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Working as a government attorney has both pros and cons, just like any other attorney. Some of the pros include more freedom over what cases they work on and often having a more stable job than some other types of attorneys. Some of the cons include a lower average salary compared to private practice attorneys and less support staff to help you than you would have in private practice.
Government attorneys enjoy various benefits that private practice attorneys don't have. That being said, there are some downsides to becoming a government attorney. While they often have additional freedom over the cases they take on, and more job security, they also usually have less support staff and a lower average salary as compared to private practice attorneys. All in all, you should definitely consider becoming a government attorney if it looks like the right fit for you.
1. Why did you decide to work as a government attorney?
I wanted to gain a lot of experience with my first job. The District Attorney's Office promised that I could do a trial within several months of starting employment with them. Sure enough, I litigated about twenty trials within one year of starting with the DA. The experience is well worth it.
2. What is the best part of working as a government attorney?
Flexible hours and great health benefits. The government is very understanding when it comes to vacation time. Further, if you get sick, they cover most of your expenses.
3. What is the worst part of working as a government attorney?
The salary. The government doesn't pay as well as top law firms. However, the experience you gain is worth it in the long run.
4. What advice would you give to others looking to become a government attorney?
Plan ahead before you apply. The government usually looks for candidates with experience in their field of law. Try to talk with someone from the office where you want to work before you accept a position.
5. What is a typical day like for you as a government attorney?
It's really enjoyable. A normal day starts at 9:30am. I usually showed up in court once or twice a day to argue a hearing or motion. Sometimes, if you're on trial, you spend days preparing witnesses and appearing in court to give arguments. Nine times out of ten, you leave at 5:00pm on the dot.
6. How does your experience as a government attorney compare with your peers who chose other sorts of jobs?
Although my friends made more money, they were more stressed out. It's a give and take situation. You may make less, but you have more free time to spend time with your family and friends.
7. What was/is your title while working in the government?
Assistant District Attorney in Queens County New York
8. How hard is it to get the sort of job you did?
It's difficult. Government agencies are very selective about who they choose. My best advice is to gain experience by making numerous court appearances and/or drafting complex motions. Further, it also helps to have friends in the office where you apply.
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