DA positions out of HYS

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Anonymous User
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Re: DA positions out of HYS

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jul 04, 2018 6:12 pm

encore1101 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:HYS grad here. Spent 3-5 years at a non-NYC DA’s office after law school. Currently an AUSA. As a 3L, I applied to most of the major east coast offices and ended up with a number of final round interviews/offers.

My advice: If you want to be a prosecutor, you really need to get experience while you’re in law school. Intern at DA’s offices during your summers. Get experience in court. I did both summers at prosecutors offices, and an externship at a local DA office during 3L. By the time I was interviewing as a 3L, I had already tried a handful of cases and handled a bunch of suppression hearings.

As an HYS student, your interviewers will assume you’re bright and a good writer. But you have to show them that you can handle yourself in court with a massive docket of cases; that you can work with angry/uncooperative cops and witnesses; and that you won’t be a disaster in front of a jury.

If you can combine prosecution experience with an HYS resume, you’ll do fine.


How the hell do you get prosecution experience? How do you demonstrate that you can handle being a DA without having had that experience? What is it like starting out as a DA without experience? I've been considering being a DA but am scared shitless that I'll screw up my first few cases and get the axe.



Like others have said, externships and internships are the easiest ways to get experience.

Beyond that, there's a few different responses to your concerns. First, most ADAs start out doing a rotation between Intake/ECAB, Arraignments, and Criminal Court. Intake/ECAB will help get you comfortable speaking with police officers and witnesses, figuring out what details you need to know for your case, etc. Arraignments will get you used to speaking in court and making arguments, i.e. bail conditions. Criminal Court gets you comfortable speaking in court, via hearings, motions in limine, etc.

It will be months from when you start to when you get your first trial. By that time, you'll have plenty of in-court experience.

And anybody who's in a position to fire you has lost a case more significant than whatever misdemeanor case you're worried about losing. Guaranteed. The only way you'll get fired in your first few years is if you fail the bar a few times in a row, or you commit some huge ethical violation, like forging police paperwork.

just to put it into perspective, of the cases that go to trial, Bronx only has a 49% conviction rate (src: https://nypost.com/2017/07/22/the-bronx ... -the-city/)


I'm a HYS grad. 4th year biglaw associate. Decent grades (think 1/4th Hs and the rest Ps). No prosecution experience. What are the odds that I could get a job as a DA given I don't have that experience? Also, what level could I expect to come in at? How long is the hiring process? What are the hours like on a day-to-day basis? Based on what you know, is it more or less demanding than biglaw?

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Re: DA positions out of HYS

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jul 04, 2018 8:55 pm

I'm a HYS grad. 4th year biglaw associate. Decent grades (think 1/4th Hs and the rest Ps). No prosecution experience. What are the odds that I could get a job as a DA given I don't have that experience? Also, what level could I expect to come in at? How long is the hiring process? What are the hours like on a day-to-day basis? Based on what you know, is it more or less demanding than biglaw?


I'm the first HYS grad who talked about interviewing for and spending time at a DA's office, but not the current AUSA grad. My two cents:

1. You've got a reasonable shot, but no guarantee, of getting a job as a DA. Someone I know was recently hired out of biglaw into a well-regarded DA's office, slightly junior to you, with no prior prosecution experience but social connections to a couple of misdo ADAs. I have known many ex-biglaw types who volunteered their way into a salaried ADA gig, and if you feel strongly enough about this, you'll do that if you strike out at paid positions.

2. In every jurisdiction I personally have experience with, you'd start in misdemeanors.

3. The hiring process varies county to county. It usually involves multiple rounds (2-4+), with the final round being with the District Attorney. Pauses between rounds can be significant, and most DA's offices I've encountered are not renowned for their hiring efficiency. Shouldn't matter much to you assuming you don't have a biglaw end date.

4. My misdo experience = big city with voluminous case files. ADAs seemed to work in the 60 hour per week range, sometimes more when in trial and in the 45-55 range during downtimes.

5. I don't think it's MORE demanding than biglaw, but it's often not *much less* demanding than biglaw as you might hope. IMO the worst part of biglaw is the unpredictable hours, and the DA's office doesn't totally solve that issue. There can be a lot of unpredictability when you're actually going to go to trial - you can suddenly be asked to take a colleague's case to trial and end up working 80 hours on what you'd anticipated would be a slow week. Also, after a crazy pre-trial grind, cases can suddenly settle and you can be unexpectedly be slow - also like biglaw. And you will spend more time on ministerial/secretarial/paralegal tasks than you would in biglaw, which can be terribly frustrating when you are coming from biglaw: all of a sudden, you are making 1/2 (or 1/3 or 1/4, depending on how senior you are when you leave) your prior salary, dealing with a different and frankly often harder kind of stress (e.g., mentally ill victims, witnesses, Ds; frustrated cops; traumatized individuals. etc.); AND you don't even have the basic support to get your job done that you've totally come to rely on in biglaw. The key to sustaining yourself through those times is either a deep belief in the public service elements of being a prosecutor or a very clear sense that you are working towards a goal that you are now closer to than biglaw (e.g., if in your district DA-->AUSA is much more likely than biglaw--> AUSA, which as discussed on this board is not always true).

Anonymous User
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Re: DA positions out of HYS

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jul 05, 2018 12:01 am

Anonymous User wrote:
I'm a HYS grad. 4th year biglaw associate. Decent grades (think 1/4th Hs and the rest Ps). No prosecution experience. What are the odds that I could get a job as a DA given I don't have that experience? Also, what level could I expect to come in at? How long is the hiring process? What are the hours like on a day-to-day basis? Based on what you know, is it more or less demanding than biglaw?


I'm the first HYS grad who talked about interviewing for and spending time at a DA's office, but not the current AUSA grad. My two cents:

1. You've got a reasonable shot, but no guarantee, of getting a job as a DA. Someone I know was recently hired out of biglaw into a well-regarded DA's office, slightly junior to you, with no prior prosecution experience but social connections to a couple of misdo ADAs. I have known many ex-biglaw types who volunteered their way into a salaried ADA gig, and if you feel strongly enough about this, you'll do that if you strike out at paid positions.

2. In every jurisdiction I personally have experience with, you'd start in misdemeanors.

3. The hiring process varies county to county. It usually involves multiple rounds (2-4+), with the final round being with the District Attorney. Pauses between rounds can be significant, and most DA's offices I've encountered are not renowned for their hiring efficiency. Shouldn't matter much to you assuming you don't have a biglaw end date.

4. My misdo experience = big city with voluminous case files. ADAs seemed to work in the 60 hour per week range, sometimes more when in trial and in the 45-55 range during downtimes.

5. I don't think it's MORE demanding than biglaw, but it's often not *much less* demanding than biglaw as you might hope. IMO the worst part of biglaw is the unpredictable hours, and the DA's office doesn't totally solve that issue. There can be a lot of unpredictability when you're actually going to go to trial - you can suddenly be asked to take a colleague's case to trial and end up working 80 hours on what you'd anticipated would be a slow week. Also, after a crazy pre-trial grind, cases can suddenly settle and you can be unexpectedly be slow - also like biglaw. And you will spend more time on ministerial/secretarial/paralegal tasks than you would in biglaw, which can be terribly frustrating when you are coming from biglaw: all of a sudden, you are making 1/2 (or 1/3 or 1/4, depending on how senior you are when you leave) your prior salary, dealing with a different and frankly often harder kind of stress (e.g., mentally ill victims, witnesses, Ds; frustrated cops; traumatized individuals. etc.); AND you don't even have the basic support to get your job done that you've totally come to rely on in biglaw. The key to sustaining yourself through those times is either a deep belief in the public service elements of being a prosecutor or a very clear sense that you are working towards a goal that you are now closer to than biglaw (e.g., if in your district DA-->AUSA is much more likely than biglaw--> AUSA, which as discussed on this board is not always true).

This is very helpful. Thank you.

nasra234

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Re: DA positions out of HYS

Postby nasra234 » Thu Jul 05, 2018 11:54 am

Anonymous User wrote:
nasra234 wrote:Thanks for responding. If you don't mind me asking, were you interviewing during a particularly competitive cycle, say, in 2009-2010?

Not especially, sometime in last 3 years.


Yikes, so I should expect the coming year to be much more difficult and stressful than originally anticipated...

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Re: DA positions out of HYS

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jul 05, 2018 12:18 pm

nasra234 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
nasra234 wrote:Thanks for responding. If you don't mind me asking, were you interviewing during a particularly competitive cycle, say, in 2009-2010?

Not especially, sometime in last 3 years.


Yikes, so I should expect the coming year to be much more difficult and stressful than originally anticipated...


Why? 2009-2010 was financial crisis-era, ie the worst legal market in 50 years. *Every* legal position was insanely competitive. Unless we have another borderline-depression, hiring should be a lot more like 2014-2015 than 2009-2010

nasra234

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Re: DA positions out of HYS

Postby nasra234 » Thu Jul 05, 2018 12:28 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
nasra234 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
nasra234 wrote:Thanks for responding. If you don't mind me asking, were you interviewing during a particularly competitive cycle, say, in 2009-2010?

Not especially, sometime in last 3 years.


Yikes, so I should expect the coming year to be much more difficult and stressful than originally anticipated...


Why? 2009-2010 was financial crisis-era, ie the worst legal market in 50 years. *Every* legal position was insanely competitive. Unless we have another borderline-depression, hiring should be a lot more like 2014-2015 than 2009-2010


My point was that if getting a DA position was so hard for a Columbia grad with exceptional grades in an application cycle which likely wasn't much more competitive from the one I'm going to be in, then I should also expect to have a similarly difficult time getting a DA position.

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Re: DA positions out of HYS

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jul 05, 2018 1:37 pm

Manhattan classes have been about 1/2 T14, 1/2 local.. maybe 60/40 t14

HYS will def help at Manhattan but need the standard prosecutor stuff (clinics, externships, summer at a DA office, etc..)

nasra234

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Re: DA positions out of HYS

Postby nasra234 » Thu Jul 12, 2018 6:26 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Manhattan classes have been about 1/2 T14, 1/2 local.. maybe 60/40 t14

HYS will def help at Manhattan but need the standard prosecutor stuff (clinics, externships, summer at a DA office, etc..)


My understanding is that Manhattan and SF are the most grade selective - is this correct?

tyroneslothrop1

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Re: DA positions out of HYS

Postby tyroneslothrop1 » Thu Jul 12, 2018 7:31 pm

I have a friend who works as a ADA in a non-major market, capital city. Hiring was not especially competitive, and a HYS grad would absolutely be able to land an interview.

nasra234

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Re: DA positions out of HYS

Postby nasra234 » Tue Jul 17, 2018 5:44 pm

tyroneslothrop1 wrote:I have a friend who works as a ADA in a non-major market, capital city. Hiring was not especially competitive, and a HYS grad would absolutely be able to land an interview.


Thanks for your response. Would you be able to give me a better idea of what you mean by "non-major market" in the context of ADA jobs?



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