1st year big-city prosecutor taking questions

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1st year big-city prosecutor taking questions

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 15, 2009 8:02 am

I haven't been working for long, but I'm happy to answer any questions on my experiences in law school and interviewing for various prosecution/gov't jobs.

mse123
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Re: 1st year big-city prosecutor taking questions

Postby mse123 » Tue Sep 15, 2009 8:07 am

Thanks for coming on and answering some questions. Is the public sector as you've seen it become significantly more competitive? How difficult is it to secure jobs like yours from a well-respected, but not top regional school (like in Chicago, DePaul or Kent) for example? Thanks

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Re: 1st year big-city prosecutor taking questions

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 15, 2009 8:32 am

mse123 wrote:Thanks for coming on and answering some questions. Is the public sector as you've seen it become significantly more competitive? How difficult is it to secure jobs like yours from a well-respected, but not top regional school (like in Chicago, DePaul or Kent) for example? Thanks


Our office has always been pretty competitive, and we all feel fortunate to work here. I think the legal hiring folks are predicting even more applications this year given the job market. Like many other offices, I think they look for a genuine commitment to public service and other things like good performance in trial ad, clinics, evidence, crim pro, etc. So, to the extent that more people with these qualifications apply, it may get even more competitive.

There are people here from schools all over the country. We have tons from local schools, both here and elsewhere. One of my favorite things about working here is the lack of elitism about resume stuff. Once you're here, no one cares if you went to Harvard or Touro. All they care about is how good of a prosecutor you are.

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Re: 1st year big-city prosecutor taking questions

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 15, 2009 9:26 am

Wow, thanks for taking questions, because I have one.

I will be attending law school in 2010 (in the process of applying right now). I have two years of law enforcement experience. I've made several felony cases, etc. My sole reason to attend law school is to get a job as a prosecutor, since I know exactly what the job entails (had a good relationship with the ADAs). Will my experience in law enforcement be seen as a plus when applying to DA offices or will it hurt me?

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Re: 1st year big-city prosecutor taking questions

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 15, 2009 9:43 am

Anonymous User wrote:Wow, thanks for taking questions, because I have one.

I will be attending law school in 2010 (in the process of applying right now). I have two years of law enforcement experience. I've made several felony cases, etc. My sole reason to attend law school is to get a job as a prosecutor, since I know exactly what the job entails (had a good relationship with the ADAs). Will my experience in law enforcement be seen as a plus when applying to DA offices or will it hurt me?


And if I could just expand on that, does it help at all if an ug major was in criminal justice? What about a ug minor in criminal justice? Or is undergrad pretty obsolete by that time?

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lawlover829
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Re: 1st year big-city prosecutor taking questions

Postby lawlover829 » Tue Sep 15, 2009 9:53 am

How do you feel working as a prosecutor? Do any of your clients freak you out?

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Re: 1st year big-city prosecutor taking questions

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 15, 2009 7:36 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Wow, thanks for taking questions, because I have one.

I will be attending law school in 2010 (in the process of applying right now). I have two years of law enforcement experience. I've made several felony cases, etc. My sole reason to attend law school is to get a job as a prosecutor, since I know exactly what the job entails (had a good relationship with the ADAs). Will my experience in law enforcement be seen as a plus when applying to DA offices or will it hurt me?


It should be a help. I know many offices look very favorably on people who have worked before or even during law school, particualrly in public service jobs. I've seen a lot of former/reserve military and former paralegals hired here, and I'm sure there are some law enforcement officers turned prosecutors that I haven't met yet.

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Re: 1st year big-city prosecutor taking questions

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 15, 2009 7:40 pm

lawlover829 wrote:How do you feel working as a prosecutor? Do any of your clients freak you out?


I've only been here a short while, but so far I love it. The best thing about being a prosecutor is you don't have a client. Rather, all anyone expects from you is to try to do the right thing in every case, whether that means seeking a long prison term for a horrific crime, dismissing a case where there is insufficient evidence to show guilt, or finding a treatment program for someone addicted to drugs. Every case is different and you go in with an open mind trying to find a just outcome.
'

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Always Credited
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Re: 1st year big-city prosecutor taking questions

Postby Always Credited » Tue Sep 15, 2009 7:44 pm

This question may be inappropriate, so if so, please feel free to ignore it:

Could you tell us what you know so far about the average salary of prosecutors in cities such as your own, and if how much, if at all, that salary can be expected to increase?

Also, do you find that you're able to adequately pay off your student loans on your current salary?

Thanks so much in advance! :)

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Cavalier
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Re: 1st year big-city prosecutor taking questions

Postby Cavalier » Tue Sep 15, 2009 7:45 pm

Hanging or electric chair?

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Re: 1st year big-city prosecutor taking questions

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 15, 2009 7:53 pm

Always Credited wrote:This question may be inappropriate, so if so, please feel free to ignore it:

Could you tell us what you know so far about the average salary of prosecutors in cities such as your own, and if how much, if at all, that salary can be expected to increase?

Also, do you find that you're able to adequately pay off your student loans on your current salary?

Thanks so much in advance! :)


Hah! We make in the upper $50s starting out, with about $5-7, maybe $8k annual raises in a good year. I have a good LRAP program at my law school, so that obviously makes all the difference. It's not that easy to live in a really expensive city on this, but it's definitely doable, no matter what your loan situation is. Some areas of the country pay much more, particularly on the west coast where some California prosecutors make like $70 or $80k to start. Rural areas and the south tend to pay less. But if you plan for it, you can manage on just about any office's salary.

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Re: 1st year big-city prosecutor taking questions

Postby lsb » Tue Sep 15, 2009 8:22 pm

What is the atmosphere like in your office?

Is everyone really happy to be working there?

What are the other prosecutors like?

What are your hours like? How many vacation days?

Someone mentioned salary earlier, what about benefits?

Really appreciate your help :D !

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Always Credited
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Re: 1st year big-city prosecutor taking questions

Postby Always Credited » Tue Sep 15, 2009 8:30 pm

lsb wrote:What is the atmosphere like in your office?

Is everyone really happy to be working there?

What are the other prosecutors like?

What are your hours like? How many vacation days?

Someone mentioned salary earlier, what about benefits?

Really appreciate your help :D !


Yes, I was wondering about the hours too.

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underdawg
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Re: 1st year big-city prosecutor taking questions

Postby underdawg » Tue Sep 15, 2009 9:10 pm

is it really about "doing justice" or is it politics as usual?

think you'll ever try to go federal?

r973
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Re: 1st year big-city prosecutor taking questions

Postby r973 » Tue Sep 15, 2009 9:27 pm

Can you talk more about the hiring process and what is asked in those hypotheticals in the interviews? What is a good answer?

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Re: 1st year big-city prosecutor taking questions

Postby the lantern » Wed Sep 16, 2009 7:34 am

Thank you for taking time out of your day to answer our questions.

If you are interested in becoming a prosecutor after law school, what can you do to improve your chance the most? What types of internships will look best during the 1L summer? Are most prosecutors fresh law school graduates or are you the exception more than the rule? In smaller cities, it doesn't seem like there would be much turnover or a lot of attorneys around who have time to teach a new grad, so I'm wondering if the area you are trying to get a job in matters (would it be easier for a new grad to get a job in a big city when compared to a small rural area?). Do most prosecutors qualify for the federal LRAP program (you specifically mentioned your own school's LRAP being great, but some of us won't have that luxury)? Do most prosecutors stay in the public sector for the majority of their career or do many move to private practice (or vice versa, do many move laterally from private practice to working as a prosecutor)?

Thanks in advance.

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Re: 1st year big-city prosecutor taking questions

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 16, 2009 7:45 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Wow, thanks for taking questions, because I have one.

I will be attending law school in 2010 (in the process of applying right now). I have two years of law enforcement experience. I've made several felony cases, etc. My sole reason to attend law school is to get a job as a prosecutor, since I know exactly what the job entails (had a good relationship with the ADAs). Will my experience in law enforcement be seen as a plus when applying to DA offices or will it hurt me?


And if I could just expand on that, does it help at all if an ug major was in criminal justice? What about a ug minor in criminal justice? Or is undergrad pretty obsolete by that time?


Bump?

And what about billable hours? Do you have to log hours or just do your job as efficiently as possible? Do you have a designated secretary or is support staff shared among the office?

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Re: 1st year big-city prosecutor taking questions

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 16, 2009 7:07 pm

lsb wrote:What is the atmosphere like in your office?

Is everyone really happy to be working there?

What are the other prosecutors like?

What are your hours like? How many vacation days?

Someone mentioned salary earlier, what about benefits?

Really appreciate your help :D !


Everyone loves it. I think a lot of people came thinking they'd do their 3-5 years or so and then leave to go into defense, federal gov or private firms, but yet they've stayed.

The other first years are great. Virtually all out of law school and they come from all over the country. People have different political views too. There is really no "type" they look for, and we all get along great.

Hours are 9:30-5:30. Over a month vacation. Benefits are great -- we get a real pension with excellent benefits (health, vision, dental, healthclub reimbursement, you name it.

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Re: 1st year big-city prosecutor taking questions

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 16, 2009 7:11 pm

underdawg wrote:is it really about "doing justice" or is it politics as usual?

think you'll ever try to go federal?


In our office politics has no role whatsoever in cases. I know that's not the case everywhere. I'd love to go federal at some point, but for the time being I'm perfectly happy to stay here as long as I'm enjoying what I'm doing.

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Re: 1st year big-city prosecutor taking questions

Postby NYVA311 » Wed Sep 16, 2009 7:23 pm

9:30-5:30 hours, month long vacation, benefits and a pension? You are describing the EXACT law job I'm seeking. That is incredible - enjoy it! Does the ranking of your law school matter much in terms of getting a job like that? Or more so networking, connections, and how you actually are as a lawyer.

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Re: 1st year big-city prosecutor taking questions

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 16, 2009 7:25 pm

the lantern wrote:Thank you for taking time out of your day to answer our questions.

If you are interested in becoming a prosecutor after law school, what can you do to improve your chance the most? What types of internships will look best during the 1L summer? Are most prosecutors fresh law school graduates or are you the exception more than the rule? In smaller cities, it doesn't seem like there would be much turnover or a lot of attorneys around who have time to teach a new grad, so I'm wondering if the area you are trying to get a job in matters (would it be easier for a new grad to get a job in a big city when compared to a small rural area?). Do most prosecutors qualify for the federal LRAP program (you specifically mentioned your own school's LRAP being great, but some of us won't have that luxury)? Do most prosecutors stay in the public sector for the majority of their career or do many move to private practice (or vice versa, do many move laterally from private practice to working as a prosecutor)?

Thanks in advance.


I think the best things to do are 1) take a clinic that gets you into court (can be prosecution, defense, or even something civil focused), 2) take trial ad, evidence, crim pro, and other criminal law and litigation classes, 3) Intern at least one summer at a prosecutor's office, 4) do some public service stuff in your spare time, like help people get unemployment benefits through a student org.

Big offices tend to hire classes of attorneys every year, with many to most coming straight out. I think smaller counties either hire small annual classes or they look for people on an as needed basis.

ADAs qualify for the federal LRAP. ALso, some states have LRAP programs for public interest attorneys. In NY for example, there is a LRAP program for ADAs that kicks in after 3 years. Many prosecutors stay their entire careers. I think most will leave at some point to go to a firm or move to another prosecutor's office. It really depends on their personal preferences and family/financial situation.

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Re: 1st year big-city prosecutor taking questions

Postby lawlover829 » Wed Sep 16, 2009 7:25 pm

Edit: sorry the ? was already asked.
Last edited by lawlover829 on Wed Sep 16, 2009 7:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.

articulably suspect
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Re: 1st year big-city prosecutor taking questions

Postby articulably suspect » Wed Sep 16, 2009 7:34 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
underdawg wrote:is it really about "doing justice" or is it politics as usual?

think you'll ever try to go federal?


In our office politics has no role whatsoever in cases. I know that's not the case everywhere. I'd love to go federal at some point, but for the time being I'm perfectly happy to stay here as long as I'm enjoying what I'm doing.


I worked in a DAs office for several years and I agree with a lot of what you've said. However, I do think that "politics" plays a role in how PR handles sensitive issues (ie questionable suspect shooting, race related cases, etc), where the office does play "politics" to a certain degree as a means of damage control. After all, they are elected, but sitting DAs generally don't have to worry much about losing their post from what I've observed.

Do you find that the prosecutors have a certain mentality regarding various social/criminal justice issues, or what I came to recognize as more of a "cop-like" mentality towards the law. I have pretty strong(liberal) views on reforming Drug Court(actually think some of them should be legalized entirely), prison reform, 3 strikes, the death penalty, etc. These are all things that most of the DAs were very much in favor of and extremely outspoken. I found myself frequently discussing the issues with them and I felt that I developed this reputation as some bleeding heart. Does any of this resemble what you've observed/experienced at your office. It seemed like there was sort of cliques and admitting the things that I did, and other had, changed peoples impressions of you.

I guess what I'm getting at is my various views apparently come off as soft on crime. Although I agree with most of the office's policies and using discretion accordingly to punish criminals, there are what I perceive to be fundamental flaws in the criminal justice system. It's not as if these views would keep me from executing my work.

articulably suspect
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Re: 1st year big-city prosecutor taking questions

Postby articulably suspect » Wed Sep 16, 2009 7:35 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Always Credited wrote:This question may be inappropriate, so if so, please feel free to ignore it:

Could you tell us what you know so far about the average salary of prosecutors in cities such as your own, and if how much, if at all, that salary can be expected to increase?

Also, do you find that you're able to adequately pay off your student loans on your current salary?

Thanks so much in advance! :)


Hah! We make in the upper $50s starting out, with about $5-7, maybe $8k annual raises in a good year. I have a good LRAP program at my law school, so that obviously makes all the difference. It's not that easy to live in a really expensive city on this, but it's definitely doable, no matter what your loan situation is. Some areas of the country pay much more, particularly on the west coast where some California prosecutors make like $70 or $80k to start. Rural areas and the south tend to pay less. But if you plan for it, you can manage on just about any office's salary.


Lawlover, he/she posted this earlier. Future referrence, you can usually look up salaries for PD, DA, County Counsel, etc. online by looking up the County's salary resolution.

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lawlover829
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Re: 1st year big-city prosecutor taking questions

Postby lawlover829 » Wed Sep 16, 2009 7:41 pm

ejjones wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Always Credited wrote:This question may be inappropriate, so if so, please feel free to ignore it:

Could you tell us what you know so far about the average salary of prosecutors in cities such as your own, and if how much, if at all, that salary can be expected to increase?

Also, do you find that you're able to adequately pay off your student loans on your current salary?

Thanks so much in advance! :)


Hah! We make in the upper $50s starting out, with about $5-7, maybe $8k annual raises in a good year. I have a good LRAP program at my law school, so that obviously makes all the difference. It's not that easy to live in a really expensive city on this, but it's definitely doable, no matter what your loan situation is. Some areas of the country pay much more, particularly on the west coast where some California prosecutors make like $70 or $80k to start. Rural areas and the south tend to pay less. But if you plan for it, you can manage on just about any office's salary.


Lawlover, he/she posted this earlier. Future referrence, you can usually look up salaries for PD, DA, County Counsel, etc. online by looking up the County's salary resolution.


Edit: thanks ejjones. sorry OP.




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