Federal Government

Here at Above the Law, we try to notify our readers about job opportunities for law students and lawyers. Some of these positions are less desirable and some are more desirable, but hey: in this economy, a job is a job.

(At least as long as it pays. Some jobs don’t, of course.)

Back in the fall, we reminded you about the application deadline for the Presidential Management Fellows Program (PMF). In case you’re not familiar with the PMF program, check out the official website.

Now we bring you an update about the program….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Congratuations to the 2012 Presidential Management Fellows Finalists”

Newt, you've made the tiger angry.

* “Members of Congress are not above the law,” and that’s why the Senate will likely approve a ban on insider trading of non-public information by the end of the week. Say hello to the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act. [Boston Globe]

* Eye of newt tiger, and toe of frog, wool of bat, and tongue of dog. You see, Newt, you screw up one part of the witches’ spell, and you get sued for unauthorized song use on the Election 2012 campaign trail. [Bloomberg]

* Which Biglaw firms have the strongest brands in the country according to high-revenue clients? You’d think that those in the top five would be the firms leading the bonus market, but like most things having to do with money, you’d be wrong. [Am Law Daily]

* As Rutgers Law students take to the streets to protest the school’s merger with Rowan, nontenured faculty members are doing their damnedest to GTFO before all hell breaks loose. [Burlington County Times]

* GW Law will be launching a health care law and policy program next fall for the low, low cost of $5M, but the hordes of law school grads willing to pay top dollar for a useless LL.M. is priceless. [National Law Journal]

Despite the media echo chamber saying that the economy is improving, it’s obviously still tough to find work. Especially for lawyers. Everyone says you’re supposed to have a can-do attitude, but we sometimes prefer to think about all the things that you can’t do as an attorney.

Included in that list is getting a paying job at the U.S. Department of Justice. The DOJ has had a hiring freeze in place for a year now. We’ve heard reports of some thawing — i.e., selected parts of the DOJ receiving authorization to fill a handful of priority positions — but, for the most part, there are hardly any paying lawyer jobs to be had in that division of government.

Instead, U.S. Attorney’s Offices around the country have been posting unpaid Special Assistant United States Attorney positions for some time now. We covered them last May. My colleague (and former assistant U.S. attorney) David Lat defended the SAUSA gigs somewhat, arguing that the nonpaying jobs might not be as bad as they seem. It’s fun, exciting work, and it provides valuable experience and serious professional credibility.

There is a crucial, ominous difference between then and now, though. Previous SAUSA jobs were generally aimed at entry-level or fairly junior attorneys. Now we’ve got a recent opening that’s asking for more.…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The DOJ Wants You, Experienced Attorneys — To Work for Free”


SCOTUS in the house at SOTU.

President Barack Obama delivered his State of the Union address this evening, and it was even less exciting than last year (which was less exciting than the year before, when the famous Obama v. Alito showdown over Citizens United took place). Tonight was light on drama — one of the most compelling moments came early on, with the arrival in the chamber of retiring Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords — and President Obama’s speech was light on new ideas. Considering that we’re in an election year, with no major legislation likely to pass anytime soon, this shouldn’t come as a surprise.

Your Above the Law editors covered the speech via Twitter. See @ATLblog, @DavidLat, @ElieNYC, and @StaciZaretsky.

Here’s an open thread for discussion of the address. We’ll get the party started with a few legally oriented highlights, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The State of the Union (2012): Open Thread”

Your bonus is freedom.

Here at Above the Law, we spend a lot of time talking about bonuses to associates working in Biglaw firms. As you might have noticed from our bonus coverage over the past month or so, the size of these payouts is underwhelming to many who are receiving them.

But that coverage only deals with those few, those happy few, who are lucky enough to receive any type of bonus whatsoever. For many in and around Biglaw, their bonus this year will be $0. Their spring bonus will not exist. And they won’t even have Cravath to blame for it.

We’re talking about paralegals. We’re talking about secretaries. We’re talking about government lawyers and law clerks and a bunch of other people who worked really hard in 2011 and might get no bonus at all.

We feel your pain….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “A Shout-Out to All The Legal Types Getting a $0 Bonus This Holiday Season”

Thanksgiving is just a few days away. But at the U.S. Department of Justice, there might not be a lot to be thankful for. Most of the DOJ-related news floating around right now is depressing.

A court-appointed investigator, Henry F. Schuelke, just issued what the New York Times described as a “scathing” report on one of the DOJ’s most prominent prosecutions in recent years. Schuelke concluded that the prosecution the late Senator Ted Stevens “was ‘permeated’ by the prosecutors’ ‘serious, widespread and at times intentional’ illegal concealment of evidence that would have helped Mr. Stevens defend himself at his 2008 trial.” Ouch.

(The good news, from the Department’s perspective: a recommendation against criminal prosecution of the DOJ officials involved in the case. That’s something to be thankful for, I suppose.)

Alas, that’s not all for depressing dispatches out of the Department. Let’s discussing the hiring freeze, and the state of Honors Program offers….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “A Justice Department Round-Up: Gloomy News”

Congratulations to the 2012 Bristow Fellows, who learned of their selection earlier this month. These one-year fellowships in the U.S. Solicitor General’s Office, awarded to recent law school graduates with outstanding academic records and top clerkships, are generally regarded as second only to Supreme Court clerkships in prestige (and often lead to SCOTUS clerkships as well). You can read more about the Bristow Fellowship, including the job responsibilities and application process, on the Justice Department website.

Let’s take a look at the next crop of Bristow Fellows. Which law schools did they graduate from, and for whom did they clerk?

Also: over the past three years, which law schools and judges have minted the most Bristow Fellows?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Congratulations to the 2012 Bristow Fellows”

We’ve been talking a lot recently about the secretly authorized stuff our government does to us — like killing us, or molesting us at airports.

Here’s another one for the list: digging through our emails or Twitter feeds or cell phone data, without probable cause, our permission, or our knowledge. This isn’t necessarily shocking in and of itself; back in April, Kashmir Hill wrote about how often the government requests information about private individuals from tech companies.

What’s shocking is the ease with which the government gets that information and the secrecy with which it does so. Somehow it’s all based on a law that is older than the Internet. The policy recently came to light when authorities ordered a small Internet provider, as well as Twitter and Google, to turn over information about Jacob Appelbaum, an American who volunteers with WikiLeaks.

How does the U.S. government circumvent basic probable cause and search warrant requirements when it wants electronic information? Let’s see….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “If the Government Wants Your Email, It Gets Your Email”

In light of the tough job market for graduating law students, we’ve been running a series on employment opportunities for 3Ls. Thus far we’ve covered judicial clerkships, the Justice Department Honors Program, the Presidential Management Fellows Program, and the Chief Counsel’s Employment Program at the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.

Today we bring you news about another arm of the federal government that is hiring graduating law students as well as experienced attorneys. But if you’re interested, you need to act fast; applications are due as early as tomorrow….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “More Jobs for 3Ls — But Applications Are Due ASAP!
(And job opportunities for experienced attorneys too.)

Several prominent judges, like Richard Posner (left) and Alex Kozinski (right), hire 'off-plan.'

Over the weekend, we mentioned a very interesting New York Times article on the chaotic state of the clerkship application process, and said we’d have more to say about it later. Well, now is later, quite a bit later — so let’s discuss.

The piece — by Catherine Rampell, who has written about the legal world before — paints a depressing picture of a dysfunctional system. Rampell reports that the clerkship process “has become a frenzied free-for-all, with the arbiters of justice undermining each other at every turn to snatch up the best talent.”

Let’s look at the reasons behind this, and discuss whether the process can be fixed….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The Price of Prestige: Clerkship Application Chaos”

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