Tuesday, May 29, 2007


We received this comment/question from a law student. It merits a response from our loyal readers:

Anonymous said...
I need some help. I am a law student and need to know if to get a job as a PD/SA or work at a firm.

Here is the Question: Do PD/SA go there because they have so much money that they can afford to work for peanuts, but get to play with people's lives? Or, is it because they do so poorly in school that those are the only jobs they can get and are stuck making peanuts?

I have a good GPA and attend a top 50 school. I am pretty with little body fat, a six pack and was Phi Beta Kappa in undergrad. Meaning, that I am blessed with looks and smarts. I do not want to waste my opportunity and make an unwise selection. Help! I would love to hear from as many of you as possible.

Thanks Rumpole.

Rumpole responds: Mr. Laeser has often reminded us that experienced lawyers are encouraged to mentor young lawyers/law students.

We are somewhat concerned that the student who posted this did not leave an email address. Sort of like sending a motion without a certificate of service. However, the question is a good one and it merits a response.

Have at it.


While we're on the subject of questions, the Federal Blog (now sponsored by the Daily Business Review!!!) has coverage of the Padilla trial. One attorney had at it with the FBI's translator, questioning closely the witness's ability to understand popular American phrases like "cherry pick". It appears one theme of the defense will be that the FBI selected transcripts to translate, and used an interpreter that did not do an adequate job. Apparently former Dade ASA and current Fed Russell Killinger didn't like the cross- no surprise there. But Judge Cooke voiced her displeasure as well!

We didn't see the "offending cross" but it sounds quite normal to us. It's not like the lawyer accused the witness of being a few french fries short of a happy meal.

Anyway, Judge Cooke has been getting high marks for her handling of this high profile trial. We for one, shall withhold our judgment until we see whether defense lawyers are further "discouraged" from advancing their theme of the case.

See You In Court, and if we haven't said it lately, thanks for reading our humble blog. We recently entered negotiations to be sponsored by one of the hot dog vendors outside the REGJB. As soon as we firm up the deal (just how many hot dogs a week we will get on the arm) we will let you know.


Anonymous said...

In todays episode; Captain Pro Se, used his last dollars to trek his way on the metrorail in search of justice with a touch of who the F*** is Rumpole.

Will Captain Pro Se get emergency injunctive relief, shall a judge dare order the blog shut down forever?

Will Captain Pro Se be stranded without busfare home?

Who will Captain Pro Se sue, Google, Rumpole? Should the hotdog lady worry? Should the hotdog lady care?

These questions and many more answered tonight on this blog at 9pm (8pm central).

CAPTAIN PRO SE brought to you by lexipro. Does a blog have you down and depressed? Try Lexipro.

Anonymous said...

Dear Law Student,

Upon leaving law school, I was in the top 15 % of my law class. While I had many opportunities available to me, I chose employment at the State Attorney's office. Why? Trial experience, plain and simple. I went to law school to become a trial lawyer so the state attorney's office was where I chose to gain my experience. When I was in law school, one of my professors, a third DCA judge told me that the trial experience you gain from working at the public defenders office or state attorneys office is invaluable. You cannot gain that experience as an associate in a law firm. I have friends that are associates in large firms and they still have not seen a trial and we have been out of school for over 3 years! Sure- they can assist in a trial but trying cases... first chair... no way. I did not go to law school to be a mere gopher. I went to law school to be a trial lawyer. Now if all you want to do is make money ,go to a private firm, push paper all day and be bored out of your mind. If the commitment thing bothers you go for the Pd's. Their commitment is 2 years as opposed to the SAO where the commitment is 3 years. Sure, the morale is pretty bad but if you can put up with that for a few years you can have 20- 30 jury trials under your belt by the time you leave. Besides , the majority of the judges and respected defense attorneys started off in either the state attorney's office or at the PD.

Anonymous said...

Just a clarification - the PD's office has NO commitment policy. We are free to leave when we want.

Anonymous said...

since this was Memorial weekend take the time to check out this link to remember what it's really about.....


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

I don't know how the morale is at the SAO, but it is great at the PDO

Anonymous said...

Sorry 2:39, the PDs office in Broward has a 2 year commitment policy. I should have specified this when I gave my answer.

Anonymous said...

I was a top 10% student at a good law school,. I was on law review and on the moot court board.

I became a prosecutor right out of law school. I have no regrets. I loved being a prosecutor and had opportunities that no private firm could provide.

Plus, I enjoyed spending all day every day doing what I thought was right. What could be better than that?

PS---I clerked for a large Miami firm in law school and hated it.

Rumpole said...

I did not post the comment that made fun of a Judge's sexual orientation. Even if that Judge is an out of the closet flamming heterosexual, those jokes are verbotten.

Anonymous said...

Fenwick Prods, in partnership with Operation Restore Sanity (c) 2007, all rights reserved, presents:


The Broward County Clerk's Office- Civil Division, Circuit Court:

Clerk: Next please.

CPS. dum dum da dum...I am Captain Pro Se.

Clerk. Why did you say "dum dum da dum"?

CPS. Why does everyone ask me that? Those are trumpets that herald my appearance in public. I fight truth, justice, and Rumpole. Hey- how come you guys weren't open yesterday? I took the bus all the way here for nothing.

Clerk: You fight truth and justice?

CPS. No. I meant to say I fight for truth and justice and against Rumpole.

Clerk. Whatever. Yesterday was a public holiday Mr...err..Captain.

CPS. (Unfurls a paper) Today I shall Sue Rumpole!

Clerk: I need a name.

CPS. Rumpole.

Clerk. No, a real name.

CPS. He won't tell me. He's mean.

Clerk. Well, where does he live?

CPS: I'm thinking Broward these days.

Clerk: Why?

CPS. Because he has been posting about Broward lately.

Clerk: Not good enough for jurisdiction. I need a name and an address.

CPS. I'll sue you!!!!

Clerk: Me?

CPS: For interference with my right to sue Rumpole!!!.

Clerk: Well at least you know who I am and where to serve me.

CPS. Right. And I shall get court costs, or I will sue the Judge too.

Clerk: This is Broward Buddy, you keep talking like that and you will need a bondsman to get out of jail.

CPS. I shall return. With a new lawsuit against you, Broward County, every citizen in Broward, and....and....hmmm....and I will also send a copy to the Chief Judge of the Supreme Court. A Mr. William Rhenquist. That will fix you!!!

Clerk: Oh...(chuckling to himself) you're going to send a copy to Rhenquist huh? Wow, you're a serious guy. NEXT PLEASE.

CPS. You haven't heard the last of me. (twirls his cape and leaps away) Captain Pro Se is Off to the legal library...dum dum da dum.

Little girl standing next to her mother: Mommy, why did that funny man in the red cape and green mask say "dum dum da dum"?

Mother: Stay close to me honey. There are lots of strange people in this court house.


Anonymous said...

CIVIL OR CRIMINAL, dat is da question. In criminal I have tried cases, helped save at least one life as an asa by incarcerating an habitual wife beater, saved a couple dozen people from years in prison, been on tv and in newspapers and made no money. In civil I spent two weeks once on one of the world's biggest mergers removing staples from documents and putting them in proper order for computer scanning, summarized dozens of depositions, pulled the only 3 all nighters of my life-till 9 the next morning once to make a class action settlement mailing deadline of 1400 letters, filled boxes in a Louisiana warehouse with 8 inch long cockroaches, and never as far as I can tell ever helped another human being. YOU WILL NEVER GET ANYWHERE IN A BIG FIRM IF YOU HAVE A BIG MOUTH OR DESIRE TO BE THE STAR- that is for the 55 year old partner- after 4 years maybe they let you take the depo of an relatively unimportant witness. You will make 10, that's right, 10 times as much money. So why did you go to law school- to drive a porsche and have a trophy wife and work 80 hours a week- or help people. And don't even think about saying people in criminal law aren't as smart as civil- try preparing a dna case or remembering, without assistants, what is in a 25 depo file with 10 motions- I am talking about the real lawyers- not the apd or asa who can't find the library. good luck- if you are as smart as you claim you are you will need it because you ask a bunch of stranger for career advice- don't you have family or friends, professors, etc. If you have to solicit from strangers your career choice I would say go civil- they don't let you pick your own ties over there.

Anonymous said...

Cooke is the best. It was not the cherry picking question that riled up Killinger, it was the series at the end re prejudice and bigotry.

Anonymous said...

How about is you want to have children and are a female? What is best? Any other ladies care to comment? Rumpole, do you have any positions available for a future attorney? Oh, where is it that you want me to email you to? I am sorry, I thought you did not want to be bothered.

Anonymous said...


I understand, but you must admit David would be the first person to say that joke and if not the first to laugh at it.

Anonymous said...

Dear Law Student,

I graduated in the top half of my class at a top-20 law school, then went into private practice at a firm and then for myself but chose several years ago to give up my practice and go to work at the PDO. Why? A chance to practice law full-time and assist those who most need my help without the headaches of things such as minimum billable hours and/or overhead. I make less money than I would otherwise, but I don't regret my choice for a minute.

Ultimately, the answer lies in what you value. If you want to be rich and don't mind having your life revolve around your work, then go to a private firm. If you can get by with less money and want to use your law degree to improve society, go to work at either the PDO or SAO. And, by the way, "less money" doesn't mean being poor. It just means setting a realistic budget. I'm able to afford a house, a newer car, and decent vacations on my PDO salary.

Good luck with whatever you end up doing.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone else see what is wrong with the question that the anonymous law student wrote?
Seriously, simple mistakes like that are just not good when you follow it with comments about a six pack and a great GPA! Are you kidding me? I wouldn't have that student looking over my papers for errors...
I do give him props for reaching out, but I suggest when he hands out his resume that he has someone else edit it for typos.

Anonymous said...

Dear law student: Your self-absorbtion/narcissism level appears to be limitless. I'd say go to the private firm, since the position of God is already taken.

Anonymous said...

the pdo and the state atty offices are good for getting expierence. then go make some money because unless u have a trust fund-u can not live on that kind of money in miami.

Anonymous said...

Dear law student: There are senior partners in some of the major law firms in this town that have less experience than a first year lawyer at either the state atty's office or pd's office. Do you want to be a trial lawyer or a litigator? The latter pushes paper. I started out with a big firm for the money, hated it, and left for a major pay cut and the opportunity to try my own cases. It was without doubt the right decision. Good luck with yuour own.

Anonymous said...

Dear law student, If your are smart and good looking. what are you doing in state court. work for the feds. The U.S. attorney or fed P.D.'s

abe laeser said...

What? Could I possibly pass on someone with your ego, looks AND low body fat?

Forget public service. You have my blessing.

Please find yourself some mergers + acquisition firm in New York. Get rich and bloated. Maybe you can get started now on your memoirs, before you actually have to compete against some of us whose body fat may have drifted into double figures.

P.S. Since I am certain that your posting is a spoof, prove me wrong by sending me your resume. I can promise only that you will be fairly considered.

Anonymous said...

Dear Law Student:

Only you can make the decision. Over the years, I have worked as an ASA, for a sole practicioner, for a large firm, a medium-sized firm and now the small-medium firm where I happily have a primarily civil practice with some criminal defense thrown in for good measure. My legal career has taken many unexpected turns, both good and bad.

One popular notion is that after 3-4 years at the SAO or PD's office, you can pretty much write your own ticket to where you want to go next. So not true. In fact, many big firms--which emphasize excruciating preparation--look down on those who have significant ASA/APD experience. Most (though not all) former ASAs and APDs I know are now either in smaller firms, on their own or on the bench. Many of those who left to do civil work are now plaintiffs' attorneys. And more than one is no longer practicing law........

You may come into the SAO or PDs office with an attitude that this is what you want to do for the rest of your life, but there is a 95% chance you will lose this within a year or two. Yes, there is something to be said for "doing the right thing" or "defending the defenseless," but there are morale issues at both offices. You may very well love what you do, but you will also be dealing with the wonderfulness of government bureaucracy. You will see great lawyers held down because someone in the brass doesn't like them, and incompetent ones promoted ahead of you. And you will see attorneys with no people, organizational or managerial skills promoted to supervisory positions--maybe as your supervisor. More likely than not you will burn out.

So think--and think carefully--of where you want to be five, ten years from now. If you want to be on your own or in a smaller firm, the SAO or PD may be a fine choice for you. If you want to be in a big defense/commercial/etc. firm, forget it. And you could end up rich--or not-so-rich--either way.

Good luck to you.

Rumpole said...



The Broward Blog brought this to our attention. Check it out.

Anonymous said...

to 10:02. excellent advice to the law student if it was a legitimate request by a real student. You made one great point which I had forgotten. After 30 jury trials you cannot write your own ticket, you are not guaranteed a better paying job at a firm. My best advice to a young attorney, which I did not do, is Nework and cultivate friendships and contacts. I laughed when my boss at the sao encouraged me to get involved with the bar-well they decide who become state and federal judges, magistrates, workers comp and immigration , hearing officers, ethics commitees, appointment committees etc. I took a job a few years ago at 15k raise to work insurance defense- i was gone in a month. a case was ready for trial after 5 years- i would have tried it with one month to prepare- they wanted to drag it out 3 more years for billing reasons-wanted to research the whole life of this kid who made a false allegation of sexual abuse at a school, get all the psych records, depose everyone. the case was already 5 years old with no end in sight-typical civil litigation of people who are afraid to try cases or their clients won't let them.

Anonymous said...

To Pretty with low body fat: are you michael catalano, michael grieco and his friends, or a BIMBO.Dear Rumpole: I am a state attorney division chief who hates supervising idiots, giving approval for pleas but I can't get a job at a real firm because I went to Nova or St.Thomas and was in the bottom 1/3, I am unattractive, mean, and know I am not as good a lawyer as I thought I was. What do I do?

Anonymous said...

you know the poposity of some of your bloggers amazes me, that wasn't a law student, it was a self centered private practicioner probably with a lease luxury car overly impressed with his /her success and trying to diss those that chose to actually try to help someone with their education as opposed to chasing the "filthy lucre",before they economically realize that it is almost impossible to do if you wish to at least appear to keep up with your classmates !

judge rob pineiro said...

Re: Career choices

When I graduated law school in ’77 I interviewed with Bob Josefsberg, one of the very finest attorneys in town. He told me he’d be happy to hire me, but wanted to give me some advice. Bob let me know, that with his firm, I would be carrying his briefcase for a couple of years and doing the drudge work. Knowing I was very interested in being a trial attorney, he suggested I try the SAO, PDO and the US Attys.
So I went to work for Richard Gerstein’s office and “that has made all the difference.”
While working at the SAO I had the good fortune of trying cases alongside and against some of the best trial attorneys in town. My “incoming class” was comprised of some truly great attorneys—Stuart Adelstein, John Thornton, David Rothman, Mitch Bloomberg, Jose Quinon and Kathy Fernandez Rundle, just to name a few. Working the “pits” built up a lot of camaraderie and lasting friendships.

After six years I left the SAO and went to work for more money at a civil firm. When I complained to other civil litigators that I had only tried four cases in one year, they thought I was boasting. They found it hard to believe that I had actually tried four jury trials in one week before Judge Ellen Morphonios. After pushing papers—interrogatories, requests to produce, financial statements—I missed the old days and wanted to vent my frustration with a friend from the “good ole days.” So, I called George Yoss. After listening to my ranting for about ten minutes, all he said was “Rob, you want your old job back?” It took me a few seconds to realize that was what I really needed. I came back to the state for another three years before taking the bench. Yes, it was for less money, but I’ll take lower paying “fun work” over higher paying drudgery any day of the week.

So alleged law student with the six-pack abs, make your own choice. Just make sure you enjoy it. By the way I too have six-pack abs—painstakingly cultivated by imbibing the aforementioned six-packs.

Anonymous said...

oops pomposity! not poposity,ah well quess i didn't go to a high priced school !

Anonymous said...

Dear Law Student,

I was a prosecutor for three years and it was fun. OK, it not fun living on cheap food and driving a very old car but, we had fun.

The friends I made back then are all still friends and many are very well off right now.

Your choice. Do what you really want to do and enjoy life.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for all the sincere answers to a suspicious question. There are actually some non-perfect law students reading the blog that appreciate the real world info. This one certainly does.

Rumpole said...

Always glad to be of service to our furture litigators and magistrates. Take our advice- plastics.

Anonymous said...


So here's to you.....

Rumpole said...

Exactly! Not everyone gets our obscure sense of humour.

Anonymous said...

Plastics. As in surgery!? That's crazy talk: I always heard opthamology was the way to go. Alas, all the doctors told me to go to law school

Anonymous said...

Plastics? here's to u mr rumpoleson....but what about latex.

I left the SAO after 5 years for a 12K raise at an ins defense firm and lasted 4 months. they didn't trust me to handle a stip motion for cont by myself.

Anonymous said...

To the last two posters, who didn't get Rump's joke, I say this:

Oh no, Mrs. Robinson, Oh no.

Anonymous said...

To Tuesday, May 29, 2007 11:51:00 PM, I think your description is of Judge Slom.


Anonymous said...

Dear Law Student,

I was in the top 4% of my law school class, and an ASA.

Anonymous said...

Dear Law Student,

Be a stripper if you are so hot!

Anonymous said...

dear law student how hot are you?