The last word on my quest to become a public defender in Montana was that my application was going to be forwarded to “the hiring official” on May 26th. That was two weeks ago last Friday and I still hadn’t heard anything, so I figured I’d check in to see what I could learn about the current state of the State Public Defender’s hiring process. What I learned was, um, not great.
The office received over 500 applications for all positions (including lawyers, investigators, paralegals, and administrative staff) so I’m competing w/a big pool, the majority of whom are almost certainly very experienced and already licensed to practice in MT. The hiring process hasn’t reached the Billings office yet and won’t until after July 1st, but right now the priorities in that office appear to be for an investigator and an administrative assistant. If the Billings office does need an attorney it will most likely hire someone with experience who is already licensed.
Needless to say, this is incredibly disappointing news. I previously had the impression that Billings would be hiring several lawyers and that they’d definitely be considering new graduates. Of course, I’m not sure anyone ever said “Billings” for sure; those statements were probably referring to the whole state. It’s possible I inferred that those statements would apply to Billings based on the fact that the Billings office has had a lot of turnover in recent months and years and was advertising for attorneys quite recently. I took that to mean that Billings was definitely going to need some new people soon. Of course, they probably hired the new people already before the state system started taking over; that would explain why it doesn’t look like there are any/many openings in Billings right now.
Apparently this situation could change, but that’s what it looks like at this point. I also learned that if I want to maximize my chances, I should be willing to work in Helena, Kalispell, Great Falls, or Miles Cityâ€”any of which would be fine except for three little things: my family is in Billings, L. has a good job in Billings, and we’re about to close on a house in Billings.
So yeah, this looks pretty bad.
I guess this would be the time when it begins to look like I’m going to lose the giant gamble of moving first, hoping I get the job second. I knew doing it this way was risky but hope and desire won out over common sense and practicality. Now I see why no one does it this way. As L’s parents have been saying for weeks, I was putting the cart before the horse. *sigh*
But life must go on, right? When one door closes another opens and all that. And to be precise, the door to the Montana public defender’s office has not completely closed for me. It sounds like that door is still open just a crack and, well, who knows what I might learn in July? What seems certain is that my job search is going to have to expand. I know that there are several openings for legal secretaries/paralegals in Billings right now. I bet I’d do a bang-up job in either position. I wonder what they pay….
What happens to a law school graduate who doesn’t start working as a lawyer when he graduates from law school? Ay-yi-yi.
Oh, Public Defender Stuff has the latest on the new Montana PD System in the news. I wonder if that hefty price tag mentioned at the end of the article ($20 million/year for 2008 & 2009 for the whole state defender system) means they’re not going to be hiring as many people as they’d hoped. I don’t know, but if anyone out there has any more info, I’d certainly love to hear it.
[tags]job search, montana, billings[/tags]