Rising 3L weighing offer in white collar group

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Rising 3L weighing offer in white collar group

Post by Anonymous User » Fri Jul 10, 2020 7:48 pm

Rising 3L with an offer from my big law white collar group in a major market (NYC, LA, DC). Unfortunately found out that big law white collar isnt much litigation, and eventually want to go either DOJ or USAO, which both obviously require lit experience. Trying to clerk, but if that falls through, should I just take the offer? Maybe apply to state AG or DA's office? ask to switch groups?

namefromplace

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Re: Rising 3L weighing offer in white collar group

Post by namefromplace » Sat Jul 11, 2020 1:30 am

What kind of work do you want to do as an AUSA?

As a junior-midlevel associate (the general time to move from BigLaw to AUSA), it is somewhat rare to have substantive trial experience, no matter what kind of group you are in. In white collar, you'll at least be getting experience cooperating with the DoJ and general familiarity with the investigation process. You'll likely be working with attorneys with connections to USAOs that could help mentor you and prepare you to work at an USAO. If you want to be an AUSA and do white collar work, I would think a BigLaw white collar group would be a good place to start. You might get somewhat more substantive litigation experience experience in a different group, but it's marginal. If you want more experience with brief-writing or other traditional forms of litigation, see if you can get in a couple of projects outside of your group, or work on a pro bono matter. That will help keep your skills sharp as you dredge through doc review.

If you want to do more general criminal matters as an AUSA--drug possession, guns, etc.--then trying to move over to the DA's office might make sense. But, that's still easier said than done, especially in the timeline you likely have to respond to your SA offer.

But, a word of advice: It's tough to become an AUSA. Don't plan your entire career around improving your possibilities of moving over. I would hope that by now, you at the very least know whether you would like to spend your immediate post-graduate years working for state government or BigLaw. Choose which of those jobs you think you would be happier doing regardless of whether it leads to a USAO. But again, depending on your state and your credentials, the state government ship may have already sailed. So accept your biglaw offer; it won't hurt you with USAOs.

LBJ's Hair

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Re: Rising 3L weighing offer in white collar group

Post by LBJ's Hair » Mon Jul 13, 2020 2:47 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Fri Jul 10, 2020 7:48 pm
Rising 3L with an offer from my big law white collar group in a major market (NYC, LA, DC). Unfortunately found out that big law white collar isnt much litigation, and eventually want to go either DOJ or USAO, which both obviously require lit experience. Trying to clerk, but if that falls through, should I just take the offer? Maybe apply to state AG or DA's office? ask to switch groups?
TBH people gunning for major market AUSA do white collar less for the experience, more for the references from AUSAs-cum-BigLaw partners. Make a big difference in hiring.

If your white collar group has those sorts of partners, there are associates getting consistently placed in USAOs, and your goal is AUSA, you're in a good spot.

Just try to extern for a USAO your 3L year, pandemic permitting.

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Re: Rising 3L weighing offer in white collar group

Post by Anonymous User » Mon Jul 13, 2020 5:04 pm

Former AUSA in a large district (not one of the three you mentioned) here. Hiring at most of the large USAOs draws mostly from biglaw, local and major DAs' offices, inter-office/agency transfers, and the occasional JAG. The precise composition depends largely on the USA at the time; some tend more towards biglaw, others more towards current prosecutors. Main leans even more heavily towards biglaw. Of biglaw practice groups, white collar will typically be favored, although plenty of AUSAs have come from general litigation, too. Bottom line is you're not hurting your chances by starting there, although I would recommend you (1) clerk and (2) try to get some stand-up experience in court, even if only pro bono.

Anon-non-anon

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Re: Rising 3L weighing offer in white collar group

Post by Anon-non-anon » Mon Jul 13, 2020 7:33 pm

Pretty standard way to AUSA (if there is one) in major markets seem to be d.ct. clerkship (in same district if possible) --> white collar group of big law --> USAO

I don't think general lit would be a better bet if AUSA is your goal but definitely agree with others re trying to get stand up and writing experience in other ways.

Anonymous User
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Re: Rising 3L weighing offer in white collar group

Post by Anonymous User » Tue Jul 14, 2020 6:14 pm

I've done lots of litigation work and not much investigation work. I've had DOJ interviews where the interviewers were not all that impressed with my litigation experience because they were really looking for someone with solid investigation experience.

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