Career options for a law school graduate...FBI...CIA

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zozin
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Career options for a law school graduate...FBI...CIA

Postby zozin » Wed Jun 17, 2009 9:28 pm

I'm entering the final year of UG this fall, and I'm at a crossroads. I'm not 100% sure that I want to be a lawyer, yet a JD is the only graduate degree that appeals to me. I know a few people who loved law school but hate being a lawyer, and vice versa. I don't want to be stuck with massive student debt, only to work a job that I detest. How varied are the career options for a law school graduate?

After talking to some people, a career in the FBI or CIA has really intrigued me. The pay is decent, and the benefits are stellar.

My real question: Is a law degree a viable route to work for the FBI or the CIA?

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Z'Barron
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Re: Career options for a law school graduate...FBI...CIA

Postby Z'Barron » Wed Jun 17, 2009 9:30 pm

zozin wrote:I'm entering the final year of UG this fall, and I'm at a crossroads. I'm not 100% sure that I want to be a lawyer, yet a JD is the only graduate degree that appeals to me. I know a few people who loved law school but hate being a lawyer, and vice versa. I don't want to be stuck with massive student debt, only to work a job that I detest. How varied are the career options for a law school graduate?

After talking to some people, a career in the FBI or CIA has really intrigued me. The pay is decent, and the benefits are stellar.

My real question: Is a law degree a viable route to work for the FBI or the CIA?


If you're interested, take a look at this thread...we are tangentially discussing the same issue...

viewtopic.php?f=5&t=75845

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mhl06
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Re: Career options for a law school graduate...FBI...CIA

Postby mhl06 » Wed Jun 17, 2009 9:34 pm

I know specifically that a JD is one of the "Critical Skills" required to get employed by the FBI. I'm sure a JD wouldn't hurt in being hired by the CIA either, and the benefit is that a government job will get your debt canceled in 10 years.

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redsox8105
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Re: Career options for a law school graduate...FBI...CIA

Postby redsox8105 » Thu Jun 18, 2009 12:28 pm

I do believe that the FBI requires two years of work experience, though, and I don't think they mean the burger-flipping kind. It's an intriguing option, though.

kgustao
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Re: Career options for a law school graduate...FBI...CIA

Postby kgustao » Thu Jun 18, 2009 12:37 pm

You absolutely do not need a JD to work for the FBI or CIA, there are many agent and desk jobs besides law jobs. I am also under the impression that CIA only hires law grads from the very top of the most elite schools (HYS). If you have ever used any illegal substances of any kind this option will be closed to you...especially for the CIA. Their background check is incredibly thorough and intense.

If this is your dream, look into ways of getting there without going into debt for a law degree.

illmal
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Re: Career options for a law school graduate...FBI...CIA

Postby illmal » Thu Jun 18, 2009 12:53 pm

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Last edited by illmal on Mon May 10, 2010 3:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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lawlover829
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Re: Career options for a law school graduate...FBI...CIA

Postby lawlover829 » Thu Jun 18, 2009 12:55 pm

intern at a law firm/take a year off to figure out. That's what I'm doing this year.

jrock12
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Re: Career options for a law school graduate...FBI...CIA

Postby jrock12 » Thu Jun 18, 2009 12:59 pm

illmal wrote:Couple of things: you don't need an elite degree for CIA - current acting chief counsel is John Rizzo, JD GW - although it never hurts. Good grades are probably more important.
Also, past drug use does not preclude employment - but lying about it and getting nailed for it on a polygraph will. They both (FBI and CIA) will do a background check and polygraph (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Single_Sco ... estigation).
There are many interesting jobs in both organizations, and throughout the government, such as intelligence analysts, area specialists, linguists, etc. They are competitive, and the government is very slow, but they look great on your resume, and a law school application, if you want to apply again later. There are also a ton of government contractors who do similar work. The key is getting a security clearance, by hook or by crook. Bottom line, you don't need a JD. Check out their websites.


you sure about this? i know it does for secret service, and i would assume CIA/FBI have more stringent standards

azlawlady
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Re: Career options for a law school graduate...FBI...CIA

Postby azlawlady » Thu Jun 18, 2009 1:04 pm

http://usgovinfo.about.com/gi/dynamic/offsite.htm?site=https://www.cia.gov/careers/jobs/how-to-apply.html%23Apply

The link explains the CIA's drug policy. Doing a bong shot when you were 16 is not going to disqualify you, but if you were a total stoner or a heroin addict or something, will probably be an issue.

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animalcrkrs
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Re: Career options for a law school graduate...FBI...CIA

Postby animalcrkrs » Thu Jun 18, 2009 1:11 pm

The Foreign Service always seemed really interesting to me as a first job out of college en route to other state dept/defense dept jobs. They recruit right out of college, but you do have to take the FSO exam which I have heard is not too easy. http://careers.state.gov/officer/index.html

If this interests you, you might as well go straight out of college, since having a JD before you join only bumps up your salary by $5K (!!!)

Another option is the military (if you're into that) I know someone who got offered an FBI position after military work (but decided to first pursue a master's in international affairs focused on counterterrorism issues and defer the position until after that degree)

jrock12
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Re: Career options for a law school graduate...FBI...CIA

Postby jrock12 » Thu Jun 18, 2009 1:11 pm

right...actually now that i think about it when i was going through the process, i think secret service was like in the past 5yrs or something like that

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SamSeaborn2016
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Re: Career options for a law school graduate...FBI...CIA

Postby SamSeaborn2016 » Thu Jun 18, 2009 1:15 pm

jrock12 wrote:
illmal wrote:Couple of things: you don't need an elite degree for CIA - current acting chief counsel is John Rizzo, JD GW - although it never hurts. Good grades are probably more important.
Also, past drug use does not preclude employment - but lying about it and getting nailed for it on a polygraph will. They both (FBI and CIA) will do a background check and polygraph (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Single_Sco ... estigation).
There are many interesting jobs in both organizations, and throughout the government, such as intelligence analysts, area specialists, linguists, etc. They are competitive, and the government is very slow, but they look great on your resume, and a law school application, if you want to apply again later. There are also a ton of government contractors who do similar work. The key is getting a security clearance, by hook or by crook. Bottom line, you don't need a JD. Check out their websites.


you sure about this? i know it does for secret service, and i would assume CIA/FBI have more stringent standards


It has been a while since I researched this career area but if I remember correctly, they ask if you have used recreational drugs more than a specific amount of times or during a specific period of time. I suppose if you answer yes, that would preclude making it to the next stop in process.

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penni_rose
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Re: Career options for a law school graduate...FBI...CIA

Postby penni_rose » Thu Jun 18, 2009 5:57 pm

There is a school in Texas where you can get a master's from a program that is associated with more than one former director of the CIA. That is my suggestion.

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misformafia
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Re: Career options for a law school graduate...FBI...CIA

Postby misformafia » Thu Jun 18, 2009 6:38 pm

FBI Drug Policy - a little more strict that the CIA's.

http://www.fbijobs.gov/52.asp

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reasonable_man
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Re: Career options for a law school graduate...FBI...CIA

Postby reasonable_man » Thu Jun 18, 2009 6:43 pm

Honestly... I'm an 08 grad with a good law firm job and I often think about saying "fuck it" and going into the NYPD.. I think it would be cool.

articulably suspect
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Re: Career options for a law school graduate...FBI...CIA

Postby articulably suspect » Thu Jun 18, 2009 6:46 pm

I am also under the impression that CIA only hires law grads from the very top of the most elite schools

This is interesting considering the Director of the CIA has a UG/Law degree from Santa Clara, a T2.

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capitalacq
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Re: Career options for a law school graduate...FBI...CIA

Postby capitalacq » Thu Jun 18, 2009 6:48 pm

don't go to LS with the expectation of getting hired by the FBI or CIA... they hire so few each year, and unless you've got a great network, it's likely you won't end up there.

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SamSeaborn2016
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Re: Career options for a law school graduate...FBI...CIA

Postby SamSeaborn2016 » Thu Jun 18, 2009 7:26 pm

I just thought of this. FBI and CIA jobs also have physical fitness, vision and hearing requirements. Being out of shape or having some kinds of physical disabilities may disqualify you for certain roles. For example, I have RA so I'm probably a no-go regardless of education.

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leobowski
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Re: Career options for a law school graduate...FBI...CIA

Postby leobowski » Thu Jun 18, 2009 10:56 pm

kgustao wrote:You absolutely do not need a JD to work for the FBI or CIA, there are many agent and desk jobs besides law jobs. I am also under the impression that CIA only hires law grads from the very top of the most elite schools (HYS). If you have ever used any illegal substances of any kind this option will be closed to you...especially for the CIA. Their background check is incredibly thorough and intense.

If this is your dream, look into ways of getting there without going into debt for a law degree.



You don't need to attend a top school to work for the DOJ/FBI/CIA. While the Honors Program for entry-level attorneys is very competitive, it's easier to get your foot in the door with a few years of experience. Also, past drug use won't necessarily disqualify someone from these jobs, but lying about it will.

Also OP: don't worry about obtaining a JD if you want to work for the FBI. The FBI is on a huge hiring spree right now for all positions. If you aren't absolutely set on attending law school (and it sounds like you aren't), it's going to be difficult to succeed, much less secure a DOJ position upon graduation.

ArkansasFan
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Re: Career options for a law school graduate...INVESTIGATIONS

Postby ArkansasFan » Mon Jun 22, 2009 9:28 pm

I'll never be in the FBI or any federal law enforcement agency principally due to my color vision deficiencies, however, I'm hoping someone here may chime in on related options for law grads. Frankly, at this point in my life I don't care to throw on a suit, and monkey around in a court room. I've spent enough time in court to know that prosecution and defense as well as civil litigation is not a career choice for me. i also have difficulty thinking that a rewarding career could involve sitting on as in house counsel "doing contracts" or working in a private practice crank out wills and other documents. I would like to learn more about law and procedure and utilize that in a more enforcement or investigation related position other than going back to being a patrolman or investigator with a local or state LE agency since a JD isn't needed to master either of those areas. Preferentially this position would pay more than a typical American patrolman would make too. JAG maybe?

Leeroy Jenkins
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Re: Career options for a law school graduate...FBI...CIA

Postby Leeroy Jenkins » Mon Jun 22, 2009 9:32 pm

capitalacq wrote:don't go to LS with the expectation of getting hired by the FBI or CIA... they hire so few each year, and unless you've got a great network, it's likely you won't end up there.

actually a lot of FBI employees (and gov't in general) are retiring in the near future, and after 9/11 hiring has stepped up. This has led to the result that the federal government is becoming a huge market for smart young people

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zozin
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Re: Career options for a law school graduate...FBI...CIA

Postby zozin » Tue Jun 23, 2009 6:55 pm

I don't think the drug policy is going to be a problem. :wink:

I know that they might ask me to renounce my dual citizenship, which would suck.

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memento
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Re: Career options for a law school graduate...FBI...CIA

Postby memento » Tue Jun 23, 2009 7:03 pm

Slightly off topic, but there is also a small group of lawyers in the state department that advise on how US and int'l law should shape our foreign policy. Less glamorous than CIA work thats for sure, but still sounds pretty interesting.

ArkansasFan
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Re: Career options for a law school graduate...FBI...CIA

Postby ArkansasFan » Tue Jun 23, 2009 8:28 pm

What would the CIA laywers be doing anyway?

Fiyero
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Re: Career options for a law school graduate...FBI...CIA

Postby Fiyero » Tue Jun 23, 2009 8:44 pm

memento wrote:Slightly off topic, but there is also a small group of lawyers in the state department that advise on how US and int'l law should shape our foreign policy. Less glamorous than CIA work thats for sure, but still sounds pretty interesting.
This is my goal, State Dept. Of course, unless you graduate from Harvard, probably impossible to get a State Dept Counsel job.




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