Exit Options after State Government Fellowship? Forum

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Exit Options after State Government Fellowship?

Post by Anonymous User » Sun Jul 17, 2016 8:34 pm

Hi all. I've just graduated slightly above median at a CCN. I'm interested in energy regulation (especially FERC practice) and (to a somewhat lesser extent) energy/infrastructure project development and finance. I've been very fortunate, and I've landed a decent-paying two-year fellowship (decent paying for government, at least). The deal is you get placed in a state government executive agency in like an assistant counsel/entry-level position and there's a bit more than a 50/50 chance you'll get picked up full-time after your two years are up. It doesn't have the cachet of something like Skadden or EJW, but it's a legit fellowship, not school-funded, and relatively competitive. So don't get me wrong; I'm very grateful and on top of that, I think median at a T6 isn't a bad place to be.

I'm excited about my two years and I got placed pretty much where I wanted to be. That said, I'm just a little unsure about my exit options and was hoping I could get some input from people who've done similar fellowships or who have been in the energy or project development fields for a few years. My placement is in a state agency that deals with energy, but it isn't the public service commission. Basically they try to encourage private sector development of renewable energy, and dole out grants and such, public-private partnerships, financing for renewable energy projects, etc. My agency is small, so they are rather unlikely to keep me on permanently. However, another state agency like the public service commission might. Not too interested in staying in state government,though; I'd much rather go to a DC biglaw/midlaw/boutique to do FERC work, energy project finance, or some combination of both. Or FERC ALJ clerkship/FERC attorney-advisor/Department of Energy Honors. Is this realistic, and if so, how do I get from here to there?

My thinking is that since it's a term-limited fellowship of moderate preftige, perhaps a biglaw shop will view it sort of like a clerkship and give me one year of class credit instead of two (which is totally fine with me). I think it'd be a hard sell as a third-year lateral (or even a second-year) because it's not big firm work, but it is highly related work so maybe I can sell it as an entry-level-with-clerkship-credit type thing instead of as a lateral. Is this realistic? I'm planning to network hard, and there are plenty of recent alums from my school in these positions for me to network with. The firms that I want (i.e., the firms that do the most energy work) tend to be lower V100 super-regionals from the South: Vinson Elkins, Chadbourne, Baker Botts, Troutman Sanders, etc. Troutman is probably my top choice. These are mostly firms for which above-median at CCN is competitive (Troutman I know often takes bottom 1/3 from my school). I'm pretty sure I could have gotten these jobs from 2L OCI, but I just wonder how they'll see me post-fellowship.

If it helps, I spent my 2L summer at a DC FERC boutique (and have at least one solid reference from a partner there), and I'll probably have my FERC-related note in my school's environmental law journal sometime next year. And I'll be doing renewable energy finance type stuff during my fellowship. I can definitely demonstrate subject-matter interest. I also was Hamilton/Ruby/Vanderbilt at my CCN and I do put that on my resume for whatever that's worth, but median is still median.

Posting anon mainly because I'd rather my employer not know that I'm considering selling out to the private sector before I even begin. Happy to provide more details if necessary to get a better answer or if it would make this thread more useful to others (e.g., name of the fellowship or the agency, etc.).

Also happy to take questions myself, if there's anything I might be able to help with.


–StateGov Anon

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