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

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

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Dec 16, 2014 2:55 pm

Which is more likely to get you clerkships or BigLaw in the long run? CoA staff attorney? Or market-paying midlaw in major market?

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

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Dec 16, 2014 3:40 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Which is more likely to get you clerkships or BigLaw in the long run? CoA staff attorney? Or market-paying midlaw in major market?


One offers a great income, marketable experience and a real permanent job. The other offers an interesting two years with a decent income followed by a very uncertain job market. The choice is pretty obvious, and shouldn't be based on the tiny chance of biglaw or clerkships from either.The way to get biglaw is through on campus interviews or lateraling from BigFed. Any other way offers only a tiny chance that depends more on luck than anything else. For clerkships, the staff attorney job is better (I don't see how midlaw would be related to clerking at all), but only if you had the credentials to get a clerkship coming out of law school already and didn't becuas eof poor interviewing or just bad luck.

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

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Dec 17, 2014 2:10 pm

Does anyone else have anything to add about the SAO --> Big Fed transition likelihood? I've accepted an offer for a staff attorney position but my goal is to apply for honors programs after my clerkship is over. I have very little interest in biglaw.

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

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jan 12, 2015 11:45 pm

bump

sparty99
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Re: U.S. Court of Appeals Staff Attorney - Exit Options

Postby sparty99 » Mon Jan 12, 2015 11:55 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Does anyone else have anything to add about the SAO --> Big Fed transition likelihood? I've accepted an offer for a staff attorney position but my goal is to apply for honors programs after my clerkship is over. I have very little interest in biglaw.


If you want to work for the government having that experience is always good. The government likes government people.

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

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Mar 16, 2015 4:46 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).


Bumping this to ask - can anyone elaborate? Would somethjng like this be at all useful for someone looking to become an AUSA or join another litigating DOJ component?

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

Postby rpupkin » Mon Mar 16, 2015 7:46 pm

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

Bumping this to ask - can anyone elaborate? Would somethjng like this be at all useful for someone looking to become an AUSA or join another litigating DOJ component?

I can't comment on the Seventh Circuit specifically, but I can't imagine that staff attorneys go on to become AUSAs except in highly unusual circumstances.

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

Postby XxSpyKEx » Tue Mar 17, 2015 1:18 pm

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

Bumping this to ask - can anyone elaborate? Would somethjng like this be at all useful for someone looking to become an AUSA or join another litigating DOJ component?

I can't comment on the Seventh Circuit specifically, but I can't imagine that staff attorneys go on to become AUSAs except in highly unusual circumstances.


It happens, but I don't know that being a staff attorney at the 7th circuit (or any circuit) necessarily helps, except maybe to help meet the minimum number of years of work experience required for USAOs. I think your employability after the staff attorney gig related to your academic credentials and background more than anything, which I think is to some extent true for actual A3 clerks as well. In other words, if you were a 2011 grad who graduated at the top of your class at HLS, was the EIC of law review, etc. etc, but couldn't find another job because the economy was terrible or whatever, so you wound up being a staff attorney for a term of a year or two, you'd be pretty competitive for a number of things when you're done with your term. If, on the other hand, you were some t14 grad who didn't have particularly great grades or anything else going for him, so you took a staff attorney position at a circuit court, your options will be a lot more limited coming out of the job. It seems like being clerking out of law school really just preserves your options more than anything and allows you to come out of that job with a clean slate (unless we're talking about a highly prestigious A3 clerkship (e.g. SDNY, EDNY, any circuit, etc.) in which case it def helps), which I think is probably true for staff attorneys as well, unlike if you were to go spend the 2 years doing doc review, unemployed, at a nonprofit, etc. (your options are a lot more limited in the latter category).

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

Postby rpupkin » Tue Mar 17, 2015 3:44 pm

XxSpyKEx wrote: In other words, if you were a 2011 grad who graduated at the top of your class at HLS, was the EIC of law review, etc. etc, but couldn't find another job because the economy was terrible or whatever, so you wound up being a staff attorney for a term of a year or two, you'd be pretty competitive for a number of things when you're done with your term.

I'm pretty sure the hypothetical person you're describing does not and would not exist. Why would someone at the top of their class at HLS ever accept a staff attorney position?

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

Postby XxSpyKEx » Tue Mar 17, 2015 4:17 pm

rpupkin wrote:
XxSpyKEx wrote: In other words, if you were a 2011 grad who graduated at the top of your class at HLS, was the EIC of law review, etc. etc, but couldn't find another job because the economy was terrible or whatever, so you wound up being a staff attorney for a term of a year or two, you'd be pretty competitive for a number of things when you're done with your term.

I'm pretty sure the hypothetical person you're describing does not and would not exist. Why would someone at the top of their class at HLS ever accept a staff attorney position?


Because 2011 was a terrible year to graduate from law school, especially for people who didn't want to go into biglaw. There were hiring freezes pretty much everywhere in federal, state, and local government, and, between 2009-2011, it was seriously like no one was hiring. What made matters worse was that biglaw wasn't hiring very many people (a lot of their c/o 2011 was filled with deferred 2010 grads), so something like 1/2 to 2/3s of the t14 seemed to be gunning for the very few public interest jobs that there were (b/c of LRAP and PSLF, since they all borrowed a shitton of money thinking that they would almost certainly get biglaw---based the law school's c/o 2007 numbers, which is all that was available when we were entering law school). It was a very different legal market back then than it is now. It was bad enough that even people who were in the top 10% of my class at my t10 were striking out at OCI (in 2009). I clerked after law school, and even in the beginning of 2012, it was bad enough that a lot of my co-clerks really struggled, including ones who went to HYS and did well at their law schools (although, it's hard to say what well even means at YS since they don't have meaningful grades). One of my co-clerks pretty much was forced to take the one biglaw offer he was able to get since he couldn't find anything in government or public interest, even though he really, really didn't want biglaw (and he had considered taking a staff attorney position in bumblefuck (i.e. not 2/7/9/DC), despite having graduated at the very, very top of his class at a t14 and having won moot court).

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

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Mar 17, 2015 4:23 pm

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

Bumping this to ask - can anyone elaborate? Would somethjng like this be at all useful for someone looking to become an AUSA or join another litigating DOJ component?

I can't comment on the Seventh Circuit specifically, but I can't imagine that staff attorneys go on to become AUSAs except in highly unusual circumstances.

I actually know a former Seventh Circuit staff attorney who went from that to being an AUSA.

I also think clerking can definitely improve, not just preserve, your chances. USAOs like former clerks. Plus clerking is an easy way to meet judges and former clerks and so on. It's probably not going to transform someone into a biglaw candidate who didn't have the stats before clerking, but government hiring is different from biglaw.

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

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Mar 17, 2015 4:24 pm

XxSpyKEx wrote:
rpupkin wrote:
XxSpyKEx wrote: In other words, if you were a 2011 grad who graduated at the top of your class at HLS, was the EIC of law review, etc. etc, but couldn't find another job because the economy was terrible or whatever, so you wound up being a staff attorney for a term of a year or two, you'd be pretty competitive for a number of things when you're done with your term.

I'm pretty sure the hypothetical person you're describing does not and would not exist. Why would someone at the top of their class at HLS ever accept a staff attorney position?


Because 2011 was a terrible year to graduate from law school, especially for people who didn't want to go into biglaw. There were hiring freezes pretty much everywhere in federal, state, and local government, and, between 2009-2011, it was seriously like no one was hiring. What made matters worse was that biglaw wasn't hiring very many people (a lot of their c/o 2011 was filled with deferred 2010 grads), so something like 1/2 to 2/3s of the t14 seemed to be gunning for the very few public interest jobs that there were (b/c of LRAP and PSLF, since they all borrowed a shitton of money thinking that they would almost certainly get biglaw---based the law school's c/o 2007 numbers, which is all that was available when we were entering law school). It was a very different legal market back then than it is now. It was bad enough that even people who were in the top 10% of my class at my t10 were striking out at OCI (in 2009). I clerked after law school, and even in the beginning of 2012, it was bad enough that a lot of my co-clerks really struggled, including ones who went to HYS and did well at their law schools (although, it's hard to say what well even means at YS since they don't have meaningful grades). One of my co-clerks pretty much was forced to take the one biglaw offer he was able to get since he couldn't find anything in government or public interest, even though he really, really didn't want biglaw (and he had considered taking a staff attorney position in bumblefuck (i.e. not 2/7/9/DC), despite having graduated at the very, very top of his class at a t14 and having won moot court).


+1 to this. For those of us that graduated in 2008-2011/12, it was a very different legal market. While it's very unlikely that someone at the very top of the class at H would have been without a good job even then, plenty of people lower in the class at Harvard were striking out at OCI and others had their offers rescinded at a time when literally no one was hiring. It's not at all inconceivable that someone with good grades from H would have ended up as a staff attorney.

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

Postby sparty99 » Tue Mar 17, 2015 4:36 pm

I would take a staff attorney position in a heart beat.....You will have easy access to federal jobs.

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

Postby XxSpyKEx » Tue Mar 17, 2015 7:02 pm

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

Bumping this to ask - can anyone elaborate? Would somethjng like this be at all useful for someone looking to become an AUSA or join another litigating DOJ component?

I can't comment on the Seventh Circuit specifically, but I can't imagine that staff attorneys go on to become AUSAs except in highly unusual circumstances.

I actually know a former Seventh Circuit staff attorney who went from that to being an AUSA.

I also think clerking can definitely improve, not just preserve, your chances. USAOs like former clerks. Plus clerking is an easy way to meet judges and former clerks and so on. It's probably not going to transform someone into a biglaw candidate who didn't have the stats before clerking, but government hiring is different from biglaw.


It all depends on the court that you clerk at, though. For instance, clerking at the NDIL will definitely improve your odds of getting into the USAO in Chicago; whereas, I'm not so sure the same is true about clerking for a federal district court in Montana (I suppose it could improve your odds at the USAO in Montana, but I imagine there aren't very many attorneys at that office and that's its not very easy to get in as a recent grad). But it's hard to say really just how much it improves your odds in the former category, since you're already a pretty competitive candidate if you're the type of grad who gets a A3 clerkship at the NDIL. Also, if you were a stellar grad who just had a bad clerking cycle and wound up with an A3 clerkship in Montana, that clerkship would definitely still preserve your chances at other competitive jobs (e.g. biglaw).

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

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Mar 17, 2015 9:40 pm

XxSpyKEx wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I actually know a former Seventh Circuit staff attorney who went from that to being an AUSA.

I also think clerking can definitely improve, not just preserve, your chances. USAOs like former clerks. Plus clerking is an easy way to meet judges and former clerks and so on. It's probably not going to transform someone into a biglaw candidate who didn't have the stats before clerking, but government hiring is different from biglaw.


It all depends on the court that you clerk at, though. For instance, clerking at the NDIL will definitely improve your odds of getting into the USAO in Chicago; whereas, I'm not so sure the same is true about clerking for a federal district court in Montana (I suppose it could improve your odds at the USAO in Montana, but I imagine there aren't very many attorneys at that office and that's its not very easy to get in as a recent grad). But it's hard to say really just how much it improves your odds in the former category, since you're already a pretty competitive candidate if you're the type of grad who gets a A3 clerkship at the NDIL. Also, if you were a stellar grad who just had a bad clerking cycle and wound up with an A3 clerkship in Montana, that clerkship would definitely still preserve your chances at other competitive jobs (e.g. biglaw).

Well, there are jobs out there where, all else equal, the clerk will get the job over the non-clerk. It's true that the person getting a NDIL clerkship probably already has good stats, but some jobs only hire former clerks. I also don't think the government cares as much about court prestige as TLS does; for a lot of agencies, a federal clerkship is a federal clerkship.

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

Postby XxSpyKEx » Tue Mar 17, 2015 11:24 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
XxSpyKEx wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I actually know a former Seventh Circuit staff attorney who went from that to being an AUSA.

I also think clerking can definitely improve, not just preserve, your chances. USAOs like former clerks. Plus clerking is an easy way to meet judges and former clerks and so on. It's probably not going to transform someone into a biglaw candidate who didn't have the stats before clerking, but government hiring is different from biglaw.


It all depends on the court that you clerk at, though. For instance, clerking at the NDIL will definitely improve your odds of getting into the USAO in Chicago; whereas, I'm not so sure the same is true about clerking for a federal district court in Montana (I suppose it could improve your odds at the USAO in Montana, but I imagine there aren't very many attorneys at that office and that's its not very easy to get in as a recent grad). But it's hard to say really just how much it improves your odds in the former category, since you're already a pretty competitive candidate if you're the type of grad who gets a A3 clerkship at the NDIL. Also, if you were a stellar grad who just had a bad clerking cycle and wound up with an A3 clerkship in Montana, that clerkship would definitely still preserve your chances at other competitive jobs (e.g. biglaw).

Well, there are jobs out there where, all else equal, the clerk will get the job over the non-clerk. It's true that the person getting a NDIL clerkship probably already has good stats, but some jobs only hire former clerks. I also don't think the government cares as much about court prestige as TLS does; for a lot of agencies, a federal clerkship is a federal clerkship.


That's true, but it all depends on the agency. If you're talking about becoming an attorney adviser for veteran's affairs or the SSA, they probably don't care much about what clerkship you had. Imagine places like DoJ pick people who came out of more competitive A3 clerkships (e.g. SDNY, EDNY, any federal circuit, etc.) over someone who clerked at the Montana district court, particularly since the person who clerked at the more competitive A3 clerkship probably has a stronger resume overall (but I guess in that case all else isn't equal, so there's that).

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

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Mar 18, 2015 8:52 am

sparty99 wrote:I would take a staff attorney position in a heart beat.....You will have easy access to federal jobs.


Yeah, well this is sort of what I'm trying to flesh out - whether anyone has any input on which gvmt jobs.




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