Best DA's Office to Work for in California?

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ohsaycanyousee

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Best DA's Office to Work for in California?

Post by ohsaycanyousee » Sun Apr 26, 2020 5:12 pm

So many offices, so little info on the web. . . I feel like once I start applying, I'll be going in totally blind.

I'm a T14 grad, prob median or a little above, couple of years of biglaw experience (civil litigation). Am I even competitive to work at the better known offices?

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Re: Best DA's Office to Work for in California?

Post by Anonymous User » Sun Apr 26, 2020 11:39 pm

On a similar note--anybody familiar with the Contra Costa County or Alameda County DA offices in particular? Culture, types of lateral hires they look for, and so forth?

Not OP. Former non-CA state prosecutor and then criminal AUSA in a non-CA major metro, currently in a litigating DOJ component at Main. Will likely be moving back to the CA Bay Area within the next couple years for family reasons, so starting to pay attention to this.

Thanks in advance for any insight you can offer.

pbfalcon

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Re: Best DA's Office to Work for in California?

Post by pbfalcon » Sun Apr 26, 2020 11:44 pm

Here is my ranking of Bay Area da offices

1- Alameda County- I think the prosecutors here are the highest caliber—it is the most prestigious and selective office. Also includes Oakland, which brings with it interesting crime.

2. Santa Clara - super selective, attracts former big law litigators, and is a good place to be.

3. San Mateo and contra costa (I have heard bad things about CoCo, but they have a new DA so that might have changed).

4. San Francisco - just google the newly elected DA...

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Re: Best DA's Office to Work for in California?

Post by Anonymous User » Mon Apr 27, 2020 4:36 am

ohsaycanyousee wrote:So many offices, so little info on the web. . . I feel like once I start applying, I'll be going in totally blind.

I'm a T14 grad, prob median or a little above, couple of years of biglaw experience (civil litigation). Am I even competitive to work at the better known offices?
You are 100% competitive. I assume you will get an interview with whichever office you apply to. I worked in LA and Riverside. LA is better vibes, obviously more things to do, and the people all like to hang out. The pay (two-three years ago?) started at $68k. Obviously you wouldn't be coming in as a first year. The raises are pretty nominal. Riverside has a chill offices. The pay is better ($72k starting). There's a better chance of getting promoted because the offices are smaller. The offices are small enough where everyone feels like family (vs. LA where there are tons of offices and you won't be able to meet everyone. But I am sure you experienced this in big law).

I forgot how the pay raises are for both, but I remember 5th year at Riv was about $112k - $115k. I honestly don't remember.

Just want to finish this off by saying you're definitely competitive. Apply as soon as the applications become available because the process can take foreverrrrr. LA takes 6-9 months. Riverside takes maybe a few months. I don't know if it's the same process for experienced attorneys though.

Good luck!

ohsaycanyousee

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Re: Best DA's Office to Work for in California?

Post by ohsaycanyousee » Tue Apr 28, 2020 7:00 pm

pbfalcon wrote:Here is my ranking of Bay Area da offices

1- Alameda County- I think the prosecutors here are the highest caliber—it is the most prestigious and selective office. Also includes Oakland, which brings with it interesting crime.

2. Santa Clara - super selective, attracts former big law litigators, and is a good place to be.

3. San Mateo and contra costa (I have heard bad things about CoCo, but they have a new DA so that might have changed).

4. San Francisco - just google the newly elected DA...
Thanks! Super helpful. Yes, the new DA in SF is . . . interesting. Do you know if Alameda and Santa Clara would consider hiring someone with no significant criminal law experience?

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ohsaycanyousee

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Re: Best DA's Office to Work for in California?

Post by ohsaycanyousee » Tue Apr 28, 2020 7:02 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
ohsaycanyousee wrote:So many offices, so little info on the web. . . I feel like once I start applying, I'll be going in totally blind.

I'm a T14 grad, prob median or a little above, couple of years of biglaw experience (civil litigation). Am I even competitive to work at the better known offices?
You are 100% competitive. I assume you will get an interview with whichever office you apply to. I worked in LA and Riverside. LA is better vibes, obviously more things to do, and the people all like to hang out. The pay (two-three years ago?) started at $68k. Obviously you wouldn't be coming in as a first year. The raises are pretty nominal. Riverside has a chill offices. The pay is better ($72k starting). There's a better chance of getting promoted because the offices are smaller. The offices are small enough where everyone feels like family (vs. LA where there are tons of offices and you won't be able to meet everyone. But I am sure you experienced this in big law).

I forgot how the pay raises are for both, but I remember 5th year at Riv was about $112k - $115k. I honestly don't remember.

Just want to finish this off by saying you're definitely competitive. Apply as soon as the applications become available because the process can take foreverrrrr. LA takes 6-9 months. Riverside takes maybe a few months. I don't know if it's the same process for experienced attorneys though.

Good luck!
Thanks! Didn't realize the process takes so long. Since you are SoCal based, have you heard anything about the San Diego office?

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Re: Best DA's Office to Work for in California?

Post by Anonymous User » Tue Apr 28, 2020 7:39 pm

ohsaycanyousee wrote:
pbfalcon wrote:Here is my ranking of Bay Area da offices

1- Alameda County- I think the prosecutors here are the highest caliber—it is the most prestigious and selective office. Also includes Oakland, which brings with it interesting crime.

2. Santa Clara - super selective, attracts former big law litigators, and is a good place to be.

3. San Mateo and contra costa (I have heard bad things about CoCo, but they have a new DA so that might have changed).

4. San Francisco - just google the newly elected DA...
Thanks! Super helpful. Yes, the new DA in SF is . . . interesting. Do you know if Alameda and Santa Clara would consider hiring someone with no significant criminal law experience?

I am not entirely sure about Alameda County, but I know Santa Clara has picked up associates from Big Law who practiced general lit and had no criminal law experience.

burritotaco

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Re: Best DA's Office to Work for in California?

Post by burritotaco » Wed Apr 29, 2020 1:56 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
ohsaycanyousee wrote:
pbfalcon wrote:Here is my ranking of Bay Area da offices

1- Alameda County- I think the prosecutors here are the highest caliber—it is the most prestigious and selective office. Also includes Oakland, which brings with it interesting crime.

2. Santa Clara - super selective, attracts former big law litigators, and is a good place to be.

3. San Mateo and contra costa (I have heard bad things about CoCo, but they have a new DA so that might have changed).

4. San Francisco - just google the newly elected DA...
Thanks! Super helpful. Yes, the new DA in SF is . . . interesting. Do you know if Alameda and Santa Clara would consider hiring someone with no significant criminal law experience?

I am not entirely sure about Alameda County, but I know Santa Clara has picked up associates from Big Law who practiced general lit and had no criminal law experience.
I have several friends and acquaintances who went to DA offices throughout the state with no criminal experience. It obviously helps, but it's generally not an absolute requirement.

lawlo

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Re: Best DA's Office to Work for in California?

Post by lawlo » Wed Apr 29, 2020 2:29 pm

Anyone ever heard of anyone who went from corporate law to DA? Once I save up some money in corporate biglaw, I'd like to become a DA. Is this impossible?

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Re: Best DA's Office to Work for in California?

Post by Anonymous User » Fri May 01, 2020 1:36 pm

lawlo wrote:Anyone ever heard of anyone who went from corporate law to DA? Once I save up some money in corporate biglaw, I'd like to become a DA. Is this impossible?
Unfortunately, I think this is a long shot (unless you try to make the move in your first move). Although, my experience is based on relatively competitive DA offices in the Bay Area.

DA offices generally look for the following skills/experiences in hiring laterals:

1) criminal law experience
2) trial experience
3) other litigation skills—I.e., writing and legal research, witness preparation, depositions, etc.

I assume, as a corporate associate, you would not check any of these boxes.

If you want to make the move, I would do it ASAP. Your chances of making the move will decrease the longer you are a corporate associate.

1) criminal law

lawlo

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Re: Best DA's Office to Work for in California?

Post by lawlo » Fri May 01, 2020 2:35 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
lawlo wrote:Anyone ever heard of anyone who went from corporate law to DA? Once I save up some money in corporate biglaw, I'd like to become a DA. Is this impossible?
Unfortunately, I think this is a long shot (unless you try to make the move in your first move). Although, my experience is based on relatively competitive DA offices in the Bay Area.

DA offices generally look for the following skills/experiences in hiring laterals:

1) criminal law experience
2) trial experience
3) other litigation skills—I.e., writing and legal research, witness preparation, depositions, etc.

I assume, as a corporate associate, you would not check any of these boxes.

If you want to make the move, I would do it ASAP. Your chances of making the move will decrease the longer you are a corporate associate.

1) criminal law

I appreciate the reply! Thank you. I'd probably aim at more rural/less desirable DA's offices (e.g., Humboldt county, Calaveras county). But I'm sure it would be a long shot regardless.

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Re: Best DA's Office to Work for in California?

Post by Anonymous User » Fri May 01, 2020 3:43 pm

I tried to get picked up at one of the less desirable inland offices, but couldn’t get anywhere because my criminal law experience was more distant. I ended up volunteering at an office for a few months and that was enough to increase my interviews and eventually receive an offer.
I don’t know your financial situation, but depending on how much you want it that’s an alternative and shows them your commitment. Im concerned about budgets going forward with the decreases in sales tax revenue as well as pending CALPERS crunch. It’s possible these offices will grow more competitive in such an environment.

ohsaycanyousee

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Re: Best DA's Office to Work for in California?

Post by ohsaycanyousee » Sat May 02, 2020 8:08 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
ohsaycanyousee wrote:
pbfalcon wrote:Here is my ranking of Bay Area da offices

1- Alameda County- I think the prosecutors here are the highest caliber—it is the most prestigious and selective office. Also includes Oakland, which brings with it interesting crime.

2. Santa Clara - super selective, attracts former big law litigators, and is a good place to be.

3. San Mateo and contra costa (I have heard bad things about CoCo, but they have a new DA so that might have changed).

4. San Francisco - just google the newly elected DA...
Thanks! Super helpful. Yes, the new DA in SF is . . . interesting. Do you know if Alameda and Santa Clara would consider hiring someone with no significant criminal law experience?

I am not entirely sure about Alameda County, but I know Santa Clara has picked up associates from Big Law who practiced general lit and had no criminal law experience.
Thanks for your response. I looked at the biographies of recent hires at Santa Clara, and was blown away. Everyone had moot court or mock trial awards or achievements, plus lots of them came from the T14.

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