Interning for state dept. Likelihood of getting hired after?

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Interning for state dept. Likelihood of getting hired after?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Feb 13, 2018 1:03 pm

I was wondering if anyone knows how often state employers hire you after interning for some short time (less than a year during law school). I know most state departments probably could care less about dealing with an entry level attorney when they can likely get someone with some litigation experience with a job posting.

Im in MA if that makes a difference.

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Re: Interning for state dept. Likelihood of getting hired after?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Feb 13, 2018 2:06 pm

Depends on the state. Some don't, some might (mostly fly-over states), some have separate honors programs. I don't know anything about MA specifically, but it's a "desirable" northeastern state, so I would think getting hired directly at the department you interned at right after law school is probably not going to happen.

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Re: Interning for state dept. Likelihood of getting hired after?

Postby misterjames » Tue Feb 13, 2018 5:15 pm

I started my career in a state agency after interning there (although longer than you - I interned there for 1.5 years). If your agency doesn't have a dedicated program for hiring new attorneys, and most do not, then it's a total crap shoot. There's budgetary restrictions and all this hierarchy that goes with the hiring process, it's really quite a nuisance.

My biggest tip for making this possible: make yourself an invaluable asset at your agency. Find a way to make it so that their inability to hire you will become a serious detriment to their office. If you can position yourself that way, they will find a way to make it happen, or at least try very hard to do so. And if they can't find a way, you've now proven yourself to a number of seniors who you can turn to for referrals for other opportunities.

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Re: Interning for state dept. Likelihood of getting hired after?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Feb 15, 2018 3:29 pm

misterjames wrote:Find a way to make it so that their inability to hire you will become a serious detriment to their office. If you can position yourself that way, they will find a way to make it happen, or at least try very hard to do so.


Any advice on this besides just bust my ass and try to handle as much as I can?

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Re: Interning for state dept. Likelihood of getting hired after?

Postby misterjames » Thu Feb 15, 2018 4:06 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
misterjames wrote:Find a way to make it so that their inability to hire you will become a serious detriment to their office. If you can position yourself that way, they will find a way to make it happen, or at least try very hard to do so.


Any advice on this besides just bust my ass and try to handle as much as I can?


Not really, other than to supplement your hard work with good social relationships in the office as well. Ask people to get lunch/coffee/drinks, stop by to chat when you can and take an interest in your colleagues' lives.

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Re: Interning for state dept. Likelihood of getting hired after?

Postby albanach » Thu Feb 15, 2018 4:36 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
misterjames wrote:Find a way to make it so that their inability to hire you will become a serious detriment to their office. If you can position yourself that way, they will find a way to make it happen, or at least try very hard to do so.


Any advice on this besides just bust my ass and try to handle as much as I can?


I'm not in government, but am in-house. I'd focus on becoming valuable in areas of need rather than taking on as much as you can. Identify where they need help and be invaluable there, make yourself the go-to person for issues x, y and z. If you get client time, learn who the key clients are in those areas and make yourself useful for them too.

If you're just a jack of all trades, even an efficient one, it's less likely you'll find folk seriously lobbying for you.

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Re: Interning for state dept. Likelihood of getting hired after?

Postby misterjames » Thu Feb 15, 2018 6:20 pm

albanach wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
misterjames wrote:Find a way to make it so that their inability to hire you will become a serious detriment to their office. If you can position yourself that way, they will find a way to make it happen, or at least try very hard to do so.


Any advice on this besides just bust my ass and try to handle as much as I can?


I'm not in government, but am in-house. I'd focus on becoming valuable in areas of need rather than taking on as much as you can. Identify where they need help and be invaluable there, make yourself the go-to person for issues x, y and z. If you get client time, learn who the key clients are in those areas and make yourself useful for them too.

If you're just a jack of all trades, even an efficient one, it's less likely you'll find folk seriously lobbying for you.


I actually disagree with this, at least as blanket advice, and would advise OP to think about their own situation and decide which is better, specialist or generalist, within their current agency. I personally went with the jack of all trades route at my agency and I think it's a big (if not the biggest) reason I was able to position myself as a necessary asset. At my state agency there were many older attorneys who didn't really have the hunger or motivation to take on work. Being open to all opportunities when no one else would raise their hand played a huge part in my own experience. Specializing can be the right route, but it really depends on the environment and if there's a need for that or, alternatively, someone who is just able and willing to take on volume in all forms.

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Re: Interning for state dept. Likelihood of getting hired after?

Postby albanach » Thu Feb 15, 2018 11:51 pm

misterjames wrote:I actually disagree with this, at least as blanket advice, and would advise OP to think about their own situation and decide which is better, specialist or generalist, within their current agency. I personally went with the jack of all trades route at my agency and I think it's a big (if not the biggest) reason I was able to position myself as a necessary asset. At my state agency there were many older attorneys who didn't really have the hunger or motivation to take on work. Being open to all opportunities when no one else would raise their hand played a huge part in my own experience. Specializing can be the right route, but it really depends on the environment and if there's a need for that or, alternatively, someone who is just able and willing to take on volume in all forms.


Okay, I didn't say you should ever turn down work. If work needs done and you're there as a fellow, I'd expect you to quickly raise your hand. Indeed I'm surprised that needs said.

Still, taking on work that needs done does not mean you can't try to learn where there are gaps and fill substantive needs.



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