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Careers in Criminal Prosecution

Prosecutors work at all levels of government – local, state, and federal.  Larger cities may have their own prosecutors, in many instances an elected official. Smaller cities and towns may rely on the county or state prosecutors – often referred to as county, district, or state attorneys’ offices. Sometimes, the responsibility for prosecuting misdemeanors and felonies is split among different offices in the same jurisdiction.  Offices of state attorneys general may also have some responsibility for criminal matters of statewide significance or for criminal appellate or post-conviction matters. Federal criminal matters (e.g., financial crimes, drug enforcement, and organized crime) are typically handled by the U.S. Attorney’s Office either exclusively or in cooperation with the Criminal Division of the Office of the U.S. Attorney General.

Hiring by Federal Prosecutors -  The United States Department of Justice's Office of Attorney Recruitment & Management provides information about federal prosecutor careers.  U.S. Attorney's Offices and the DOJ also take on law students for work experience.  Learn more at DOJ's Law Students page.  Also, review the Harvard Law School Fast Track to a U.S. Attorney's Office publication, and the Guide to Criminal Prosecution Careers, published by Yale Law School.

Hiring by Local/State Prosecutors' Offices -  Immediate law graduates and experienced attorneys are hired by local and state prosecutors. Law students may also gain experience through various clerkship/internship/externship experiences.  Harvard Law School's Sizing up the Prosecution Guide provides detailed information on careers in local prosecution, and Yale's Guide to Criminal Prosecution Careers provides information on summer and career experiences in local prosecutors' offices.  The National District Attorneys Association website links to prosecutor job openings throughout country

Category: Public Sector Career Paths

Tags: Criminal Law, Government Careers