Careers in Constitutional law?

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Garinold
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Careers in Constitutional law?

Postby Garinold » Wed Jun 03, 2009 3:16 pm

Anyone interested in working "Conlaw" after graduation?

From what I can tell there are many ways of pursuing a career in practicing Constitutional law. There are public interest organizations such as the ACLU (anyone know if there is a "Conservative" equivalent to this?). I know there are officers for Appellate litigation in both Government agencies (http://manhattanda.org/organization/appeals.shtml) as well as large law firms (http://www.skadden.com/Index.cfm?conten ... &focusID=1). There are also offices in Government that provide legal advice on Constitutional issues (http://www.usdoj.gov/olc/). One can also take the academic route and become a Constitutional law scholar/professor, and one can also become a judge.

Personally I'd be interested in pretty much any of the above described career paths because, for whatever reason, I find Conlaw very interesting. Are there any other avenues that one can take for Appellate litigation/advocacy that I missed? If you know something about any of the above career paths please share it.

thanks

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TTT-LS
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Re: Careers in Constitutional law?

Postby TTT-LS » Wed Jun 03, 2009 7:43 pm

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Last edited by TTT-LS on Mon Jun 21, 2010 4:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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underachiever
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Re: Careers in Constitutional law?

Postby underachiever » Wed Jun 03, 2009 7:53 pm

Garinold wrote:Anyone interested in working "Conlaw" after graduation?

From what I can tell there are many ways of pursuing a career in practicing Constitutional law. There are public interest organizations such as the ACLU (anyone know if there is a "Conservative" equivalent to this?). I


Try the American Center for Law & Justice (ACLJ)

imchuckbass58
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Re: Careers in Constitutional law?

Postby imchuckbass58 » Wed Jun 03, 2009 7:58 pm

Garinold wrote:Anyone interested in working "Conlaw" after graduation?

From what I can tell there are many ways of pursuing a career in practicing Constitutional law. There are public interest organizations such as the ACLU (anyone know if there is a "Conservative" equivalent to this?). I know there are officers for Appellate litigation in both Government agencies (http://manhattanda.org/organization/appeals.shtml) as well as large law firms (http://www.skadden.com/Index.cfm?conten ... &focusID=1). There are also offices in Government that provide legal advice on Constitutional issues (http://www.usdoj.gov/olc/). One can also take the academic route and become a Constitutional law scholar/professor, and one can also become a judge.

Personally I'd be interested in pretty much any of the above described career paths because, for whatever reason, I find Conlaw very interesting. Are there any other avenues that one can take for Appellate litigation/advocacy that I missed? If you know something about any of the above career paths please share it.

thanks


You're right that there are lots of ways to do this, but keep in mind every single organization/appellate practice/agency/career path you've mentioned is hyper selective (i.e., draw most of their people from top of the class at T6 law schools or even just HYS)

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Garinold
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Re: Careers in Constitutional law?

Postby Garinold » Wed Jun 03, 2009 9:23 pm

TTT-LS wrote:I can't remember if you're a 0L or 1L. Sorry, I know that's sort of lame on my part.

If you've had conlaw already (in law school), and you still feel this way, then I think your plan of checking out appellate lit and constitutionally-oriented orgs like ACLU is a good idea (Heritage Foundation is a pretty close conservative counterpart, btw). Check out the Chambers & Partners rankings in appellate lit/SCOTUS practice if you're really serious about that career path. Also, of course, you'd basically have to do a COA clerkship to qualify, as most big time firms (Jenner, Sidley, Jones Day, Wilmer, Hogan, W&C, etc.) won't hire you on to do appellate lit unless you do.

If, however, you're a 0L and you haven't had law school conlaw yet, I'd be surprised if you maintain this view after 1L year. People tend to come out of that class feeling very differently about the subject than when they went in.


Fair enough. I am a 0L so yes I'm hardly an authority on the subject. However, I know why a lot of people get disenfranchised with the subjected. I talked to two different graduates of Rutgers law school, and another student from St. John's, and they all said that they went into Conlaw pumped up to learn about civil rights. They were all excited about helping people who are being oppressed by the Gov't or big business. They said that they ended up getting completely frustrated with conlaw 1 because the class focuses on everything Constitutional except civil rights and empowering the "little guy".

Now I'm not sure if that is the same reason why people in your experience get disenfranchised with the subject, but that wouldn't bother me. While I am interested in civil liberties, I am actually more interested in the expansion of the Gov't. The Constitutionality of the Government's use & abuse of the commerce clause to regulate the economy, the delegation of Congress's power to make monetary policy to the Federal Reserve Board, and just the explosive creation of all the regulatory and welfare agencies & programs is very interesting. You may think I am a freak, but last summer I read the complete Federalist papers and there is no question that our Federal Government has, for better or worse, expanded well above and beyond what the founders originally intended (granted Hamilton, John Jay, and Madison don't account for all the founders). I find the prospect of arguing before a Court that will set precedent (and essentially make Constitutional policy within a given subject area) , even at a district/regional level, very exciting.

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Metternich
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Re: Careers in Constitutional law?

Postby Metternich » Wed Jun 03, 2009 9:32 pm

Garinold wrote:Anyone interested in working "Conlaw" after graduation?

From what I can tell there are many ways of pursuing a career in practicing Constitutional law. There are public interest organizations such as the ACLU (anyone know if there is a "Conservative" equivalent to this?). I know there are officers for Appellate litigation in both Government agencies (http://manhattanda.org/organization/appeals.shtml) as well as large law firms (http://www.skadden.com/Index.cfm?conten ... &focusID=1). There are also offices in Government that provide legal advice on Constitutional issues (http://www.usdoj.gov/olc/). One can also take the academic route and become a Constitutional law scholar/professor, and one can also become a judge.

Personally I'd be interested in pretty much any of the above described career paths because, for whatever reason, I find Conlaw very interesting. Are there any other avenues that one can take for Appellate litigation/advocacy that I missed? If you know something about any of the above career paths please share it.

thanks


What school will you be attending?

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Dick Whitman
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Re: Careers in Constitutional law?

Postby Dick Whitman » Wed Jun 03, 2009 9:36 pm

My understanding of appellate work, which is where a lot of Con Law work is, is very heavy on research and writing.

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Garinold
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Re: Careers in Constitutional law?

Postby Garinold » Wed Jun 03, 2009 9:38 pm

Probably University of Kentucky or Rutgers. Not T14 obviously, however I have no desire to work in a NYC "biglaw" firm right upon graduation. As far as clerkships go I know UK law places around 25% of its graduates in judicial clerkships. Not sure about Rutgers though.

afterglow99
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Re: Careers in Constitutional law?

Postby afterglow99 » Wed Jun 03, 2009 9:55 pm

I think Rutgers has the second or third highest percentage of graduates taking on a clerkship. A fair amount of these may be in traffic court though, as it's hard to tell the actual breakdown.

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Garinold
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Re: Careers in Constitutional law?

Postby Garinold » Wed Jun 03, 2009 10:01 pm

Ya finding the actual breakdown is difficult. And there is no way adcoms are gonna share the breakdown if they in fact know that most end up in traffic court clerkships.

jetlagz28
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Re: Careers in Constitutional law?

Postby jetlagz28 » Wed Jun 03, 2009 10:18 pm

Image

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macattaq
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Re: Careers in Constitutional law?

Postby macattaq » Thu Jun 04, 2009 6:20 pm

jetlagz28 wrote:Image


/close thread

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Garinold
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Re: Careers in Constitutional law?

Postby Garinold » Thu Jun 04, 2009 9:19 pm

I don't know what pictures of Obama have to do with my questions.

jetlagz28
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Re: Careers in Constitutional law?

Postby jetlagz28 » Thu Jun 04, 2009 10:21 pm

Garinold wrote:I don't know what pictures of Obama have to do with my questions.


http://www.factcheck.org/askfactcheck/w ... l_law.html

He taught it at Chicago.

FutureProsecutor
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Re: Careers in Constitutional law?

Postby FutureProsecutor » Fri Jun 05, 2009 12:47 pm

Garinold wrote:Anyone interested in working "Conlaw" after graduation?

From what I can tell there are many ways of pursuing a career in practicing Constitutional law. There are public interest organizations such as the ACLU (anyone know if there is a "Conservative" equivalent to this?). I know there are officers for Appellate litigation in both Government agencies (http://manhattanda.org/organization/appeals.shtml) as well as large law firms (http://www.skadden.com/Index.cfm?conten ... &focusID=1). There are also offices in Government that provide legal advice on Constitutional issues (http://www.usdoj.gov/olc/). One can also take the academic route and become a Constitutional law scholar/professor, and one can also become a judge.

Personally I'd be interested in pretty much any of the above described career paths because, for whatever reason, I find Conlaw very interesting. Are there any other avenues that one can take for Appellate litigation/advocacy that I missed? If you know something about any of the above career paths please share it.

thanks


One often overlooked area is criminal practice. Contrary to what they teach in crimlaw, the vast majority of what criminal litigators do is constitutional. It's pretty much entirely 4th, 5th, 6th, 8th and 14th amendment issues. The questions are always some form of "did the police violate the defendant's constitutional rights when...." Or, "Is the defendant's sentence unconstitutional because the statutory maximum was enhanced by a fact not found by the jury?" Hell, like 25% of the supreme court's constitutional law case load is criminal.

Also, many offices hire people directly into appeals. And they're easier to get than you might think, since so many people just want the trial experience.

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Garinold
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Re: Careers in Constitutional law?

Postby Garinold » Fri Jun 05, 2009 2:07 pm

Ya that is why I linked the Manhattan office. I believe on the 3Ls go directly thre once they are hired out of law school and pass the bar exam.

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reasonable_man
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Re: Careers in Constitutional law?

Postby reasonable_man » Fri Jun 05, 2009 2:24 pm

There are many opportunities to practice in con law after graduation, assuming, of course, you have a T6 degree with law review and high grades.


I personally practice in cross border international entertainment conlaw with a special focus in cross-border deforrestation disputes.

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Garinold
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Re: Careers in Constitutional law?

Postby Garinold » Fri Jun 05, 2009 4:01 pm

reasonable_man wrote:There are many opportunities to practice in con law after graduation, assuming, of course, you have a T6 degree with law review and high grades.


I personally practice in cross border international entertainment conlaw with a special focus in cross-border deforrestation disputes.


Of course I won't have a degree from a T6 school. However, I am not about to let the "NYC BiGLaW or drop dead" TLS crowd convince me that I can't eventually do what I want.

jh60405
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Re: Careers in Constitutional law?

Postby jh60405 » Fri Jun 05, 2009 4:09 pm

I think the problem might be that some of the things you're mentioning (office of legislative council, appellate division of doj, ACLU, Professor, etc) are just as hard (some are harder) to get into as Big Law.

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reasonable_man
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Re: Careers in Constitutional law?

Postby reasonable_man » Fri Jun 05, 2009 4:25 pm

jh60405 wrote:I think the problem might be that some of the things you're mentioning (office of legislative council, appellate division of doj, ACLU, Professor, etc) are just as hard (some are harder) to get into as Big Law.



Simplify this.. THEY ARE HARDER TO GET THAN BIGLAW.

I'm not a part of the biglaw or bust crowd. I'm a one of the 9 practicing lawyers that posts on here and knows the reality of the legal market. You have equal odds at getting struck by lightning as you do at coming out of an average school and working in "Con law."

snotrocket
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Re: Careers in Constitutional law?

Postby snotrocket » Fri Jun 05, 2009 4:32 pm

Each year more than 1,600 law school graduates and admitted attorneys apply for positions as Assistant District Attorneys. There are typically 50-60 openings each year for legal staff positions.

http://manhattanda.org/careers/legalemp ... pply.shtml

That's a three (3) percent acceptance rate. Just to put that in perspective: Yale accepted 7% of applicants last year. And the people applying to the Manhattan DA have already gotten into and completed law school.

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reasonable_man
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Re: Careers in Constitutional law?

Postby reasonable_man » Fri Jun 05, 2009 4:36 pm

snotrocket wrote:
Each year more than 1,600 law school graduates and admitted attorneys apply for positions as Assistant District Attorneys. There are typically 50-60 openings each year for legal staff positions.

http://manhattanda.org/careers/legalemp ... pply.shtml

That's a three (3) percent acceptance rate. Just to put that in perspective: Yale accepted 7% of applicants last year. And the people applying to the Manhattan DA have already gotten into and completed law school.


And thats 50 to 60 spots when there is turnover.. People won't be leaving this year and so they will not be hiring as many ADAs.. Moreover, guess what, the Manhattan DA is VERY political.. So figure a good number of those spots are going to people with serious connections... 3%.. The chances are far less for most.

snotrocket
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Re: Careers in Constitutional law?

Postby snotrocket » Fri Jun 05, 2009 4:42 pm

FutureProsecutor wrote:One often overlooked area is criminal practice. Contrary to what they teach in crimlaw, the vast majority of what criminal litigators do is constitutional. It's pretty much entirely 4th, 5th, 6th, 8th and 14th amendment issues. The questions are always some form of "did the police violate the defendant's constitutional rights when...." Or, "Is the defendant's sentence unconstitutional because the statutory maximum was enhanced by a fact not found by the jury?" Hell, like 25% of the supreme court's constitutional law case load is criminal.

Trial litigation rarely involves constitutional issues, mainly because 95% of cases not dismissed will end in guilty pleas. And of all convictions, by trial or plea, fewer than 1 in 10 are appealed. The appeals courts review very few issues after a guilty plea, and often do them only by leave rather than by right (i.e., they ignore almost all of them, even when people bother to apply). Even trial appeals only sometimes involve constitutional issues -- other than ineffective assistance of counsel claims, the bulk are routine procedural beefs like bad evidence rulings and sentencing guideline administrivia.

FutureProsecutor wrote:Also, many offices hire people directly into appeals. And they're easier to get than you might think, since so many people just want the trial experience.

Not any that I know of. These offices generally want people with some litigation experience, typically from PD jobs or big firms. They don't have the time or the resources to train you up from nothing.

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reasonable_man
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Re: Careers in Constitutional law?

Postby reasonable_man » Fri Jun 05, 2009 4:45 pm

Garinold wrote:
reasonable_man wrote:There are many opportunities to practice in con law after graduation, assuming, of course, you have a T6 degree with law review and high grades.


I personally practice in cross border international entertainment conlaw with a special focus in cross-border deforrestation disputes.


Of course I won't have a degree from a T6 school. However, I am not about to let the "NYC BiGLaW or drop dead" TLS crowd convince me that I can't eventually do what I want.


Not to be a complete jerk.. but I just looked at your profile. The places you might wind up attending do not build constituional lawyers.. They build personal injury attorneys, collections lawyers, residential real estate lawyers, low end criminal defense attorneys, attorneys in 2nd and 3rd market DAs offices... I'm not saying don't go to law school.. Thats a personal choice.. But your chances of practicing any type of significant con law where you're going to school is slim to none. I would really only attend if one of the above practice areas is ok with you, because if its not and the stars don't line up perfectly for you... Thats where you're going to end up.




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