Governmental Honors Programs

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Governmental Honors Programs

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jul 17, 2013 1:13 am

I am a rising third year and have secured a COA clerkship in a flyover circuit starting in 2014. I am now investigating other opportunities post clerkship.

I am potentially interested in clerking for either a feeder judge if possible, or a district judge, or exploring DOJ Honors or some other governmental honors program. In addition to DOJ, there seems to be an honors prigram with almost every federal regulatory agency or department: DOL, DOE, CIA, DHS, NRC, DOT, etc...

Here are my questions: Why is DOJ Honors the only program anyone ever talks about? Is it because it is the most prestigious or just because it has the most spots? Is there a hierarchy amongst governmental programs? In an ideal world, if you had the opportunity to pick amongst any of the above options, is there a "correct" choice?

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Governmental Honors Programs

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Wed Jul 17, 2013 1:31 am

I suspect it's because it has the most slots, and covers the most different practice areas. But in fact, almost all those honors programs have been discussed in their own threads here. Also, the "correct" choice is going to depend really heavily on what you want to do. Someone who wants to represent immigrants will probably much prefer a judicial clerkship with EOIR to DHS Honors. DOL will entail totally different work from DOE which will entail totally different work from DOT. I would be a terrible candidate for the NRC, but more successful in other areas. And so on.

That said, because there are so few of these positions and so many people who'd like to work for the federal government, the "correct" choice is probably "any."

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The Brainalist
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Re: Governmental Honors Programs

Postby The Brainalist » Wed Jul 17, 2013 1:42 am

Lack of imagination, perceived exit opportunities, and the opportunity to litigate in federal district court.

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Postby Another » Wed Jul 17, 2013 3:44 am

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Last edited by Another on Fri Nov 29, 2013 5:14 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Governmental Honors Programs

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Wed Jul 17, 2013 9:08 am

hopkins23 wrote:Have any of you ever encountered any ethical issues when applying for Honors Programs when you've already accepted a clerkship with a judge in the future? Say you're going to start clerking for 2013-2014 and you want to apply to the Honors program now so you can start working in 2014 fall.

In practice, it probably depends on where you're clerking and what honors position you got. IIRC, you can't work on any cases where the component you're working for appears before your judge. (I think for DOJ it would be the specific component, like antitrust or civil rights, rather than the entire DOJ, but if you did DHS, it would probably be all of DHS). If you end up employed with an agency around the end if November and they appear frequently before your court, that could be an issue. It might not be so bad for COA as for district court since there are usually more clerks for COA and it would probably be easier just to distribute the cases to avoid conflicts. (I think most of the time it wouldn't be a major issue, but it would depend on the court's docket).

I wouldn't not apply because of this but I would bring it up with your judge once you start clerking. Most people will be happy to try to accommodate this but it's good to raise the issue. (Applying isn't a conflict, but interviewing is. I think if you interview and ultimately don't get a position the conflict ends. But your judge may have specific preferences on how to handle.)

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Re: Governmental Honors Programs

Postby lolwat » Wed Jul 17, 2013 10:04 am

Job search is something you'll have to talk to your judge about. They have discretion to allow you to interview/work on cases while interviewing/etc. I believe the only 100% conflict is once you get an offer (i.e., at that point, the judge no longer has any discretion--you're off those cases, period).

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Governmental Honors Programs

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Wed Jul 17, 2013 10:47 am

Yes, I thought I had been told interviewing was a conflict, but I can't find that now - it looks like it's up to the judge. Sorry to mislead.

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Re: Governmental Honors Programs

Postby lolwat » Wed Jul 17, 2013 1:13 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:Yes, I thought I had been told interviewing was a conflict, but I can't find that now - it looks like it's up to the judge. Sorry to mislead.


It's somewhere in the tiny ethics handbook. Actually I found it on page 24, the paragraph states:

"Ask your judge if you may apply for a job with a firm that represents a party currently before the court. If you interviewed with a firm but have not accepted an offer, your judge has discretion about whether you may work on matters involving the firm. Once you have accepted an offer, however, the ethics rules take the decision out of your judge's hands. You may not work on any pending or future cases involving your future employer."

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Governmental Honors Programs

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Wed Jul 17, 2013 2:12 pm

lolwat wrote:
A. Nony Mouse wrote:Yes, I thought I had been told interviewing was a conflict, but I can't find that now - it looks like it's up to the judge. Sorry to mislead.


It's somewhere in the tiny ethics handbook. Actually I found it on page 24, the paragraph states:

"Ask your judge if you may apply for a job with a firm that represents a party currently before the court. If you interviewed with a firm but have not accepted an offer, your judge has discretion about whether you may work on matters involving the firm. Once you have accepted an offer, however, the ethics rules take the decision out of your judge's hands. You may not work on any pending or future cases involving your future employer."

:lol: That's exactly what I found after I read your post. (The interview thing may be something specific to my judge/district, if I didn't just make it up entirely.)




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