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Glenn Johnston, Government Attorney

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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?

The opportunity to work for the federal government, and, specifically in the United States Courts, provides a rare window on the inter-agency, and inter-branch procedures and regulations affecting matters in litigation before the federal courts. It will simply offer me a better perspective on matters when I move into private practice.

2. What is the best part of working as a government attorney?

Both the benefits and the schedule are a major perk in government service. What you sacrifice in pay, you more than make up for in personal sanity and quality of life. Like most opportunities, It has an upside and a down side.

3. What is the worst part of working as a government attorney?

For people who do not function well in a large bureaucracy, it can be a daunting environment, since the government has a unique language and nomenclature, as well as a unique set of requirements in day-to-day operations. Until you master the processes and procedures for handling matters on behalf of the government, or under the direction of the government, it can be a difficult environment to thrive in.

4. What advice would you give to others looking to become a government attorney?

View it with clear eyes. Some people will tell you it is the most stable work. Those people may or may not be right. Either way, you will sacrifice material benefits in the short term for personal benefits in the long term. If you are honest about your expectations from a career as a government attorney, you can't go wrong.

5. What is a typical day like for you as a government attorney?

There is no such thing as a typical day for anyone working in law, but I will say that one of the nice parts of my job is the ability to interact with so many private and public attorneys who are experts in their respective areas of practice.

6. How does your experience as a government attorney compare with your peers who chose other sorts of jobs?

A job is what you make of it. And if your job is not your dream job, they all tend to become the same. However, if you put some thought into what you want out of a career, set goals for yourself, and constantly work towards them, all careers can be personally and professionally rewarding. That is particularly true of a career in law.

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