I’m often asked by younger lawyers and law students how a person goes about becoming an appellate lawyer. It’s tricky, because most firms and organizations hoard their plum appellate opportunities for their most experienced practitioners. Yet, you can’t become one of those experienced practitioners without first being given those opportunities. Chicken, egg.

Of course, I’m proud of our appellate team here at Fox and our reputation for being an excellent place to learn this craft, even as a first-year lawyer.

But don’t forget that working for the government as an appellate lawyer can be an excellent training ground as well.

To that end, I’d like to share an “Assistant United States Attorney (Appellate Division)” job posting from our friends at the US Attorney’s Office in the Eastern District of North Carolina. I’ve had a number of cases against the EDNC AUSA team over the years, as I serve on the Fourth Circuit’s appointed counsel panel for criminal appeals from that district. Even though we are frequent adversaries, I can see that they have a supportive team with some excellent appellate lawyers. I think that working there would be a fabulous opportunity, and I recommend you consider it if you have top-notch writing skills and are eager to do more appellate work.

Finally, I encourage anyone looking to join this field not to be shy. Reach out to me, to my colleagues here at Fox, or to other appellate lawyers in the bar. I’m always happy to chat about the market, career paths, etc.