Celebrating 10 years! 2007-2017

Getting into a entry lvl county attorney position in the Midwest

My targets are 2 counties between 90-100k total, a county of vohod06/01/17
If you have courtroom experience it is realistic. The tr ruralattorney06/01/17
You stand a decent chance (at least better than average) cha flyer1406/01/17
I make 60/65k right now but this work has plateaued for me. vohod06/01/17
In my old state, the pay varies wildly and it didn't seem to downwardslope06/01/17
if it's middle-of-nowhere, the most important part is convin dingbat06/01/17
I would commute to any of them. I live on the fringes of an vohod06/01/17
What are you envisioning? Most of our local counties contrac mrtor06/01/17
No. I have no network outside of bankruptcy, collections, an vohod06/01/17
Not to be a downer, but that's what I tried, unsuccessfully. acerimmer06/02/17
2007? vohod06/02/17
Maybe he's from the future and has come back to warn us. isthisit06/02/17
2012... sorry. But, what is time, really? acerimmer06/03/17
What ended up happening? vohod06/03/17
Vohod, I am just a few years ahead of you. I did what you d vespucius06/04/17
You were in collections? I am involved in a the BS trade org vohod06/04/17
I left the law completely after failing to get anything in l acerimmer06/04/17
vohod (Jun 1, 2017 - 12:31 pm)

My targets are 2 counties between 90-100k total, a county of 300,000, and potentially 2 counties under 20,000.

I am in court a lot but its all collections so a lot of routine MSJs, contested small claims, and the procedural types of civil practice hearings. There is clearly no future for an associate in my shoes. I am willing to stay in this job and take the long haul to secure a county attorney job by applying consistently.

Is this unrealistic? Thoughts?

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ruralattorney (Jun 1, 2017 - 1:01 pm)

If you have courtroom experience it is realistic.

The trick with these county attorney positions is that you need to work for the right person. There are some very talented people and there are some hacks. Your happiness will be directly related to the caliber of person you work for.

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flyer14 (Jun 1, 2017 - 1:02 pm)

You stand a decent chance (at least better than average) chance of being able to land one of these positions if you're successfully able to sell your transition - why you want to go into public service.

Keep in mind that most local government attorneys are paid in the 30-60k range, and government in general maxes out the pay scale far more quickly than industry. I remember seeing an ad for an entry level prosecuting attorney that started at 46k with no side practice permitted... and this was in a county of 600k. Smaller counties invariably came in lower than that, although they generally permitted side practices.

Edit: I searched that county position and it's apparently been increased to 52k, my premise is still valid however.

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vohod (Jun 1, 2017 - 1:19 pm)

I make 60/65k right now but this work has plateaued for me. I can't envision ever making more doing this stuff. Local/county government offers retirement plans and paid time off which is its broad appeal to me.

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downwardslope (Jun 1, 2017 - 2:59 pm)

In my old state, the pay varies wildly and it didn't seem to relate to the size of he city. I lived in a huge city that paid poorly ($56k or so to start) and saw relatively tiny cities without huge COLs that paid over $80k for assistant level positions. I saw other larger metros paying in the low $40s to start. I think it just depends on the financial situation of the city/county.

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dingbat (Jun 1, 2017 - 4:27 pm)

if it's middle-of-nowhere, the most important part is convincing them you really want to go to that location. If you're moving to Sioux County, NE, or Spink County, SD, you've got to convince them that you're willing to stay there, that after 6 months without human contact you're not gonna blow your brains out or move back to wherever you came from

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vohod (Jun 1, 2017 - 4:46 pm)

I would commute to any of them. I live on the fringes of an exurb of a smaller Midwest city within 30-45 minutes drive to the respective counties.

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mrtor (Jun 1, 2017 - 2:57 pm)

What are you envisioning? Most of our local counties contract their work out to private firms. Cities under 75-100k generally don't have any in-house attorneys either.

If you are thinking more prosecutor/public defender type work, what are you bringing to the table? There are fresh batches of graduates with recent criminal and trial experience who can do those jobs for cheaper than an experienced attorney. Many of those graduates have also shown dedication to public interest criminal practice, which is a big selling point for these low paying agencies.

I'm not saying you couldn't get lucky. However, I think you need something more to have a realistic shot at it. Are there any former classmates or even acquaintances in similar positions who could recommend your candidacy?

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vohod (Jun 1, 2017 - 3:27 pm)

No. I have no network outside of bankruptcy, collections, and finance regulations outfits.

I am looking for criminal prosecution and civil forfeiture or government collections work.

I guess I can apply and see what happens. I just started my most recent job so it wouldn't kill me to wait it out here as I apply. I had been at my prior firm over 2 years. Started in law practice November 2014. I feel I am newb enough to have a chance, but too old and inexperienced to be a contender.

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acerimmer (Jun 2, 2017 - 9:18 am)

Not to be a downer, but that's what I tried, unsuccessfully. Granted, that was back in 2017, so things could be better now.

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vohod (Jun 2, 2017 - 10:19 am)

2007?

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isthisit (Jun 2, 2017 - 10:26 am)

Maybe he's from the future and has come back to warn us.

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acerimmer (Jun 3, 2017 - 6:27 pm)

2012... sorry. But, what is time, really?

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vohod (Jun 3, 2017 - 11:52 pm)

What ended up happening?

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vespucius (Jun 4, 2017 - 1:25 am)

Vohod, I am just a few years ahead of you. I did what you did for two years in the middle of nowhere and managed to land a job with a premier law firm in a metro.

I assumed i could never get into crim at that point. I thought about clerking but thought i was too old. I thought about a state attorney job. I thought about entry level positions in other areas of law.

I ended up transitioning into more litigation side of things. And then i got out of that area of law completely because it sucked.

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vohod (Jun 4, 2017 - 5:06 pm)

You were in collections? I am involved in a the BS trade organizations and its all sharks out for blood. No country for proles like me.

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acerimmer (Jun 4, 2017 - 12:17 pm)

I left the law completely after failing to get anything in law for a year.

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