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Breaking into the DA's Office (Career Advice)

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March 06, 2013, 17:09
Breaking into the DA's Office (Career Advice)
First off, I should apologize for the (somewhat) misleading title.

I'm looking for career advice. I'm a non-traditional attorney, having entered law school after Katrina destroyed my home. I was over 40 when I enrolled.

I have a Ph.D in a technical field, and I intended to pursue a patent prosecution career, but for better or wose I got bit by the litigation bug. I did really well in moot court, and enjoyed coaching my friends through trial advocacy. Since my law school required community service I started volunteering for the public defender's office, but changed over to volunteering for the DA once I realized who the "good guys" were.

I graduated in the top 10% of my class, and took the Texas bar, which I passed on my first attempt. I got a clerkship with a (Louisiana) state judge (long story), which I thoroughly enjoyed, and she has given me a glowing recommendation.

Nonetheless, I am having no luck with the DAs I've applied to. I don't know if my age is a problem, or if they're convinced I'll jump ship at the first opportunity.

I really want to litigate, and can pay off my (moderate) student loans with 10 years of public service. I'm thinking I might want to run for a judicial seat someday. All of these goals would be advanced by staying an ADA for several years.

So, is being an ADA really just for the young?

I'd appreciate any advice I can get.

Thanks in advance.

March 07, 2013, 08:59
A. Diamond
The good news is that working at a DA or CA or CDA office is not just for the young. "Non-traditional" really should not be, and probably isn't, a negative for you in this kind of job hunt.

You may not realize how many people you have for competition. Many people want to be prosecutors, so you have a lot of competition in many parts of the state. If you really want to do this job, keep applying and keep an open mind about which part of the state you are willing to work in.
March 08, 2013, 08:38
Andrea W
Definitely check to see if the offices you're interested in have an intern program. A lot of offices these days do, and the interns have a leg up in hiring because they're already in the office showing what they can do. It can be a good way to show your skills and your dedication to the job.
April 17, 2013, 16:55
The answer is not necessarily. I did my first 21 years in private general practice. I "retired" into prosecution at the age of 50+. It has worked out great for me.