First Year ADA - Ask Me Anything

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swampman

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Re: First Year ADA - Ask Me Anything

Post by swampman » Thu Jul 23, 2015 9:30 am

los blancos wrote:Is it fair to say most DA's offices won't even look at a resume from someone not currently barred in their state?
Are you asking about entry level or lateral hiring?

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los blancos

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Re: First Year ADA - Ask Me Anything

Post by los blancos » Thu Jul 23, 2015 9:45 am

swampman wrote:
los blancos wrote:Is it fair to say most DA's offices won't even look at a resume from someone not currently barred in their state?
Are you asking about entry level or lateral hiring?
Lateral

andythefir

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Re: First Year ADA - Ask Me Anything

Post by andythefir » Thu Jul 23, 2015 9:50 am

los blancos wrote:
swampman wrote:
los blancos wrote:Is it fair to say most DA's offices won't even look at a resume from someone not currently barred in their state?
Are you asking about entry level or lateral hiring?
Lateral
My office hired me as a law student and regretted not having a body they needed right that day. I personally thinking hiring summers and students keeps talent in the pipeline for the inevitable turnover, but no one listens to me.

New Mexico lets people licensed in any jurisdiction work for a year in public interest until they pass the bar. If you're licensed anywhere, you can apply to the 5th judicial district and basically start immediately.

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Re: First Year ADA - Ask Me Anything

Post by rdawkins28 » Thu Jul 23, 2015 10:12 am

What percentage of your colleagues, if you were to take a guess, shouldn't work for the DA's office, either due to incompetence or let their personal biases get in the way to the extent that they're willing to cheat a little (or a lot) to win?

What is the pressure to win, if any, from the DA so that he/she can get re-elected?

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Re: First Year ADA - Ask Me Anything

Post by Anonymous User » Thu Jul 23, 2015 10:41 am

rdawkins28 wrote:let their personal biases get in the way to the extent that they're willing to cheat a little (or a lot) to win?
Not OP, but for the record, I have never seen this happen and I don't know anyone currently in my office who would do this. I'm not at all saying prosecutors always do everything right, but I think most issues arise out of workload/volume and/or unconscious confirmation bias, or simple confusion about what their responsibility is (disclosure can be a bitch). As soon as you call it cheating there's a conscious element to it that I don't think comes into play. But I suppose it's possible I'm in a particularly good office, I obviously can't speak for every office/prosecutor out there.

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lavarman84

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Re: First Year ADA - Ask Me Anything

Post by lavarman84 » Thu Jul 23, 2015 10:44 am

Clemenceau wrote:You mentioned that people leave all the time - where are those people heading?
I'm still in law school so people can take my opinion with a grain of salt but from talking to many successful civil litigation partners at small firms, they love ADAs and PDs. They told me that's the best path to a job in their firm. They want people with a lot of trial experience.

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Re: First Year ADA - Ask Me Anything

Post by andythefir » Thu Jul 23, 2015 11:53 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
rdawkins28 wrote:let their personal biases get in the way to the extent that they're willing to cheat a little (or a lot) to win?
Not OP, but for the record, I have never seen this happen and I don't know anyone currently in my office who would do this. I'm not at all saying prosecutors always do everything right, but I think most issues arise out of workload/volume and/or unconscious confirmation bias, or simple confusion about what their responsibility is (disclosure can be a bitch). As soon as you call it cheating there's a conscious element to it that I don't think comes into play. But I suppose it's possible I'm in a particularly good office, I obviously can't speak for every office/prosecutor out there.
This is also consistent with my experience. I don't know a single person in my office who plots to get people. Courts have found that I myself committed prosecutorial misconduct, but that was honestly a lack of experience (and a bad ruling by the judge).

Meanwhile, I have personally seen defense counsel go to the workplace of DV victims and tell them that everything would go better for their husbands if they didn't testify; berate young children in a deposition with the purpose of traumatizing them into silence on the stand; and take on way more cases than they can possibly handle, thereby completely screwing their client.

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Re: First Year ADA - Ask Me Anything

Post by rdawkins28 » Fri Jul 24, 2015 12:48 am

andythefir wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
rdawkins28 wrote:let their personal biases get in the way to the extent that they're willing to cheat a little (or a lot) to win?
Not OP, but for the record, I have never seen this happen and I don't know anyone currently in my office who would do this. I'm not at all saying prosecutors always do everything right, but I think most issues arise out of workload/volume and/or unconscious confirmation bias, or simple confusion about what their responsibility is (disclosure can be a bitch). As soon as you call it cheating there's a conscious element to it that I don't think comes into play. But I suppose it's possible I'm in a particularly good office, I obviously can't speak for every office/prosecutor out there.
This is also consistent with my experience. I don't know a single person in my office who plots to get people. Courts have found that I myself committed prosecutorial misconduct, but that was honestly a lack of experience (and a bad ruling by the judge).

Meanwhile, I have personally seen defense counsel go to the workplace of DV victims and tell them that everything would go better for their husbands if they didn't testify; berate young children in a deposition with the purpose of traumatizing them into silence on the stand; and take on way more cases than they can possibly handle, thereby completely screwing their client.
I think very few set out to "get people." However, I've seen/experienced a few cases where the prosecutors, in the heat of trial, committed prosecutorial misconduct. And if I may rephrase my question it would be "let their emotions (and possibly personal biases) get the best of them."

As far as crappy defense counsel (or attorneys in general), yeh, there are quite a few. Some of the stories I could tell would leave you shaking your head. The sad part is that many of them make good money (more on the civil side) and they either do their clients a disservice or no service at all.

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Re: First Year ADA - Ask Me Anything

Post by Anonymous User » Fri Jul 24, 2015 1:26 am

I think the heat of trial is tough, especially if by prosecutorial misconduct you're talking about things like vouching or even referencing facts not in evidence in closing argument. Emotions do run high, when you're standing up in front of a judge and jury, running on adrenaline. Some defense attorneys push buttons on purpose hoping to induce some kind of misconduct they can use in arguing for a mistrial/on appeal, and some of the misconduct stuff is a very human response to getting your buttons pushed. I'm not at ALL saying that makes it okay, just that what comes out of your mouth in trial is different from people sitting in their offices plotting to hide exculpatory evidence or coaching witnesses to lie or the like.

So yeah, thankfully that hasn't happened to me (yet), but letting emotions get the best of you can happen. I guess I consider that distinct from cheating because it's a more unconscious reaction, not a decision to ignore the rules. I'm sure biases do come out in those situations. To be honest, though, in my experience so far, emotion running high is often more about antagonism between the attorneys than it's about the prosecutor's biases about the defendant or the groups the defendant belongs to.

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Young Marino

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Re: First Year ADA - Ask Me Anything

Post by Young Marino » Sat Jul 25, 2015 9:57 pm

I've heard that the most common exit option for "lifers" (prosecutors with over 20 years experience) is biglaw civil litigation or becoming a judge. How accurate is this?

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Re: First Year ADA - Ask Me Anything

Post by Anonymous User » Sat Jul 25, 2015 10:42 pm

OP here,

A lot of the higher up ADAs seem to either try and run for a lower level judge (MDJ), go to civil litigation or open up their own criminal defense practice. Nearly half of the private attorneys that do criminal defense in my jurisdiction were ADAs either in my office or another office at some point in their career. AUSA is also obviously a very sought after option.

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Re: First Year ADA - Ask Me Anything

Post by andythefir » Sun Jul 26, 2015 7:03 pm

Young Marino wrote:I've heard that the most common exit option for "lifers" (prosecutors with over 20 years experience) is biglaw civil litigation or becoming a judge. How accurate is this?
I am extremely skeptical that you could do 20 years as an ADA>biglaw. Unless you had very impressive credentials going in, you're going to look exactly like a whole bunch of folks who would all jump at that chance. Plus, I don't think the skill set would really transfer. Being an ADA is all about faking dockets and not enough time to do trials. Biglaw trials are all about hanging onto a couple cases for years then planning out every possible contingency.

Most 20 year ADAs jump around from office to office. Most folks don't stay that long, though. I think the record for my office was 5 years.

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Re: First Year ADA - Ask Me Anything

Post by Anonymous User » Sun Jul 26, 2015 11:35 pm

OP, thank you so much for answering questions. I'm a first year biglaw associate who's very interested in being a prosecutor. I screwed up by never clerking for the DA/PD's office. I did take crim pro and trial advocacy and did well in them (but I imagine every other applicant did too). I'm currently trying to do pro bono crim cases from my law firm, but haven't had a lot of success. Am I pretty screwed in applying to be a prosecutor?

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Re: First Year ADA - Ask Me Anything

Post by Anonymous User » Mon Jul 27, 2015 5:18 pm

andythefir wrote:
Young Marino wrote:I've heard that the most common exit option for "lifers" (prosecutors with over 20 years experience) is biglaw civil litigation or becoming a judge. How accurate is this?
I am extremely skeptical that you could do 20 years as an ADA>biglaw. Unless you had very impressive credentials going in, you're going to look exactly like a whole bunch of folks who would all jump at that chance. Plus, I don't think the skill set would really transfer. Being an ADA is all about faking dockets and not enough time to do trials. Biglaw trials are all about hanging onto a couple cases for years then planning out every possible contingency.

Most 20 year ADAs jump around from office to office. Most folks don't stay that long, though. I think the record for my office was 5 years.
I currently live in a big metropolitan area, and I am working at the DA's Office. I can say from personal experience a lot of our higher-DA's, if they do need money and are willing, are able to get positions in BigLaw and do trials there. A few of our DA's was able to land a partnership position at a BigLaw firm. Most others that leave go to the AUSA's Office, become a Judge, or private criminal defense (small firm).

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Re: First Year ADA - Ask Me Anything

Post by 2008 » Mon Jul 27, 2015 5:20 pm

I am in law school and I am 100% certain I want to be an ADA. I actually knew for years before law school that I wanted to be an ADA. What would be your best advice in being hired? I live in a state where it is very competitive to be a ADA (some say more competitive than BigLaw). I plan on interning here throughout my law school career, doing trial ad, crim pro, evid, etc.

Thanks!

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Re: First Year ADA - Ask Me Anything

Post by Anonymous User » Mon Jul 27, 2015 6:49 pm

OP here.
OP, thank you so much for answering questions. I'm a first year biglaw associate who's very interested in being a prosecutor. I screwed up by never clerking for the DA/PD's office. I did take crim pro and trial advocacy and did well in them (but I imagine every other applicant did too). I'm currently trying to do pro bono crim cases from my law firm, but haven't had a lot of success. Am I pretty screwed in applying to be a prosecutor?
I wouldn't say you're screwed. The door closes after 3 1/2 years usually is the genera consensus I hear. By then you're pretty pigeonholed and most of the skills you build as a biglaw associate are not truly transferable into an ADA position very easily. I think you need to find an office that has openings and sell the "why?" at the interviews. People at interviews will absolutely eat up the "Most law grads use this office as a stepping stone to get into higher paying jobs with big firms, I already have all that and I don't want it, I truly want to be here because its what I've always wanted to do, and I'm looking to take significant paycut to do it."

Pro bono crim work would be great to do, but its actually fairly difficult to get from the PDs office or appointed. You can always take randoms from the street, but its hard to screen for crazies, and your ethical obligations really constrain you in criminal cases from simply withdrawing if the client gets difficult. I would try to find pro bono, but if not, try ANY pro bono work that gets you in a courtroom. Family law pro bono work is EVERYWHERE, whether custody or divorce. Landlord tenant work is very easy to get and will get you into a courtroom. ADAs offices may very well be scared off if you have never set foot in a courtroom as most big law associates havent, but if you even do something miniscule as a comp case or a property tax appeal its at least SOMETHING that resembles ADA work.
I am in law school and I am 100% certain I want to be an ADA. I actually knew for years before law school that I wanted to be an ADA. What would be your best advice in being hired? I live in a state where it is very competitive to be a ADA (some say more competitive than BigLaw). I plan on interning here throughout my law school career, doing trial ad, crim pro, evid, etc.
Take all of those classes and more. Any trial related class you take helps. If your school offers ANY sort of clinics, for the love of God take them, all of them. They will get you into a courtroom. ALso, the absolute most important thing to do is to intern at your prosecutors office from day 1 and never stop. If this is really what you want you need to be in there all year to maximize chances. If you started your 1L summer and worked through 3L you either need to be really hated or the office's budget needs to be so constrained that they dont hire anyone for you not to get an offer. I cant tell you the amount of pull former interns have over random people that apply while interviewing. Show up on time, leave late, offer to do extra, ask for any and all work available after you get certified as a 3L to be able to speak in the record (not sure if all states allow this), and just show you wanna be there. Trust me, it won't go unnoticed.

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Re: First Year ADA - Ask Me Anything

Post by andythefir » Mon Jul 27, 2015 11:51 pm

2008 wrote:I am in law school and I am 100% certain I want to be an ADA. I actually knew for years before law school that I wanted to be an ADA. What would be your best advice in being hired? I live in a state where it is very competitive to be a ADA (some say more competitive than BigLaw). I plan on interning here throughout my law school career, doing trial ad, crim pro, evid, etc.

Thanks!
Go Mountain West and go rural. There are more jobs and the jobs are better. Big offices can afford to stash you in municipal/magistrate/traffic court for years without getting any good experience. My job (in the rural Mountain West) is as different from a huge town DA as it is from biglaw. I did 50 trials and 30 jury trials in my first 8 months. No way you get that in a huge town.

Huge towns can also get away with paying attorneys less, paradoxically. In fact, Boston DAs/PDs make less than janitors and court reporters. https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2014/ ... story.html

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