Public Sector/Public Interest Job Search and Application Resources

Public Sector/Public Interest Job Search and Application Resources

In addition to the general resources available from the Career Center, listed below are resources specific to public interest/public sector careers.

Recruitment Programs and Job Search Resources

GW students participate in several recruitment programs throughout the year that feature employment and networking opportunities with public interest and public sector employers.

The annual Equal Justice Works Conference and Career Fair is the largest national public interest career fair in the country. The Fair brings together over 170 public interest employers for interviews and table talk opportunities, as well as workshops and speakers. The fair takes place annually in October in the DC metro area and is open to students in all class years. The 2018 Conference will take place Oct. 26-27, and 2Ls/3Ls must register and apply by Sept. 14 to participate in interviews. 
The Public Sector Recruitment Program, co-hosted annually every January by GW Law’s Career Center and the Georgetown Law Office of Public Interest and Community Service, brings public interest and public sector employers to campus to recruit students of all class years for summer and permanent employment positions. Nearly 200 employers participate, either via on-campus interviews or resume collections. Previous participating employers have included federal government agencies, public defender’s offices, state attorney’s offices, legal services providers, and private public interest firms.
Some public sector employers  participate in on-campus and regional interviewing programs each fall, including several prosecutors and public defender offices and federal agencies. Past participating offices include: 
– Nassau County District Attorney’s Office
– Office of the Bronx County District Attorney
– Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office
– Kings County District Attorney’s Office
– Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office
– Los Angeles County Public Defender
– Federal Reserve
– Federal Trade Commission, Bureau of Competition
– Federal Trade Commission, Bureau of Consumer Protection
– Office of the Miami-Dade County State Attorney
– National Security Agency, Office of the General Counsel
– New York City Law Department
– Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, Office of Chief Counsel
– New York County District Attorney’s Office
– U.S. Air Force, The Judge Advocate General’s Corps
– U.S. Government Accountability Office, Office of General Counsel

Resumes/Cover Letters

In your application materials, it is especially important to emphasize your understanding of and commitment to the organization’s mission, whether that is a dedication to government service or a specific policy or social issue. Wherever possible, your application materials should demonstrate and discuss the source of your interest in the organization’s mission and any experience you may have working on the organization’s core issue areas and/or with the constituents that the organization serves.  Public interest employers are also interested in specific legal skills that you’ve developed, such as client counseling, discovery, and drafting specific legal documents.

For many federal positions, especially those you apply to via usajobs.gov, you should submit a “federal-style” resume, which is typically much lengthier than a standard legal resume and follows a specific format. Follow these guides:

Interviewing

Many public interest employers conduct only one round of interviews for summer positions, although interviews for post-graduate positions may occur over several, successive rounds with increasingly senior attorneys.

In addition to the standard interview questions that you should anticipate and prepare for, consider how you would respond to specific questions about the employer’s mission, their clients, and your commitment to public service. 
Interviews for public defender and prosecutor positions typically occur over three rounds, including an initial screening, a panel interview with several attorneys, and then final interview with the chief of the office. Applicants may be asked hypothetical questions at any round dealing with topics including investigation and police procedure, client counseling, interaction with opposing counsel, and ethical issues. These questions are typically designed to explore the depth and thoughtfulness of the applicant’s commitment to prosecution or criminal defense, as well as the applicant’s reasoning and professional judgment.