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Government Executive Editor in Chief Tom Shoop, along with other editors and staff correspondents, look at the federal bureaucracy from the outside in.

One Federal Job That Definitely Isn't Overpaid

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If you were in the legal field, how would you like to land  a job as special assistant U.S. attorney at the Justice Department? Its responsibilities include "researching legal issues, drafting briefs, conducting hearings and trials and attending judicial proceedings." Sounds pretty sweet, huh? 

Of course, not just anyone can land such a position. The job notice says "only applicants with outstanding academic records and superior legal research and writing skills will be considered." And you can't just walk in off the street: "Prior litigation experience is preferred."

So what's the catch? Umm, well, there's this: "The position is without compensation."

That's right: the pay is exactly zero for this year-long job, which appears in an announcement from the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of New Jersey. Paul Campos wrote about the position in a Salon piece on myths baby boomers are passing on to to younger Americans. It's "obnoxious," he writes, to tell young people who can't find entry level jobs in their fields that they ought to be willing to work for free.

The Justice Department, which is operating under a long-term hiring freeze, has been advertising these unpaid positions for awhile now, according to the Above The Law blog. Some of them ask for a full five years of legal experience. 

Tom Shoop is vice president and editor in chief at Government Executive Media Group, where he oversees both print and online editorial operations. He started as associate editor of Government Executive magazine in 1989; launched the company’s flagship website, GovExec.com, in 1996; and was named editor in chief in 2007.

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