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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?
My work as an assistant prosecutor has afforded me the opportunity to make an immediate and meaningful impact on people. Striving to obtain justice for victims has been rewarding. I felt it was an opportunity to help people feel a sense of inclusion in the criminal justice system.
2. What is the best part of working as a government attorney?
The level of discretion imparted to prosecutors in handling cases is invaluable. With the great degree of autonomy afforded the prosecutor in plea negotiations and trial strategies, I have developed a broad analytical view of case management.
3. What is the worst part of working as a government attorney?
Understanding that you can't win them all. As a government attorney there are a number of influences outside of your control to some degree, including reluctant witnesses, the verdict of juries, and court rulings. At times, having fought the good fight is the reward.
4. What advice would you give to others looking to become a government attorney?
Get involved in a court internship or clerkship. The hands-on experience to be gained is an invaluable complement to any academic program. It's also a great way to connect with mentors and potential network contacts.
5. What is a typical day like for you as government attorney?
I spend a great deal of time in court, with my time divided between administrative matters and more substantive advocacy such as trying cases. Gaining this exposure was a big plus for me, and as a government attorney, undertaking these responsibilities was almost immediate. Outside of court, my day is filled with preparation: including meeting with witnesses, drafting motions, and directing investigations. It is an extremely dynamic and challenging day.
6. How does your experience as a government attorney compare with your peers who chose other sorts of jobs?
The trial experience which I began to acquire almost from day one as an assistant prosecutor has been rewarding. Managing a high volume court case load has engendered me with a level of professionalism that is incomparable. Attorneys in the private sector are gain courtroom experience slower and tend to perform tasks in a more compartmentalized fashion.
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