|Editor's Picks Opportunities|
Home > Article
Rising Stars: Proud Policy: A Lawyer in the New York State Judiciary
After working in the New York Legislature and then earning dual graduate degrees, David served with the Court of Appeals, worked his way up the ladder, and today is deputy legislative counsel for the New York Judiciary.
Name: David Markus
School: Williams; Harvard Law and Kennedy School of Government
Major: Political Science and Environmental Studies
Years Out of College: 10+
Title: Deputy Legislative Counsel?
Company: New York State Judiciary?
David says: "My first job was actually to find a job: I
graduated unemployed when my position fell through just
before graduation. I returned home and sent out resumes. By
networking I connected with a local university that sponsored
an environmental litigation clinic for law students. As a
dual major in political science and environmental studies,
the opportunity sounded interesting... but I didn't expect
Robert F. Kennedy Jr. (a leading environmental attorney and
JFK's nephew) to walk through the door. Somehow I managed to
keep my composure and he hired me as a policy analyst for one
of his environmental organizational clients. Over the next
year, I helped prosecute cases against polluters, lobby
government and build coalitions. The experience taught me
that I had a knack for the law and for public policy, and my
work exposed me to policymakers including members of my state
legislature. One offered me an opportunity to become her
legislative director--a job that would put me
front-and-center in state government with a portfolio that
included not just the environment but also campaign finance,
election reform, education, the works. Working with the New
York State Assembly for a few years, I learned to draft and
lobby bills, experienced the best and worst of working in
state government, and decided that I had a passion for
improving the world in my 'backyard' rather than going to
David says that "one challenge was simply being young. In
many fields of law and policy, some veterans (and often the
most influential ones) tend to see 'young' people as sources
of energy and legwork but not necessarily ideas or influence.
It took time before veterans saw me not as an office mascot
or an over-eager kid but as a real partner. Until then, I had
to learn the ropes and sometimes endure being treated
unfairly, but the experience was invaluable in training me to
work with difficult people. Now in my early 30s, I still
experience the same dynamics because in some fields anyone
under 50 is a 'kid.' The skills I learned as a new college
graduate hold me in good stead: to be respectful, sometimes
self-deprecating, but always to know your stuff as though you
yourself were completely responsible for the end result (even
if you're not)."
As a deputy legislative counsel for the New York State
Judiciary, David says that "the best thing about my job is
that I have no 'typical' day: I enjoy constant changes of
pace, issue and dynamic. As partly responsible for helping
frame the judiciary's relationship with the other branches of
government, different issues come across my desk every day
(civil justice, criminal justice, family law, economics and
finance, lawsuits, personnel and administration, court
procedure, constitutional law), and each requires the
combined approach of a lawyer, tactician and public relations
guru. On days I'm at my state capitol, I might discuss hard
issues with lawmakers and staff; on other days, I might
discuss hard issues with judges, nonprofit advocates, staff
and members of the public. More than anything else, the mix
of people and issues is what's exciting."
"Thinking ahead," David says, "many people who have the kind of job I enjoy get it in their 40s or 50s and keep it for the rest of their careers. While I'd consider staying where I am, I'd like to experience the other branches of government and their unique cultures, so someday a shift to the executive branch could be exciting."
Did I Ever Think I'd End
"As a new graduate, I could envision myself advocating for
policy change, but not for courts or the justice system. At
that time, the issues were based on individual causes--clean
air, community preservation--and not the system that helped
decide those causes. Only with experience did I come to
understand first-hand that if the system is inefficient,
unfair or even broken, there's no way that individual causes
can get their fair shake."
More Related Articles
IRS Careers: Seasonal and Temp
Seasonal and Temporary positions are available within the IRS.
Apprenticeships provide an individual the opportunity to learn and obtain qualifications in a specified trade or craft.
Employer Profile: Central Intelligence Agency
Interested in the CIA? Learn more about the background and history of this agency now.
Google Web Search
Didn't see what you were looking for?
powered by Google