DOJ Attorney General Honors Program

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alexonfyre
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DOJ Attorney General Honors Program

Postby alexonfyre » Mon Mar 14, 2011 8:55 pm

My question is more for those that recognize the program, but for those interests which were piqued by the title, here is the link:
http://www.justice.gov/oarm/arm/hp/hp.htm

So, my career ambition is to become a federal prosecutor. I know that traditionally attorneys move from private practice or from the state level into the federal level, and naturally I am keeping those pathways open, but the ideal way (for me anyway) would be to get into the system through the AG Honor's Program. Those that have read and responded to my other posts know that I am a 0L applying for Fall 2012, and while not totally shameful, my resume is far from spectacular.

My question is, if I am able to finish top 10%, law review and moot court along with strong performance in relevant clinics, is that a strong enough case to get into the DOJ through this program?
I know those are a lot of big "IFs," but I am asking this purely hypothetically to understand what my position is. What I really would like to know is, assuming no extraordinary softs in my background (because there aren't any), what do I have to accomplish in law school to have a decent shot? or does this program only accept 26-year-old Medal of Honor winners who have published dissertations on Kantian ethics?

Additional Information:
-Likely going to a T1 school, not in T20. Highest rated school I have a slight chance at is WUSTL.
-Reasonable (not outstanding, but well above average) connections in Louisiana (which is nice because we have 3 districts)
-Top 3 choices within the AG Honor's Program (in no particular order):
Criminal
Civil Rights
USA offices

For those that can answer, please be as specific as you can, I need as much information as possible to make a good decision for my future career.

Thanks!
--Alex

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kalvano
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Re: DOJ Attorney General Honors Program

Postby kalvano » Mon Mar 14, 2011 10:40 pm

DOJ Honors is very difficult. There is no "sure fire" way to get into it. Even then, it's no guarantee you get to go to the USAO.

Aside from that, you're a 0L. Don't plan on being top 10%. Don't even plan on top 20%.

Surest way to USAO is to work for the local prosecutor (it helps if you live in a big city) for 3-5 years, kick ass, then get hired on.

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alexonfyre
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Re: DOJ Attorney General Honors Program

Postby alexonfyre » Mon Mar 14, 2011 11:26 pm

kalvano wrote:DOJ Honors is very difficult. There is no "sure fire" way to get into it. Even then, it's no guarantee you get to go to the USAO.

Aside from that, you're a 0L. Don't plan on being top 10%. Don't even plan on top 20%.

Surest way to USAO is to work for the local prosecutor (it helps if you live in a big city) for 3-5 years, kick ass, then get hired on.


Yeah, I'm trying to figure out what to plan for right now. My plan at this point is to set my goals very, very high, do everything I can to achieve them and then look at the contingencies (like what you suggested) if I fall short. I believe that any contingency plans I might use at that point would require the same general path in law school (anything I would do to get Honors would also help me get ADA.)

I am trying to be clear that I don't plan on being top 10%, law review, etc., etc., those are the goals I have for myself. I just need to know, even if I accomplish all of my goals, is DOJ Honors a possibility for me, or am I better off focusing on another route.

I don't want to count out even distant possibilities, but I also don't want to waste my time, and by virtue of that hurt my chances at other more legitimate avenues to my chosen career.

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kalvano
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Re: DOJ Attorney General Honors Program

Postby kalvano » Mon Mar 14, 2011 11:37 pm

Sure, it's possible. You can aspire to it all you want, but make sure to be realistic and plan to go work for the local DA's for a while.

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alexonfyre
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Re: DOJ Attorney General Honors Program

Postby alexonfyre » Mon Mar 14, 2011 11:38 pm

kalvano wrote:Sure, it's possible. You can aspire to it all you want, but make sure to be realistic and plan to go work for the local DA's for a while.


Duly noted. Thanks man.

I still need to know, what do I absolutely HAVE to accomplish for it to be a possibility/what are all the things I could do to help that.

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kalvano
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Re: DOJ Attorney General Honors Program

Postby kalvano » Mon Mar 14, 2011 11:48 pm

alexonfyre wrote:I still need to know, what do I absolutely HAVE to accomplish for it to be a possibility/what are all the things I could do to help that.



Everything you said. The more the better. The better the grades, the more opportunities you have.

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alexonfyre
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Re: DOJ Attorney General Honors Program

Postby alexonfyre » Tue Mar 15, 2011 12:16 am

kalvano wrote:
alexonfyre wrote:I still need to know, what do I absolutely HAVE to accomplish for it to be a possibility/what are all the things I could do to help that.



Everything you said. The more the better. The better the grades, the more opportunities you have.



Haha, fair enough, I'll take that and run with it. Hopefully I can try getting in touch with some people in the department and see what they like seeing on resumes as well.

wired
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Re: DOJ Attorney General Honors Program

Postby wired » Tue Mar 15, 2011 7:16 pm

For the record, you've listed some of the most difficult DOJ sections to get into through the Honors program. The only AUSAs they hire through the Honors Program are in CDCa and SDCa and they are required to have a clerkship. The Criminal and Civil Rights Divisions are also flooded with applications compared to other divisions. (From what I understand, only the Civil Appellate section is more competitive than those two.) Consider the other less popular divisions as well. Tax and Antitrust don't get near as many applicants, but are great opportunities to work toward USAOs.

Good luck. I'm a 1L who had the same goals, plan, and attitude that you have. It won't happen if you don't try.

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alexonfyre
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Re: DOJ Attorney General Honors Program

Postby alexonfyre » Tue Mar 15, 2011 9:42 pm

wired wrote:For the record, you've listed some of the most difficult DOJ sections to get into through the Honors program. The only AUSAs they hire through the Honors Program are in CDCa and SDCa and they are required to have a clerkship. The Criminal and Civil Rights Divisions are also flooded with applications compared to other divisions. (From what I understand, only the Civil Appellate section is more competitive than those two.) Consider the other less popular divisions as well. Tax and Antitrust don't get near as many applicants, but are great opportunities to work toward USAOs.

Good luck. I'm a 1L who had the same goals, plan, and attitude that you have. It won't happen if you don't try.


I agree. Again, lofty goals to be sure, but if they don't materialize I am sure that everything that I accomplish in attempting it will help me follow a contingency route. Best of luck to you, and hopefully I will see you some day in the Department.

frijoles99
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Re: DOJ Attorney General Honors Program

Postby frijoles99 » Tue Mar 15, 2011 9:53 pm

Hey man, I love the fire. It would be a dream for me to get into the DOJ program. I am choosing the best school I get into because I know ranking plays some small role, secondly it's going to be tough. I have a feeling that getting into DOJ makes getting into Big Law look like a breeze, because unlike Big Law you also have to prove you are a true believer. I read on it that they even look at your undergrad stuff. I saw your profile, I know how difficult it is for science majors to get great GPA's My cousin got a 2.74 at UCSD in biotech and was the 15th highest gpa in his class. For you I would strongly suggest you try applying with a technical angle. For example demonstrate a usefulness in prosecuting, dealing with highly technical clients or companies that the DOJ may deal with. As for me, I have a huge lobbying background and experience supporting indigent clients. I believe I can shape my application this way to help.

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alexonfyre
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Re: DOJ Attorney General Honors Program

Postby alexonfyre » Tue Mar 15, 2011 10:13 pm

frijoles99 wrote:Hey man, I love the fire. It would be a dream for me to get into the DOJ program. I am choosing the best school I get into because I know ranking plays some small role, secondly it's going to be tough. I have a feeling that getting into DOJ makes getting into Big Law look like a breeze, because unlike Big Law you also have to prove you are a true believer. I read on it that they even look at your undergrad stuff. I saw your profile, I know how difficult it is for science majors to get great GPA's My cousin got a 2.74 at UCSD in biotech and was the 15th highest gpa in his class. For you I would strongly suggest you try applying with a technical angle. For example demonstrate a usefulness in prosecuting, dealing with highly technical clients or companies that the DOJ may deal with. As for me, I have a huge lobbying background and experience supporting indigent clients. I believe I can shape my application this way to help.


Thanks for the advice. Honestly my background, outside of the last 2 years of undergrad, is entirely technical. I have always thought that is has been totally sandbagging me, but if there is anyone in the DOJ who appreciates a good criticism of String Theory (it is complete bullshit) then hopefully I can meet and impress them at some point. :D Thanks for the optimism!




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