U.S. Court of Appeals Staff Attorney - Exit Options

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U.S. Court of Appeals Staff Attorney - Exit Options

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Dec 28, 2013 4:05 pm

I recently accepted a job as a staff attorney for 2 years on a U.S. Circuit Court. I'm very excited about the job, but haven't been able to find any good recent info about exit options.

Have people been successful getting positions afterward? What options were available (mid law? big law? what government positions? clerkships?)

any information/anecdotes would be helpful.

I reposted this from the employment section - thought it fit better here

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Re: U.S. Court of Appeals Staff Attorney - Exit Options

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Dec 28, 2013 10:06 pm

I'm interested in this as well. I'm in the same boat.

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Re: U.S. Court of Appeals Staff Attorney - Exit Options

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Dec 28, 2013 11:12 pm

My experience is with 9th Circuit staff attorneys, who serve 5 year terms. They usually have a terrible time landing new jobs after their term is up because they're usually geographically tied to a tough legal market (SF) and firms (probably) don't see much use in their experience gained working up habeas petitions for the last 5 years. Also, I think firms see the type of person that would like to do staff attorney work for 5 years as the type of person that would quit biglaw in a hurry. However, a shorter term might be helpful, and the only person I know that did a 1 year gig (for the 3rd Circuit) ended up landing a baller DOJ gig.

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Re: U.S. Court of Appeals Staff Attorney - Exit Options

Postby hiima3L » Sun Dec 29, 2013 2:30 pm

Anonymous User wrote:My experience is with 9th Circuit staff attorneys, who serve 5 year terms. They usually have a terrible time landing new jobs after their term is up because they're usually geographically tied to a tough legal market (SF) and firms (probably) don't see much use in their experience gained working up habeas petitions for the last 5 years. Also, I think firms see the type of person that would like to do staff attorney work for 5 years as the type of person that would quit biglaw in a hurry. However, a shorter term might be helpful, and the only person I know that did a 1 year gig (for the 3rd Circuit) ended up landing a baller DOJ gig.


This is exactly understanding too. I only know of 9th circuit staff attorneys. They do all the routine appeals the judges and clerks don't want to do. I'm not sure of the exit options, but I know of one who became a full-time LRW prof at my school.

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Re: U.S. Court of Appeals Staff Attorney - Exit Options

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Dec 30, 2013 4:29 pm

My friends who did CA3 Staff Attorney gigs mostly went to small to mid-size firms in the Philly area. I know of nobody who got a "baller" DOJ gig.

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Re: U.S. Court of Appeals Staff Attorney - Exit Options

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Dec 30, 2013 7:35 pm

Anonymous User wrote:My friends who did CA3 Staff Attorney gigs mostly went to small to mid-size firms in the Philly area. I know of nobody who got a "baller" DOJ gig.


Maybe the guy I know got lucky. He's the only person I know that did a non-9th Circuit staff attorney gig, so his outcome is hardly representative of anything.

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Re: U.S. Court of Appeals Staff Attorney - Exit Options

Postby lolwat » Fri Jan 03, 2014 2:19 am

It's pretty much the same with 4th Circuit... and some other ones.

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Re: U.S. Court of Appeals Staff Attorney - Exit Options

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jan 03, 2014 11:12 am

What's the same? that people had a difficult time finding work after? How long were the terms and what work did people end up finding?

Also any info specifically on the 8th Circuit would be helpful. I know that the staff attorneys there are assigned at least a little more variety and I wonder if employers recognize/care

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Re: U.S. Court of Appeals Staff Attorney - Exit Options

Postby lolwat » Fri Jan 03, 2014 6:35 pm

Anonymous User wrote:What's the same? that people had a difficult time finding work after? How long were the terms and what work did people end up finding?

Also any info specifically on the 8th Circuit would be helpful. I know that the staff attorneys there are assigned at least a little more variety and I wonder if employers recognize/care


Yes... it's not a job that directly leads to either a clerkship or a big firm job.

I think WUSTL sends a lot of its kids to 8th cir. staff attorney office. Maybe see if you can find a list of those people and find where they ended up.

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Re: U.S. Court of Appeals Staff Attorney - Exit Options

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jan 15, 2014 5:26 pm

I'm also interested in this.
Anyone else know anything helpful?

Bump

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Re: U.S. Court of Appeals Staff Attorney - Exit Options

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Mar 15, 2014 8:06 pm

.

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Re: U.S. Court of Appeals Staff Attorney - Exit Options

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Mar 17, 2014 9:48 am

Was that a bump?

Like anything else, it depends. I'm the anon who commented on CA3 staff attorneys, most of whom seemed to go to small or mid-size firms in the Philly area. Then again, a quick Google search reveals several who ended up at big firms, at least one who went to the FPD, and several who clerked.

Speaking from experience, while it's a great job (or was in my circuit; I know someone in a sister circuit who does the same work but is miserable due to a much more demeaning office culture), nobody outside of a select few is that familiar with what it entails; and, to some, the "staff attorney" title is itself radioactive, given its connection with non-partner-track employment in the private sector. Unfair, but what can you do?

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Re: U.S. Court of Appeals Staff Attorney - Exit Options

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jul 22, 2014 5:19 pm

What if your endgoal is fed gov instead of biglaw? Does working for a COA Staff Attorney's Office look good? Bad?

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Re: U.S. Court of Appeals Staff Attorney - Exit Options

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jul 23, 2014 3:37 pm

Depends. I knew some people who went BigFed (SSA, etc.). I imagine it's neutral to positive.

lithoman
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Re: U.S. Court of Appeals Staff Attorney - Exit Options

Postby lithoman » Wed Dec 10, 2014 10:47 pm

Just bumping this. It's pretty hard to figure out where people go after leaving these positions. Not enough of them to have anything more than anecdotal info, but I'll take that. Anyone know someone who got nice exit options coming out of this gig (e.g., clerkship, BigLaw, BigFed)?

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Re: U.S. Court of Appeals Staff Attorney - Exit Options

Postby GOATlawman » Thu Dec 11, 2014 8:28 am

Just saying...you know you guys can see tons of individual examples just by searching Linkedin

This is like the one thing it is actually useful for, especially if you pay the $10 or whatever it is to see people not directly in your network

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Re: U.S. Court of Appeals Staff Attorney - Exit Options

Postby lithoman » Thu Dec 11, 2014 10:30 am

Sure, that's a fair point. I've glanced around LinkedIn (at least the public profiles) and still feel like it's difficult to tell how employers view it. Not a lot of data and probably some major self-selection (i.e., people going into Staff Attorney offices are not often going to be gunning for prestige gigs or are at a different stage in their career). My impression is that they sometimes (but rarely?) translate into district-court clerkships, good for midlaw but maybe not for biglaw, and pretty decent shot at bigfed. Just curious if this comports with anyone's experience. Good thread, but you never know if someone has new info.

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Re: U.S. Court of Appeals Staff Attorney - Exit Options

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Dec 11, 2014 11:54 am

In the 7th Circuit, the Staff Attorney's office feeds pretty nicely into federal government jobs (at least those in Chicago).

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Re: U.S. Court of Appeals Staff Attorney - Exit Options

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Dec 11, 2014 11:56 am

Anonymous User wrote:What if your endgoal is fed gov instead of biglaw? Does working for a COA Staff Attorney's Office look good? Bad?


It may be helpful for getting a job in the agencies that hire lots of attorneys, like the military civilian general counsel's offices, SSA, Homeland Security, the VA, etc. It will be helpful in the sense that those positions usually aren't hard to get, but just don't take entry-level people from law school because they require 2 years of experience. The staff attorney position will give you those two years. I think it will be neutral for more prestigious agencies, but it may be a good place to ride out funding cuts if you are otherwise a good candidate for those jobs.

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Re: U.S. Court of Appeals Staff Attorney - Exit Options

Postby XxSpyKEx » Fri Dec 12, 2014 1:56 am

Damn, it's crazy how few halfway decent exit options there are for a US CoA staff attorney given how insanely competitive the staff attorney positions are. (At least they were hella competitive back in 2010 when I was looking at clerkships-- like 100s to 1000s of applications per open positions depending on the circuit. But maybe it was just the lack of entry level hiring elsewhere back then that made those positions so competitive..)

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Re: U.S. Court of Appeals Staff Attorney - Exit Options

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Dec 12, 2014 3:08 am

Anonymous User wrote:In the 7th Circuit, the Staff Attorney's office feeds pretty nicely into federal government jobs (at least those in Chicago).

Can confirm anecdotally that this is true for other Circuits as well. Not sure about BigLaw, but fedgov seems to LOVE it.

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Re: U.S. Court of Appeals Staff Attorney - Exit Options

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Dec 12, 2014 8:48 am

Anecdotal point here. I'm starting as one in the next 2 years. And when I was deciding on it, I asked a ton of judges and big law recruiters and they ALL told me I'd be dumb to turn it down. No less than 4 firms told me they didn't give a shit about the title as long as I was getting experience with a judge. My understanding is that depending on the circuit you're in, some judges get their own in chambers Staff Attorney and they get treated and paid like a clerk.

I also note that when I've started pre-networking I always lead with Staff Attorney, and everyone just calls it a clerkship. I've gone out of my way to reiterate my title, and partners, associates and the like have just disregarded it and called it a clerkship.

Granted, this wouldn't be TLS without all the doom and gloom. But that's just been my experience.

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Re: U.S. Court of Appeals Staff Attorney - Exit Options

Postby sundance95 » Fri Dec 12, 2014 12:30 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Anecdotal point here. I'm starting as one in the next 2 years. And when I was deciding on it, I asked a ton of judges and big law recruiters and they ALL told me I'd be dumb to turn it down. No less than 4 firms told me they didn't give a shit about the title as long as I was getting experience with a judge. My understanding is that depending on the circuit you're in, some judges get their own in chambers Staff Attorney and they get treated and paid like a clerk.

I also note that when I've started pre-networking I always lead with Staff Attorney, and everyone just calls it a clerkship. I've gone out of my way to reiterate my title, and partners, associates and the like have just disregarded it and called it a clerkship.

Granted, this wouldn't be TLS without all the doom and gloom. But that's just been my experience.

Can you share what circuit you were with?

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Re: U.S. Court of Appeals Staff Attorney - Exit Options

Postby Zar » Fri Dec 12, 2014 12:35 pm

Anecdotally, I know someone who was a COA staff attorney for two years, landed a COA elbow clerkship, and is now in biglaw in a major market.

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Re: U.S. Court of Appeals Staff Attorney - Exit Options

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Dec 12, 2014 3:43 pm

Anonymous User wrote:In the 7th Circuit, the Staff Attorney's office feeds pretty nicely into federal government jobs (at least those in Chicago).


I know several people in CA3 who got federal government jobs and/or clerked, but just as many wanted those outcomes and didn't get in the door (at least, not immediately). I can confirm that honors programs showed little to no interest in us. I loved the job and wouldn't do things any differently this time around, but it may vary wildly by market and by the caprice of hiring season.




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