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Working for Uncle Sam never looked so good. The federal government, which not long ago struggled to hold on to its attorneys in the face of increasing six-figure law firm salaries, is popular again. Companies that once seemed stable are foundering and layoffs are hitting everyone, not just the startup ventures. The associates and in-house counsel dealt a blow by the market are flocking to the government — and its inherent job stability — in numbers not seen since the last recession a decade ago. Indeed, some agencies have received hundreds of applications for a single spot. But it’s not just the steady job and paycheck that attracts talent to the federal government. For some, the government is home during good times and bad. And for others, it is a stepping stone. As of March 2002, the federal government employed 25,470 attorneys nationwide, according to the Office of Personnel Management. What follows are stories of three lawyers who joined the ranks of federal government attorneys this year. Each started in a different place, and traveled an entirely different route: Lien Galloway is a former in-house counsel; Erin Dozier recently left a big law firm; and Susan Howe jumped from a small firm. LIEN GALLOWAY The government wasn’t in Lien Galloway’s original game plan. A 1988 University of Notre Dame law school grad, she first became an associate at Fulbright & Jaworski and then at Preston Gates Ellis & Rouvelas Meeds. Later, in May 2000, Galloway moved in-house with Herndon, Va.’s Digital Commerce Corp., as the business-to-government e-commerce company’s associate general counsel. The venture, which operated sites like Fedcenter.com and Statecenter.com, appeared to be on the rise, as did many tech and telecom companies in Northern Virginia. A public offering — and the potential wealth it could bring — seemed close. “We filed a registration with the Securities and Exchange Commission,” says Galloway. But then the IPO market chilled. “The market turned, and we had to withdraw our statement,” says Galloway. The planned $115 million initial public offering was pulled back in September 2000. Digital Commerce filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings a year ago, she adds. The company that once employed hundreds now lists only one person on its Web site, Chief Executive Officer C. Daniel Clemente. Galloway left Digital Commerce in October 2001. Like many other in-house attorneys who have found themselves jobless lately, she hoped to lateral into another GC spot. “While I was in between jobs, I gave a lot of serious thought to my next step,” she says. “Then, this opportunity came along, and I had never considered government work before.” That opportunity was the Peace Corps. Galloway signed on as associate general counsel in April and is finding more similarities between her present and former lives than she expected. As an in-house attorney anywhere, “you become a generalist,” she says. “You have to deal with employment issues. You have to deal with litigation. You also learn how to be a manager.” At the Peace Corps, “we’re generalists here, as well,” she says. “Of course, there’s the administrative aspect of it that I didn’t have, but basically, you’re problem-solvers.” For Galloway, that means coordinating with a more senior colleague as she grapples with issues in her assigned regions — Europe, the Mediterranean, and Asia. “There’s always something to tackle — something exciting, something new, something that requires an innovative response,” she says. “Sometimes you’ve had experience with it. Sometimes you haven’t.” On top of that, Galloway is trying to do her share as the Peace Corps undertakes a major organizationwide recruitment push. “Everyone in the organization is tuned into that goal,” says Galloway, who might have landed her first recruit: Her nephew has expressed an interest in the corps. Currently, the organization has 7,000 volunteers and trainees in 70 countries. The aim is to double the number within five years and to look beyond the typical, recent college grad pool to older, more racially and socioeconomically diverse candidates. “We’re looking to diversify our volunteers,” she says. Five years is also a magic number for Galloway personally. “We have a five-year rule here at Peace Corps,” she says. “You serve for five years, and then you leave.” After less than four months on the job, Galloway’s not sure where she’ll go next. But she says she’ll look for another position that serves the public. “Having had a taste of an organization that is service-oriented,” she says, “I think that’s where I’m leaning. I don’t have any aspirations for going back to a law firm, at least not now. This is fun work.” “Because it’s the Peace Corps,” she says, “it matters to me and it matters to someone that I come to work every day.” ERIN DOZIER Joining the Federal Communications Commission was always part of Erin Dozier’s game plan. The 32-year-old Dozier, a 1998 graduate of Georgetown University Law Center, began specializing in communications during law school. After taking a course on the subject, she worked in the Institute for Public Representation, a Georgetown communications clinic. “It was like being a communications lawyer full time while you were a student,” says Dozier. She then worked with Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld’s communications group as a summer associate in between her second and third years. She joined the Washington, D.C.-based firm full time in 1998, working under partner Thomas Davidson. The communications group “gave me a high level of responsibility at an early stage of my career,” she says. “I did work on behalf of a large television station group. I did some work for wireless service providers. It was diverse.” Some of Akin Gump’s well-known communications clients include the AT&T Corp., Cable & Wireless, the Motion Picture Association of America and Winstar Wireless Inc. But during her third year as an associate, Dozier began to realize that she wanted more. “There’s a general growing awareness among regulatory attorneys that you need to spend some time at the organization that regulates your business,” she says. “You learn things at a law firm, but it only seemed more logical that you could learn them faster walking a mile in the shoes of a regulator.” Indeed her supervisor, Davidson, once worked as a trial attorney for the FCC. Dozier applied for an advertised job. During the waiting and interview process, she sought advice from “friends and mentors” who either worked at the FCC or had worked there before. Now, Dozier, who started as an attorney adviser with the commission in January, works in the Industry Analysis Division of the Media Bureau. The name doesn’t do the office justice: Dozier works on FCC reviews of large media mergers and of rules governing media ownership. “There were a couple of large media mergers announced late last year,” she explains. “January was a great time to get here. They were staffing the mergers.” As for the transition from private practice to the government sector, “the hours are similar,” she says. What is different is “the impact of the work you’re doing.” There’s also the feeling of being on the inside track, of knowing about big deals before the rest of the public, explains Dozier. “You have to balance all of the interests” of the communications industry — from big media organizations to trade associations to nonprofit groups — “instead of advancing one client’s interests,” she says. Dozier declines to discuss the mergers she’s working on. But some of the media deals that made national headlines last year, and fell under the scope of the FCC, included the push by the Comcast Corp. to buy AT&T Broadband, and EchoStar Communications Corp.’s announced plan to merge with Hughes Electronics, parent company of DirecTV. The FCC is not Dozier’s first tour of duty in public service. Before law school, she spent three years working for the Urban League of Springfield, Mass., helping its constituents with interviewing skills, r�sum� writing, and other kinds of job preparation. “That was really rewarding,” she says. “That sort of interest in public service played into the decision to come here.” If Dozier again finds herself hungry for new challenges, she has not ruled out a continued stay at the FCC, albeit in a new spot. “There are a lot of opportunities here, to go from one bureau to another, to advance within your own bureau.” In the meantime, she’ll keep fielding calls from friends who want to be in her shoes. “A lot of people have called and asked, ‘How did you get there?’ ” she says. “ It’s an attractive place right now.” SUSAN HOWE After more than a decade in the government — before and after law school — Susan Howe left for the private sector. But her break proved short, and she’s back, this time at the Small Business Administration. “Now, in many ways, I am going to be using my law degree in the way I thought I would,” says the 40-year-old Howe, who goes by Suey. Right now, that means policy work. “I went to law school for the piece of paper,” she says. “I never thought I’d be in a courtroom. I never thought I’d work for a law firm.” For years, Howe spent time on Capitol Hill and in traditional Washington political jobs. Before attending George Mason University School of Law, she worked for Rep. Bob McEwen, R-Ohio, and at the Department of Labor during the last year of the Ronald Reagan administration. Following graduation, Howe spent two and a half years with the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship before jumping over to the American Bar Association. At the ABA, she spent one and a half years working on a 16-member Steering Committee on the Unmet Legal Needs of Children. She did everything from dealing with logistics for the committee’s meetings to working with authors on a book the committee planned to publish. Her next move: Bean, Kinney & Korman, a 25-lawyer general practice firm in Arlington, Va. “Going to Bean Kinney was a real departure,” she says. “I thought, ‘Let’s get some work experience that’s not Washington-focused.’” The firm, Howe says, was a “good transition” to law firm life “without the shock of a large law firm” and its high billable-hour requirements. But after almost two years, Howe began to contemplate a move back to government. She missed public policy work and found herself eyeing the responsibilities of former colleagues who had stayed in that game. By contrast, Howe was just beginning a law firm career and, like any private practitioner, had to develop a book of business. “The idea of building a private practice,” she says, “was going to put some real demands on my family.” Howe had her first child while at Bean Kinney. Workdays at the SBA are “not necessarily shorter” than days in private practice, she says. “But, hopefully, there will be fewer surprises. This was the right job for this time of my life.” Howe and her husband split the pickup and drop-off duties for day care for their 1-year-old daughter, Alexandra. She also enjoys the opportunity to “more directly” put her background into play. “I saw where I could hit the ground running,” she explains. Howe, who began work three weeks ago as the director of the SBA’s Office of Interagency Affairs, manages advocates who work to “reduce the adverse impacts on small business and bolster the positive impacts on small business” of federal regulations. “I know a lot of the issues,” she says. “There’s a lot of comfort that comes from that familiarity. In all public policy areas, it’s great to have a history with the issues.” Plus, Howe adds with a smile, “I don’t know if I can try and reinvent myself another time.” Related chart: Where the Government Jobs Are

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