PublicInterest wrote:Anonymous User wrote:What schools position you best to work as an ADA in a big city (NY, Chicago, etc)? For a job like that, does a T14 hold a significant advantage over a top regional school? What would you suggest doing during law school to position yourself for getting hired to a top DA?
If you happen to know, what are some of your colleagues long term goals? Work their way up as a prosecutor, get experience and open up a solo defense practice, etc.
Thank you for taking questions.
I went to a T14 and work at what would probably be considered a "top DA." I think school matters, at least a little bit. They tend to look for smart, motivated people who are committed to public service and are going to be able to persuasively argue in tough circumstances. If you go to Harvard, you can check off the "smart" box, but you've still got to show them everything else. Most urban DAs offices have strong ties to schools in the city, but they will hire from all over the country. If you do well there, particularly in crim/evidence classes, I think any advantage a T14 would give you is minimized.
As for getting hired: Intern, intern, intern. It's the best way to get experience and see if prosecution is really where your heart is set. It also exposes you to different offices and office structures. Some offices have "vertical prosecution" (one ADA per case), and others do "horizontal prosecution" (different ADAs at each level, like arraignment, grand jury, pre-trial, trial). Some break everyone into specialized units (narcotics, domestic vioence), while others have a more generalist approach. This really helps you explain why you want to be an ADA in a certain office, which is critical in getting a job.
Most of my friends also just started here, so no future plans for the moment. People leave for all kinds of places, like USAOs, DOJ, big firms, medium firms, and solo practice. Others go on to be judges, professors, politicians. I think it's a good place to start your career no matter what you want to do because it gives you immediate responsibility and actual trial experience, which is rare outside of criminal practice these days.
+1. Most DA offices offer internships all year. Many of the Attorney 1's that got hired where I worked were interns. You can get a lot of experience in the public sector as you go through ls, not just in the summer, so there are a lot of chances to get in there, network and build a solid reputation for yourself as a public servant. Showing interest and having a history of public service does account for a lot. Based on my experiences, they don't necessarily want the T14, 20, etc that's looking for a job because they struck out at OCI and have not real interest in the work or anything on their resume that would suggest that they do. To be honest, where I worked the entire ranking thing that everyone lives and dies by on here was essentially irrelevant, again based on my experience and this doesn't mean this is the case elsewhere.
Many DA, PD, AG, etc offices don't actively recruit either, so you have to go to them. It's a different ball game in the public sector.
Here's something interesting: http://www.cpda.org/2007-California-Pub ... ctices.pdf. It's regarding PD offices, but it does give you some insight in how various govt agencies operate in this regard.