Federal Attorney Taking Questions

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Anonymous User
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Federal Attorney Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 01, 2009 5:37 pm

Alright. So, even though this is an anonymous post, I am giving a disclaimer. Nothing I say here represents the views of the organization for which I work, the United States or its government, or any agency or employee of the United States, except that it is my view in my personal (not professional) capacity. Also, advice I give may be wrong, so don't rely on it without verifying such for yourself. If you want to be sure of something, find a professional to assist you.

I can see some of you could use an opinion of someone other than a law student, and I thought I may as well help. I graduated from a school in the top ten according to some rankings, not including the notorious ranking made by a certain school in Michigan. I have worked for the D.O.J. as well as another government agency. Post your questions here, and I'll respond to them, with my posts preceded by "OP-".

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MrOrange
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Re: Federal Attorney Taking Questions

Postby MrOrange » Tue Sep 01, 2009 5:42 pm

What are the typical backgrounds of people who work for the DOJ who didn't enter via the honors program? In other words...what does one need to do to make oneself an attractive candidate for DOJ employment a few years removed from LS?

Carlisle
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Re: Federal Attorney Taking Questions

Postby Carlisle » Tue Sep 01, 2009 5:44 pm

are federal jobs restricted to grads from top schools? Did you get a federal clerkship? Were you moot court or law review?

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casper13
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Re: Federal Attorney Taking Questions

Postby casper13 » Tue Sep 01, 2009 5:47 pm

Did you start right after LS and if so what GS level did they start you at

NYVA311
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Re: Federal Attorney Taking Questions

Postby NYVA311 » Tue Sep 01, 2009 6:03 pm

What are your hours like? More normal than firms? I've always heard most government law jobs are 9-5 if not very close to that.

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Re: Federal Attorney Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 01, 2009 6:12 pm

OP-The typical lateral these days is from a big firm and a top 14 law school. About ten years ago, this was less the case, but the level of competition is elevated every year. I've heard people working at DA's offices complain about this, they can't even get in despite being appointed SAUSA's (sometimes local DA offices or city attorney's lend us their attorneys, and are appointed Special Asst. US Attorneys) in offices near DC. I really think it has reached an infathomable level of competition.

Some US attorneys offices still hire heavily from DA's offices, especially the ones in the smaller markets, like El Paso or Buffalo, from what I understand.

This is not to say that having a top school and a big firm gets you even an interview. There are plenty of top-school/top-firm types to go around, and they also get rejected on a regular basis.

If you really want to be in the DOJ I suggest clerking. Lots of hires lately who have clerked at the Dist. or Appellate level lately, probably the majority.

For fear of outing myself, I will not identify the pay level I started at or what level of experience I had when I worked for either agency. I can say that I went to work for the government as an honors hire, but I will not say which agency that was. If you have a specific question about pay or entry level qualifications, I can answer that without referring to my own experience.

Edited to put in my identifier (OP-)
Last edited by Anonymous User on Tue Sep 01, 2009 6:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.

drew
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Re: Federal Attorney Taking Questions

Postby drew » Tue Sep 01, 2009 6:13 pm

Answered.

Thanks a ton for answering questions.

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Re: Federal Attorney Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 01, 2009 6:20 pm

NYVA311 wrote:What are your hours like? More normal than firms? I've always heard most government law jobs are 9-5 if not very close to that.


OP-About 50 hours per week at both agencies on average. Some of that is choice. There is as much work as you want, and I have been known to ask for, or volunteer when asked about, special projects. I have done several 70-80 hour weeks, and a fair number of 40 hour weeks every year. Definitely better than firms. 50 hours per week is very manageable. You come in around 8 and leave around 6, and maybe work a little on the weekend or the one longer day. If you work at a firm, it is more like 60 hours, and my friends don't leave until 7:30 or 8pm daily (although I think they come in a little later than me). The quality of life at the agency is even better. If you work 50 hours in one week, you get to put it into a leave account, and you could theoretically only work 30 hours the next week. Pretty cool, and it pays pretty well, too.

Edited to put in my identifier (OP-)
Last edited by Anonymous User on Tue Sep 01, 2009 6:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Alfonso Soriano
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Re: Federal Attorney Taking Questions

Postby Alfonso Soriano » Tue Sep 01, 2009 6:21 pm

I don't believe the OP in what their saying. If you take a look at this thread

viewtopic.php?f=23&t=82732&start=50

The same user, with the same amount of posts and join time are asking questions like their some UG student who doesn't know a lot. Unless someone joined at the same moment and made the same amount of posts I simply don't believe OP is who he says he is. Perhaps I'm off base, but I believe I'm correct.

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Re: Federal Attorney Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 01, 2009 6:32 pm

Alfonso Soriano wrote:I don't believe the OP in what their saying. If you take a look at this thread

viewtopic.php?f=23&t=82732&start=50

The same user, with the same amount of posts and join time are asking questions like their some UG student who doesn't know a lot. Unless someone joined at the same moment and made the same amount of posts I simply don't believe OP is who he says he is. Perhaps I'm off base, but I believe I'm correct.


OP-You should read the guidelines on anonymous posting on this forum. In short, anyone can post as an anonymous poster for certain reasons.

Or, alternatively, thanks for the laugh. :)

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thesealocust
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Re: Federal Attorney Taking Questions

Postby thesealocust » Tue Sep 01, 2009 6:35 pm

edit nm
Last edited by thesealocust on Sat Jun 19, 2010 7:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Moxie
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Re: Federal Attorney Taking Questions

Postby Moxie » Tue Sep 01, 2009 6:36 pm

thesealocust wrote:
Alfonso Soriano wrote:I don't believe the OP in what their saying. If you take a look at this thread

viewtopic.php?f=23&t=82732&start=50

The same user, with the same amount of posts and join time are asking questions like their some UG student who doesn't know a lot. Unless someone joined at the same moment and made the same amount of posts I simply don't believe OP is who he says he is. Perhaps I'm off base, but I believe I'm correct.


Quoted for unmitigated failure


+1

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Alfonso Soriano
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Re: Federal Attorney Taking Questions

Postby Alfonso Soriano » Tue Sep 01, 2009 6:36 pm

thesealocust wrote:
Alfonso Soriano wrote:I don't believe the OP in what their saying. If you take a look at this thread

viewtopic.php?f=23&t=82732&start=50

The same user, with the same amount of posts and join time are asking questions like their some UG student who doesn't know a lot. Unless someone joined at the same moment and made the same amount of posts I simply don't believe OP is who he says he is. Perhaps I'm off base, but I believe I'm correct.


Quoted for unmitigated failure


You're most welcome

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vanwinkle
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Re: Federal Attorney Taking Questions

Postby vanwinkle » Tue Sep 01, 2009 6:45 pm

Alfonso Soriano wrote:I don't believe the OP in what their saying. If you take a look at this thread

viewtopic.php?f=23&t=82732&start=50

The same user, with the same amount of posts and join time are asking questions like their some UG student who doesn't know a lot. Unless someone joined at the same moment and made the same amount of posts I simply don't believe OP is who he says he is. Perhaps I'm off base, but I believe I'm correct.


ALL anonymous posts show up as "Anonymous User" with a create date of Aug 11, in order to mask the true identity of the poster. No matter who's posting, if they post anonymously, this is how it shows up.

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Alfonso Soriano
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Re: Federal Attorney Taking Questions

Postby Alfonso Soriano » Tue Sep 01, 2009 6:46 pm

vanwinkle wrote:
Alfonso Soriano wrote:I don't believe the OP in what their saying. If you take a look at this thread

viewtopic.php?f=23&t=82732&start=50

The same user, with the same amount of posts and join time are asking questions like their some UG student who doesn't know a lot. Unless someone joined at the same moment and made the same amount of posts I simply don't believe OP is who he says he is. Perhaps I'm off base, but I believe I'm correct.


ALL anonymous posts show up as "Anonymous User" with a create date of Aug 11, in order to mask the true identity of the poster. No matter who's posting, if they post anonymously, this is how it shows up.


Oopsie.

Anonymous User
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Re: Federal Attorney Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 01, 2009 6:51 pm

OP- I appreciate that I've had three questions in this thread and six posts pointing out Alfonso's blooper. I remember trying to research the DOJ back in the day, and I found maybe one post on vault or something that was semi-helpful. I read it maybe 10 times in preparation for my interview, because I had nothing else. The internet is a funny place. As its informative value grows, the totally useless stuff grows exponentially. :)

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Re: Federal Attorney Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 01, 2009 6:53 pm

Is there any benefit from having a security clearance when applying for some Federal jobs?

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Re: Federal Attorney Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 01, 2009 7:01 pm

Nice blooper.

OP, thanks for taking questions. As far as employment with the DOJ goes, how do they look upon applicants who wish to apply right after law school? Do they take such applicants or do they prefer some sort of work experience?

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Re: Federal Attorney Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 01, 2009 7:16 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Is there any benefit from having a security clearance when applying for some Federal jobs?


OP- Depends a lot on the level of clearance. I think DOJ and many agencies do a 7 year background check, but, recently, the US Attorney's Offices and certain groups in the DOJ require 10 years-it has something to do with handling of national security cases. If you change federal jobs and you have done the check within a certain amount of time, you probably won't have to do it again unless it is a higher clearance (again, don't rely on this because things change pretty quickly). If your check was not done by the FBI for a federal position, it won't count for anything. If you have only done a 3-year, which is what you do for the internships, then you'll probably have to do it again. As a practical matter, if you save your old forms and information from any past background check, it will make another check easier and you'll be more confident. You may want to start putting together a list of all your old addresses, trips to other countries, and addresses of old employers and superiors while they are still fresh in your mind if you plan on doing the big background check in the future.

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Re: Federal Attorney Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 01, 2009 7:20 pm

I assume you had to pass a drug screen at some point in your career; were you screened only when hired or more than once? What sort of screening technique did you have to submit to? What sort of investigation was done into your past -- including former and present associates, jobs, houses, etc.? Can you go into a little more detail as far as what's investigated by a background check, and what sort of things raise red flags in that process? How thorough would you characterize the background investigation as being?

Thanks for answering these questions -- it's extremely helpful.

articulably suspect
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Re: Federal Attorney Taking Questions

Postby articulably suspect » Tue Sep 01, 2009 7:22 pm

Alfonso Soriano wrote:I don't believe the OP in what their saying. If you take a look at this thread

viewtopic.php?f=23&t=82732&start=50

The same user, with the same amount of posts and join time are asking questions like their some UG student who doesn't know a lot. Unless someone joined at the same moment and made the same amount of posts I simply don't believe OP is who he says he is. Perhaps I'm off base, but I believe I'm correct.


The joined time for annonymous post is when this forum was created and the # of posts are all annonymous posts, I'm guessing.

Anonymous User
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Re: Federal Attorney Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 01, 2009 7:25 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Nice blooper.

OP, thanks for taking questions. As far as employment with the DOJ goes, how do they look upon applicants who wish to apply right after law school? Do they take such applicants or do they prefer some sort of work experience?



OP- IMO, the honors programs are the best way into any agency, including the DOJ. I think the vast majority of hiring is entry level. Note, this is not applying right after school. I think the deadline for applying is coming up in a few days, to start following graduation. Realistically, if you want to be in the DOJ long term, your best chance is through honors, especially following a clerkship. It only gets more competitive for lateral hiring. In any case, if you are serious, you take the opportunities when they arise. I think the opposite used to be true, but now it seems that private practice will always be an option later for DOJ attorneys if they want it where going from private practice to DOJ is not a guarantee.

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jcl2
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Re: Federal Attorney Taking Questions

Postby jcl2 » Tue Sep 01, 2009 7:27 pm

Do you think experience working for an agency prior to law school helps in any way in seeking employment as an attorney with that agency?

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jcl2
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Re: Federal Attorney Taking Questions

Postby jcl2 » Tue Sep 01, 2009 7:30 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Nice blooper.

OP, thanks for taking questions. As far as employment with the DOJ goes, how do they look upon applicants who wish to apply right after law school? Do they take such applicants or do they prefer some sort of work experience?



OP- IMO, the honors programs are the best way into any agency, including the DOJ. I think the vast majority of hiring is entry level. Note, this is not applying right after school. I think the deadline for applying is coming up in a few days, to start following graduation. Realistically, if you want to be in the DOJ long term, your best chance is through honors, especially following a clerkship. It only gets more competitive for lateral hiring. In any case, if you are serious, you take the opportunities when they arise. I think the opposite used to be true, but now it seems that private practice will always be an option later for DOJ attorneys if they want it where going from private practice to DOJ is not a guarantee.


What agencies besides DOJ have honors programs?

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Re: Federal Attorney Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 01, 2009 7:32 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I assume you had to pass a drug screen at some point in your career; were you screened only when hired or more than once? What sort of screening technique did you have to submit to? What sort of investigation was done into your past -- including former and present associates, jobs, houses, etc.? Can you go into a little more detail as far as what's investigated by a background check, and what sort of things raise red flags in that process? How thorough would you characterize the background investigation as being?

Thanks for answering these questions -- it's extremely helpful.


OP- I have had to do a drug test before the start date, but not since. More thorough, actually, is the background check. Quite simply, do not lie on it. IMO, it will likely be caught. They thoroughly interview acquaintances and people at every job in the last several years, and all family members listed. I never did any drugs, but they interviewed potheads I knew. Thankfully, they knew me as very straight edge. If you have smoked pot, there is a strong possibility that they will speak to someone who knows that and that person will divulge when asked, so don't lie. If your background is such that it disqualifies you, so be it, but do not put your entire career at risk by lying about it. That is my personal view, anyway.




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