Swtiching Sides PD --> Prosecution

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blerggggg

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Swtiching Sides PD --> Prosecution

Postby blerggggg » Tue Aug 30, 2016 7:41 pm

I've been working as a paralegal in a federal public defender's office (major market) for about 9 months now. For a lot of different reasons, I feel like I've chosen the wrong side. I greatly admire PDs and everything that they do, I just don't think I could spend a lifetime working on this side of the aisle. That said, I still find criminal law incredibly interesting. Given my personality and worldview, I think I might be better suited as an AUSA.

I'd rather not get into the specifics of why I'd like to switch sides, but rather how one can change the trajectory from defense to prosecution. Consensus on TLS seems to be that it is hard to go from prosecution to PD than vice versa (which seems to be a little truthful considering that the head-honcho of our district said she never hires anyone with a prosecutorial background) but I have not been able to find much re: PD --> Pros. Granted, I'm a 0L and have a ton of time before my career develops (might be putting the cart in front of the horse for this one) but I'm curious to hear what TLS has observed/thinks.

I am suppose to stay in my job for another year but could jump ship once I reach the one year mark. If I stay in the position, will it make it harder for me to switch later? Does anyone have any experience of switching from defense to prosecution? How common does it happen? Anything interesting I should know? Am I blowing this out of proportion?

fauxpsych

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Re: Swtiching Sides PD --> Prosecution

Postby fauxpsych » Wed Aug 31, 2016 10:55 am

I don't see any issue. Usually this question comes up when people have interned their 1L or 2L summer and want to switch sides. I can see paralegal work affecting your 1L and 2L summer applications, but by the time you are applying for full time jobs at the beginning of 3L, your legal (i.e. law school internship) experience is the main focus; the paralegal experience is viewed as a bonus, but is given somewhat of a back seat. The exception being if you are applying for the same office you "paralegaled" for (law school classmate did this).

That being said, your instinct is right that generally it is a whole lot easier to go PD -> ADA/AUSA, than vice versa. People in my entering ADA class have make that switch during law school.

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A. Nony Mouse

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Re: Swtiching Sides PD --> Prosecution

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Wed Aug 31, 2016 11:01 am

You shouldn't have any problems. I don't think anyone holds pre-law school jobs against someone (though if you were super involved in substantive/policy-type stuff on one side or the other it might raise eyebrows. Not saying being a paralegal isn't substantive, but it's not the same as, say, advocating against the death penalty or the like). But even so, going from PD --> prosecution isn't generally an issue. I know AUSAs who started as PDs out of law school, then made the switch. It can be a lot more difficult to go in the other direction, but in my experience, at least, prosecutors aren't suspicious of former defense people, if they can articulate why they decided prosecution would suit them better (and there are lots of potential reasons).

With regard to how - just apply for all the prosecution-side experience you can get while in law school. You shouldn't have any difficulty.

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blerggggg

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Re: Swtiching Sides PD --> Prosecution

Postby blerggggg » Wed Aug 31, 2016 3:13 pm

Thanks for the advice/wisdom ANony and fauxpsych! Greatly appreciate it!



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