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Leaving COA staff attorney’s office early

Posted: Thu Jun 07, 2018 11:25 am
by Anonymous User
Does anyone have any experience/advice/anecdotal information to share about leaving a U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals staff attorney’s office early (before your term ends)?

Re: Leaving COA staff attorney’s office early

Posted: Mon Jun 11, 2018 10:35 am
by Anonymous User
Former staff attorney here. While I did not leave early, several members of my class did. Some were just a few weeks/months early, and that was viewed as fine; unlike with chambers clerkships, the loss of one or two people doesn't potentially hobble an office. It's a temporary job and supervisors were aware that start/end dates might not always match up.

One or two people left very early, and supervisors were not pleased. However, that did not lead to bridges being burned, as far as I can tell. The people in question landed fine. I do not know whether they tried to use the office as a reference.

Like everything else career-wise, it depends on the individual office, supervisors' temperament, and exactly how "early" is "early." But these are temporary positions, and the expectation should be that job hunting starts almost immediately. Even if there were an indication that leaving early might be a problem, landing a dream job is landing a dream job.

Re: Leaving COA staff attorney’s office early

Posted: Mon Jun 11, 2018 10:59 pm
by Anonymous User
From a structural standpoint, most, if not all, staff attorney's offices are well able to handle a person departing early. So that is working in your favor. I also know a few people who left early, and it did not seem to hurt them within the office but most of them were in their second term year when they left early.

As to future career impact, that may depend a lot on (1) why you are leaving early; (2) what type of position you are going to and want to go to; (3) whether this is your first or second year in the position (if it is your first year there, you won't have any real way to hide that you left early on some future job application forms that require you to list the start and end date of your prior jobs; and (4) which circuit you are in/specifically whether you are in a circuit where you have a judge working with you or a circuit where you have little or no contact with the judges.