Going into Policy

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n1o2c3a4c5h6e7t
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Going into Policy

Postby n1o2c3a4c5h6e7t » Sat Feb 15, 2014 12:49 pm

I would ideally like to be a local or state government attorney in Texas 3-5 years out of law school. I've heard these jobs are difficult to obtain even for those with substantial experience. Does anybody know how one could obtain the necessary experience and marketability to get one of them? Is the traditional plan to clerk or work for a state politician for a while and then apply (in addition to relevant clinics/internships)?

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Bikeflip
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Re: Going into Policy

Postby Bikeflip » Sat Feb 15, 2014 1:01 pm

If you want to do policy, why do you want to go to law school instead of getting an MPA or interning and working your way up? What is it about an attorney's office that excites you?

n1o2c3a4c5h6e7t
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Joined: Tue Jan 07, 2014 10:00 am

Re: Going into Policy

Postby n1o2c3a4c5h6e7t » Sat Feb 15, 2014 1:31 pm

I like the process of drafting legislation, lobbying legislators, analyzing past sessions, etc. I also know that municipal/city/legislative atty jobs are well paid and offer good job security. The reason I would rather be a local govt atty than a pure wonk is pay.

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Bikeflip
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Re: Going into Policy

Postby Bikeflip » Sat Feb 15, 2014 1:40 pm

You mention money. Did you factor in the law school debt load, especially the interest rates? Many AG's offices will start between $40-65K, depending on the state. I'm not sure if that's well paid to you or not, but after you factor in the debt, 3 years in law school (4 if you include the application process timeline), and 10 years on PSLF, you might not think its so well paid after all.

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Yukos
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Re: Going into Policy

Postby Yukos » Sat Feb 15, 2014 5:00 pm

I talked to a local lawyer (singular, so this isn't definitive) who said that what she likes about local law is she's very close to the politics--helping draft legislation, strategizing initiatives, etc. At least in my state, it seems like AGs are very different from that. But if you have some flexibility about what local entity you go to and you do your best to get experience in the field (extern, summer work, clinics, etc.) I don't think it would be too hard to get into that kind of work.

40k-65k sounds right for the pay, but it's pretty unpredictable. Where I live county attorneys make about twice as much as state attorneys.

justinp
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Re: Going into Policy

Postby justinp » Sun Feb 16, 2014 2:42 am

Do you have a particular part of Texas you want to work in? That might be relevant depending on what your stats are. If you have a shot at getting into Harvard, that's probably your best bet for Texas government work (relative to other fancy law schools).

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jbagelboy
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Re: Going into Policy

Postby jbagelboy » Sun Feb 16, 2014 1:29 pm

justinp wrote:Do you have a particular part of Texas you want to work in? That might be relevant depending on what your stats are. If you have a shot at getting into Harvard, that's probably your best bet for Texas government work (relative to other fancy law schools).


I know TLS is deep in prestige whoring, but you dont need anything close to a degree from Harvard to work at a Texas county or DA's office. UT in-state w/ $$ is the way to go if you have specific ties to a township or region

BigZuck
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Re: Going into Policy

Postby BigZuck » Sun Feb 16, 2014 1:36 pm

Assistant AGs in TX start at 46K I believe. There are some that make over 100K but no idea how long they had to work there to get that. The ones I have met (and that's like 5 people so small sample size) went to a smattering of schools. I agree with Bags that UT with money would be a good choice if you wanted to go that route.

n1o2c3a4c5h6e7t
Posts: 270
Joined: Tue Jan 07, 2014 10:00 am

Re: Going into Policy

Postby n1o2c3a4c5h6e7t » Sun Feb 16, 2014 1:46 pm

Ideally, my endgame would be a municipal or city attorney. Not a DA/AG employee, but one who works with the city/county to evaluate how best to craft/enforce policy. I'd imagine that prosecution is probably a viable way to gain experience before exiting to a local govt job, but is this the optimal way? The one person I know to have a job like this did SSC clerkship -> legislator's aide -> county atty.




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