so if you fuck up the poly, even if it's a false positive, you're out).

If you're on the fence, the clearance process is something to consider.

Anonymous User
Posts: 324717
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: 1L internship - which DOJ component would be better?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Dec 28, 2017 7:55 am

Anonymous User wrote:That being said, I didn't work with the DOJ during 1L. I know the DOJ likes to see a commitment to public interest and government work, but in terms of what component, it really is just whatever you want. There are so many DOJ volunteers, and, speaking with DOJ attorneys before my interview process, it's not really a big differentiator either way (in terms of what component or even whether or not you have prior DOJ experience). One of the key takeaways I had from my meetings was that "when it comes time for SLIP and Honors applications, the best candidate will be chosen regardless of prior work."

As someone who went through Honors - I do think your prior work matters, though it may be more important for some components than others (e.g. USAOs like to see you’ve interned at a USAO, EOIR likes to see immigration experience, etc.). That said, though, I basically agree in that I don’t think which component *here* is going to make/break you - both will be useful experience for future apps. And I wouldn’t worry about burning bridges with one component because 1) you literally cannot do both and 2) I think if you explain that you’re turning whichever component down for another DOJ component, it won’t be held against you.

As for which component - I also agree you should pick the one that most interests you. There isn’t any need to end up with 6-7 writing samples; all you need is one good one. And sometimes newer attorneys are better at thinking about what an intern would like to do/more enthusiastic about intern programs than more senior ones (in my office it’s the newbies who run the intern program and they’ve much improved it). I also wouldn’t worry about seniority of connections. That’s not to say you have to/should take the enforcement position; if the civil division is in line with what you want to do that would be grea experience. Just that I don’t think your concerns about it are necessarily worth worrying much about.



Return to “Legal Employment?

Who is online

The online users are hidden on this forum.