What do government attorneys do?
Attorneys can work for the United States government in a variety of capacities. Many attorneys who work for the government are pleased with the salary levels, job security, and work-life balance that they experience in their positions, as opposed to other types of attorney jobs in private practice or within firms. This well-known fact about government positions has led to fierce competition among many attorney positions, especially those that are upper-level, which require experience. Some aspiring to government work are also motivated to participate in the legal system and to influence changes in the laws for the betterment of society.
Variety in the work
There are attorneys working for the government in the Department of Justice, federal government in Washington D.C., Supreme Court, as well as in State and local branches of the government. There is a wide variety of types of work from which to choose, as well. Some attorneys are involved in investigations for the interests of the United States government and in prosecutions of alleged criminals, both criminal and civil cases, as well as in the District Attorney’s office, which represents and defends those alleged criminals who are identified by the law enforcement offices and legal system. Particularly those accused of crimes who cannot afford a private attorney can access a free attorney through the District Attorney’s office, and the government provides the attorney’s salary.
There are also attorneys who work for the Department of Defense, who are usually a part of the United States military. These attorneys work for the United States government in those cases involving United States military personnel and their alleged criminal behaviors or activities. They can also serve in the defense of military personnel who have been charged with crimes. These types of attorneys typically come from having served in the United States military, where they would have become familiar with the military laws.
Government attorneys get to see many different kinds of criminal activity, involving immigration, military laws, as well as in enforcing the laws regarding the Internal Revenue Service and the collection of taxes. This represents a wide diversity in the types of cases they represent, and they must therefore be well-versed in many areas of governmental laws. These attorneys are charged with the responsibilities of helping to keep law and order within the borders of the country they represent.
With regard to those who work within the United States Supreme Court, these attorneys may be involved in drafting laws or rewriting laws as society’s needs mandate this activity. The prevalence of the Internet, for example, warrants the involvement of the United States government, in order to protect the rights of citizens and to uphold its interests. For example, one of the most recent issues that is being debated involves the collection of taxes for retailers who sell their goods online. Currently retailers with a physical office in the state where the customer lives is the only one required to collect state sales tax from that particular customer. Many goods are being sold online with no tax accountability, which is a significant issue being debated. Attorneys have their input into this issue, as well as others, such as politicians. Another serious issue with regards to the Internet is the perpetration of child pornography. Government attorneys who deal in this area are involved in establishing enforcement of the anti-child pornography initiative.
Government duties for government attorneys include the development of programs, interpretation and drafting of laws and legislation, determining procedures for enforcement of the laws, and taking part in cases on behalf of the United States government, where they are arguing for the benefit of the government. Other attorneys are hired to defend the alleged criminals.
Government attorneys also do much studying to stay abreast of changes in the law and communicating these changes to others who need to be aware of them. These attorneys are found in all layers of the United States government as continual interpretation of the law is essential to the operation of all facets of the government.
Benefits of working as a government attorney
Some of the great benefits involved with working for the government as an attorney include the attractive health insurance and retirement planning, sufficient pay, good working conditions, and less stress than their counterparts experience who work in private practice. Typically the work day ends at 5 pm, unlike most attorneys who practice privately or in large firms. This allows these attorneys to maintain a stable and predictable family life, which further bolsters their career in government law.
Another attractive quality about working as a government attorney is the interesting and rewarding work that exists on a frequent basis. As mentioned, a government law job can involve the IRS, Immigration, or political realm. Many attorneys thrive in this environment, where their colleagues are affable and there is camaraderie among attorneys working in government. This is unusual for the field of law in general, since in private practice, many attorneys view each other as the opponent or nemesis in their cases.
The only area that may represent a challenge for some considering government work is the salary range, which can be a bit lower than what can be made in private practice. Also, in private practice, an attorney makes as much as he is able to work, and this often accounts for the long hours. A government attorney makes a flat rate per year, which keeps the schedule rather regular in nature and there are few crises requiring a longer day. For some, this is an appealing facet to working for the government.
Government attorneys are similar to other civil servants in their sense of responsibility to the United States public, who relies on them for ensuring that the government’s laws are accessible and that those breaking laws are properly held accountable. This psychological aspect to working as a government attorney is the motivating factor for many, along with the perks already mentioned. Gaining employment as a government attorney is easiest for someone seeking entry-level work, and will lead to a fruitful and enjoyable future in government.