Career Goals: Then and Now?

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toothbrush
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Career Goals: Then and Now?

Postby toothbrush » Fri May 17, 2013 10:17 am

With many of you graduation and/or starting summer employment I wanted to discuss careers a bit. This may be a sore topic but I think it'd be interesting and beneficial to hear.

What were your goals coming into law school (however many years ago that was)? Has that changed? If so, what events in law school helped you change your mind?

What are you realistically going to be doing after law school? If it's a different field than anticipated, why did it change?

What do you foresee yourself doing in 5 years? 10? 15?
Last edited by toothbrush on Fri May 17, 2013 10:53 am, edited 1 time in total.

fluffythepenguin
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Re: Career Goals: Then and Now

Postby fluffythepenguin » Fri May 17, 2013 10:43 am

Good question, OP. Interested in this as well.

GertrudePerkins
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Re: Career Goals: Then and Now?

Postby GertrudePerkins » Fri May 17, 2013 1:51 pm

I went into LS having no real interest in firms and confident that because of an excellent financial situation I wouldn't need the firm paycheck. So I was pretty focused on government, especially federal. Didn't do much research into how get-able government jobs are right out of LS until shortly before the decision whether to do 2L OCI -- suddenly discovered that even for HYS, getting fed government jobs is highly, highly competitive. So, given that my top priority was simply to be employed after LS, I did OCI and summered at a firm. I will still try for government post-clerkship, but I'm glad to have the firm's offer in my back pocket.

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JDndMSW
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Re: Career Goals: Then and Now?

Postby JDndMSW » Fri May 17, 2013 1:55 pm

GertrudePerkins wrote:I went into LS having no real interest in firms and confident that because of an excellent financial situation I wouldn't need the firm paycheck. So I was pretty focused on government, especially federal. Didn't do much research into how get-able government jobs are right out of LS until shortly before the decision whether to do 2L OCI -- suddenly discovered that even for HYS, getting fed government jobs is highly, highly competitive. So, given that my top priority was simply to be employed after LS, I did OCI and summered at a firm. I will still try for government post-clerkship, but I'm glad to have the firm's offer in my back pocket.


Do you know if non competative status helps at all with fed jobs at this level? I found out recently that I may have this status after LS but I cannot find any informantion on it. Also are you talking any fed job is hard to get? What about smaller agencie like FEMA for example?

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Career Goals: Then and Now?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Fri May 17, 2013 2:11 pm

I don't know much about non-competitive status, but isn't it only for the year following your service?

But yes, fedgov jobs are generally extremely competitive, regardless of the size of the agency, just because there are so few fedgov openings these days. Many agencies - especially smaller ones - prefer only to hire experienced candidates as well, as they don't have the resources to train new lawyers. There are a bunch of recent threads about this, if not this forum, in the employment forum (don't post there as a 0L, but it's worth reading).

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JDndMSW
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Re: Career Goals: Then and Now?

Postby JDndMSW » Fri May 17, 2013 2:36 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:I don't know much about non-competitive status, but isn't it only for the year following your service?

But yes, fedgov jobs are generally extremely competitive, regardless of the size of the agency, just because there are so few fedgov openings these days. Many agencies - especially smaller ones - prefer only to hire experienced candidates as well, as they don't have the resources to train new lawyers. There are a bunch of recent threads about this, if not this forum, in the employment forum (don't post there as a 0L, but it's worth reading).


Ya I have been looking there just have to wait a few more months before I can post! As far as the one year goes you can extend up to three years if you are enrolled in school http://files.peacecorps.gov/multimedia/ ... orfeds.pdf that information is from the Peace Corps website (not the program I did). My program will be finished June 21st but I am not sure how it will work because if they decided to give us non-competitive status it will be after the conclusion thus giving me even more time. I am feeling somewhat confident that this might happen because the program is new and they are trying hard to promote it better after a lot of issues that came up this year. They want to be able to hire Corps Members out of the program mostly for PR and the easiest way to do so will be to give us non competitive status. The org is under DHS so I am already networking for internships.

GertrudePerkins
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Re: Career Goals: Then and Now?

Postby GertrudePerkins » Fri May 17, 2013 2:50 pm

I'm skeptical that non-competitive status gets you an advantage in the context of federal legal jobs. I think most (maybe all? So says the wikipedia entry) federal lawyer positions are within the so-called "excepted service," meaning they're not bound by the hiring rules that other federal employers have to follow. For example, excepted service agencies don't have to give veterans preference points (see, for example, this DOJ job posting (LinkRemoved)). I haven't found anything specifically about the intersection of excepted service and non-competitive status, but given that the whole idea behind excepted service is that it takes you outside of the regular old competitive service framework, I doubt non-competitive status gives you any benefit in the excepted service context.

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JDndMSW
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Re: Career Goals: Then and Now?

Postby JDndMSW » Fri May 17, 2013 2:55 pm

GertrudePerkins wrote:I'm skeptical that non-competitive status gets you an advantage in the context of federal legal jobs. I think most (maybe all? So says the wikipedia entry) federal lawyer positions are within the so-called "excepted service," meaning they're not bound by the hiring rules that other federal employers have to follow. For example, excepted service agencies don't have to give veterans preference points (see, for example, this DOJ job posting (LinkRemoved)). I haven't found anything specifically about the intersection of excepted service and non-competitive status, but given that the whole idea behind excepted service is that it takes you outside of the regular old competitive service framework, I doubt non-competitive status gives you any benefit in the excepted service context.


Thank you that was what I was looking for. I understand what excepted service is. Darn that is a bummer. I guess it could be good anyways for a decent gov job in an agency that could lead to possibly working in their legal department.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Career Goals: Then and Now?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Fri May 17, 2013 3:00 pm

JDndMSW wrote:
GertrudePerkins wrote:I'm skeptical that non-competitive status gets you an advantage in the context of federal legal jobs. I think most (maybe all? So says the wikipedia entry) federal lawyer positions are within the so-called "excepted service," meaning they're not bound by the hiring rules that other federal employers have to follow. For example, excepted service agencies don't have to give veterans preference points (see, for example, this DOJ job posting (LinkRemoved)). I haven't found anything specifically about the intersection of excepted service and non-competitive status, but given that the whole idea behind excepted service is that it takes you outside of the regular old competitive service framework, I doubt non-competitive status gives you any benefit in the excepted service context.


Thank you that was what I was looking for. I understand what excepted service is. Darn that is a bummer. I guess it could be good anyways for a decent gov job in an agency that could lead to possibly working in their legal department.

I don't think that's how the legal hiring would work, but hey, I could be wrong. And certainly connections never hurt.

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JDndMSW
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Re: Career Goals: Then and Now?

Postby JDndMSW » Fri May 17, 2013 3:06 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:
JDndMSW wrote:Thank you that was what I was looking for. I understand what excepted service is. Darn that is a bummer. I guess it could be good anyways for a decent gov job in an agency that could lead to possibly working in their legal department.

I don't think that's how the legal hiring would work, but hey, I could be wrong. And certainly connections never hurt.


It depends on the agency. Since I am working with Femuh right now I looked at some of the bios for their lawyers and they had pretty varying backgrounds. Surprisingly a bunch of them wnet to some TTT schools but they were older. The one who was young had some impressive stats as far as her dedication to the field (however did go to a TTT). They have this badass position where you travel to the different disaster to be the council in their field offices. The pay is pretty good and when you are deployed you get all the per diem. I feel that this would be awesome to do before really settling down. *sigh* I have been working on networking an internship and I know I would be a PR dream if they could get me in. The Deputy Administrator is also very available to me probably not good enough for a rec but I wouldn't hesitate to email him and see what he could do.

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JDndMSW
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Re: Career Goals: Then and Now?

Postby JDndMSW » Fri May 17, 2013 3:14 pm

Also I can't ask the question in this thread viewtopic.php?f=23&t=207250 but they mention that Vets preference is now taken into consideration which would mean that they aren't excepted right?

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Career Goals: Then and Now?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Fri May 17, 2013 3:19 pm

JDndMSW wrote:Also I can't ask the question in this thread http://www.top-law-schools.com/forums/v ... 3&t=207250 but they mention that Vets preference is now taken into consideration which would mean that they aren't excepted right?

Well, they're talking about an internship, not permanent jobs. There was a recent change in the rules to allow veterans' preference to be used where it wasn't previously, but I don't think that changed the status of the position generally - I think it just extended the use of vets' preference only.

Peyton
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Re: Career Goals: Then and Now?

Postby Peyton » Fri May 17, 2013 3:23 pm

Mine is pretty straight forward - then mirrors now. Pass the bar so I can join my family’s law firm (six attorneys in all). For a while I thought that an SA position with a bigger firm would be interesting. Turns out my SA is with the family firm, which is fine because they are handling more cases than I ever had imagined. I mostly work from home since the family firm is a good hour’s drive (but I do go in once a week). Since they never had an SA before, we’re all winging it. Like I noted at the beginning, pretty much cut and dry.

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JDndMSW
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Re: Career Goals: Then and Now?

Postby JDndMSW » Fri May 17, 2013 3:26 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:
JDndMSW wrote:Also I can't ask the question in this thread viewtopic.php?f=23&t=207250 but they mention that Vets preference is now taken into consideration which would mean that they aren't excepted right?

Well, they're talking about an internship, not permanent jobs. There was a recent change in the rules to allow veterans' preference to be used where it wasn't previously, but I don't think that changed the status of the position generally - I think it just extended the use of vets' preference only.


But that seems contradictory to the whole purpose to excepted service the veterens preference makes things a lot more drawn out and long. Ugh this is all so confusing especially since all the dates are closed and I can't look at job postings. Do you by chance know a way to look at old postings? They are usually thorough and could probably answer my questions. Well just pulled this from a job posting on USA Jobs:

"There is no formal rating system for applying veterans' preference to attorney appointments in the excepted service; however, CSOSA considers veterans' preference eligibility as a positive factor in attorney hiring. Applicants eligible for veterans' preference must include that information in their cover letter or resume and attach supporting documentation (e.g., the DD 214, Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty and other supporting documentation) to their submissions. Although the "point" system is not used, per se, applicants eligible to claim 10-point preference must submit Standard Form (SF) 15, Application for 10-Point Veteran Preference, and submit the supporting documentation required for the specific type of preference claimed (visit the OPM website, http://www.opm.gov/forms/pdf_fill/SF15.pdf for a copy of SF 15, which lists the types of 10-point preferences and the required supporting document(s). Applicants should note that SF 15 requires supporting documentation associated with service-connected disabilities or receipt of nonservice-connected disability pensions to be dated 1991 or later except in the case of service members submitting official statements or retirement orders from a branch of the Armed Forces showing that his or her retirement was due to a permanent service-connected disability or that he/she was transferred to the permanent disability retired list (the statement or retirement orders must indicate that the disability is 10% or more).

"

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Career Goals: Then and Now?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Fri May 17, 2013 3:37 pm

JDndMSW wrote:
A. Nony Mouse wrote:
JDndMSW wrote:Also I can't ask the question in this thread http://www.top-law-schools.com/forums/v ... 3&t=207250 but they mention that Vets preference is now taken into consideration which would mean that they aren't excepted right?

Well, they're talking about an internship, not permanent jobs. There was a recent change in the rules to allow veterans' preference to be used where it wasn't previously, but I don't think that changed the status of the position generally - I think it just extended the use of vets' preference only.


But that seems contradictory to the whole purpose to excepted service the veterens preference makes things a lot more drawn out and long. Ugh this is all so confusing especially since all the dates are closed and I can't look at job postings. Do you by chance know a way to look at old postings? They are usually thorough and could probably answer my questions.

Yes, it does draw things out - the SLIP hiring this year seemed to be a nightmare and while some of it may have been just budgetary some people speculated it was the veterans' preference, too. I can only presume they weren't previously getting enough veterans applying to consider that it would be a huge problem to implement the preference.

Here's a link to the posting for the Dept of the Interior's Honors Program this last year (click on the "viewed" link). https://my.usajobs.gov/GetJob/ViewDetails/322845700 A lot of agencies hire entry level attorneys through these honors programs, and otherwise hire people with some experience. That's not universal, but common. (DHS has an honors program, but they don't go through USAjobs; there's a brief description here, --LinkRemoved--, more will be available in August.)

GertrudePerkins
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Re: Career Goals: Then and Now?

Postby GertrudePerkins » Fri May 17, 2013 4:28 pm

JDndMSW, are you already set on going to LS? (Starting this coming fall?) If yes, then some of this probably belongs in the "Don't Stress Over Things Outside Your Control" file. Your prior government service either will or won't give you a boost, but there's nothing you can do to change whether it does or doesn't. It's essentially impossible (at least for most people) to plan out your legal career before you're actually in law school, so don't waste the effort trying to do so. Focus on the things you can actually control in the stage that you're at: improving your LSAT if you're still applying, getting great 1L grades once you're in, etc.

If you're not yet sure whether you're going to go, well, then, maybe this stuff should enter your decisionmaking calculus. Either way, I hope this doesn't come across as condescending; I'm genuinely trying to be helpful.

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JDndMSW
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Re: Career Goals: Then and Now?

Postby JDndMSW » Fri May 17, 2013 4:36 pm

GertrudePerkins wrote:JDndMSW, are you already set on going to LS? (Starting this coming fall?) If yes, then some of this probably belongs in the "Don't Stress Over Things Outside Your Control" file. Your prior government service either will or won't give you a boost, but there's nothing you can do to change whether it does or doesn't. It's essentially impossible (at least for most people) to plan out your legal career before you're actually in law school, so don't waste the effort trying to do so. Focus on the things you can actually control in the stage that you're at: improving your LSAT if you're still applying, getting great 1L grades once you're in, etc.

If you're not yet sure whether you're going to go, well, then, maybe this stuff should enter your decisionmaking calculus. Either way, I hope this doesn't come across as condescending; I'm genuinely trying to be helpful.


I appreciate what you have said. I am the type of person that is calmed by researching things such as this currently I am also researching my coming vacation obsessively. The thing is that right now I can network and set things up to give myself a better shot at some of these things. I will only have a DHS email address for another month and I will only be at Femuh headquarters for another week and a half. I am already set for the fall, a T30 with a full tuition scholarship. I'd rather stress and obsessively google now rather than it be a distraction to me in the Fall. I appreciate the info from everyone. I have emailed a few people and will be meeting with someone from HR hopefully next week.

rad lulz
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Re: Career Goals: Then and Now?

Postby rad lulz » Fri May 17, 2013 5:06 pm

Based on my 3L class, I would not go to school if your only interest is bigfed. The positions are absurdly competitive, and go to people w very targeted resumes. Problem is the specific résumé you want for say FERC is gonna look way different than one for HUD or FERC or whatever

shock259
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Re: Career Goals: Then and Now?

Postby shock259 » Sat May 18, 2013 2:47 pm

Went into school thinking I wanted to do JAG. Did it 1L summer. Transferred to a higher ranked school. Now doing biglaw for 2L summer. Will likely end up in biglaw.

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JDndMSW
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Re: Career Goals: Then and Now?

Postby JDndMSW » Sun May 19, 2013 2:55 pm

rad lulz wrote:Based on my 3L class, I would not go to school if your only interest is bigfed. The positions are absurdly competitive, and go to people w very targeted resumes. Problem is the specific résumé you want for say FERC is gonna look way different than one for HUD or FERC or whatever


It's not my only interest at all. Just something I've been looking into since I'm at a fed office ATM and I like DC a lot.

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Detrox
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Re: Career Goals: Then and Now?

Postby Detrox » Sun May 19, 2013 5:30 pm

Wrote a long detailed answer to this then gave up and figured a short reply would do:

Pre-Law: No Idea, delay career (straight from UG)

1L: Academia hopes led to working as an RA, failing to get top 5% and write multiple papers has increasingly rendered this idea a pipe dream

2L: Firm job, had the grades, wanted job security and money in the pocket.

3L: Continue to seek federal clerkship to broaden employment options 5 years out.

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Bronte
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Re: Career Goals: Then and Now?

Postby Bronte » Sun May 19, 2013 6:09 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:My short answer:

- went to law school thinking I wanted to do employment law or maybe work as a university counsel
- thought I didn't want to do criminal law because I have issues with both sides, so took few criminal law courses
- worked for a firm doing mostly complex civil lit in 2L (also did a bunch of varied internships and a clinic during school)
- will start a job as a prosecutor in the fall

Why? I clerked after graduation and figured out that I found criminal procedure (and cases) way, way, way more interesting than civil procedure (and cases). I decided there's no morally pure legal job*, so I might as well do the one I found most interesting/suited to my temperament.

(*except some of the really social-justice-y PI jobs, but I didn't have the background for those).


This is somewhat of a derail, so be forewarned. But I always find it odd when people within the profession talk about the relative morality of certain practice areas. It is not inherently immoral, in any way, to be a criminal defense attorney or a big law litigator. The idea that it is immoral seems to be based on the misperception that such attorneys are primarily in the business of "getting people off the hook," which is not really the case. Given that all persons (real and fictional) are entitled to counsel, as they should be, how can it be immoral to provide that counsel?

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Career Goals: Then and Now?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Sun May 19, 2013 6:29 pm

Bronte wrote:This is somewhat of a derail, so be forewarned. But I always find it odd when people within the profession talk about the relative morality of certain practice areas. It is not inherently immoral, in any way, to be a criminal defense attorney or a big law litigator. The idea that it is immoral seems to be based on the misperception that such attorneys are primarily in the business of "getting people off the hook," which is not really the case. Given that all persons (real and fictional) are entitled to counsel, as they should be, how can it be immoral to provide that counsel?

No, it's totally totally not. That was probably a poor word choice on my part. In terms of criminal stuff, I'm actually more ideologically inclined to defense; it's just that I know there are some crimes I, personally, would have trouble defending (not that those defendants don't deserve a defense; just that I wouldn't be able to provide it). My hesitation was more with prosecution, in that the state tends to hold most of the cards anyway, so why should I help it out? As for big law litigation, I don't have any moral qualms about that, on either side; it just doesn't interest me.

I guess what I was sort of shorthanding is the idea some people have that they're going to go into law to "do good" and "help people," as well as the corresponding idea that some areas of the law do this more than others. I don't actually think this - I think generally I agree with you - but I was trying to be brief and was misleading instead.

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Bronte
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Re: Career Goals: Then and Now?

Postby Bronte » Sun May 19, 2013 6:50 pm

Yeah I figured you didn't quite mean it like that, but wanted to see. Congrats on the job in the prosecutor's office. Very cool.

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Skye
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Re: Career Goals: Then and Now?

Postby Skye » Sun May 19, 2013 6:54 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:I was sort of shorthanding is the idea some people have that they're going to go into law to "do good" and "help people"

Maybe is there was a “do good” tuition option more people would focus on trying “to help.”




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