Retired prosecutor (22 years) taking questions

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tmgarvey
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Retired prosecutor (22 years) taking questions

Postby tmgarvey » Sun Jul 01, 2012 12:19 pm

I retired last year after 22 years as a prosecutor--now doing public interest work.

Loved working as a prosecutor, and would be glad to answer questions about working in the criminal justice field (I know enough PDs and private defense lawyers to know a bit about their end of things, too).

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Verity
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Re: Retired prosecutor (22 years) taking questions

Postby Verity » Sun Jul 01, 2012 12:21 pm

What's the first piece of advice you'd give someone who wants to be a prosecutor?

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Re: Retired prosecutor (22 years) taking questions

Postby lsdream » Sun Jul 01, 2012 12:22 pm

Where did you attend Law School?

tmgarvey
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Re: Retired prosecutor (22 years) taking questions

Postby tmgarvey » Sun Jul 01, 2012 12:32 pm

I graduated from Rutgers-Camden (class of 84).
Verity wrote:What's the first piece of advice you'd give someone who wants to be a prosecutor?
Take a clinical course (or an internship) that will get you into the courtroom, if at all possible, preferably in a prosecutor's office or a public defender's office. No prosecutor's office I've ever heard of would hold it against someone that they have defense experience. And vice-versa--working in a prosecutor's office is great training for being a defense attorney. You will find out how things actually work--the practical aspects of how the system works, all the little pieces that go into getting a result in a criminal case.

I did my internship my third year at the U.S. Attorney's Office in Camden, and I was smitten. I had no thoughts of being a prosecutor before that (and I wasn't able to get hired as a prosecutor straight out of law school--I worked a few years in the civil division of the State AG's Office first).

Most hires in our office and in the local PD's office were from people who had interned for us, or who clerked for judges after law school. Unless you had one of those backgrounds, or prior prosecutorial experience, it was tough to get hired.

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haus
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Re: Retired prosecutor (22 years) taking questions

Postby haus » Sun Jul 01, 2012 12:48 pm

If this was your first career, I imagine that you are still quite young. Are you planning a full out sit on the porch and watch the world go by retirement, or do you intend to pursue another career?

tmgarvey
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Re: Retired prosecutor (22 years) taking questions

Postby tmgarvey » Sun Jul 01, 2012 12:58 pm

haus wrote:If this was your first career, I imagine that you are still quite young. Are you planning a full out sit on the porch and watch the world go by retirement, or do you intend to pursue another career?
LOL, I "sat on the porch" for a whole four months, and am fortunate to have landed what I consider my "dream job". I am working for a nonprofit (located in DC, though I can work remotely from my home in NJ, except for some travel) called AEquitas: The Prosecutors' Resource on Violence Against Women. I worked for nine and a half years in the Domestic Violence Unit of the Prosecutor's Office, so it is an area of law enforcement near and dear to my heart. What I am doing now is providing training and case consultation (including research support) for prosecutors doing what I used to do.

In short, I am continuing to do what I love, but without having to please numerous members of the judiciary every day. :)

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haus
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Re: Retired prosecutor (22 years) taking questions

Postby haus » Sun Jul 01, 2012 1:54 pm

tmgarvey wrote:In short, I am continuing to do what I love, but without having to please numerous members of the judiciary every day. :)

Congratulations!

I am always happy to see stories where people have found a way to find a way to start a new career (or bend their existing career) to address matters that they really care about.

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princeR
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Re: Retired prosecutor (22 years) taking questions

Postby princeR » Sun Jul 01, 2012 3:15 pm

What should I focus on in law school and during my summers? Moot court or law review journal?

tmgarvey
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Re: Retired prosecutor (22 years) taking questions

Postby tmgarvey » Sun Jul 01, 2012 3:39 pm

princeR wrote:What should I focus on in law school and during my summers? Moot court or law review journal?
As between those two, moot court would be the more immediately useful (unless, of course, your goal is to specialize in appellate work, where the analysis of cases in depth could be an asset). But an internship or clinical opportunity with a PD or prosecutor's office would, by far, be the best use of time. Something that would allow you to do something connected to criminal law would give you some practical experience, a taste of what the job is like, and connections that might lead to a job offer down the line. Moot court and law review would not give you that--not that they are wastes of time, they simply aren't the most direct route to a job as a prosecutor.

I have never been impressed with law review credentials in this particular field, although I know several prosecutors and defense attorneys who are brilliant lawyers. It's simply a different skill set. Involvement in clinical activity, public interest work, trial advocacy courses are better indicators to me of someone who would be happily committed to a career as a prosecutor.

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SemperLegal
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Re: Retired prosecutor (22 years) taking questions

Postby SemperLegal » Sun Jul 01, 2012 3:50 pm

tmgarvey wrote:I graduated from Rutgers-Camden (class of 84).


Rutgers-Camden Graduate.
22 years of public service,
High profile division.


Congrats you glorious bastards. I don't know how you pulled this merger magic, but, damn it, you did it well.


Quick question, is there any cooperation between NJ local police departments and the prosecutor? I have a lot of friends who are cops (non detectives) and a family friend who is an investigator for the Prosecutor's Office and they all make it out like there's no overlap at all. Pretty much the police make an arrest, than a memo is sent to the PO where it sits in a basket until someone has time.

With the size of some towns, I can't see how police departments can do there own investigations, but having been an investigator, I don't see how lawyers are able to do grunt detective work.

tmgarvey
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Re: Retired prosecutor (22 years) taking questions

Postby tmgarvey » Sun Jul 01, 2012 4:01 pm

SemperLegal wrote:
Rutgers-Camden Graduate.
22 years of public service,
High profile division.


Congrats you glorious bastards. I don't know how you pulled this merger magic, but, damn it, you did it well.


Quick question, is there any cooperation between NJ local police departments and the prosecutor? I have a lot of friends who are cops (non detectives) and a family friend who is an investigator for the Prosecutor's Office and they all make it out like there's no overlap at all. Pretty much the police make an arrest, than a memo is sent to the PO where it sits in a basket until someone has time.

With the size of some towns, I can't see how police departments can do there own investigations, but having been an investigator, I don't see how lawyers are able to do grunt detective work.


We DON'T do the "grunt detective work". We have a great staff of investigators for that.

Here's how it works in my (former) office. Police make an arrest. That may have been preceded (or followed) by investigation by the PD's detectives. Once the complaint lands in our office (and we only handle indictable cases--crimes, not disorderly persons offenses), we screen them and if we "refer" the case for prosecution, it is assigned to a Prosecutor's Office investigator. Depending on the size of the police department and their resources, they may continue to do some followup investigation in conjunction with our investigators. Some departments are so small they have only a handful of detectives, so we do the lion's share of investigation. In others, they have many detectives and all we have to do is more or less collect and review what they have done. If a case goes to trial there is always additional work that must be done, and that is usually done by our own investigators.

There is actually pretty good cooperation between our office and the local police departments. Very occasional friction, but mostly a spirit of cooperation on both sides.

One more thing: The Prosecutor's Office also originates some investigations (e.g., narcotics, child abuse, official misconduct), and some cases are referred to us for assistance before an arrest is made (e.g., many homicide cases, cases that come from smaller departments with fewer investigative resources).

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SemperLegal
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Re: Retired prosecutor (22 years) taking questions

Postby SemperLegal » Sun Jul 01, 2012 4:15 pm

tmgarvey wrote:
SemperLegal wrote:
Rutgers-Camden Graduate.
22 years of public service,
High profile division.


Congrats you glorious bastards. I don't know how you pulled this merger magic, but, damn it, you did it well.


Quick question, is there any cooperation between NJ local police departments and the prosecutor? I have a lot of friends who are cops (non detectives) and a family friend who is an investigator for the Prosecutor's Office and they all make it out like there's no overlap at all. Pretty much the police make an arrest, than a memo is sent to the PO where it sits in a basket until someone has time.

With the size of some towns, I can't see how police departments can do there own investigations, but having been an investigator, I don't see how lawyers are able to do grunt detective work.


We DON'T do the "grunt detective work". We have a great staff of investigators for that.

Here's how it works in my (former) office. Police make an arrest. That may have been preceded (or followed) by investigation by the PD's detectives. Once the complaint lands in our office (and we only handle indictable cases--crimes, not disorderly persons offenses), we screen them and if we "refer" the case for prosecution, it is assigned to a Prosecutor's Office investigator. Depending on the size of the police department and their resources, they may continue to do some followup investigation in conjunction with our investigators. Some departments are so small they have only a handful of detectives, so we do the lion's share of investigation. In others, they have many detectives and all we have to do is more or less collect and review what they have done. If a case goes to trial there is always additional work that must be done, and that is usually done by our own investigators.

There is actually pretty good cooperation between our office and the local police departments. Very occasional friction, but mostly a spirit of cooperation on both sides.

One more thing: The Prosecutor's Office also originates some investigations (e.g., narcotics, child abuse, official misconduct), and some cases are referred to us for assistance before an arrest is made (e.g., many homicide cases, cases that come from smaller departments with fewer investigative resources).


Thanks, very informative from the POV of a former NJ resident and forever Jersey Boy.

whydididothis
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Re: Retired prosecutor (22 years) taking questions

Postby whydididothis » Sun Jul 01, 2012 9:15 pm

Any tips for freshly-minted prosecutor? I'll be starting work in one of the NYC offices after the bar. Tips for doing well at work, and securing the best exit options in case I want to move on a few years down the road (I really don't want to stay in the NYC area long-term), are much appreciated.

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Re: Retired prosecutor (22 years) taking questions

Postby tmgarvey » Sun Jul 01, 2012 9:47 pm

whydididothis wrote:Any tips for freshly-minted prosecutor? I'll be starting work in one of the NYC offices after the bar. Tips for doing well at work, and securing the best exit options in case I want to move on a few years down the road (I really don't want to stay in the NYC area long-term), are much appreciated.
First off, congrats!!! That's awesome you already have the gig.

The only downside to working in NYC as a prosecutor, I would imagine, is that the offices are probably large enough that it would take a bit longer to get the amount of responsibility you might get in a smaller office. Nevertheless, you should find it interesting, to say the least.

Tips for doing well:

Watch how the experienced people in your office (and defense attorneys, too) do things. Ask questions--most prosecutors love to talk about their work. Get into court to watch what happens there as often as you can. If you are expected to exercise discretion in handling cases, make sure you know why you would want to make certain decisions. For instance, most offices have policies (written or unwritten) about how certain matters should be handled (e.g., any drug case under a certain quantity with a defendant with "x" criminal history would normally get such-and-such disposition). Normally you will be giving the "going rate," but some situations call for deviations. Learn how to look up the law, paying close attention to how statutes in the penal code and court rules are worded. You will be dealing with these day in and day out. Remember that you don't have to agree with the law to enforce it. Your job is to enforce it--it's up to the Legislature to change it. If there are office activities and outings, take advantage of those to get acquainted with your colleagues. In the best prosecutors' offices, there is a team spirit rather than a sense of competition. Be professional, fair, and ethical in all your professional dealings with people in your office, adversaries, and judges. Treat your investigators and support staff (as well as court staff) VERY well--these people can make your life a living hell if you don't learn to get along with them. Occasional conflicts may arise, but it's best to choose your battles with care.

I'm probably not the best person to ask about how to plan for exit options, since I was in it for the long haul (and would still be there, but for the threatened pension reforms that made it smart to retire if you had your time in). If you want to go on to do criminal defense work, obviously a good working relationship with defense attorneys is good. If you develop a reputation for being smart, tough, and ethical/fair, those will make you a desirable commodity when you are looking to leave. If you want to do some other kind of law, being well thought of by colleagues, adversaries, and judges will enhance the number of people who will be in a position to give you good recommendations.

Good luck--and have fun! Honestly, for most of my years as a prosecutor I got up every day thinking I could never have a job I would love that much. It can be very rewarding, even with the occasional frustrations and bureaucratic BS (and you will get some of that in ANY job).

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Re: Retired prosecutor (22 years) taking questions

Postby JCFindley » Sun Jul 01, 2012 10:37 pm

Thanks for the thread TM.

I am an 0L starting in the fall so I am really not even educated enough yet to know what to ask. I do know I want to go into criminal law so will just shut up and read.

Thanks

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SaintsTheMetal
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Re: Retired prosecutor (22 years) taking questions

Postby SaintsTheMetal » Tue Jul 03, 2012 11:45 pm

Thanks for taking questions! This website does not have nearly enough people that care about anything other than corporate law

I'm a 0L and really clueless about how things really work, since there really doesn't seem to be much info here about it, but I have always wanted to work in Criminal Defense. However, common sentiment around here seems to be that most private defense attorneys are working for spit. Coming from a top law school, are there any medium or larger sized firms that do this kind of work, and pay decent salaries? Or is all of the work done by very small or solo broke ass firms?

Also, somewhat continuing on that, if I were to graduate with a ton of debt, and assuming there aren't market paying large firms that handle criminal defense, would it be at all possible to start in BigLaw right out of law school and somehow move into defense or, with the capital built up from BigLaw, open your own solo firm?

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Re: Retired prosecutor (22 years) taking questions

Postby tmgarvey » Wed Jul 04, 2012 10:08 am

Hi,

My impression is that the only kind of criminal defense work practiced in large law firms is corporate crime (white collar, environmental, etc.). There are plenty of pretty well-off private defense attorneys, who work mostly in small firms that have gained a lot of experience and reputation as being the best of the best. But most of them got their start working as a prosecutor or public defender--I sure wouldn't want some awesomely terrific corporate lawyer defending me if I were charged with a crime. I'd want someone with a lot of experience and trial skill who would know how to work out the best deal to be had or take my case to trial with a good shot at winning because they know the judges and prosecutors and are skilled in front of a jury.

In New Jersey, believe it or not, public defenders make more money than prosecutors in most counties. That's because the PDs are State employees, while prosecutors are employed by County government. In other States it may work differently.

I wouldn't say it's impossible to earn a bunch of money in BigLaw and then go hang out your shingle as a private defense lawyer, just that I've never personally seen it done. If that were your plan you'd be better off going straight to a smaller firm that does a lot of criminal defense work, maybe based on good contacts you made in law school. Sounds pretty iffy to me, though, as a plan.

There are some student loan forgiveness programs out there for people in public service. Depending on the amount of debt you are carrying, it might be possible to afford to work as a prosecutor or public defender for a few years, build up your skills and rep, and go on to be one of those well-paid private defense lawyers I was talking about. Most people don't get BigLaw rich doing criminal law on either side of the bar. Only you know what you need to get by. The money is tight for most recent grads, but the young prosecutors in our office were living in decent homes and had money to go have fun (not to mention the time to do it).

For me, going to a more expensive school (and yes, as I was reminded recently, they are ALL expensive these days) would not have made sense, given what I wanted to do in my career. For what it's worth, a significant percentage of prosecutors in my office (I am going to say close to half) left the office at some point to go into private practice--and then came back, because they missed the work, and they missed the lifestyle. Criminal law is one of the few fields I know of where practitioners tend to actually enjoy their jobs. It's fun and it's interesting, and it's something important in society--good practitioners on both sides are essential if there is to be any justice. The war stories alone can be worth the price of admission--you couldn't MAKE the stuff up that you will see on a day to day basis.

Good luck, and stay flexible. You may find some other area of the law really grabs your interest once you get into it. Being a prosecutor wasn't what I set out to do when I started law school, but it turned out to be the perfect "fit" for me.

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Re: Retired prosecutor (22 years) taking questions

Postby LiberalLaw » Fri Jul 06, 2012 1:33 am

tmgarvey wrote:Hi,

My impression is that the only kind of criminal defense work practiced in large law firms is corporate crime (white collar, environmental, etc.). There are plenty of pretty well-off private defense attorneys, who work mostly in small firms that have gained a lot of experience and reputation as being the best of the best. But most of them got their start working as a prosecutor or public defender--I sure wouldn't want some awesomely terrific corporate lawyer defending me if I were charged with a crime. I'd want someone with a lot of experience and trial skill who would know how to work out the best deal to be had or take my case to trial with a good shot at winning because they know the judges and prosecutors and are skilled in front of a jury.

In New Jersey, believe it or not, public defenders make more money than prosecutors in most counties. That's because the PDs are State employees, while prosecutors are employed by County government. In other States it may work differently.

I wouldn't say it's impossible to earn a bunch of money in BigLaw and then go hang out your shingle as a private defense lawyer, just that I've never personally seen it done. If that were your plan you'd be better off going straight to a smaller firm that does a lot of criminal defense work, maybe based on good contacts you made in law school. Sounds pretty iffy to me, though, as a plan.

There are some student loan forgiveness programs out there for people in public service. Depending on the amount of debt you are carrying, it might be possible to afford to work as a prosecutor or public defender for a few years, build up your skills and rep, and go on to be one of those well-paid private defense lawyers I was talking about. Most people don't get BigLaw rich doing criminal law on either side of the bar. Only you know what you need to get by. The money is tight for most recent grads, but the young prosecutors in our office were living in decent homes and had money to go have fun (not to mention the time to do it).

For me, going to a more expensive school (and yes, as I was reminded recently, they are ALL expensive these days) would not have made sense, given what I wanted to do in my career. For what it's worth, a significant percentage of prosecutors in my office (I am going to say close to half) left the office at some point to go into private practice--and then came back, because they missed the work, and they missed the lifestyle. Criminal law is one of the few fields I know of where practitioners tend to actually enjoy their jobs. It's fun and it's interesting, and it's something important in society--good practitioners on both sides are essential if there is to be any justice. The war stories alone can be worth the price of admission--you couldn't MAKE the stuff up that you will see on a day to day basis.

Good luck, and stay flexible. You may find some other area of the law really grabs your interest once you get into it. Being a prosecutor wasn't what I set out to do when I started law school, but it turned out to be the perfect "fit" for me.


Do you know how counties in New Jersey tend to hire new law school graduates. Do they look mostly at grades, law review, or other factors?

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Re: Retired prosecutor (22 years) taking questions

Postby tmgarvey » Fri Jul 06, 2012 8:19 am

tmgarvey wrote:Do you know how counties in New Jersey tend to hire new law school graduates. Do they look mostly at grades, law review, or other factors?
I think most of them look at experience and level of commitment to doing this kind of work.

I won't say grades don't matter--you definitely want good grades, but you don't have to stress over being at the top of your class. I would say that if your grades reflect sufficient legal ability and time-management that you are able to handle the work, you are fine grade-wise. Demonstrating enthusiasm and real interest in criminal law is probably the most important, along with a commitment to public service in general.

Law review wouldn't help you so much to land a job with a prosecutor's office. On the other hand, being on law review might help land a clerkship, and our office (and I think many others) tended to hire a lot of people who clerked for the judges in our county. So it doesn't hurt, may or may not help. Other activities are probably more helpful--clinical experience or internships, for example, especially one at the office where you hope to work. If you make a really good impression as an intern, you have a much better shot at being hired.

So much of being a prosecutor involves exercise of nuanced discretion--that is something you mostly learn by doing it (and watching others do it), but any red flags indicating you don't have good judgment are going to hurt. And having a "lock-em-up-and-throw-away -the-key" attitude will hurt you, too. If you can communicate the fact that you are a mature person, capable of taking into account the innumerable factors that vary from one case (and one defendant) to the next, making fair judgment calls, and being a good "fit" for the office (this is where internship really helps), you will be presenting yourself as someone who will be an asset to the office.

LiberalLaw
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Re: Retired prosecutor (22 years) taking questions

Postby LiberalLaw » Fri Jul 06, 2012 5:38 pm

Thank you for the response. I currently intern for a public defender, and am hoping to have a state or federal level internship next year.

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Re: Retired prosecutor (22 years) taking questions

Postby Phightins » Fri Jul 06, 2012 6:30 pm

Thanks for taking questions. How big of a factor might prior (large city) law enforcement experience be for someone looking to work as a prosecutor?

abc12345675
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Re: Retired prosecutor (22 years) taking questions

Postby abc12345675 » Fri Jul 06, 2012 6:32 pm

Went in to law school thinking I didn't want anything to do with criminal work/prosecution. Now that I'm finished my 1L year, it really interests me. Problem is I realized I wanted to do it after the tryouts for Moot Court and aren't doing a related internship this summer.

Is it too late?

tmgarvey
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Re: Retired prosecutor (22 years) taking questions

Postby tmgarvey » Fri Jul 06, 2012 6:54 pm

Phightins wrote:Thanks for taking questions. How big of a factor might prior (large city) law enforcement experience be for someone looking to work as a prosecutor?
I think it would be a huge asset. Part of the learning curve when you are starting out is simply understanding how police officers work, how they respond to crimes, how crimes are investigated, what kind of evidence may exist. We've had a few prosecutors with prior law enforcement experience. You probably want to emphasize that you still understand there is a lot to learn about prosecution from the legal side of things--nobody wants to hire someone who thinks he or she knows it all. But the short answer is it should definitely help.

Interestingly, we have also had a few prosecutors decide they would rather be investigators. They went to the police academy, trained as investigators, and ultimately (after just a very few years) were making more money than their colleagues who were still prosecutors. That's because investigators can be paid for overtime, plus they have a much better union contract than the prosecutors do! If I'd been a few years younger, I would have considered it, myself.

abc12345675 wrote:Went in to law school thinking I didn't want anything to do with criminal work/prosecution. Now that I'm finished my 1L year, it really interests me. Problem is I realized I wanted to do it after the tryouts for Moot Court and aren't doing a related internship this summer.

Is it too late?
Not at all, though you do want to get moving on it. I had no exposure to any clinical experience until my third year of law school (fall semester), when I did a clinic (really more of an internship) with the U.S. Attorney's Office. The downside of that was that I did have to wait a bit to be seriously considered for a prosecution job. The US Attorney hires very few new law grads--they generally hire experienced lawyers. And I had no "in" at the Prosecutor's Office. I worked for three years doing civil practice at the AG's Office (representing Dept. of Corrections and Parole Board--my theory was at least it was related), and then was able to get an interview through a contact I had in my job with the AG's Office. That's one other thing to remember--you don't always get exactly the job you hoped for immediately after graduation. (In this economy everyone is lucky if they are working). But if you plan a bit, you can still ultimately get where you are going if you are persistent and flexible and use a little imagination.

One suggestion (not related to either of the last two questions):
If you don't have a lot of confidence standing up in class, or in court, or in interview situations, work very hard on that. Criminal law is adversarial (though if you are lucky, it's in a friendly kind of way--at the end of the day you hang out with the defense attorneys and swap stories, not throw daggers at each other). You will be on your feet arguing in front of judges every day, and negotiating personally with a whole range of personalities from the defense bar. You will be debating decisions you make with colleagues and bosses, and sometimes have to advocate for how you think a case should be handled. And appearing in front of juries is a whole other level of performance.

If I interview someone who comes off as excessively shy or timid (not merely a little nervous due to the interview setting, which is nerve-wracking for everyone), I would tend to cross them off my list. (Of course, abrasiveness or overconfidence or arrogance is equally off-putting). Trial advocacy and moot court, or any other activities (SBA, etc.) that get you on your feet and comfortable asking questions, debating, thinking on your feet, or just speaking your mind will help you project the demeanor of someone who will be able to deal with the realities of the job. You don't have to be an extreme extrovert, but you do need to be able to turn on the persuasive charm or assertiveness as the situation calls for it.

Just another little tip for interviewees...

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FlanAl
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Re: Retired prosecutor (22 years) taking questions

Postby FlanAl » Tue Jul 31, 2012 3:36 pm

Hey tm,

I'd really be interested in learning more about the public defense system in NJ and heck about NJ in general. What are some of the nicer parts of NJ? I'd love to be in a place that had easy beach access and easy access to Manhattan. I'd also love to work somewhere where I will get a lot of trial experience pretty quick.

Thanks for any help and advice!

tmgarvey
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Re: Retired prosecutor (22 years) taking questions

Postby tmgarvey » Tue Jul 31, 2012 5:19 pm

FlanAl wrote:Hey tm,

I'd really be interested in learning more about the public defense system in NJ and heck about NJ in general. What are some of the nicer parts of NJ? I'd love to be in a place that had easy beach access and easy access to Manhattan. I'd also love to work somewhere where I will get a lot of trial experience pretty quick.

Thanks for any help and advice!
Hm, I'm down in South Jersey (which might as well be a separate State), so I'm afraid I'm not going to be able to tell you much about north or central Jersey in terms of where the best beaches and access to Manhattan are. I do know that Monmouth County is gorgeous (and expensive)--that's Bruce Springsteen country, nice beaches, and not too far from NY (though I'm not that familiar with ease of travel between the two). I usually take the train, myself, if I am going to NYC.

I can assure you that any job with the PD's Office would give you plenty of trial experience. Here's a link to the site for the State: http://www.state.nj.us/defender/.

I'm a transplant from Colorado, myself, and came out to NJ in 1981 to go to law school, with every intention of going back to Colorado after graduation. I'd never spent any time in NJ, so it was a bit of culture shock when I first arrived. In the late 90s I moved back to Colorado with every intention of staying there. The city I grew up in wasn't the same at all, though, and other things did not go well, and by then New Jersey felt like home, so I moved back here for good. As much as people joke about the State, there is a lot to like (also a lot NOT to like--taxes and cost of living among them), and much of the State is surprisingly beautiful.

I also like the fact that it is relatively easy from South Jersey to get up to New York or down to Washington, and only fifteen minutes from here to Philadelphia. Places like the Delaware Water Gap and the shore are great if you like outdoor activities. The benefits for public employees here are very decent, and now that the State is attending to what should have been done long ago with regard to the pension system, hopefully there will be benefits when the younger workers retire.

New Jersey's Supreme Court currently has (and has had for years) a very liberal bent when it comes to the criminal justice system.

If there's anything else you'd like to know, feel free.




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