Department of Justice

I don’t want to step on Oprah’s toes, but I have a book recommendation for you: Law of Attraction. No, it has nothing to do with this law of attraction. Yes, you will enjoy it.

This Law of Attraction is a novel by Allison Leotta, a federal prosecutor in Washington, D.C. It’s a fun, fast-paced read; I could hardly put it down, finishing it in two sittings. I concur with the blurb by Harvard law professor and criminal defense attorney Alan Dershowitz: “I loved this novel. Law of Attraction is realistic, gritty, and filled with twists and turns. Allison Leotta’s female lawyer character is compelling and engaging. This is a great read for anyone who loves legal thrillers, cares about domestic violence, or wonders how lawyers can live with themselves.”

(Disclosure: I also enjoyed Law of Attraction because it contains an Above the Law cameo. After the protagonist, assistant U.S. attorney Anna Curtis, gets in trouble, her misadventures wind up on ATL (pp. 217-18). The novel even contains fictionalized comments from the peanut gallery of Above the Law commenters — which are hilarious.)

I spoke with Leotta recently, while she was in New York to meet with her agent and do a book reading. We discussed such subjects as why, and how, she wrote her novel; the Department of Justice review process for the book; how she juggles her day job as a prosecutor, her writing career, and being the mother to two kids; and her advice to lawyers who want to become writers.

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Or maybe news you could have used. Apologies for not reminding you, as we’ve done in past years, about the application deadline for the Department of Justice’s Honors Program. The application deadline for the 2010-2011 program fell on September 7, 2010. [FN1]

(If you’re not already familiar with how the Honors Program works, read our prior post or visit the official DOJ website. The short description: “The highly competitive Honors Program is the only way that the Department hires entry-level attorneys.” Most applicants to the program are 3Ls and judicial law clerks.)

Yesterday, if you checked the DOJ website, you could find out whether you were selected for an interview (although you couldn’t tell which DOJ component had selected you). This morning, official interview notifications went out to selected candidates. To those of you selected for interviews, congratulations! Feel free to crow about your success or trade tips with other interviewees in the comments to this open thread.

Getting picked for an Honors Program interview is quite an accomplishment, especially given the still-tough legal job market and the many 3Ls and law clerks searching for jobs. Word on the street is that the DOJ received 3,000 applications for an estimated 160 vacancies in the Honors Program. Says a source: “[T]hat’s nearly 20 applicants per position. Which is actually pretty low by comparison with clerkship apps, I bet, but still daunting.”

If you didn’t get selected for an interview, or if you missed the application deadline altogether, don’t despair. Here’s another opportunity for graduating law students who are interested in working for the federal government. And the deadline has not yet passed — but it’s fast approaching….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “News You Can Use: Federal Government Job Opportunities
And Open Thread: DOJ Honors Interview Decisions

We really don’t like writing about murders, suicides, and murder suicides here on Above the Law. They are always sad, the loss of human life is always tragic, and it’s really hard to be funny/snarky/edgy when people have died.

That said, we have to go where the news takes us, and so we press on today with a roundup of people in the legal community who recently met untimely ends. A Department of Justice lawyer took his own life, and an office manager for Townsend and Townsend and Crew allegedly killed her estranged husband, before turning the gun on herself…

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We have good news on the student loan front. Really good news if you are a public defender or prosecutor. The Blog of the Legal Times reports that the Department of Justice is making $10 million available in loan forgiveness for PDs and prosecutors.

So if you want to live the Law & Order dream, it just got a little easier.

The money was actually authorized two years ago by George W. Bush, but the money has been held up in appropriations. Bush authorized up to $25 million for FY 2009, but Congress is only giving out $10 million for FY 2010.

Still, it’s great news for the lawyers eligible, and it could encourage law school graduates to give government criminal law jobs a second look…

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Jay Bybee

* An interesting look at the role played by U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara and his S.D.N.Y. colleagues in the recent Russian spy swap. [New York Times]

* The government’s obscenity case against porn purveyor John Stagliano has climaxed… in a dismissal. [Politico via First One @ One First]

* Now that the damn hole is plugged, at least for the time being, all eyes are on BP compensation fund czar Kenneth Feinberg. [New York Times]

* The Justice Department has launched the largest health-care fraud sting in U.S. history. [Washington Post]

* Still on the DOJ, here’s the interesting backstory on how Jay Bybee came to head the Office of Legal Counsel. [Main Justice]

We took a muscular view of presidential authority. We were offering a bottom line to a client who wanted to know what he could do and what he couldn’t do. I wasn’t running a debating society, and I wasn’t running a law school.

– Ninth Circuit Judge Jay S. Bybee, testifying to the House Judiciary Committee about his authorization of aggressive interrogation methods as head of the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel.

The Obama administration has been utterly spineless when it comes to the gay marriage, but they seem to have found their voice on the culture war issue of 2010. The DOJ is filing suit today against the state of Arizona over the state’s controversial immigration law. AZ Central reports:

The U.S. Justice Department is filing a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of Arizona’s new law targeting illegal immigrants, setting the stage for a clash between the federal government and state over the nation’s toughest immigration crackdown.

The planned lawsuit was confirmed to The Associated Press by a Justice Department official with knowledge of the plans. The official didn’t want to be identified before a public announcement planned for later Tuesday.

This morning, the WSJ Law Blog reminded us that the DOJ won’t be running around arguing over racial profiling. Instead the Justice Department will be making a claim about supremacy — constitutional supremacy, that is…

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champagne glasses small.jpgYes, we’ve been gone. Where we’ve been — poetry workshop, rehab, hiking the Appalachian Trail? — doesn’t matter. What matters is that we’re back, and our team of interns has diligently kept track of the nuptial triumphs and travesties that have occurred in our absence. We’ve identified the very best of the best couples from this spring, and hereby present the top five pairings for your edification and enrichment:

1. Monica Youn and Whitney Armstrong
2. Jennifer Ku and Peter Rubin
3. Vikeena Bonett and Matthew Wolfe
4. Brian Distelberg and Ryan McAuliffe
5. Naomi Seiler and Eric Columbus

Feast your eyes on these prestigious couples’ pictures and bios, after the jump.

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As we mentioned in Morning Docket, the lawsuits are coming for Arizona’s new immigration law. First up, the ACLU. Bloomberg reports:

The American Civil Liberties Union is leading a court challenge to Arizona’s new law targeting illegal immigration, claiming the measure would allow unconstitutional racial profiling by police.

A group of civil rights organizations led by the ACLU also alleges that the law interferes with federal power and authority over immigration matters in violation of the U.S. Constitution, according to a complaint filed today in federal court in Phoenix. The group claims in addition that the statute infringes the free-speech rights of day laborers in the state.

It’s not surprising that the ACLU is taking the first shot at this. The Department of Justice might not be far behind….

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office of solicitor general.gifIn our reader poll on possible Supreme Court nominees — which is still open, by the way — Solicitor General Elena Kagan is leading the pack, at least in terms of the predictive poll. At the current time, a majority of respondents believe that she will be nominated by President Obama to the seat of Justice John Paul Stevens. (On the prescriptive side, i.e., who SHOULD be nominated to replace JPS, a plurality of you want to see Judge Diane Wood get the nod.)

So Kagan may soon be leaving the SG’s office. But new talent is coming aboard, starting in September or so, through the Bristow Fellowship program. These staggeringly prestigious fellowships allow recent law school graduates, typically coming out of clerkships with federal appellate judges (often feeder judges), to get involved in the work of the Solicitor General’s office, representing the United States before the Supreme Court.

We’re a little late in bringing you the news of the Bristow hires — they were notified weeks (even months) ago — but better late than never. A reader email reminded us that we hadn’t covered the announcement. So we did some digging and obtained their names.

So who are the new Bristow Fellows? Do we know their law schools and clerkships?

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