Criminal Defense

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PurdueBoilermaker10
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Criminal Defense

Postby PurdueBoilermaker10 » Thu Oct 08, 2009 5:24 pm

Ok, quick question for the prospective criminal attorneys. Lets say that you do everything you are suppose to as far as securing a position with the PD's office;such as externing at the office, criminal clinics etc, but for whatever reason you are unable to secure a position with the PD office, how would one go about securing a position that would allow one to get the experience? I know that in many states they have court-appointed counsel and things like that but I would think those would go to the experienced attorneys. Also from what I gathered most criminal defense firms are very small so you will probably find it extremely difficult to gain employment that way also. So what do those people who don't get hired by the PD's office do? I don't really want to do anything other type of work other than criminal defense.

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anothernancydrew
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Re: Criminal Defense

Postby anothernancydrew » Thu Oct 08, 2009 5:33 pm

To preface, I am not in law school, but I have worked in a public defenders office for several years in a medium-size city. At our office, the majority of attorney positions go to those who have worked as law clerks (as you mentioned). However, there are several attorneys on staff who began as investigators or quasi-paralegals with the office and after demonstrating good quality work, were hired on as attorneys. This may not be the answer you are looking for, but it might help to give you an "in" somewhere. Related organizations like local defense investigation agencies or innocence projects are also well regarded.

articulably suspect
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Re: Criminal Defense

Postby articulably suspect » Thu Oct 08, 2009 5:34 pm

PurdueBoilermaker10 wrote:Ok, quick question for the prospective criminal attorneys. Lets say that you do everything you are suppose to as far as securing a position with the PD's office;such as externing at the office, criminal clinics etc, but for whatever reason you are unable to secure a position with the PD office, how would one go about securing a position that would allow one to get the experience? I know that in many states they have court-appointed counsel and things like that but I would think those would go to the experienced attorneys. Also from what I gathered most criminal defense firms are very small so you will probably find it extremely difficult to gain employment that way also. So what do those people who don't get hired by the PD's office do? I don't really want to do anything other type of work other than criminal defense.


Best thing to do ITE is not put you eggs in one basket. Maybe something in PI. Anything with trial experience will help. There are a lot of state jobs, that's an option.

In bold, correct.

PurdueBoilermaker10
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Re: Criminal Defense

Postby PurdueBoilermaker10 » Thu Oct 08, 2009 5:46 pm

PurdueBoilermaker10 wrote:Ok, quick question for the prospective criminal attorneys. Lets say that you do everything you are suppose to as far as securing a position with the PD's office;such as externing at the office, criminal clinics etc, but for whatever reason you are unable to secure a position with the PD office, how would one go about securing a position that would allow one to get the experience? I know that in many states they have court-appointed counsel and things like that but I would think those would go to the experienced attorneys. Also from what I gathered most criminal defense firms are very small so you will probably find it extremely difficult to gain employment that way also. So what do those people who don't get hired by the PD's office do? I don't really want to do anything other type of work other than criminal defense.


What is a defense investigation agency?

PurdueBoilermaker10
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Re: Criminal Defense

Postby PurdueBoilermaker10 » Thu Oct 08, 2009 5:47 pm

ejjones wrote:
PurdueBoilermaker10 wrote:Ok, quick question for the prospective criminal attorneys. Lets say that you do everything you are suppose to as far as securing a position with the PD's office;such as externing at the office, criminal clinics etc, but for whatever reason you are unable to secure a position with the PD office, how would one go about securing a position that would allow one to get the experience? I know that in many states they have court-appointed counsel and things like that but I would think those would go to the experienced attorneys. Also from what I gathered most criminal defense firms are very small so you will probably find it extremely difficult to gain employment that way also. So what do those people who don't get hired by the PD's office do? I don't really want to do anything other type of work other than criminal defense.


Best thing to do ITE is not put you eggs in one basket. Maybe something in PI. Anything with trial experience will help. There are a lot of state jobs, that's an option.

In bold, correct.


I understand that, however I only have an interest in criminal law, and nothing else really. I guess I could practice family law in some capacity, but I would only be happy working as a criminal defense attorney.

articulably suspect
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Re: Criminal Defense

Postby articulably suspect » Thu Oct 08, 2009 6:16 pm

PurdueBoilermaker10 wrote:
ejjones wrote:
PurdueBoilermaker10 wrote:Ok, quick question for the prospective criminal attorneys. Lets say that you do everything you are suppose to as far as securing a position with the PD's office;such as externing at the office, criminal clinics etc, but for whatever reason you are unable to secure a position with the PD office, how would one go about securing a position that would allow one to get the experience? I know that in many states they have court-appointed counsel and things like that but I would think those would go to the experienced attorneys. Also from what I gathered most criminal defense firms are very small so you will probably find it extremely difficult to gain employment that way also. So what do those people who don't get hired by the PD's office do? I don't really want to do anything other type of work other than criminal defense.


Best thing to do ITE is not put you eggs in one basket. Maybe something in PI. Anything with trial experience will help. There are a lot of state jobs, that's an option.

In bold, correct.


I understand that, however I only have an interest in criminal law, and nothing else really. I guess I could practice family law in some capacity, but I would only be happy working as a criminal defense attorney.


Of all the other fields, why family law? Like the other poster mentioned, the Innocence Project would be great, this is something I'm really interested in. If you don't get a criminal defense job right out of ls, I suggest you get a job for Legal Serevices or something that will get you trial experiene. This may help get you a job as a PD if you can't land one right out of ls, you know providing legal services to the indigent, that's what PD is about. Like I said, there are state jobs that might be interesting and focus on crimnal law and there's the DAs office too. Just because you don't land that PD job right out of ls doesn't mean you can't end up there.

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anothernancydrew
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Re: Criminal Defense

Postby anothernancydrew » Thu Oct 08, 2009 7:19 pm

A defense investigation agency is a private, or nonprofit, agency that employs investigators, mitigation specialists, and occasionally the odd attorney. Many private criminal defense attorneys choose to contract their investigation/mitigation needs out instead of having full time staff. Additionally, some public defender agencies, particularly in smaller areas, choose to do this as well.

As another poster suggested, I think Legal Aide is a great idea and many of the skills will be similar. Although you seem fixated on the defense side of the equation, I should also say that a good percentage of our attorneys are former assistant district attorneys. While I can understand this not being your cup of tea, it would be great experience and you could build a skill set to utilize in your defense career as well. In the city where I live, it just so happens that the District Attorney's Office is far less selective in their hiring, but, of course, this will vary.

I am a little unclear, is this situation purely hypothetical or have you already been turned down to the pds office of your choice?

articulably suspect
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Re: Criminal Defense

Postby articulably suspect » Thu Oct 08, 2009 7:42 pm

anothernancydrew wrote:A defense investigation agency is a private, or nonprofit, agency that employs investigators, mitigation specialists, and occasionally the odd attorney. Many private criminal defense attorneys choose to contract their investigation/mitigation needs out instead of having full time staff. Additionally, some public defender agencies, particularly in smaller areas, choose to do this as well.

As another poster suggested, I think Legal Aide is a great idea and many of the skills will be similar. Although you seem fixated on the defense side of the equation, I should also say that a good percentage of our attorneys are former assistant district attorneys. While I can understand this not being your cup of tea, it would be great experience and you could build a skill set to utilize in your defense career as well. In the city where I live, it just so happens that the District Attorney's Office is far less selective in their hiring, but, of course, this will vary.

I am a little unclear, is this situation purely hypothetical or have you already been turned down to the pds office of your choice?


I'm pretty sure this is purely hypothetical, which makes this a little ridiculous if the OP isn't even in ls yet. I think the OP was wondering what other legal jobs would give him/her "the experience" of a criminal defense attorney, if he/she wasn't able to secure a PD job.

What the OP should be doing is focusing on what specific things PDs look for in a candidate and do them. Maybe try and volunteer at a PD or DA office and get a feel of what they did to get where they are, assuming you're not in ls now. I worked in a DAs office and got to know attorneys from all backgrounds and Nancy's right about the DA's transitioning to PD, although there was a PD that came over to the DAs office. This will help you when it comes to getting summer internships, there's some serious networking that can be had if you spend a decent amount of time at any govt agency.

Oh yeah, do well at your school and maybe this hypothetical situation won't happen.

PurdueBoilermaker10
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Re: Criminal Defense

Postby PurdueBoilermaker10 » Thu Oct 08, 2009 7:52 pm

ejjones wrote:
anothernancydrew wrote:A defense investigation agency is a private, or nonprofit, agency that employs investigators, mitigation specialists, and occasionally the odd attorney. Many private criminal defense attorneys choose to contract their investigation/mitigation needs out instead of having full time staff. Additionally, some public defender agencies, particularly in smaller areas, choose to do this as well.

As another poster suggested, I think Legal Aide is a great idea and many of the skills will be similar. Although you seem fixated on the defense side of the equation, I should also say that a good percentage of our attorneys are former assistant district attorneys. While I can understand this not being your cup of tea, it would be great experience and you could build a skill set to utilize in your defense career as well. In the city where I live, it just so happens that the District Attorney's Office is far less selective in their hiring, but, of course, this will vary.

I am a little unclear, is this situation purely hypothetical or have you already been turned down to the pds office of your choice?


I'm pretty sure this is purely hypothetical, which makes this a little ridiculous if the OP isn't even in ls yet. I think the OP was wondering what other legal jobs would give him/her "the experience" of a criminal defense attorney, if he/she wasn't able to secure a PD job.

What the OP should be doing is focusing on what specific things PDs look for in a candidate and do them. Maybe try and volunteer at a PD or DA office and get a feel of what they did to get where they are, assuming you're not in ls now. I worked in a DAs office and got to know attorneys from all backgrounds and Nancy's right about the DA's transitioning to PD, although there was a PD that came over to the DAs office. This will help you when it comes to getting summer internships, there's some serious networking that can be had if you spend a decent amount of time at any govt agency.

Oh yeah, do well at your school and maybe this hypothetical situation won't happen.


No, its purely hypo as I haven't even started 1L yet, but I'm confident in the area of law I want to pursue. As such I could defintely do something along the lines of the Innocence's project or even indigent counsel like tenancy problems, Social Security claims etc. I have no desire to be in the prosecution however. I'm in the process of volunteering for Legal Services so that should get me some help, and seeing some other avenues if I can't get a PD job fresh out.

raveler
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Re: Criminal Defense

Postby raveler » Thu Oct 08, 2009 7:54 pm

anothernancydrew wrote:As another poster suggested, I think Legal Aide is a great idea and many of the skills will be similar. Although you seem fixated on the defense side of the equation, I should also say that a good percentage of our attorneys are former assistant district attorneys. While I can understand this not being your cup of tea, it would be great experience and you could build a skill set to utilize in your defense career as well. In the city where I live, it just so happens that the District Attorney's Office is far less selective in their hiring, but, of course, this will vary.


This is unusual in the world of PD offices. Obviously the hiring practices in different markets vary, but most of the major PD offices that hire pre-bar exam really look down on DA experience -- one of the criteria for getting hired is how much of a "true believer" you are. One of the most common questions in interviews is "Would you ever consider being a prosecutor," even if the person has tons of defender stuff on her resume. And the opposite holds true as well, although the bias against PD experience in DA hiring is less for some reason. I suppose that you could spin DA experience as what made you "see the light" and come over to the defense side, but this probably wouldn't fly if you have a lot of pre-graduation experience in defense work.

I would definitely recommend trying to get a position with another public interest organization. I'd steer clear of things like domestic abuse or sexual assault victim work, even if you aren't involved in the criminal side at all, because that will raise a lot of questions about your willingness to defend against those charges (which will make up a large portion of your cases). Innocence Project or anything involving death penalty and the ACLU are obviously on point, but are difficult to land -- and really, if you have the credentials for ACLU you should be able to find SOME PD office to hire you. There are other policy organizations that deal with subsidiary issues of criminal justice like juvenile rights or immigrant defendants. Legal Aid is a good suggestion, and there are other one-issue nonprofits that do similar work. I would not only suggest getting trial experience, but also trying to focus on an issue that also happens to affect a lot of criminal defendants -- housing is a good example, since a lot of the cases you'll see in a housing unit will involve people whose benefits are being terminated because of criminal matters.

articulably suspect
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Re: Criminal Defense

Postby articulably suspect » Thu Oct 08, 2009 8:13 pm

raveler wrote:
anothernancydrew wrote:As another poster suggested, I think Legal Aide is a great idea and many of the skills will be similar. Although you seem fixated on the defense side of the equation, I should also say that a good percentage of our attorneys are former assistant district attorneys. While I can understand this not being your cup of tea, it would be great experience and you could build a skill set to utilize in your defense career as well. In the city where I live, it just so happens that the District Attorney's Office is far less selective in their hiring, but, of course, this will vary.


This is unusual in the world of PD offices. Obviously the hiring practices in different markets vary, but most of the major PD offices that hire pre-bar exam really look down on DA experience -- one of the criteria for getting hired is how much of a "true believer" you are. One of the most common questions in interviews is "Would you ever consider being a prosecutor," even if the person has tons of defender stuff on her resume. And the opposite holds true as well, although the bias against PD experience in DA hiring is less for some reason. I suppose that you could spin DA experience as what made you "see the light" and come over to the defense side, but this probably wouldn't fly if you have a lot of pre-graduation experience in defense work.

I would definitely recommend trying to get a position with another public interest organization. I'd steer clear of things like domestic abuse or sexual assault victim work, even if you aren't involved in the criminal side at all, because that will raise a lot of questions about your willingness to defend against those charges (which will make up a large portion of your cases). Innocence Project or anything involving death penalty and the ACLU are obviously on point, but are difficult to land -- and really, if you have the credentials for ACLU you should be able to find SOME PD office to hire you. There are other policy organizations that deal with subsidiary issues of criminal justice like juvenile rights or immigrant defendants. Legal Aid is a good suggestion, and there are other one-issue nonprofits that do similar work. I would not only suggest getting trial experience, but also trying to focus on an issue that also happens to affect a lot of criminal defendants -- housing is a good example, since a lot of the cases you'll see in a housing unit will involve people whose benefits are being terminated because of criminal matters.


This is pretty good advice. OP isn't in ls yet thought. OP are you applying for next fall? RE: ACLU, you're right, but as a OL, it might be a good idea to volunteer for your county ACLU chapter, they'd be more than happy to have you and you'll get to do some pretty cool stuff, or at least I have. I interned for the local chapter and still volunteer. I can go to the meetings with the Presidet of the Chapter if I want, you might make some contacts that way, pre-law school, that might help you out during ls. Oh, yeah a form CA Supreme Court Justice is also a member, so you never know who you'll meet and how that could benefit you during ls and while seeking employment.

Also, a great experience and rewarding volunteer position is CASA-Court Appointed Special Advocate. CASAs help children through foster care and the court system. You'll truly make a difference in that child's life by being there for them and making sure the court makes decisions that are in the best interest of that child. I'm going to be sworn in in about a month or two. It's no joke though, it a pretty serious commitment as far as volunteer positions are concerned.

PurdueBoilermaker10
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Joined: Fri Oct 02, 2009 3:08 pm

Re: Criminal Defense

Postby PurdueBoilermaker10 » Thu Oct 08, 2009 8:23 pm

Thats funny you should mention CASA as I have the application packet at home, but I don't have a vehicle so I can't do that right now. I'm going to start volunteering for Legal Services, as the Legal Aid Society isn't taking any volunteers until next semester.


ejjones wrote:
raveler wrote:
anothernancydrew wrote:As another poster suggested, I think Legal Aide is a great idea and many of the skills will be similar. Although you seem fixated on the defense side of the equation, I should also say that a good percentage of our attorneys are former assistant district attorneys. While I can understand this not being your cup of tea, it would be great experience and you could build a skill set to utilize in your defense career as well. In the city where I live, it just so happens that the District Attorney's Office is far less selective in their hiring, but, of course, this will vary.


This is unusual in the world of PD offices. Obviously the hiring practices in different markets vary, but most of the major PD offices that hire pre-bar exam really look down on DA experience -- one of the criteria for getting hired is how much of a "true believer" you are. One of the most common questions in interviews is "Would you ever consider being a prosecutor," even if the person has tons of defender stuff on her resume. And the opposite holds true as well, although the bias against PD experience in DA hiring is less for some reason. I suppose that you could spin DA experience as what made you "see the light" and come over to the defense side, but this probably wouldn't fly if you have a lot of pre-graduation experience in defense work.

I would definitely recommend trying to get a position with another public interest organization. I'd steer clear of things like domestic abuse or sexual assault victim work, even if you aren't involved in the criminal side at all, because that will raise a lot of questions about your willingness to defend against those charges (which will make up a large portion of your cases). Innocence Project or anything involving death penalty and the ACLU are obviously on point, but are difficult to land -- and really, if you have the credentials for ACLU you should be able to find SOME PD office to hire you. There are other policy organizations that deal with subsidiary issues of criminal justice like juvenile rights or immigrant defendants. Legal Aid is a good suggestion, and there are other one-issue nonprofits that do similar work. I would not only suggest getting trial experience, but also trying to focus on an issue that also happens to affect a lot of criminal defendants -- housing is a good example, since a lot of the cases you'll see in a housing unit will involve people whose benefits are being terminated because of criminal matters.


This is pretty good advice. OP isn't in ls yet thought. OP are you applying for next fall? RE: ACLU, you're right, but as a OL, it might be a good idea to volunteer for your county ACLU chapter, they'd be more than happy to have you and you'll get to do some pretty cool stuff, or at least I have. I interned for the local chapter and still volunteer. I can go to the meetings with the Presidet of the Chapter if I want, you might make some contacts that way, pre-law school, that might help you out during ls. Oh, yeah a form CA Supreme Court Justice is also a member, so you never know who you'll meet and how that could benefit you during ls and while seeking employment.

Also, a great experience and rewarding volunteer position is CASA-Court Appointed Special Advocate. CASAs help children through foster care and the court system. You'll truly make a difference in that child's life by being there for them and making sure the court makes decisions that are in the best interest of that child. I'm going to be sworn in in about a month or two. It's no joke though, it a pretty serious commitment as far as volunteer positions are concerned.

articulably suspect
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Re: Criminal Defense

Postby articulably suspect » Thu Oct 08, 2009 8:30 pm

PurdueBoilermaker10 wrote:Thats funny you should mention CASA as I have the application packet at home, but I don't have a vehicle so I can't do that right now. I'm going to start volunteering for Legal Services, as the Legal Aid Society isn't taking any volunteers until next semester.


ejjones wrote:
raveler wrote:
anothernancydrew wrote:As another poster suggested, I think Legal Aide is a great idea and many of the skills will be similar. Although you seem fixated on the defense side of the equation, I should also say that a good percentage of our attorneys are former assistant district attorneys. While I can understand this not being your cup of tea, it would be great experience and you could build a skill set to utilize in your defense career as well. In the city where I live, it just so happens that the District Attorney's Office is far less selective in their hiring, but, of course, this will vary.


This is unusual in the world of PD offices. Obviously the hiring practices in different markets vary, but most of the major PD offices that hire pre-bar exam really look down on DA experience -- one of the criteria for getting hired is how much of a "true believer" you are. One of the most common questions in interviews is "Would you ever consider being a prosecutor," even if the person has tons of defender stuff on her resume. And the opposite holds true as well, although the bias against PD experience in DA hiring is less for some reason. I suppose that you could spin DA experience as what made you "see the light" and come over to the defense side, but this probably wouldn't fly if you have a lot of pre-graduation experience in defense work.

I would definitely recommend trying to get a position with another public interest organization. I'd steer clear of things like domestic abuse or sexual assault victim work, even if you aren't involved in the criminal side at all, because that will raise a lot of questions about your willingness to defend against those charges (which will make up a large portion of your cases). Innocence Project or anything involving death penalty and the ACLU are obviously on point, but are difficult to land -- and really, if you have the credentials for ACLU you should be able to find SOME PD office to hire you. There are other policy organizations that deal with subsidiary issues of criminal justice like juvenile rights or immigrant defendants. Legal Aid is a good suggestion, and there are other one-issue nonprofits that do similar work. I would not only suggest getting trial experience, but also trying to focus on an issue that also happens to affect a lot of criminal defendants -- housing is a good example, since a lot of the cases you'll see in a housing unit will involve people whose benefits are being terminated because of criminal matters.


This is pretty good advice. OP isn't in ls yet thought. OP are you applying for next fall? RE: ACLU, you're right, but as a OL, it might be a good idea to volunteer for your county ACLU chapter, they'd be more than happy to have you and you'll get to do some pretty cool stuff, or at least I have. I interned for the local chapter and still volunteer. I can go to the meetings with the Presidet of the Chapter if I want, you might make some contacts that way, pre-law school, that might help you out during ls. Oh, yeah a form CA Supreme Court Justice is also a member, so you never know who you'll meet and how that could benefit you during ls and while seeking employment.

Also, a great experience and rewarding volunteer position is CASA-Court Appointed Special Advocate. CASAs help children through foster care and the court system. You'll truly make a difference in that child's life by being there for them and making sure the court makes decisions that are in the best interest of that child. I'm going to be sworn in in about a month or two. It's no joke though, it a pretty serious commitment as far as volunteer positions are concerned.


that's a liitle weird. I haven't heard anyone else on here discuss CASA, which is a little surprising. Get a car, help a child

raveler
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Re: Criminal Defense

Postby raveler » Thu Oct 08, 2009 9:13 pm

ejjones wrote:
raveler wrote:
anothernancydrew wrote:As another poster suggested, I think Legal Aide is a great idea and many of the skills will be similar. Although you seem fixated on the defense side of the equation, I should also say that a good percentage of our attorneys are former assistant district attorneys. While I can understand this not being your cup of tea, it would be great experience and you could build a skill set to utilize in your defense career as well. In the city where I live, it just so happens that the District Attorney's Office is far less selective in their hiring, but, of course, this will vary.


This is unusual in the world of PD offices. Obviously the hiring practices in different markets vary, but most of the major PD offices that hire pre-bar exam really look down on DA experience -- one of the criteria for getting hired is how much of a "true believer" you are. One of the most common questions in interviews is "Would you ever consider being a prosecutor," even if the person has tons of defender stuff on her resume. And the opposite holds true as well, although the bias against PD experience in DA hiring is less for some reason. I suppose that you could spin DA experience as what made you "see the light" and come over to the defense side, but this probably wouldn't fly if you have a lot of pre-graduation experience in defense work.

I would definitely recommend trying to get a position with another public interest organization. I'd steer clear of things like domestic abuse or sexual assault victim work, even if you aren't involved in the criminal side at all, because that will raise a lot of questions about your willingness to defend against those charges (which will make up a large portion of your cases). Innocence Project or anything involving death penalty and the ACLU are obviously on point, but are difficult to land -- and really, if you have the credentials for ACLU you should be able to find SOME PD office to hire you. There are other policy organizations that deal with subsidiary issues of criminal justice like juvenile rights or immigrant defendants. Legal Aid is a good suggestion, and there are other one-issue nonprofits that do similar work. I would not only suggest getting trial experience, but also trying to focus on an issue that also happens to affect a lot of criminal defendants -- housing is a good example, since a lot of the cases you'll see in a housing unit will involve people whose benefits are being terminated because of criminal matters.


This is pretty good advice. OP isn't in ls yet thought. OP are you applying for next fall? RE: ACLU, you're right, but as a OL, it might be a good idea to volunteer for your county ACLU chapter, they'd be more than happy to have you and you'll get to do some pretty cool stuff, or at least I have. I interned for the local chapter and still volunteer. I can go to the meetings with the Presidet of the Chapter if I want, you might make some contacts that way, pre-law school, that might help you out during ls. Oh, yeah a form CA Supreme Court Justice is also a member, so you never know who you'll meet and how that could benefit you during ls and while seeking employment.

Also, a great experience and rewarding volunteer position is CASA-Court Appointed Special Advocate. CASAs help children through foster care and the court system. You'll truly make a difference in that child's life by being there for them and making sure the court makes decisions that are in the best interest of that child. I'm going to be sworn in in about a month or two. It's no joke though, it a pretty serious commitment as far as volunteer positions are concerned.


Oh, I wholeheartedly concur with this advice. I was just answering the question posed, since OP seems to have the whole "get involved in crim/defender stuff in law school" part under control even though he/she's not in law school. I'm pretty much dealing with the exact scenario OP posed, except from further along in the process, so I'm basically relating what I'm in the process of doing right now.

Anyway, if you do strike out with the actual PD office and want to go to a defense firm, you will probably only get that job through networking. ACLU is an excellent idea for networking purposes. See if there are any other defense bar-related events in your area as well. CASA sounds like an excellent idea as well, and if you don't do that specifically I would recommend finding another public interest thing you can do that ISN'T necessarily crim-related -- if you have a resume that screams public defender but don't get a PD gig and have to look into non-crim public interest options, those organizations will be thinking "Why the fuck should we hire this kid who obviously wants to be a PD?"

One last thing that you can be doing while in law school -- start researching fellowships (since you're a 0L you probably don't know -- look up the Skadden, Soros, Equal Justice Works for starters). Then in your work with different organizations during school, really keep that in the back of your mind. It's a really good way to get experience, and looks great on your resume if you get one of the higher profile ones. Plus, if you make good contacts with a particular organization as an intern, even if they aren't financially able to hire you they may take you on if you get external funding, and then later that could lead to a permanent position. And even if you don't want to go back to a particular organization where you were an intern, your work there might give you a good project idea -- the best fellowship proposals draw on your internship and clinic experiences. So you want to be thinking about both whether the work you're doing suggests a good project and whether the organization would be a good fellowship host at every internship you do, even as a 1L. You might even bring this up with your supervisor after awhile.

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cvs114
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Re: Criminal Defense

Postby cvs114 » Sat Oct 24, 2009 3:05 am

I'm surprised to see CASA on here too, all my undergraduate volunteer work was for that organization and it was actually my sorority's philanthropy. Funny.

Anyway, I read one of the posts that really concerned me. I really really really want to be a criminal defense attorney (but ideally not at the public defenders office but rather at a small firm). I got an internship offer at the DA, but will interning there after my 2L year hurt me? I haven't accepted but I was actually going to accept on Monday. The program allows for 2L's to actually try cases (obviously not jury trials but VOPs, waivers etc) I felt like it would be an amazing experience but I don't want to do it if as a result of it I will not be hired by a criminal defense firm in the future. ADVICE PLEASE!!!!!

Anonymous User
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Re: Criminal Defense

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Oct 25, 2009 10:27 pm

cvs114 wrote:I'm surprised to see CASA on here too, all my undergraduate volunteer work was for that organization and it was actually my sorority's philanthropy. Funny.

Anyway, I read one of the posts that really concerned me. I really really really want to be a criminal defense attorney (but ideally not at the public defenders office but rather at a small firm). I got an internship offer at the DA, but will interning there after my 2L year hurt me? I haven't accepted but I was actually going to accept on Monday. The program allows for 2L's to actually try cases (obviously not jury trials but VOPs, waivers etc) I felt like it would be an amazing experience but I don't want to do it if as a result of it I will not be hired by a criminal defense firm in the future. ADVICE PLEASE!!!!!


I work for a DA's office in a big city now. Many of the best private defense lawyers I deal with were former ADAs, in both my office and others. In fact, a couple of ADAs here just left to start their own defense firm. I think it's a good path to look into if you want to do firm defense work later on. Like any criminal law job, it gives you massive amounts of courtroom experience. But also, the criminal law bar is very, very small, even in a big city like mine, and you start developing a reputation and building contacts right off the bat. Those things are vital to getting off on the right foot at a small criminal defense firm.

Many of the private defense lawyers I deal with are the first to admit that their time in the DA's office was the best job they ever had, so I don't think you need to worry about having prosecution stuff on your resume if you want to end up in private defense work. Public defender jobs are a whole other story.




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