Should I take this PD internship for 2L summer?

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Should I take this PD internship for 2L summer?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Nov 26, 2009 12:12 am

T14 2L, zero interest in working for a firm, really want to do indigent criminal defense but don't particularly care where I do it.

I just got an offer for the Alaska Public Defender Agency. I've never been to Alaska, but I wouldn't have applied if I wasn't willing to go there for at least the summer.

I'm inclined to accept because (1) seemed like a good personality fit based on the interview and other people I've spoken to, (2) get experience in crim defense (did civil legal aid stuff last summer in Chicago), (3) there's at least a small chance of it leading to permanent employment, and (4) limited time offer, and my other prospects aren't great because my grades are utterly shit.

I'm hesitating because (a) I'm afraid that if I decide not to stay in Alaska, on my resume this'll look like I wasn't considering my career track/future and just wanted a crazy alaskan adventure because i "love the outdoors" or something silly, and (b) It's early in the application cycle for PD offices, some don't even look at applications until Feb, so maybe I should wait it out. I do have a fallback option in my home state if no one bites in the Spring, but I would really, really rather not go back to my home state.

So I'm mostly wondering if my concern in (a) is valid: is there any way this could negatively affect my future job search if I decide not to stay in Alaska?

Thanks for any insights.

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Re: Should I take this PD internship for 2L summer?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Nov 26, 2009 1:40 am

Pros:

Working for any PD office 2L will look good on the resume when you apply for post-graduate, permanent PD jobs.

Cons:

You lose out on making connections for post-grad PD jobs in places that you like more.


Bear in mind that a lot of PD offices have hiring freezes right now and the situation isn't going to change by next year. You may not be giving up much by going to Alaska for the summer because there is a chance that another office that you'd end up going to won't be able to hire 3Ls for permanent jobs next year anyway.

Something else to consider is the size of the office and the caseload where you will be working in Alaska this summer should you decide to take it. Do you know what city they want to put you in and how busy that office is? If you're interested in big city PD offices for after graduation, you'd be better off going to some kind of big city PD office for this summer.


Good luck.

sprezzatura
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Re: Should I take this PD internship for 2L summer?

Postby sprezzatura » Thu Nov 26, 2009 3:33 pm

Poster before me raised an important point - you need to know where you're being assigned. If you get Anchorage, that's great; if, on the other hand, they assign you to Fairbanks or Juneau, then you have only one choice: RUN.
/Alaska resident

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Re: Should I take this PD internship for 2L summer?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Nov 26, 2009 6:11 pm

Thank you for the responses so far.

sprezzatura wrote:Poster before me raised an important point - you need to know where you're being assigned. If you get Anchorage, that's great; if, on the other hand, they assign you to Fairbanks or Juneau, then you have only one choice: RUN.
/Alaska resident

Why's that? If it makes a difference, I was told they usually have 5 interns in Anchorage, 4 in Palmer, 3 in Fairbanks, 3 in Kenai, and 1 in each of the remaining offices.

The way they do it is once I accept, then I get to talk to people at the various offices and work out which one is the best fit. So there's no guarantee I'd be in Anchorage, but I'm pretty sure I'd get either my first or second choice since it's so early.

If Anchorage really is the only worthwhile office, I guess I would be comfortable calling them and saying I'll accept on the condition I am assigned there. They seemed pretty laid back about it and not wanting to trick me into ending up in an office I'll hate.

Which of the offices with 3+ interns would I need a car in?

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professorvoltron
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Re: Should I take this PD internship for 2L summer?

Postby professorvoltron » Thu Nov 26, 2009 6:15 pm

Dude, go. Alaska is the most unique place you will probably ever visit. If indigent criminal defense is what you want to do go to Alaska. I currently volunteer with them and I treasure each day I work. Hit me up if you have any questions.

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professorvoltron
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Re: Should I take this PD internship for 2L summer?

Postby professorvoltron » Thu Nov 26, 2009 6:17 pm

Oh, Fairbanks is badass in the summer as well. Don't let anybody scare you. You will have fun no matter where you go. Just do it.

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Re: Should I take this PD internship for 2L summer?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Nov 26, 2009 6:21 pm

professorvoltron--awesome, thank you. Would I need a car in Fairbanks and Anchorage for the summer?

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Re: Should I take this PD internship for 2L summer?

Postby articulably suspect » Thu Nov 26, 2009 6:27 pm

Anonymous User wrote:T14 2L, zero interest in working for a firm, really want to do indigent criminal defense but don't particularly care where I do it.

I just got an offer for the Alaska Public Defender Agency. I've never been to Alaska, but I wouldn't have applied if I wasn't willing to go there for at least the summer.

I'm inclined to accept because (1) seemed like a good personality fit based on the interview and other people I've spoken to, (2) get experience in crim defense (did civil legal aid stuff last summer in Chicago), (3) there's at least a small chance of it leading to permanent employment, and (4) limited time offer, and my other prospects aren't great because my grades are utterly shit.

I'm hesitating because (a) I'm afraid that if I decide not to stay in Alaska, on my resume this'll look like I wasn't considering my career track/future and just wanted a crazy alaskan adventure because i "love the outdoors" or something silly, and (b) It's early in the application cycle for PD offices, some don't even look at applications until Feb, so maybe I should wait it out. I do have a fallback option in my home state if no one bites in the Spring, but I would really, really rather not go back to my home state.

So I'm mostly wondering if my concern in (a) is valid: is there any way this could negatively affect my future job search if I decide not to stay in Alaska?

Thanks for any insights.


exactly how long before the offer is taken off the table?

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Re: Should I take this PD internship for 2L summer?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Nov 26, 2009 6:35 pm

ejjones wrote:
exactly how long before the offer is taken off the table?

Didn't give an exact deadline, but from the sound of the email, I need to respond in some fashion on Monday. I also know they are going to start a second round of interviews very soon. I could ask for more time, but I don't think that'll help unless the extension is until like Feb or March (when most PD offices start getting back to people)... and by then I bet the more desirable AK offices will be filled up.

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professorvoltron
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Re: Should I take this PD internship for 2L summer?

Postby professorvoltron » Thu Nov 26, 2009 8:45 pm

Would you need a car? I would say yes. Don't know about Anchorage, but Fairbanks has a decent public transportation system. There is a high potential for rain as well. Pick my brain.

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Vincent Vega
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Re: Should I take this PD internship for 2L summer?

Postby Vincent Vega » Thu Nov 26, 2009 8:53 pm

My gut instinct is that you should take it. I don't have any first-hand experience to back it up, but I think it would be a great experience, even if it doesn't directly result in a job offer.

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kurla88
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Re: Should I take this PD internship for 2L summer?

Postby kurla88 » Thu Nov 26, 2009 9:04 pm

Clueless 1L, but ITE I say take what you can get. Not having to wait till Feb/March to finally know where you're going will take a huge load of your shoulders too, esp if you don't feel like your grades are stellar.

Alaska PD might not look as good on your resume as other, busier states (depending on where you're applying to post-grad, I suppose) but that just means you'll have to do a little more legwork, not that any opportunities will be closed off to you.

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Re: Should I take this PD internship for 2L summer?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Nov 26, 2009 11:08 pm

professorvoltron wrote:Would you need a car? I would say yes. Don't know about Anchorage, but Fairbanks has a decent public transportation system. There is a high potential for rain as well. Pick my brain.

If I understand you correctly so far, you are an 0L doing volunteer work in the PD office in Fairbanks. Can you tell me a little about the atmosphere in that office? Specifically I'm thinking about the workload and hours of the attorneys, and if you volunteered there over the summer, what the law student interns were usually tasked with (grunt work or more responsibility). And is the office very social throughout the workday?

Not sure what experience or knowledge you have about Anchorage, but if you have the basis to make a comparison--are Fairbanks and Anchorage similar weather-wise during the summer?

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professorvoltron
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Re: Should I take this PD internship for 2L summer?

Postby professorvoltron » Fri Nov 27, 2009 4:20 am

Yes, you are correct I am a 0L but it doesn't take law school to make a good assessment of Alaska. You just need an open mind and half a brain. Alaska is territorial and is broken into halves. You have north of the range (Fairbanks) and south of the range (Anchorage). North of the range are the have-nots, and south of the range are the haves, due to their close proximity to Anchorage. That is a universal truth for Alaska both for the state government and for the military. Anchorage feels like a suburb of Seattle. It has a healthy population and there are many things to do. Their office has paralegals and many attorneys; Fairbanks has fewer attorneys and zero paralegals. This of course is due to the relative size of the city populations. South of the range is always closer to the microscope and more vulnerable to micromanagement than north of the range. If you want to network though, Fairbanks would be more disadvantageous. The office atmosphere is Fairbanks is wonderful and the attorneys are always very busy. However, they are never so busy that they won't take the time out to help or mentor someone such as yourself or me for that matter. The attorneys is Fairbanks are very tight and I get a family type feeling from them. From what I can gather there would be many opportunities for you to get your feet wet and do some real meaningful work in Fairbanks, but I can't vouch for Anchorage or Juneau. Unfortunately the weather is almost always better in Anchorage than Fairbanks. Anchorage is cooler in the summer, and warmer in the winter. Also, Anchorage isn't as vulnerable to the smoke produced by the summer forest fires. There is still much fun to be had in Fairbanks though, and I believe there is much more local color. I think that is what is more endearing about Fairbanks vs. Anchorage. I also believe that you can get more of an Alaskan experience out of Fairbanks than Anchorage. What else?

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Re: Should I take this PD internship for 2L summer?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Nov 27, 2009 1:21 pm

I appreciate your perspective, thank you. I think I have enough external information to make the decision now (from my interviewer, from here, and from others I've consulted).

I'm going to take the rest of the weekend to think it over, but I think I'm going to accept and decide between Anchorage-Fairbanks after speaking to the attorneys at each place. My main concern at this point is whether I can do it financially, and the biggest factor there is whether I would have to get a car for those 3 months. Anchorage and Fairbanks appear to be the only assignments where I could possibly manage without a car.

I just realized that Anchorage would actually be the 2nd most populated city I'd have lived in (the biggest being my 3 months in Chicago last summer). Fairbanks would be a very close 3rd.

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Re: Should I take this PD internship for 2L summer?

Postby articulably suspect » Fri Nov 27, 2009 3:52 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
ejjones wrote:
exactly how long before the offer is taken off the table?

Didn't give an exact deadline, but from the sound of the email, I need to respond in some fashion on Monday. I also know they are going to start a second round of interviews very soon. I could ask for more time, but I don't think that'll help unless the extension is until like Feb or March (when most PD offices start getting back to people)... and by then I bet the more desirable AK offices will be filled up.


Well, if you can't get an extension that will allow you to see how other interviews go and you're pretty sure that you're going to have trouble landing a summer position, I say take the offer in Alaska. The downside is that you'll lose out on some serious networking in the region(s) you're interested in post ls. However, I don't think other PD offices, in larger counties/cities are necessarily going to discredit the work you do in Alaska. In fact, working in a smaller, office, city, county or state often allows interns to take on a little more responsibility, in my experience. I think future PD offices are more concerned with the level of exposure and work load you received at x, y, z PD offices. I don't think it's all about where the internship took place, to a degree. If you landed a PD internship in Manhattan, that's great and I'm sure it's very difficult to land those, but how much do those students really get to do, I don't know? However, all things being equal, obviously the Manhattan PD internship would look better

Also, I don't know what state or county you're in, but where I'm at, many offices offer internships during the school year, is that an option for you?
Last edited by articulably suspect on Fri Nov 27, 2009 4:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.

yabbadabbado
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Re: Should I take this PD internship for 2L summer?

Postby yabbadabbado » Fri Nov 27, 2009 4:00 pm

Agree that WHAT exactly you did while you worked in AK will be an important factor for future employment. More responsibility is always good. Also agree that school year externships or internships with a nearby PD office are something to look into.

articulably suspect
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Re: Should I take this PD internship for 2L summer?

Postby articulably suspect » Fri Nov 27, 2009 4:14 pm

OP. I don't know if you're in CA or even interested in working in CA, but you might find this link interesting: http://www.law.ucdavis.edu/alumni/volun ... ctices.pdf. It details the hiring practices for the counties in CA.

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Re: Should I take this PD internship for 2L summer?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Nov 27, 2009 5:53 pm

FWIW a friend of mine who recently graduated from a lower T14 had an AK PD internship his 2L summer (I don't know what city). He had good things to say about his experience and told me that he almost definitely could have gotten a permanent job there if he'd wanted it. However, he decided he didn't want to be in AK and wanted to live in an extremely competitive major market where it's nearly impossible to get a job in the PD's office. He is currently employed, but not as an attorney. Nevertheless he seems to be happy with his decision. He seems to think that he could get another crim defense job if he left his current market but he doesn't want to leave.

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Re: Should I take this PD internship for 2L summer?

Postby sprezzatura » Sun Nov 29, 2009 12:56 am

About Anchorage - you'll definitely need a car. Our new mayor decided that public transportation really isn't that important. Someone said that Fairbanks has a lot of "local color," but you're certainly going to get that in Anchorage too, especially if you frequent the western section of Northern Lights Blvd. Anchorage is a gorgeous place and definitely the arts center of the state; if you like plays, concerts, comedians and the like, but choose Fairbanks, you'll find yourself with the choice to do without or make an 8-hour drive to Anchorage!

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Re: Should I take this PD internship for 2L summer?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Nov 29, 2009 2:00 pm

sprezzatura wrote:About Anchorage - you'll definitely need a car. Our new mayor decided that public transportation really isn't that important.

I don't understand this. Can you be more specific? I figured if I lived in walking distance of the office and could at least bike or bus to a grocery store I'd be fine for 3 summer months. Will the busses stop running altogether, or are they cutting back on hours/routes, or what? Are there grocery stores downtown?

I would much rather pay a higher rent to live downtown and deal with busses when necessary than to go through the hassle of buying, maintaining, and selling a car just for three months of use. Plus I thought that if a situation came up where I really needed a car, I could rent one or call a cab.

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Re: Should I take this PD internship for 2L summer?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Nov 30, 2009 10:40 am

Holy shit. I have no advice from a career standpoint, but I am fucking seething with jealousy at the thought of heading to Alaska. Fuck.

--t14 2L heading to a law firm


PS. Seriously, I am going to be thinking about this all day now. If only I didn't have responsibilities...




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