Thursday, September 01, 2005


Law School: Grads head to the DA's office

You can probably search my archives and find out how many times I've (literally) demanded that recent law school grads look to their local DA's office as a viable alternative to private law firms. Not only are jobs in law enforcement fulfilling on a personal and professional level, but the pay in major counties is pretty darned good as well. Another place to check out is the U.S. Attorney's office, where one of my hero's, Michael Chertoff, got his start in public service. Either way, the prosecution business is definitely becoming the hottest job in town.

The LA Times has a story about the Los Angeles County DA's office, and how recent law school grads from top-tier schools were standing in line just to get an interview.
Being a government lawyer — in particular a prosecutor — has become increasingly attractive to law school graduates in recent years, career counselors say. The starting pay at law firms can be more than double what a district attorney offers. But the late nights and weekends required for many firm jobs can make prosecutor jobs more attractive.

"It offers purposeful work, a decent income and reasonable hours," said Graham Sherr, a former legal headhunter and now assistant dean for career services at Loyola Law School, which is sending more than 20 of its graduates to the district attorney's office this year. "Government lawyers tend to be the most satisfied lawyers I've encountered."

In the early '80s, if you graduated from a good law school, you could walk into a district attorney's office and get hired," Sherr said. "In the last 10 years, it has become super-competitive."

It's worth the time and effort, although I can not emphasize how much heart it takes to get into this line of work. Working in criminal prosecution is not the glamorous job you see on Law & Order; it's a tough job that requires dedication, and the desire to see bad guys put in jail, or punished for their crimes. It's long hours of blood, sweat, and tears (literally) that give you more redemption due to the fact that you're helping people, versus litigating a messy divorce, or reiterating contracts and incorporations. As with all law enforcement jobs, it's often more heart than brains.

UPDATE: Patterico agrees.

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