Want a Job in Law? Learn to Defend Accused Terrorists

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The New York Times notes a peculiar side effect from the myriad terrorism cases that wind up getting tried in New York: There is a booming trade in defending accused terrorists. Be they federal cases assigned to district courts here or local cases tried in state courts that need special representation, "New York is home of the terror bar," lawyer Ronald Kuby told the Times. Courts in Brooklyn and Manhattan have created a "terrorism panel" of lawyers who specialize in terror defense, and plenty of others outside that official designation are picking up the cases as well. The defense lawyers who have begun to specialize in terrorism cases will tell you that doing so is the essence of their trade — "It feels like in these cases ... the stakes are the greatest, not only for the individual but for the system as a whole," federal defense attorney Justine A. Harris told the paper.

But it's also worth noting that terrorism defense is a growing (if still tiny) niche in a trade that's been seeing pretty lackluster employment prospects of late. Earlier this year The Wall Street Journal gave law school graduates a 50 percent chance of finding a job within nine months of graduating. In October, the Washington Post magazine's Elizabeth Lesly Stevens argued that trend would continue for years, in particular for graduates of mid-level law schools. If we were on track for a JD degree with a view toward criminal defense, we'd be looking for internships at firms on this terrorism panel, stat.