After three years, the Justice Department has finally lifted its hiring freeze, finally welcoming many new, young lawyers into the fold. For several years, attorneys hoping to get a job with the Department of Justice, or the U.S. attorney’s offices, have been met with budget cuts that equated to a prolonged hiring freeze. Positions for assistant U.S. attorneys have been accordingly rare.
After Congress approved the budget deal which restored Justice Department funding, though, Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. made an announcement that the hiring freeze had been lifted, and that the government would be looking to fill vacancies. The U.S. attorney of Maryland, Rod J. Rosenstein, had previously warned that further delays to the freeze could begin impacting his own office’s ability to prosecute violent criminals. The partial hiring freeze had resulted in the loss of over 4,000 employees since 2011.
“After years of doing more with less, we will begin to fill critical vacancies,” Holder said to Department of Justice employees via a video message.
“While Justice Department jobs have always been competitive, getting in during the freeze has been especially difficult. Prosecutors’ offices had to ask special permission to fill empty spot,” explains the Baltimore Sun.
The industry sees a lot of positives in the Justice Department opening up again. The openings will soak up a lot of people right in the middle of their careers, which will have a trickle-down effect as their moving up leaves spaces in law firms and judge clerkships, which have been popular opening jobs for attorneys just coming out of law school.
These Justice Department positions will come at a much needed time, as competition for openings is strong — a struggling economy has meant fewet open positions for lawyers, and too many recent law school graduates searching for a job. Considering that students are often juggling upwards of $125,000 in student debt by the time they graduate, finding a decent job is not only ideal, but necessary for staying financially afloat.