Becoming a prosecutor

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witty username
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Becoming a prosecutor

Postby witty username » Thu Jun 10, 2010 1:39 am

How does one qualify to become a prosecutor? Do you just pass the bar exam and basically apply to be one? Or is there a separate test or process to become a prosecutor?

Miniver
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Re: Becoming a prosecutor

Postby Miniver » Thu Jun 10, 2010 2:06 am

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Last edited by Miniver on Wed Jul 07, 2010 4:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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kalvano
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Re: Becoming a prosecutor

Postby kalvano » Thu Jun 10, 2010 10:47 am

Go to law school.
Take classes that will help you prosecute criminals.
Intern at the DA's office / any type of criminal law internship.
Graduate.
Pass bar.
Get job.
Either profit or have a drug dealer blow you up in your car.

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vanwinkle
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Re: Becoming a prosecutor

Postby vanwinkle » Thu Jun 10, 2010 11:43 am

kalvano wrote:Go to law school.
Take classes that will help you prosecute criminals.
Intern at the DA's office / any type of criminal law internship.
Graduate.
Pass bar.
Get job.
Either profit or have a drug dealer blow you up in your car.

Don't work for a PD if you really want to prosecute. The cultures are entirely different and it might be held against you. (DAs don't do this as harshly as PDs but they still do it.)

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kalvano
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Re: Becoming a prosecutor

Postby kalvano » Thu Jun 10, 2010 11:45 am

vanwinkle wrote:
kalvano wrote:Go to law school.
Take classes that will help you prosecute criminals.
Intern at the DA's office / any type of criminal law internship.
Graduate.
Pass bar.
Get job.
Either profit or have a drug dealer blow you up in your car.

Don't work for a PD if you really want to prosecute. The cultures are entirely different and it might be held against you. (DAs don't do this as harshly as PDs but they still do it.)



I wasn't actually thinking of that, but good to know. I was thinking more like clinics at the school.

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vanwinkle
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Re: Becoming a prosecutor

Postby vanwinkle » Thu Jun 10, 2010 11:48 am

kalvano wrote:I wasn't actually thinking of that, but good to know. I was thinking more like clinics at the school.

A prosecution clinic will likely put you in the prosecutor's office working for a prosecutor. A criminal defense clinic will put you in the local PD working for a defender. They're essentially internships for credit, at least at many schools, and can have the same effects once they appear on your resume.

witty username
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Re: Becoming a prosecutor

Postby witty username » Thu Jun 10, 2010 12:17 pm

Thanks for the advice!

ceereeus420
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Re: Becoming a prosecutor

Postby ceereeus420 » Mon Feb 28, 2011 1:27 pm

Can someone become a prosecutor if they have been arrested for marijuana possession but never convicted?

concurrent fork
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Re: Becoming a prosecutor

Postby concurrent fork » Mon Feb 28, 2011 2:52 pm

vanwinkle wrote:Don't work for a PD if you really want to prosecute. The cultures are entirely different and it might be held against you. (DAs don't do this as harshly as PDs but they still do it.)

+1
Also, ADA positions are fairly competitive in major markets. Interning for the good guys will give you better networking opportunities.

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ladybug89
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Re: Becoming a prosecutor

Postby ladybug89 » Mon Feb 28, 2011 7:33 pm

As everyone else has said, no separate process. There are exams to be promoted within the DA though, so maybe that's what you're thinking of?

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FalafelWaffle
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Re: Becoming a prosecutor

Postby FalafelWaffle » Sun Mar 06, 2011 9:40 pm

Learn how to do this:
Image

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FalafelWaffle
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Re: Becoming a prosecutor

Postby FalafelWaffle » Sun Mar 06, 2011 9:40 pm

vanwinkle wrote:
kalvano wrote:Go to law school.
Take classes that will help you prosecute criminals.
Intern at the DA's office / any type of criminal law internship.
Graduate.
Pass bar.
Get job.
Either profit or have a drug dealer blow you up in your car.

Don't work for a PD if you really want to prosecute. The cultures are entirely different and it might be held against you. (DAs don't do this as harshly as PDs but they still do it.)


Out of curiosity, what makes the cultures so different? And why does DA/PD experience not look good to a PD/DA?

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FalafelWaffle
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Re: Becoming a prosecutor

Postby FalafelWaffle » Sun Mar 06, 2011 9:47 pm

vanwinkle wrote:
kalvano wrote:Go to law school.
Take classes that will help you prosecute criminals.
Intern at the DA's office / any type of criminal law internship.
Graduate.
Pass bar.
Get job.
Either profit or have a drug dealer blow you up in your car.

Don't work for a PD if you really want to prosecute. The cultures are entirely different and it might be held against you. (DAs don't do this as harshly as PDs but they still do it.)


If you want to work for another area of government, like say doing government contracts stuff, would it hurt to do a prosecution clinic to diversify?

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ladybug89
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Re: Becoming a prosecutor

Postby ladybug89 » Wed Mar 09, 2011 3:04 pm

FalafelWaffle wrote:
vanwinkle wrote:
kalvano wrote:Go to law school.
Take classes that will help you prosecute criminals.
Intern at the DA's office / any type of criminal law internship.
Graduate.
Pass bar.
Get job.
Either profit or have a drug dealer blow you up in your car.

Don't work for a PD if you really want to prosecute. The cultures are entirely different and it might be held against you. (DAs don't do this as harshly as PDs but they still do it.)


Out of curiosity, what makes the cultures so different? And why does DA/PD experience not look good to a PD/DA?


I can't say this holds true everywhere, but when I interned at the DA they thought of the PD as a bunch of young, hippie, pot-smokers (and the ones I met briefly in court kind of were). They're better able to compartmentalize, and they kind of think of themselves as rebellious and fighting The Man. The ADAs, on the other hand, saw the world much more in black-and-white and were generally more hardass/brusque. Neither culture seemed right for me, but I do think that a person suited for one might not have the right mindset for the other. I also think the DA looks down more on the PD than the PD does on the DA, for whatever reason.

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FalafelWaffle
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Re: Becoming a prosecutor

Postby FalafelWaffle » Wed Mar 09, 2011 3:13 pm

ladybug89 wrote:
FalafelWaffle wrote:
vanwinkle wrote:
kalvano wrote:Go to law school.
Take classes that will help you prosecute criminals.
Intern at the DA's office / any type of criminal law internship.
Graduate.
Pass bar.
Get job.
Either profit or have a drug dealer blow you up in your car.

Don't work for a PD if you really want to prosecute. The cultures are entirely different and it might be held against you. (DAs don't do this as harshly as PDs but they still do it.)


Out of curiosity, what makes the cultures so different? And why does DA/PD experience not look good to a PD/DA?


I can't say this holds true everywhere, but when I interned at the DA they thought of the PD as a bunch of young, hippie, pot-smokers (and the ones I met briefly in court kind of were). They're better able to compartmentalize, and they kind of think of themselves as rebellious and fighting The Man. The ADAs, on the other hand, saw the world much more in black-and-white and were generally more hardass/brusque. Neither culture seemed right for me, but I do think that a person suited for one might not have the right mindset for the other. I also think the DA looks down more on the PD than the PD does on the DA, for whatever reason.


If Law and Order is any indicator, it seems like you'd have to compartmentalize either way. Defend people you know are guilty, and railroad people you're unsure about because the DA is breathing down your neck. That's just television, but I've gotten that impression from some people...

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FalafelWaffle
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Re: Becoming a prosecutor

Postby FalafelWaffle » Wed Mar 09, 2011 3:15 pm

ladybug89 wrote: I also think the DA looks down more on the PD than the PD does on the DA, for whatever reason.

Maybe the DA looks down on people paid by the state to undermine him/her? :wink:

FloridaCoastalorbust
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Re: Becoming a prosecutor

Postby FloridaCoastalorbust » Wed Mar 09, 2011 3:30 pm

witty username wrote:How does one qualify to become a prosecutor? Do you just pass the bar exam and basically apply to be one? Or is there a separate test or process to become a prosecutor?


Not sure if OP is around, but I clerked at the largest DAs office in my state (largest county) last summer as UG. It was a great experience (albeit, unpaid) to work with many different facets of prosecution. Our office was split into basically five divisions - Misdemeanor, White Collar, Gangs, Special Victims, Felony - and several clerks were assigned to a particular division. My boss (head of divisions) reported that they hire their ADA's exclusively from their intern pool, and if someone clerks for a summer, they are almost guaranteed an internship as a 2/3L. So with a little bit of formal logic, in our office, if you clerk as a UG the chances of you becoming an ADA are extremely high. She reported that this is common among large DA office across the nation. Fortunately, many large DA's office aren't terribly hard to break into (some exceptions). Once you're an intern, work hard and suck up and you are gold. So my advice to you if you are UG is to spend a summer (or really anytime for that matter) as a law clerk in the county you want to become an ADA/DA for. If you are in law school, become in intern (this means getting your interns license). If you graduated law school already, good luck. PM me if you want any more info!

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FalafelWaffle
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Re: Becoming a prosecutor

Postby FalafelWaffle » Wed Mar 09, 2011 3:36 pm

FloridaCoastalorbust wrote:
witty username wrote:How does one qualify to become a prosecutor? Do you just pass the bar exam and basically apply to be one? Or is there a separate test or process to become a prosecutor?


Not sure if OP is around, but I clerked at the largest DAs office in my state (largest county) last summer as UG. It was a great experience (albeit, unpaid) to work with many different facets of prosecution. Our office was split into basically five divisions - Misdemeanor, White Collar, Gangs, Special Victims, Felony - and several clerks were assigned to a particular division. My boss (head of divisions) reported that they hire their ADA's exclusively from their intern pool, and if someone clerks for a summer, they are almost guaranteed an internship as a 2/3L. So with a little bit of formal logic, in our office, if you clerk as a UG the chances of you becoming an ADA are extremely high. She reported that this is common among large DA office across the nation. Fortunately, many large DA's office aren't terribly hard to break into (some exceptions). Once you're an intern, work hard and suck up and you are gold. So my advice to you if you are UG is to spend a summer (or really anytime for that matter) as a law clerk in the county you want to become an ADA/DA for. If you are in law school, become in intern (this means getting your interns license). If you graduated law school already, good luck. PM me if you want any more info!


Special Victims really exists?!! I thought it was just made up for the Law & Order series! Sweet.

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FalafelWaffle
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Re: Becoming a prosecutor

Postby FalafelWaffle » Wed Mar 09, 2011 3:43 pm

FloridaCoastalorbust wrote:Not sure if OP is around, but I clerked at the largest DAs office in my state (largest county) last summer as UG. It was a great experience (albeit, unpaid) to work with many different facets of prosecution. Our office was split into basically five divisions - Misdemeanor, White Collar, Gangs, Special Victims, Felony - and several clerks were assigned to a particular division. My boss (head of divisions) reported that they hire their ADA's exclusively from their intern pool, and if someone clerks for a summer, they are almost guaranteed an internship as a 2/3L. So with a little bit of formal logic, in our office, if you clerk as a UG the chances of you becoming an ADA are extremely high. She reported that this is common among large DA office across the nation. Fortunately, many large DA's office aren't terribly hard to break into (some exceptions). Once you're an intern, work hard and suck up and you are gold. So my advice to you if you are UG is to spend a summer (or really anytime for that matter) as a law clerk in the county you want to become an ADA/DA for. If you are in law school, become in intern (this means getting your interns license). If you graduated law school already, good luck. PM me if you want any more info!


Would doing reasonably well at a Top 25 (GW) give you a good shot at ADA positions in a major city? And is it a lot harder or equally so to get summer ADA positions as opposed to big firm SA's?

Also, sorry for the deluge, re internships while still in undergad, I don't think I can get a position in the place I want to work (DC) but I might be able to shadow/extern with a family friend who's a prosecutor in a major city for 1-2 weeks. Maybe this'll help out with getting summer positions?

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FalafelWaffle
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Re: Becoming a prosecutor

Postby FalafelWaffle » Wed Mar 09, 2011 3:56 pm

I was under the impression that ADA positions are really really tough to get ITE. I'm not calling you a liar or anything dramatic like that, but what leads you to believe that DA offices aren't that hard to break into?

FloridaCoastalorbust
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Re: Becoming a prosecutor

Postby FloridaCoastalorbust » Wed Mar 09, 2011 6:38 pm

FalafelWaffle wrote:I was under the impression that ADA positions are really really tough to get ITE. I'm not calling you a liar or anything dramatic like that, but what leads you to believe that DA offices aren't that hard to break into?


Not sure about the acronym ITE. Let me say I speak of the majority of states, excluding NY, Cali, DC, and a few others. The majority of ADAs in the nation's offices come from law schools within that particular state. For example, several of the ADAs I worked with went to regional schools and were standing next to veterans who had been in the office 25+ years. I think the reason for this is that, generally speaking, those who graduate T14 (heck, probably T30-50) don't have aspirations on prosecution. Why? Salary (think $40-55k starting, $60-80k ceiling) and monotony. I think it is more than reasonable to say that the majority of law students (especially top 50% in class or higher) are not looking to intern for a DA. So this makes me believe that DA offices are not exceptionally hard to break into, especially considering summer firm offers, PI, federal clerkships, etc. that your peers will be going for. You have to have passion to work in a DA office: terrible salary, not much room for promotion, repetitive cases, and generally subpar technologies (think government tax dollars). The reason people prosecute is something entirely different that most don't have a passion for. This also explains why a passion for prosecution and decent numbers in law school equal a winning resume for a potential ADA.

I can say that some areas are different, and are extremely competitive. This would obviously include NY, and especially DC. An attorney i know who graduated GULC interned for DC prosecution, and still said he would never have had a chance at getting hired after graduation. This was also in the late 80's, when competition was substantially lower. Nonetheless, I believe that the majority of ADA positions are very possible for TLSers.

FloridaCoastalorbust
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Re: Becoming a prosecutor

Postby FloridaCoastalorbust » Wed Mar 09, 2011 6:48 pm

FalafelWaffle wrote:
FloridaCoastalorbust wrote:


Would doing reasonably well at a Top 25 (GW) give you a good shot at ADA positions in a major city? And is it a lot harder or equally so to get summer ADA positions as opposed to big firm SA's?

Also, sorry for the deluge, re internships while still in undergad, I don't think I can get a position in the place I want to work (DC) but I might be able to shadow/extern with a family friend who's a prosecutor in a major city for 1-2 weeks. Maybe this'll help out with getting summer positions?


I believe a GW grad with a successful record and passion for prosecution stands a good chance at becoming an ADA in a major city. In my opinion it is easier to get summer ADA positions (assuming you mean law clerkship/internship) than biglaw offers. The simple reason is that the competition (again, for the most part) is significantly lower. Go ask your study partners what they want to do this summer and it is a safe bet that more will answer biglaw than prosecution at the DA office.

I encourage you to extern for the family friend during that time - at the worst, you'll have exposure to prosecution that you otherwise wouldn't have. While externing you'll have the opportunity to talk to the intern coordinator which will obviously do nothing except help your chances. You would be surprised how beneficial my clerkship was - my division leader essentially let me know that if I chose to return to the city after my 3L they would be waiting with an offer. This is probably not the case in many cases, but still a very interesting case.

My experiences were great, but I learned prosecution may not be for me. Regardless, if things are rough after graduation I'll rest assured that I can probably return to the DAs office and prosecute DUIs for the rest of my life.

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FalafelWaffle
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Re: Becoming a prosecutor

Postby FalafelWaffle » Wed Mar 09, 2011 7:51 pm

I know most AUSA's are not hired after law school. Do you think after a decade or so in a major city it would be possible to lateral in? Yeah it sucks how you basically have to decide your career by 2L summer deadlines since so much hiring is through internships. Oh well.




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