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Old 11-19-2007, 10:36 AM   #1
Stefan Borovina
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Any LEO Officers with a Law Degree?

I am in my third year of Law School and will be hopefully starting into a DA's office after I graduate/pass the bar. I am currently a Student ADA in the Queens County DA's Office Domestic Violence Bureau, and when I graduate I want to prosecute drug related crimes and other violent offenses. Recently however, I have had a growing interest in becoming a police officer. It is a tough decision, because after three years of law school, perhaps my talents would be put to better use in a DA's office.

I know there are alot of law enforcement officers here at Crossfit, and I was wondering if any have a law degree, knows a LEO who has one, or has an opinion about the idea.

Any opinions are helpful.
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Old 11-19-2007, 12:35 PM   #2
Scott A Martin
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Re: Any LEO Officers with a Law Degree?

Stefan, I'm a lawyer but I've always wanted to be a cop. I was always told to do something more academic, more intellectual, etc. So I went to law school... I worked in a large NYC sweatshop law firm, hating every minute. I quit, moved away from the stress of NYC (no offense to NYC peeps!) and started my own practice. I'm MUCH happier, but I still think I'd probably be happier in law enforcement.

We're both in NY. You may know that the NY State Police test is coming up. I'm taking the exam to keep my options open. I feel like I'd be able to maintain a small part-time practice after getting out of the academy, which makes the possibility even more appealing.

But even if I have to give up the practice of law entirely, I am not worried about wasting my law degree. The time and money that went into the J.D. are sunk costs which I can't recoup and which shouldn't factor into any decision going forward. We should do what will make us happiest. We only get one life.

The other thing to consider is that there's no maximum age to be a lawyer. The same isn't true for law enforcement. Assuming you're around 25, you could retire from law enforcement in your late 40's with a nice pension and health insurance for life. Then spend your early retirement using your law degree.

Good luck, whatever you decide.
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Old 11-19-2007, 01:29 PM   #3
Gary Wimsett
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Re: Any LEO Officers with a Law Degree?

Interesting. I went to law school with some former police officers and and retired military (including a SEAL) but I think it could work out great the other way around. Some of my buddies went from law school to the JAG and love it. You need to really think about why you went to law school. If you crave action, excitement and adventure then it will be difficult to reconcile those needs with the reality of practicing law. That's putting it about as gently as I can. Talk to lots of lawyers and police officers, too. And don't rule out the JAG, FBI, CIA, etc.

Good luck!
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Old 11-19-2007, 02:07 PM   #4
Arden Cogar Jr.
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Re: Any LEO Officers with a Law Degree?

A few of my law school class mates went to the CIA and the FBI. They advanced rather quickly I might add.

All the best,
Arden
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Old 11-19-2007, 07:58 PM   #5
Ian Carver
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Re: Any LEO Officers with a Law Degree?

You have a lot of opportunities available to you with your law degree, but as Scott said, you can practice law at any age and be successful. That may not be the case in L.E. as there are age restrictions and other considerations.

For some reason, our agency has a whole shatpot of law school grads, former prosecutors, and various other attorneys working in it. They are all very good at what they do. Many of them who still work the street are dynamite when it comes to report writing and helping others in certain types of cases. They are a valuable asset into do's and don'ts regarding standing case law. Others have chosen to work the road for a short time and then go into administrative positions where they advanced quickly. We have an entire bureau dedicated to legal affairs, so quite a few end up there and climb the ranks later on. A few have gone back and forth between the court room and badge and gun a couple times too.

My suggestion would be to finish up school, go to work for an agency (whomever that may be), find a niche to specialize in, and then consider your future options. Your experience as a cop may lead to you being a very strong prosecutor or defense attorney in a certain area of expertise. Or you can stay on with L.E. and be the go to man for your agency in times of legal strife or question. You may find the courtroom to be boring and the streets more ecxciting.

I myself am looking towards law school in a few years so I can set up a career after L.E. if I so desire - my graphic design and English background may not be as useful as I thought. I am a case law junky - I love the stuff - and freak out defense attorneys in jury trials when I start rattling of decisions and past rulings regarding my cases. That usually throws a wrench into their works . My career in speciality assignments (SWAT, K9) and as an instructor in certain areas will benefit me nicely later on as a civil attorney who can handle cases in those areas. It may be the way for you to go as well. An education and working knowledge in either area will help to make the other that much stronger. Good luck!!
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