A prosecutor is the government attorney who charges and tries cases against individuals accused of crimes. Prosecutors’ offices exist at the federal, state, and local level; at the local or state level, prosecutors work in District Attorneys’ (or State’s Attorneys’) Offices and Attorney Generals’ Offices; at the federal level, prosecutors work for the U.S. Department of Justice (including U.S. Attorney’s Offices). Larger offices may have specialized units focusing on areas such as homicide, narcotics, juvenile prosecution, domestic violence, sex crimes and appellate work.
Both prosecutors and public defenders have varying views on how they evaluate experience on the other side. In large cities or in competitive offices, employers typically dislike experience with the opposing side. This is especially true for public defenders, perhaps less so for prosecutors.
Many new law students are not sure which side will suit them best and want to explore by interning on both sides. While this is understandable, both sides are also seeking a commitment to their respective missions, which don’t always align. Shadowing an attorney for a couple days on each side might be a good option.