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Staff Attorney's Office Alumni


Alumni of the Staff Attorney's Office leave the Second Circuit for chambers clerkships, public interest organizations and private practice. In recent years, staff attorneys have joined the following firms, among others: Arnold & Porter, Chadbourne & Parke, LLP, Davis & Gilbert, Day Pitney LLP, Dickstein & Shapiro, LLP, Foley, Hoag LLP, Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy, LLP, Fried, Frank, Harris, Shiver & Jacobson, Gibney, Anthony & Flaherty, LLP, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, Goodwin Procter, Hughes, Hubbard & Reed LLP, Kenyon & Kenyon, Kramer, Levin, Naftalis & Frankel, LLP, Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein LLP, McDermott, Will & Emery, LLP, O'Melveny & Myers, Proskauer Rose LLP and Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP.


Below are messages from alumni about their experiences in the Staff Attorney's Office.

Michael McFarland (New York University Law School, 2007)
Assistant Chief Counsel, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Department of Homeland Security


I thoroughly enjoyed working at the Staff Attorney's Office. The position taught me how to digest case histories thoroughly and efficiently, research the law quickly and accurately, and write swiftly and persuasively. The confidence I have in my legal writing stems directly from my time at the SAO. In addition, as a trial attorney for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, I find that my time at the SAO gave me a useful perspective on trial advocacy. In court, I am particularly mindful of the appellate record, and strive to obtain clear and accurate facts so that future reviewing courts will have the best information available to reach their decision. Finally, my supervisors and colleagues at the SAO were universally welcoming, intelligent, and helpful. It was an excellent position for a recent law school graduate.



Rachel Hannaford (University of Pennsylvania, 2004)
Senior Staff Attorney, South Brooklyn Legal Services


Working at the SAO sharpened my legal writing and research skills, but even more importantly, it gave me an insider's view of how justice is done. As a public interest student at Penn Law School, I came to the SAO knowing I wanted to gain expertise in habeas corpus and prisoners civil rights law. What surprised me was the diversity of cases that come through the office, and how much I enjoyed researching new areas of law and contributing to the Court's jurisprudence. My experience at the SAO prepared me to clerk for Hon. Peter W. Hall, and later to practice housing law at South Brooklyn Legal Services.



Amy Jennings (University of Iowa Law School, 2009)
Special Assistant United States Attorney, Southern District of Iowa


The experience I gained while serving as a staff attorney for the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit is invaluable. Due to the work volume and deadlines at the SAO, I learned how to quickly produce high-quality, comprehensive legal analysis. As a drug prosecutor, I use those writing skills on a daily basis, by filing and responding to motions and submitting sentencing memoranda. At trial and in hearings, I have found myself drawing on my SAO experience in making decisions about creating an appellate record and properly preserving an issue. Additionally, although I practice primarily in the district court, my SAO experience has allowed me to also serve my office by writing appellate briefs and presenting oral arguments. I am grateful for my time at the SAO, and I know it has helped me in my career path as a prosecutor.



Amanda Yale (Northeastern Law School, 1999)
Director of Public Service, UVA Law School


I feel fortunate that I had the opportunity to spend my first two years out of law school working at the Staff Attorney's office. It was the perfect first job for me because it combined my interests in public service with legal research and writing. Writing bench memos under excellent and committed supervisors was a terrific way to learn about federal pro se appeals, and specifically habeas corpus law. It prepared me well for my next job as a law clerk in the Eastern District of New York and my advocacy work at a non-profit, and, beyond that, for my current job as a law school career counselor to public interest students. I vividly recall the interesting cases I worked on and memorable times I was called to Judge Sotomayor's chambers to discuss recommendations I had made. Without a doubt, working at the Staff Attorney's office provides superior training for any legal job.



Lewis Zirogiannis (Hofstra Law School, 2001)
Managing Director and Chief Compliance Officer, GE Energy Financial Services


When I look back at my career path, I always renew my appreciation for my experience as a Staff Attorney Law Clerk. The SAO was my first job out of law school and the experience developed fundamental skills necessary to succeed across a wide spectrum of legal jobs. Complex legal analysis, effective legal writing, time and work management, and interacting with leaders, such as Second Circuit judges, were just a few of the skills fostered by my SAO experience. These skills did translate into varied successes in my legal career. From the SAO, I went on to a chambers clerkship in the SDNY; Senior Associate positions at two top law firms in NYC; an Associate General Counsel position at AIG, and now an executive role at GE Capital. I cannot stress enough the positive impact the SAO had on my career and development, and I would recommend a rotation through the office to any new lawyer looking to pursue government, private practice, or in-house positions.



William Eisenman (Emory Law School, 2007)
Director, Foundation and Corporate Partnerships at Women's World Banking


I entered the Staff Attorney's Office seeking a judicial clerkship with a heavy public interest slant. I left, three years later, with stronger writing and analytical skills and an immense appreciation for the challenges faced by pro se prisoners in accessing the courts. I decided to translate my experience at the Staff Attorney's Office into a career in development for which persuasive communications are key. My first job out of the Staff Attorney's Office was at a prisoner reentry nonprofit, where I served as team leader and principal writer on large government bids. I have since gone on to lead corporate and foundation partnerships at the International Rescue Committee and Women's World Banking. With each step of my career, I have found my legal background and experience at the Staff Attorney's Office to be an asset--by setting me apart from other candidates during a hiring process and by teaching me how to build a concise and compelling case for support from the likes of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.



Elizabeth Mosher (New York University Law School, 2009)
Appellate Counsel, Center for Appellate Advocacy


After two summers of working at law firms, I realized that the firm job was not for me, and that I was more interested in public interest work. Since I wasn't sure exactly what type of work I wanted to do, the Staff Attorney's Office seemed like the perfect way for me to make this transition. There, I was able to learn a lot about many different areas of the law, which helped me figure out what I wanted out of my legal career, while at the same time developing important skills that would be useful in almost any position. By the time I finished my two-year stint, I knew that I was a public defender at heart, and I was well equipped when I started doing post-conviction work at the Center for Appellate Litigation. I would highly recommend the Staff Attorney's Office to anyone who wants a varied and exciting introduction to a broad range of practice areas.



Last modified at 12/16/2013

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