When it comes to the debate over the wisdom of going to law school, I fall somewhere in between. I’m not as optimistic as Jordan Weissmann of Slate, but I’m not as pessimistic as Elie Mystal and Joe Patrice, two of my colleagues here at Above the Law.
Back in June, when I reviewed employment data for the law school class of 2013, I sounded some cautiously optimistic notes. I wondered whether a stable job market and shrinking law school classes could produce better employment outcomes for many law grads.
Could the jobs picture be even brighter than “stable”? Check out what looks like a big expansion of the U.S. Department of Justice’s prestigious Attorney General’s Honors Program, along with other opportunities to work as a lawyer for the federal government….
As noted on the DOJ website, the Honors Program is “the largest and most prestigious federal entry-level attorney hiring program of its kind.” Alas, last year, with a federal government hiring freeze still in effect, the program wasn’t very large — at least not by historical standards. As we reported about a year ago, the Honors Program last year offered around 105 positions. And more than three-quarters of those positions were in the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR), meaning that Honors Program applicants interested in other components had to fight it out for just 28 spots.
This year, in the wake of the lifting of the hiring freeze, the Honors Program looks much more robust. Based on the list of participating components for 2014-2015, there appear to be 204 positions available. Once again, the largest number of positions are with the EOIR. But this time around, the EOIR positions make up just 38 percent of the total spots, meaning that there are a good number of opportunities outside of immigration.
Still, given the number of applicants and their incredible credentials, landing a spot in the DOJ Honors Program is still not easy. These positions remain highly coveted and prestigious. The first step to success is submitting your application on time, so we now remind you: the Honors Program application deadline is SEPTEMBER 2, 2014 (and note that the Labor Day holiday falls during this period, which could affect your ability to obtain transcripts or contact references). For complete application information and the full hiring timeline, see the DOJ website.
Remember: the DOJ Honors Program isn’t the only opportunity for law school graduates or young lawyers to serve in the federal government. We recently mentioned the Attorney Honors Program at the Oceanic and Amospheric Administration (NOAA), for example. The NOAA deadline is also coming up soon — SEPTEMBER 15, to be exact. And even earlier is the deadline for the Louis D. Brandeis Honors Attorney Program at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), which falls on SEPTEMBER 7. (Feel free to mention other such programs in the comments.)
Good luck to everyone applying to the various federal government honors programs this year. The odds aren’t as long as they were last year, but a little bit of luck never hurt anyone.
Earlier: How Did The Law School Class Of 2013 Do In The Job Market?
Reminder: DOJ Honors Program Applications Are Due Soon (2013)
Reminder: DOJ Honors Program Applications Are Due Soon (2011)
The Incredible Shrinking DOJ Honors Program