Clerkship ->DOJ/AUSA/Federal Agency Transition

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Clerkship ->DOJ/AUSA/Federal Agency Transition

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Mar 16, 2017 12:00 am

Have an Art. III fly-over clerkship offer for this coming fall that I need to decide within the next week and thought I'd solicit some input here about whether any of my exit options are viable. I have a non-traditional background in that I clerked for a SSC right out of law school, litigated for a year and change at a mid-law firm and hated it, and transitioned into legal research full-time for the last several years for a think tank. Always wanted to clerk for a federal judge, but it wasn't an option from my T2 school given my unremarkable grades right out of the gate so I bided my time and waited. The clerkship is nowhere near any of the states I'm barred in.

I'd prefer federal government work if I can get it, but don't know how common or viable the DOJ/AUSA transition is from a clerkship without the Biglaw (3-5 years) and/or a top school pedigree. I did the whole moot court/clinic/criminal law classes/AUSA externship track in law school so I have some demonstrated interest and would be fine with any AUSA office in a district where I could live although DOJ work and the salary is optimal financially and breadth-wise. My intent would be to remain in that type of work for the duration of my career. Just trying to get a sense of how realistic this is directly coming off a clerkship. I'm open to other agencies if it turns out DOJ hiring parallels Biglaw as long as there's an opportunity for courtroom exposure long-term. I just have exposure to the AUSA work environment and know I enjoyed it.

I'm not looking to go into private practice/Biglaw at all - I couldn't stand the impact private practice had on my life/personality while I was in it and know that the myopic obsession over grades and pedigree limits my options anyway. If I get back into this and can't get the agency path to work, I'd probably consider doubling up on another term d.ct. clerkship, shoot for the stars for a COA which I'll never get, or career clerk since I enjoy the reading/research/writing daily grind of clerking.

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Re: Clerkship ->DOJ/AUSA/Federal Agency Transition

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Apr 14, 2017 4:03 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Have an Art. III fly-over clerkship offer for this coming fall that I need to decide within the next week and thought I'd solicit some input here about whether any of my exit options are viable. I have a non-traditional background in that I clerked for a SSC right out of law school, litigated for a year and change at a mid-law firm and hated it, and transitioned into legal research full-time for the last several years for a think tank. Always wanted to clerk for a federal judge, but it wasn't an option from my T2 school given my unremarkable grades right out of the gate so I bided my time and waited. The clerkship is nowhere near any of the states I'm barred in.

I'd prefer federal government work if I can get it, but don't know how common or viable the DOJ/AUSA transition is from a clerkship without the Biglaw (3-5 years) and/or a top school pedigree. I did the whole moot court/clinic/criminal law classes/AUSA externship track in law school so I have some demonstrated interest and would be fine with any AUSA office in a district where I could live although DOJ work and the salary is optimal financially and breadth-wise. My intent would be to remain in that type of work for the duration of my career. Just trying to get a sense of how realistic this is directly coming off a clerkship. I'm open to other agencies if it turns out DOJ hiring parallels Biglaw as long as there's an opportunity for courtroom exposure long-term. I just have exposure to the AUSA work environment and know I enjoyed it.

I'm not looking to go into private practice/Biglaw at all - I couldn't stand the impact private practice had on my life/personality while I was in it and know that the myopic obsession over grades and pedigree limits my options anyway. If I get back into this and can't get the agency path to work, I'd probably consider doubling up on another term d.ct. clerkship, shoot for the stars for a COA which I'll never get, or career clerk since I enjoy the reading/research/writing daily grind of clerking.



Also interested. Thoughts anyone?

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Re: Clerkship ->DOJ/AUSA/Federal Agency Transition

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Apr 20, 2017 11:58 am

I didn't apply to USAOs out of my clerkship, but know several former clerks in fly-over districts who have, none of whom ended up getting an offer. AUSA jobs are competitive even in fly-over territory. My impression is that, as with most competitive legal jobs, the path usually involves one of two scenarios -- (1) great credentials (top grades at local school or good grades at top school + solid experience via private practice/clerkship) and/or (2) great connections (your judge or other close connection is a former U.S. Attorney/friend of the USAO). Just having a clerkship on your resume, without more, is likely not enough to get a job at any USAO.

Not sure if OP's statement about preferring "DOJ work and the salary" is a reference to DOJ positions in DC. That career path is unrealistic for a T2 grad with unremarkable grades. But an AUSA position isn't entirely out of reach if you make the right connections in your area. Your best bet would probably be to start networking in the region where you're clerking, and talk to your judge about the feasibility of applying to the local USAO.

I don't know anything about the competitiveness of positions at other federal agencies, but I suspect the path is similar.

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Re: Clerkship ->DOJ/AUSA/Federal Agency Transition

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Apr 20, 2017 3:02 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I didn't apply to USAOs out of my clerkship, but know several former clerks in fly-over districts who have, none of whom ended up getting an offer. AUSA jobs are competitive even in fly-over territory. My impression is that, as with most competitive legal jobs, the path usually involves one of two scenarios -- (1) great credentials (top grades at local school or good grades at top school + solid experience via private practice/clerkship) and/or (2) great connections (your judge or other close connection is a former U.S. Attorney/friend of the USAO). Just having a clerkship on your resume, without more, is likely not enough to get a job at any USAO.

Not sure if OP's statement about preferring "DOJ work and the salary" is a reference to DOJ positions in DC. That career path is unrealistic for a T2 grad with unremarkable grades. But an AUSA position isn't entirely out of reach if you make the right connections in your area. Your best bet would probably be to start networking in the region where you're clerking, and talk to your judge about the feasibility of applying to the local USAO.

I don't know anything about the competitiveness of positions at other federal agencies, but I suspect the path is similar.


Any of them alumni? I have years of biglaw prior to double clerkships (both of which not in my desired locales, which are voluminous) and am hoping to go AUSA. I know of at least one person who was very successful in this but just one anecdote.

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Re: Clerkship ->DOJ/AUSA/Federal Agency Transition

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Apr 20, 2017 3:38 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I didn't apply to USAOs out of my clerkship, but know several former clerks in fly-over districts who have, none of whom ended up getting an offer. AUSA jobs are competitive even in fly-over territory. My impression is that, as with most competitive legal jobs, the path usually involves one of two scenarios -- (1) great credentials (top grades at local school or good grades at top school + solid experience via private practice/clerkship) and/or (2) great connections (your judge or other close connection is a former U.S. Attorney/friend of the USAO). Just having a clerkship on your resume, without more, is likely not enough to get a job at any USAO.

Not sure if OP's statement about preferring "DOJ work and the salary" is a reference to DOJ positions in DC. That career path is unrealistic for a T2 grad with unremarkable grades. But an AUSA position isn't entirely out of reach if you make the right connections in your area. Your best bet would probably be to start networking in the region where you're clerking, and talk to your judge about the feasibility of applying to the local USAO.

I don't know anything about the competitiveness of positions at other federal agencies, but I suspect the path is similar.


Any of them alumni? I have years of biglaw prior to double clerkships (both of which not in my desired locales, which are voluminous) and am hoping to go AUSA. I know of at least one person who was very successful in this but just one anecdote.


I'm not sure what you mean by "alumni". It's hard to speak about a person's chances without more information. Again, it's just going to depend on a combination of your credentials/connections. If you didn't go to a top school and had mediocre grades, the fact that you have some experience in biglaw/clerking, without more, is probably not enough to get an AUSA gig. But that experience, coupled with some connection to the USAO (either geographic or through knowing the right person) would be enough to give you a shot.

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Re: Clerkship ->DOJ/AUSA/Federal Agency Transition

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Apr 20, 2017 9:06 pm

Was just asking if your anecdotal stories re: failure were people that had years of experience prior to clerking. I went to a top school and had somewhat better than mediocre grades, but did white collar work at a biglaw firm for 4 years. Yes, I understand the connections and have on in flyover country and a very strong one in a desirable district but those are extremely competitive. Was hoping that experience would help.

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Re: Clerkship ->DOJ/AUSA/Federal Agency Transition

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Apr 21, 2017 10:30 am

Anonymous User wrote:Was just asking if your anecdotal stories re: failure were people that had years of experience prior to clerking. I went to a top school and had somewhat better than mediocre grades, but did white collar work at a biglaw firm for 4 years. Yes, I understand the connections and have on in flyover country and a very strong one in a desirable district but those are extremely competitive. Was hoping that experience would help.


The former clerks I referenced had limited post-LS experience; having more post-LS experience definitely helps. It sounds like your situation is different from OP's because of your other credentials. If you had slightly better than average grades at a top school and you have several years of white collar experience, you should be competitive for USAO positions, perhaps even in the more competitive districts if you have a strong connection.

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ExBiglawAssociate
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Re: Clerkship ->DOJ/AUSA/Federal Agency Transition

Postby ExBiglawAssociate » Sat Apr 22, 2017 11:56 am

Hiring freeze?

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Re: Clerkship ->DOJ/AUSA/Federal Agency Transition

Postby rpupkin » Sat Apr 22, 2017 2:52 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Have an Art. III fly-over clerkship offer for this coming fall that I need to decide within the next week and thought I'd solicit some input here about whether any of my exit options are viable. I have a non-traditional background in that I clerked for a SSC right out of law school, litigated for a year and change at a mid-law firm and hated it, and transitioned into legal research full-time for the last several years for a think tank. Always wanted to clerk for a federal judge, but it wasn't an option from my T2 school given my unremarkable grades right out of the gate so I bided my time and waited. The clerkship is nowhere near any of the states I'm barred in.

I'd prefer federal government work if I can get it, but don't know how common or viable the DOJ/AUSA transition is from a clerkship without the Biglaw (3-5 years) and/or a top school pedigree. I did the whole moot court/clinic/criminal law classes/AUSA externship track in law school so I have some demonstrated interest and would be fine with any AUSA office in a district where I could live although DOJ work and the salary is optimal financially and breadth-wise. My intent would be to remain in that type of work for the duration of my career. Just trying to get a sense of how realistic this is directly coming off a clerkship. I'm open to other agencies if it turns out DOJ hiring parallels Biglaw as long as there's an opportunity for courtroom exposure long-term. I just have exposure to the AUSA work environment and know I enjoyed it.

I'm not looking to go into private practice/Biglaw at all - I couldn't stand the impact private practice had on my life/personality while I was in it and know that the myopic obsession over grades and pedigree limits my options anyway. If I get back into this and can't get the agency path to work, I'd probably consider doubling up on another term d.ct. clerkship, shoot for the stars for a COA which I'll never get, or career clerk since I enjoy the reading/research/writing daily grind of clerking.



Also interested. Thoughts anyone?

Based on the background the OP provided, landing an AUSA position is extremely unlikely. An additional clerkship is unlikely to make a difference.

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Re: Clerkship ->DOJ/AUSA/Federal Agency Transition

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Sat Apr 22, 2017 3:01 pm

ExBiglawAssociate wrote:Hiring freeze?

Technically lifted. Not sure how much hirings USAOs are going to do until the USAs are all hired, though.




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