Celebrating 10 years! 2007-2017

Working on Guam

Just an FYI for you all, if you are doing document review an kramer71601/27/17
Thanks. I see these things posted from time to time. So this wolfman01/27/17
I think this is to what you were referring: http://www.jd 6figuremistake01/27/17
I would do Guam if you can handle being far, far away from y kramer71601/27/17
The AG office of Guam is broken up into sections. They a Chi kramer71601/27/17
What kind of civil do they have in Guam? ambulancechaser201301/27/17
What do they have as far as local firms go? Any big (for Gua retard01/27/17
it is a very small place garfieldfan01/27/17
There are not a lot of large firms on Guam. 99.9% are less t kramer71601/30/17
Glad to see some love for island life. I was a prosecutor in a8464801/27/17
Just wrote a long reply to this post and the damn thing didn kramer71601/30/17
How far would fluent Japanese take me on Guam? I did PD shuiz01/30/17
Regarding speaking fluent Japanese, I think it would be a us kramer71601/31/17
Thank you for the information. shuiz01/31/17
No worries. If you want any further information, just let me kramer71602/01/17
kramer716 (Jan 27, 2017 - 9:34 am)

Just an FYI for you all, if you are doing document review and want a different job, or if you need a job then may I recommend working for the Attorney General's Office of Guam. You can work for the Attorney General's Office, Public Defender's, or Guam Legal for five years without taking the bar exam for Guam; you need to be licensed in another jurisdiction, though. I spent five years out that way and, for the most part, I loved the people. The weather is great, the coldest it got when I was out there was 69. There is the occasional earthquake, and they have a ton of snakes, but the snakes are nocturnal, and I only saw dead ones. They also have the occasional typhoon.

Anyway, just something to consider. Guam gives you a good opportunity to cut your teeth doing court. They always seem to be hiring, but the process may take a while, although I believe they streamlined the hiring process since I have been there. I will try to answer any questions you have. I do not have any contacts over there in HR, plus they switched AGs two months before my five-year stint expired so the higher-ups probably don't even remember me anymore. Anyway, just thought I would throw this out here.

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wolfman (Jan 27, 2017 - 11:58 am)

Thanks. I see these things posted from time to time. So this AG job, is it basic criminal prosecution, like being an ADA? That sounds a lot better than law/court clerk gigs I sometimes see for remote places (Saipan? American Samoa?).

I read a blog by a guy who did something like that (clerking) once, and I thought it sucked: you clerk for a year for little money in the middle of nowhere eating spam and being bored, and then go back essentially in the same position you started... getting real trial experience sounds lots better.

Is Guam more fun/developed than someplace like Saipan? I imagine it is. Is cost of living, food, etc. still high? Are the natives friendly?

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6figuremistake (Jan 27, 2017 - 12:41 pm)

I think this is to what you were referring:

http://www.jdunderground.com/jobs/thread.php?threadId=48128

The link to the blog (actually I think it's a just series of pages and predates blogging) is in the thread. For some reason, it's blocked at work, but I also think the page may be defunct, so you may to throw the link into the Wayback machine.

It took me a long time to work my way through his whole diary, but it was a fun read. As I recall, he was a pretty good writer even though not that much seemed to happen. Essentially, the guy had a relationship fall apart and decided he needed a change of scenery, so he took a judicial clerkship in Palau.

As Wolfman mentioned, it seemed pretty boring and rustic and there wasn't much return on investment. If someone needed a year to "get away" while still earning some money and keeping the resume current, it may be a good option. Otherwise, there doesn't seem to be much benefit. Not sure if the experience in Guam would be a better deal or not.

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kramer716 (Jan 27, 2017 - 2:19 pm)

I would do Guam if you can handle being far, far away from your home and if you need experience. Guam is not remote, but it is isolated. What I mean by that is take whatever county you are in, divide it by half, and put it in the Pacific Ocean. If you want to leave that area, you have to pay a minimum of 200 to 300 bucks to catch a flight out to Saipan, and more money to go anywhere else.

They expect you to commit to a two-year hitch. They pay for your flight out, and if you leave before the two years are up, then you have to reimburse them for the flight. They buy refundable one-way tickets, so that penalty would probably be around 2500. They used to pay some absurd amount for moving costs, but some attorney came in, took the money, and left right away, so they stopped giving moving costs.

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kramer716 (Jan 27, 2017 - 2:09 pm)

The AG office of Guam is broken up into sections. They a Child Support section, a Prosecution section, a Civil section, and a Juvenile section. If you have little to no experience, then you will probably be placed in Child Support or Prosecution. If you have a ton of Civil experience, you may get put in Civil. The Juvenile section is tiny so that it would be possible, but I would say unlikely that you get placed there. You can also probably catch on with the AG's office in the CNMI which is where Saipan is and American Samoa. You can also look at the Federated States of Micronesia, but that is the remote of the remote.

Of the American territories, and I include the Marshall Islands and the Federated States of Micronesia and Palau in this, Guam is by far the most developed. I call it Japan's Hawaii because what happens is their employers will reward them with trips to Guam, and they will come and just shop, shop, shop, shop, stay on the beach, and shop. They get millions of Japanese tourists, a lot of Koreans, some Russians, and Chinese as well. Plus, putting aside tourism, Guam houses a ton of military personnel, and they cater to mainland Americans there. There are three malls. They have a ton of restaurants, mainly Asian. They do have some European places, but mostly Asian. If you like Sushi you hit the goldmine outside of Tokyo. If you want to get away from civilization the southern part of Guam is pretty much untouched.

Regarding the cost of living, food, etc. Cost of living is high. Gas is high, but the island isn't that big so that you won't burn that much gas. The cost of food is high. Their supermarket chain is called Payless, and they are pretty good. There are other ones, but I always used Payless. They have a cost-u-less. Food costs more because they have to import it. Case in point a half-gallon of milk cost around five bucks when I left and it is probably still about the same would be my guess.

The enormous advantage of Guam is if you like to travel then it's a great base. You have direct flights to Manila and Tokyo, and from there you can go anywhere in Asia pretty quickly. You can also hit Australia. They have direct flights to Cairns a couple of times a week. When I was on the island, I traveled to Saipan, Hong Kong, Macau, Japan, Korea, Fiji, and Thailand. The one thing that sucks travelwise is you have direct flights to Hawaii, but it costs about 1500 for you to get to Hawaii direct, and it costs for my parents 800, and they were coming from Buffalo..

As for the people, the majority are Chamorro which means they are locals. Chamorros are pretty much completely Americanized. There is a movement now to start pushing the Chamorro language again so that you won't have any problems. There is about 1% of the population that are hostile to white people. I dated a local girl who was Filipino and I got harassed by a guy for it. Kind of a leave our women alone type deal, but never really had a problem with anyone else.

I was going to go into CNMI, but this post went longer than I planned so will stop for now.

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ambulancechaser2013 (Jan 27, 2017 - 6:41 pm)

What kind of civil do they have in Guam?

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retard (Jan 27, 2017 - 7:16 pm)

What do they have as far as local firms go? Any big (for Guam ie 20+) offices?what are the lucrative practice areas? I assume real estate, land use, government contracting, maybe t&e but maybe not bc most servicemen have that taken care of before they go. I assume crim defense is huge.

How's the pay?

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garfieldfan (Jan 27, 2017 - 10:45 pm)

it is a very small place

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kramer716 (Jan 30, 2017 - 1:43 pm)

There are not a lot of large firms on Guam. 99.9% are less than ten, and the vast majority of those are one to three attorneys. The private firms that seem to make the most money are the ones that are involved in government contracting and real estate law. I was with the AG's office, though, so my knowledge of what practice areas are lucrative on Guam is limited. Criminal defense is big and consistent work.

As for the pay, I would guess for private somewhere around 75K but probably depends on the firm. There are a few higher-end ones that could be better than that.

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a84648 (Jan 27, 2017 - 11:54 pm)

Glad to see some love for island life. I was a prosecutor in American Samoa and can tell you that you can get a lot of experience prosecuting in a territory. It is definitely not for the faint of heart and you need a healthy sense of adventure.

That being said, it has been one of the highlights of my career and you will always will have a good conversation starter by beginning with "when I was prosecuting on the island..."

I will say that doing this is best done near the beginning of your career as you will not earn any retirement benefits or promotions until you begin your mainland career. Finally, Guam sounds a lot more developed than American Samoa, but if you love remoteness, A.S. is a great place with some of the best scuba diving around!

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kramer716 (Jan 30, 2017 - 2:24 pm)

Just wrote a long reply to this post and the damn thing didn't post, so will try to shrink it down.

I agree that you should probably do the island thing at the beginning of your career versus the end, but we had a 55-year-old attorney start at the same time as I did, and he had a blast. I am sure he would have preferred to work in California, but Guam was a good fallback.

I did receive retirement benefits on Guam. They deducted each pay period, but they only contributed if you stayed there for five years. You also get promoted on Guam. I started Attorney 1-1 and finished something like Attorney 2-3. To translate that to salary using the new pay scale, I started at $50,000 and finished a little over $60000.

Overall it was a great experience, and I would highly recommend doing it if you are young or if you are having trouble finding work on the mainland.

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shuiz (Jan 30, 2017 - 6:54 pm)

How far would fluent Japanese take me on Guam?

I did PD work for a few years, but think if I ever went back to criminal law, I'd prefer to be on the winning side for a change. Are there many openings on the government side?

Also, I enjoy scuba diving. Is there a decent work/life balance on Guam or (maybe a silly question) is part-time legal work an option?

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kramer716 (Jan 31, 2017 - 1:17 pm)

Regarding speaking fluent Japanese, I think it would be a useful skill to have, and it would help you in the office. At the end of my term, I received a mass e-mail that they sent throughout the office, and they were looking for people who had foreign language skills. I would tend to believe that you would end up using your skills more in the office than you would in court, but that is just a guess.

They always seemed to be hiring attorneys when I was there so I would expect that to continue. Worse comes to worst just come in and start in a different division and transfer over to Prosecution. They are always hiring, though.

If you love scuba diving, then Guam is ideal for you. People would always go scuba diving on the weekend. For the prosecution, the only time you would be required to work on the weekends is when you had magistrates. You would just have to do the initial appearance for all the people that got arrested Friday night, but they rotate that so you only have to do it a few times a year, so your weekends should be free. I don't believe they have part-time positions in the office.

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shuiz (Jan 31, 2017 - 6:08 pm)

Thank you for the information.

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kramer716 (Feb 1, 2017 - 8:55 am)

No worries. If you want any further information, just let me know. It is a real good time, and there are great people there.

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