Department of Justice

I have a number of large projects with different people. I would have said no, but it didn’t seem like that was an option here.


Jennifer Hardy (née Koester), now a litigation partner at Kirkland & Ellis, complaining to a friend via email that she was working 12 hour days without breaks at the Department of Justice (where she reportedly worked on the so-called “torture memos”).

Uncle Sam Wants You if Youre Mentally Retarded.jpgMany job seekers would love to work as lawyers for the federal government but haven’t had luck landing a position. Openings for attorneys on USAJOBS attract hundreds of applicants. In light of massive law-firm layoffs and the relative stability of government employment, high demand for federal jobs is unsurprising. You have to be a positively brilliant lawyer to land a government gig these days.
Or not. If you’ve applied to the U.S. Department of Justice without success, ask yourself: Do I have a normal or above-normal IQ?
If you do, you might be… overqualified. From a Justice Department job posting (emphasis added):

The Civil Rights Division encourages qualified applicants with targeted disabilities to apply. Targeted disabilities are deafness, blindness, missing extremities, partial or complete paralysis, convulsive disorder, mental retardation, mental illness, severe distortion of limbs and/or spine.

Quips former DOJ lawyer Ty Clevenger: “Having worked there, I think CRD has plenty of mentally retarded lawyers already. Mostly in supervisory positions.”
Says another tipster who brought this to our attention: “I understand how you can have a few missing limbs or be partially paralyzed and still be a trial lawyer, but someone with an IQ less than 70?!?!!?”
Recruiting mentally retarded lawyers to litigate civil rights cases for the DOJ may take the expression “good enough for government work” too far. But, in fairness, there is a caveat to all of this….

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WilmerHale Wilmer Hale Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale Dorr AboveTheLaw Above the Law blog.jpgThis week brought good news from WilmerHale. The firm’s profits per partner climbed by approximately 7 percent last year, from $1.08 million in 2008 to $1.16 million in 2009, according to the National Law Journal.

The increase in PPP was driven, in part, by a dip in partner headcount (from about 330 in 2008 to 318 in 2009). Sometimes a decline in the number of partners is a bad thing, but not for WilmerHale. As co-managing partner William Perlstein explained to the NLJ, it was due in part to “at least a dozen” partners being recruited away by the Obama administration — a testament to the talents and connectedness of Wilmer lawyers.

WilmerHale has a long and distinguished history of sending its lawyers to top government jobs and then taking them back afterward, so the firm’s clients can benefit from expertise and connections developed while in the public sector. The firm boasts such all-stars as former Deputy Attorney General Jamie Gorelick and former Solicitor General Seth Waxman, who served in the Clinton Administration.

Due in large part to folks like Gorelick and Waxman, WilmerHale has long been recognized as a liberal legal powerhouse. This reputation was further burnished when numerous Wilmer lawyers took prominent positions in the White House Counsel’s office and the Department of Justice last January, after Barack Obama took office.

Despite its reputation as a left-leaning law firm, WilmerHale has also been assembling an impressive team of conservative legal talent, including notable alums of the Bush Administration. Some of these hires are quite recent. They include Carl Nichols, who joined the firm earlier this month after serving in high-ranking Justice Department positions, and Dan Gallagher, a former aide to Chris Cox at the SEC.

That’s right — conservative (or libertarian) lawyers, located squarely to the right of center, many of them card-carrying members of the Federalist Society and/or the Republican Party. At WilmerHale. We kid you not.

We name names, and interview WilmerHale partner Reginald Brown, after the jump.

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Department of Justice seal DOJ seal Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpgBack in September, we mentioned that interviewees for the DOJ Honors Program were learning of their good fortune. Now the process has proceeded one step further — for some lucky individuals, to completion.

We heard from one offer recipient from the Civil Division, but we suspect this person is not alone. According to the Key Dates section of the Honors Program website, job offers are being extended from November 6 through mid-December 2009. In mid-December, candidates not selected as finalists will be notified.

More info about the process, plus the chance to comment, after the jump.

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cannabis_leaf.gifFor a while we had a commenter who liked to comment “Legalize it!” on every post, with “it” referring to marijuana. This person is surely quite happy today. From the New York Times:

People who use marijuana for medical purposes and those who distribute it should not face federal prosecution, provided they act according to state law, the Justice Department said on Monday in a directive with far-reaching political and legal implications.

In a memorandum to federal prosecutors in the 14 states that make some allowance for the use of marijuana for medical purposes, the department said it was committed to the “efficient and rational use” of its resources, and that going after individuals who were in “clear and unambiguous compliance” with state laws did not meet that standard.

Puff, puff, pass. Anyone want some brownies?
Justice Dept. to Stop Pursuit of Medical Marijuana Use [New York Times]

Department of Justice seal DOJ seal Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpgAre you prepared to meet and fight the anti-vaccinators in open court? The Department of Justice is, and they are looking for a few good litigators.

Check out this job ad, which is up on the DOJ website:

Experienced Attorney/ GS-12 to GS-14
U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Division, Torts Branch
Office of Constitutional and Specialized Torts

About the Office: The Civil Division, Torts Branch, is seeking an experienced attorney for a position in the Office of Vaccine Litigation. Trial attorneys in the Vaccine Litigation Group represent the interests of the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services in all cases filed in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims under the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act. The cases involve claims of injury as a result of the receipt of certain vaccines.

Responsibilities and Opportunity Offered: The position offers a unique experience in public service. The legal and medical issues at stake in each case vary greatly. Attorneys in the section independently manage heavy case loads, and while streamlined procedures are utilized, cases frequently involve complex liability and damages issues. The position involves significant trial practice. Vaccine staff attorneys are obliged to ensure that the Vaccine Trust Fund, from which damage awards are paid, is protected and, where eligibility criteria are met, that fair compensation is distributed to those whom Congress has intended. Attorneys appear frequently before the Office of Special Masters in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, and also appear before the judges of the Court, as well as in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit when handling appeals.

That’s right folks, the legal profession will find a way to benefit from Swine Flu. Special torts, special torts defense, it’s all copacetic man.

Department of Justice seal DOJ seal Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpgWho says the wheels of government turn slowly? Earlier this month, we reminded you that Justice Department Honors Program applications were almost due. Now, three short weeks later, candidates are hearing back about interviews. Sources report:

“DOJ Honors interview notifications have gone out. I was fortunate enough to snare one in the Civil Division. You might want to put up an open thread for discussion.”

“Interview invites came out Wednesday, information about which component came out Thursday. Open thread?”

We aim to please. Here you go.

If interview notifications went out on Wednesday, was that ahead of schedule? According to the list of key dates on the Honors Program website, today is supposed to be the day that the DOJ “notifies candidates selected for interviews by e-mail.”

Feel free to discuss the Honors Program interview process — which components you’re interviewing with, what you’d like to know about the process, or what you already know about the process (for those of you who have been through it) — in the comments.

The Attorney General’s Honors Program [U.S. Department of Justice]
AG’s Honors Program Key Dates [U.S. Department of Justice]

Earlier: Reminder: DOJ Honors Program Applications Are Almost Due
Open Thread: The DOJ Is Hiring Again …
Fall Recruiting Open Thread: DOJ Honors Program

Department of Justice seal DOJ seal Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpgThis morning, we reminded you about judicial clerkships as one career option to explore. Now we’d like to remind you of another: the Attorney General’s Honors Program, at the U.S. Department of Justice. The application deadline is this coming Tuesday, September 8.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the DOJ Honors Program, here’s a description:

The highly competitive Honors Program is the only way that the Department hires entry-level attorneys. Selection for employment is based on many elements of a candidate’s background including academic achievement, law review or moot court experience, legal aid and clinical experience, and summer or part-time legal employment. The Department also considers specialized academic studies (including undergraduate and post-graduate degrees), work experience, and extracurricular activities that directly relate to the work of the Department.

But hopefully not a candidate’s personal political beliefs.

More discussion, after the jump.

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Sports and the Law clip art clipart.jpg* A disappointing ruling from the 3rd Circuit for sports gamblers in Delaware. [USA Today]
* L.A. City Attorney Carmen Trutanich wants to make hanging out illegal. [Los Angeles Times]
* Judge Jed Rakoff is becoming a media darling. Another article singing the BofA-bench-slapping judge’s praises. [New York Times]
* Foley & Lardner sued for allegedly revealing trade secrets. [National Law Journal]
* Connecticut prosecutor John H. Durham has been chosen to lead the Justice Department’s investigation into CIA torture of detainees. [Talking Points Memo]
* Four more years for Bernanke. [Washington Post]

champagne glasses small.jpgRejoice, wedding fans! We have some compelling mid-summer material for you this week: Wachtell, SCOTUS, lesbians, French nobility — read on for the details on all of that and more, as reported in the New York Times and filtered by us.
Our finalist couples:

1. Rebecca Gutner and Rodman Forter Jr.
2. Laura Hammond and Christopher Hemphill
3. Laure de Vulpillières and Vanessa Dillen

Admire these couples’ achievements, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Legal Eagle Wedding Watch 7.12: French Kissing”

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