Pathway to federal employment

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DianaH
Posts: 1
Joined: Tue Jul 21, 2009 1:26 pm

Pathway to federal employment

Postby DianaH » Sun Nov 29, 2009 2:14 pm

I'm a 0L just trying to learn about career paths. I have 4 years federal service and I'd very much like to continue so I can collect that retirement some day.

Are federal DO_ internships generally reserved for 2Ls and 3Ls? (DOEnergy interests me specifically - renewable resources, alternative fuels, etc - and their website doesn't say.)

What types of internships would be good for 1Ls (assuming they can't get the DO_ internships) looking for a federal DO_ path?

Does an internship with a DO_ make you a shoo-in for employment with that department after graduation? Conversely, does lack of an internship with that department mean you won't get hired by them?

Any info appreciated, thanks.

linquest
Posts: 143
Joined: Sat Apr 12, 2008 11:06 am

Re: Pathway to federal employment

Postby linquest » Sun Nov 29, 2009 5:12 pm

DianaH wrote:Are federal DO_ internships generally reserved for 2Ls and 3Ls? (DOEnergy interests me specifically - renewable resources, alternative fuels, etc - and their website doesn't say.)


Yes, typically internships are reserved for upper years.

DianaH wrote:Does an internship with a DO_ make you a shoo-in for employment with that department after graduation?


Absolutely not. There are almost always many more interns than there are going to be openings for entry-level attorneys the next year. Most agencies only hire new grads through the Honors Program. Last year, my agency only hired 7 or 8 Honors Attorneys across the country. We probably have that many interns go through my small field office every year.

DianaH wrote:Conversely, does lack of an internship with that department mean you won't get hired by them?

Not necessarily, although your chances are certainly improved if you did. I know 5 (including myself) of the Honors Attorneys hired at my agency last year, and 2 of those had not interned with the agency before. Different hiring managers/offices look for different things. There is no one guaranteed path to becoming a federal attorney.

Hitachi
Posts: 114
Joined: Mon Jul 23, 2007 4:38 pm

Re: Pathway to federal employment

Postby Hitachi » Sun Nov 29, 2009 9:33 pm

I don't know what the actual hiring ratio is, but most internships (including the DoE) ar at least open to 1Ls.

linquest
Posts: 143
Joined: Sat Apr 12, 2008 11:06 am

Re: Pathway to federal employment

Postby linquest » Sun Nov 29, 2009 10:41 pm

When you say "open to 1Ls", does that mean that they'll hire students to work during the 1L school year? AFAIK, most agencies will hire, at earliest, summer after 1L (in which case, I call them "2Ls").

bree
Posts: 41
Joined: Tue May 19, 2009 7:49 pm

Re: Pathway to federal employment

Postby bree » Sun Nov 29, 2009 10:50 pm

Yeah, plenty of agencies hire after your 1L year. Often, these 1L summer positions are voluntary whereas the 2L summer positions are paid (e.g. DOJ). However, occasionally, 1L summer positions in the government do pay, but they pay at a lower scale than for a 2L summer position. That you worked in government previously is definitely a plus because it shows your past commitment to working in public service.

Honors Attorneys positions are an entirely different ball game in many ways. An internship or past employment in the government is always a plus. The difficulty is that there are usually so few honors attorneys positions. Thus, competition for these positions is intense. Generally, if you can get into the honors attorney program for something like the DOJ, you'd probably be eligible for either a very nice firm job or even a judicial clerkship. The DOJ is probably one of the more competitive agencies, but with the less competitive agencies, there's also generally fewer people hired.

That being said, the government is supposed to be hiring a good deal in the next few years as the baby boomers retire. We'll see if that actually true.

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underdawg
Posts: 1131
Joined: Wed Oct 24, 2007 1:15 am

Re: Pathway to federal employment

Postby underdawg » Sun Nov 29, 2009 11:32 pm

linquest wrote:When you say "open to 1Ls", does that mean that they'll hire students to work during the 1L school year? AFAIK, most agencies will hire, at earliest, summer after 1L (in which case, I call them "2Ls").

that's called 1L summer. or "1L" job in general

ArmyVet07
Posts: 76
Joined: Tue May 19, 2009 6:11 am

Re: Pathway to federal employment

Postby ArmyVet07 » Mon Nov 30, 2009 4:25 am

bree wrote:Yeah, plenty of agencies hire after your 1L year. Often, these 1L summer positions are voluntary whereas the 2L summer positions are paid (e.g. DOJ). However, occasionally, 1L summer positions in the government do pay, but they pay at a lower scale than for a 2L summer position. That you worked in government previously is definitely a plus because it shows your past commitment to working in public service.

Honors Attorneys positions are an entirely different ball game in many ways. An internship or past employment in the government is always a plus. The difficulty is that there are usually so few honors attorneys positions. Thus, competition for these positions is intense. Generally, if you can get into the honors attorney program for something like the DOJ, you'd probably be eligible for either a very nice firm job or even a judicial clerkship. The DOJ is probably one of the more competitive agencies, but with the less competitive agencies, there's also generally fewer people hired.

That being said, the government is supposed to be hiring a good deal in the next few years as the baby boomers retire. We'll see if that actually true.


Many baby boomers are putting off retirement due to the financial crisis. Their TSPs (Thrift Saving Program which is like a 401k for federal employees) have been hurt, home values are down, and family members may be unemployed, so many will be working a few extra years before retiring.




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