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Hello. I have been trying to find out more information on the BOP division of the DOJ, but seem to be having a difficult time. Does anyone have any information on how this division compares to the others in terms of prestige, career opportunities within the government or a biglaw firm, what the atmosphere is generally like, the nature of the work, etc? I think the wide range of practice areas is extremely appealing, as is the chance to work for the DOJ.
I've actually checked into this because I grew up about 10 minutes from the penn that has the worst of the worst. They deal with a lot of different issues. Any type of prosecution of any criminal activity is usually referred out to the AG. But there are prisoners' rights cases (not usually trying to increase those rights), land use, etc. There is just a whole bunch of different areas of law they handle. That being said, the BOP has on-site offices and the bulk of their staff is in D.C. It certainly is not the most glamorous division of the DOJ, so there is more opportunity. Federal jobs are always good jobs, though, in terms of security and benefits. The pay isn't as good as a firm, but there is more to a job than what you make.
The name certainly isn't glamorous, but my understanding is that it is still pretty damn tough to get into. They seem to have some good attorneys working there. I wonder how a firm or other government agency might view it? Has anyone had any experience working there? Can anyone speak to what an experience like this might look like to another government agency or a law firm down the road?
What I'm getting at is that it's sort of pointless to debate the relative long-term benefits of working in the BOP division of DOJ when they don't seem to offer permanent positions to entry-level candidates.
Long hours. Wouldn't have guessed that, but that isn't really an issue. Do you think it is a good experience in terms of the two year program or a summer position? Ultimately, I would like to either high level government work, or transactional work at a mid to large law firm. I have been interested in this program, but I really would like to know some more about it, and what kind of opportunities it would lead to / preclude.
Last edited by lawuser521 on Mon Dec 07, 2009 1:24 pm, edited 2 times in total.
I won't pretend to know much about their summer positions, but I do know what attorneys in a state department of corrections do, and assume there is a lot of similarity between the two.
The way an attorney for the Alaska DoC explained it to me, somewhat in jest, is that prosecutors try to put people in jail and people like him try to get them out. I.e. in the context of prison overcrowding a lot of the process of determining who gets out is run through his office.
Beyond that they run a lot of compliance work. As noted above, some of this has to do with prisoner rights, though I don't think it is fair to say that they are actively looking to erode them. Prisoner abuse lawsuits are expensive, so the more typical interaction between corrections administrators and corrections lawyers is the lawyers telling the administrators that they need to be more careful with their policies or risk exposing themselves to liability.
Anyway, that is what I know as a 0L whose parents worked their entire lives in corrections, and who has spent a bit of time talking with attorneys in the department.