Best Public Interest Law Schools

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Borhas
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Re: Best Public Interest Law Schools

Postby Borhas » Thu Mar 18, 2010 5:15 pm

what is a skadden fellow and why should I care?

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sunshinefairy
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Re: Best Public Interest Law Schools

Postby sunshinefairy » Thu Mar 18, 2010 5:58 pm

carlkenneth wrote:The intention of this thread is great and much needed. But like much else on TLS it has become about the T14.

Having worked in public interest (both the non-profit and gov't sector), and having interviewed lawyers for positions, I can tell you that law school ranking matters much less in public interest than the conventional wisdom on this site states.

Public interest is nothing like Big Law. No glamorous corporate lunches. No $160K salary. But just as much hard work, late nights, etc.Most non-profit organizations look at practical experience first. Where you worked (clinics, summer internships, etc.), what you did after undergrad, expertise, etc. Several times I've seen graduates of top law schools disappointed in their public interest jobs because they think that they deserve special treatment because they graduated from HYS. When they find out that their opinions aren't valued as highly as the CUNY graduate with 10 years work experience before starting law school they leave and go into the private sector.

I'd also argue that there are more employment opportunities in PI than there are in Big Law. The public interest is a huge field. For those that don't mind not practicing law per se there are many other opportunities (research, lobbying, organizing, etc.). And the good thing is that most of these PI positions rarely ask for one's ranking in law school. For a lot of non-profit organizations just "being" a lawyer puts one at an advantage. On the other hand there are a very finite # of "BigLaw" jobs available at any given time and those jobs always favor graduates of prestigious law schools.

Edit: In summary a non-profit organization with a budget less than $1m doesn't give a crap whether you went to Harvard, Cornell, or Cooley. They just care that you know your sh_t.


Thank you! This makes me feel much better and articulates many of my thoughts much more cohesively then I could have done it. I appreciate the time you took for this post!

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beef wellington
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Re: Best Public Interest Law Schools

Postby beef wellington » Thu Mar 18, 2010 7:51 pm

Borhas wrote:what is a skadden fellow and why should I care?

--LinkRemoved--

One of the most competitive national PI fellowships. Since fellowships are perhaps the best avenue into elite PI the chart could be seen as a rough measure of how a school places into elite PI. That was my thinking anyway.

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Blindmelon
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Re: Best Public Interest Law Schools

Postby Blindmelon » Thu Mar 18, 2010 9:14 pm

beef wellington wrote:
Borhas wrote:what is a skadden fellow and why should I care?

--LinkRemoved--

One of the most competitive national PI fellowships. Since fellowships are perhaps the best avenue into elite PI the chart could be seen as a rough measure of how a school places into elite PI. That was my thinking anyway.


Meh. for *elite* PI, if there even is such a thing, I tend to think of gov. honors programs placement as a better measure of placement. PI is so broad though, I think it'd be impossible to quantify and rank schools.

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beef wellington
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Re: Best Public Interest Law Schools

Postby beef wellington » Thu Mar 18, 2010 9:46 pm

Blindmelon wrote:
beef wellington wrote:
Borhas wrote:what is a skadden fellow and why should I care?

--LinkRemoved--

One of the most competitive national PI fellowships. Since fellowships are perhaps the best avenue into elite PI the chart could be seen as a rough measure of how a school places into elite PI. That was my thinking anyway.


Meh. for *elite* PI, if there even is such a thing, I tend to think of gov. honors programs placement as a better measure of placement. PI is so broad though, I think it'd be impossible to quantify and rank schools.

Sorry you didn't find it helpful. I think there is clearly such a thing as elite PI, referring to the jobs discussed earlier where the employers have their pick of 100s of experienced T6 graduates for one position. I really know next to nothing about the relative prestige of the various fellowships, but I was under the impression Skadden and Equal Justice Works were two of the most competitive national PI fellowships. Do you think if we ran the numbers for Govt Honors Program the results would be significantly different?

The chart can be seen as a rough measure of placement, that's all. While it's very difficult to quantify this stuff as there is no PI equivalent to the NLJ250 or whatever, I do think studying fellowships could be useful as a proxy for the most competitive PI positions.

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chris0805
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Re: Best Public Interest Law Schools

Postby chris0805 » Thu Mar 18, 2010 10:55 pm

Blindmelon wrote:
beef wellington wrote:
Borhas wrote:what is a skadden fellow and why should I care?

--LinkRemoved--

One of the most competitive national PI fellowships. Since fellowships are perhaps the best avenue into elite PI the chart could be seen as a rough measure of how a school places into elite PI. That was my thinking anyway.


Meh. for *elite* PI, if there even is such a thing, I tend to think of gov. honors programs placement as a better measure of placement. PI is so broad though, I think it'd be impossible to quantify and rank schools.


First, I think gov't and PI are often equated, but actually represent different fields. In fact, the govt. honors recipients frequently go into private practice whereas I think something like <5% of EJW or Skadden fellows go into private practice right after their fellowship. So for this discussion, I think Beef Wellington's analysis is pretty useful.

Also, *elite* PI is something that is more widespread than people might think. I can't speak to how exactly school rank plays into it, but I will say that, in this economy, (1) For T10 students, PI work seems harder to secure than a biglaw gig and (2) my friends at lower ranked schools seem to have an even harder time.

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rolark
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Re: Best Public Interest Law Schools

Postby rolark » Fri Mar 19, 2010 9:50 am

chris0805 wrote:First, I think gov't and PI are often equated, but actually represent different fields. In fact, the govt. honors recipients frequently go into private practice whereas I think something like <5% of EJW or Skadden fellows go into private practice right after their fellowship. So for this discussion, I think Beef Wellington's analysis is pretty useful.

Also, *elite* PI is something that is more widespread than people might think. I can't speak to how exactly school rank plays into it, but I will say that, in this economy, (1) For T10 students, PI work seems harder to secure than a biglaw gig and (2) my friends at lower ranked schools seem to have an even harder time.

I agree with this. Further, I think PI people are often more focused on a level of systemic change that conflicts with the government work that requires one to become part of that very system. Okay, so I have a bias. Still, I think the distinction is helpful.

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Borhas
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Re: Best Public Interest Law Schools

Postby Borhas » Fri Mar 19, 2010 10:53 am

beef wellington wrote:
Borhas wrote:what is a skadden fellow and why should I care?

--LinkRemoved--

One of the most competitive national PI fellowships. Since fellowships are perhaps the best avenue into elite PI the chart could be seen as a rough measure of how a school places into elite PI. That was my thinking anyway.

thank you

LauraCB
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Re: Best Public Interest Law Schools

Postby LauraCB » Fri Mar 19, 2010 2:02 pm

Skadden is far and away the most prestigious PI fellowship out there, and Skadden Fellows are the cream of the crop who go on to elite PI jobs following their fellowships. Nearly 100% of Skadden Fellows stay in PI work, and those that don't (like Cory Booker) generally go on to distinguish themselves in either academia or politics.

With that said - the reason there is a strong correlation between top schools and Skadden Fellowships has less to do with the schools the fellow went to than with the organizations sponsoring the fellows. Skadden fellows are sponsored for their PI project by a PI organization, and the organizations that get their fellows funded tend to be the same year after year. Go through the list, and you will see the same PI orgs over and over again. This is because the Skadden program has a relationship with these organizations, and often have former fellows working at those organizations as staff attorneys who can vouch for the potential fellow and their project. Also, because the leaders in these PI orgs tend to have gone to Harvard, Yale, Stanford, NYU, Berkeley, etc., the people they sponsor for fellows are generally former summer interns they worked with to develop the Skadden proposal. It's really a very small and ultra-competitive program that is as much about who you know as anything else. The upside of that is that if you did not go to a "top" school, but get in with one of these orgs through networking or other means, your chances for receiving a Skadden fellowship increases exponentially.

I would encourage most persons interested in PI fellowships to check out EJW fellowships - there are more of them, and they are more egalitarian than Skadden fellowships. The key is to come up with an interesting proposal that both an organization is willing to sponsor and a funder (usually a big firm) is willing to pay for.

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beef wellington
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Re: Best Public Interest Law Schools

Postby beef wellington » Fri Mar 19, 2010 2:16 pm

LauraCB wrote:Skadden is far and away the most prestigious PI fellowship out there, and Skadden Fellows are the cream of the crop who go on to elite PI jobs following their fellowships. Nearly 100% of Skadden Fellows stay in PI work, and those that don't (like Cory Booker) generally go on to distinguish themselves in either academia or politics.

With that said - the reason there is a strong correlation between top schools and Skadden Fellowships has less to do with the schools the fellow went to than with the organizations sponsoring the fellows. Skadden fellows are sponsored for their PI project by a PI organization, and the organizations that get their fellows funded tend to be the same year after year. Go through the list, and you will see the same PI orgs over and over again. This is because the Skadden program has a relationship with these organizations, and often have former fellows working at those organizations as staff attorneys who can vouch for the potential fellow and their project. Also, because the leaders in these PI orgs tend to have gone to Harvard, Yale, Stanford, NYU, Berkeley, etc., the people they sponsor for fellows are generally former summer interns they worked with to develop the Skadden proposal. It's really a very small and ultra-competitive program that is as much about who you know as anything else. The upside of that is that if you did not go to a "top" school, but get in with one of these orgs through networking or other means, your chances for receiving a Skadden fellowship increases exponentially.

I would encourage most persons interested in PI fellowships to check out EJW fellowships - there are more of them, and they are more egalitarian than Skadden fellowships. The key is to come up with an interesting proposal that both an organization is willing to sponsor and a funder (usually a big firm) is willing to pay for.

Thank you for this info, Laura. I suspected there were eccentricities within the application process that affected which schools end up with the most fellows but it's nice to get a detailed explanation. I looked for this data on EJW fellows but couldn't find anything like Skadden's website where it lists the schools that each fellow attended. If anyone knows where to find this please post a link.

<3 Cory Booker

http://www.pbs.org/moyers/journal/03282 ... file2.html

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beef wellington
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Re: Best Public Interest Law Schools

Postby beef wellington » Sat Mar 27, 2010 11:12 pm

There's a pretty interesting PI-related discussion going on in this thread:

viewtopic.php?f=23&t=112328

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doza
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Re: Best Public Interest Law Schools

Postby doza » Mon Apr 12, 2010 12:46 pm

Hey everyone! I was really interested in this topic too, and I the November 2008 issue of the National Jurist had an article on the top 60 Public Interest law schools: http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cypress ... urist1108/

Here are the top 25 law schools for public interest, according to the article:

Northeastern
Loyola-L.A.
Lewis & Clark
American
Stanford
Mercer
Maryland
University of Washington
North Carolina
CUNY
Hofstra
William Mitchell
Iowa
Baltimore
New York Law School
Seattle
Temple
Albany
Georgetown
Villanova
UNLV
Gonzaga
Loyola-Chicago
Arizona
Roger Williams

garrett09
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Re: Best Public Interest Law Schools

Postby garrett09 » Mon Apr 12, 2010 12:56 pm

doza wrote:Hey everyone! I was really interested in this topic too, and I the November 2008 issue of the National Jurist had an article on the top 60 Public Interest law schools: http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cypress ... urist1108/

Here are the top 25 law schools for public interest, according to the article:

Northeastern
Loyola-L.A.
Lewis & Clark
American
Stanford
Mercer
Maryland
University of Washington
North Carolina
CUNY
Hofstra
William Mitchell
Iowa
Baltimore
New York Law School
Seattle
Temple
Albany
Georgetown
Villanova
UNLV
Gonzaga
Loyola-Chicago
Arizona
Roger Williams


these lists are so funny. i mean, what is anyone supposed to do with that? Go to Roger Williams over NYU because Roger Williams made this list?

i couldn't see the article, so i don't know what metrics they used. can anyone shed some light? i'm interested in public interest and searched for awhile for a guide to what schools focused on it, but this list doesn't seem useful at all...


edit: thanks for posting, though. more of a reaction to the list than to the fact that you linked to it.

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beef wellington
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Re: Best Public Interest Law Schools

Postby beef wellington » Mon Apr 12, 2010 2:54 pm

We talked about this list earlier in the thread. I believe I referred to it as a "joke."

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Riverwide
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Re: Best Public Interest Law Schools

Postby Riverwide » Mon Jun 21, 2010 8:21 pm

I'm very interested in Public Interest Law, but I know I can't get into a top school. That being said, I still have plenty of opportunities. I've been looking into Tulane, and they seem to have a pretty solid PI program. Has anybody heard much about it?

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20160810
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Re: Best Public Interest Law Schools

Postby 20160810 » Mon Jun 21, 2010 8:23 pm

nealric wrote:The cheapest law school you can get into and/or the school with the best LRAP.

Kretzy
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Re: Best Public Interest Law Schools

Postby Kretzy » Mon Jun 21, 2010 8:41 pm

To add some more substantive numbers to the discussion, Stanford has named 37 students as Public Interest Fellows for this coming year (Class of 2011), which is just over 20% of the class. I don't know all the details of the program, but folks named Fellows commit to doing public service after graduation.

Each year, Stanford selects third-year students as role models through the Public Interest Fellows program. Fellows receive tuition grants and mentor underclass students as they explore their own commitments to public interest law. After graduation they pursue careers in public service.


This seems like a huge number to me, especially in light of the data presented earlier in the thread re: post-graduation percentages.

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spaghetticat
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Re: Best Public Interest Law Schools

Postby spaghetticat » Sun Oct 17, 2010 2:32 pm

i hope no one minds if i bump this. any other PI-committed ppl applying this cycle?

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Jack Smirks
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Re: Best Public Interest Law Schools

Postby Jack Smirks » Sun Oct 17, 2010 2:41 pm

spaghetticat wrote:i hope no one minds if i bump this. any other PI-committed ppl applying this cycle?

Yes.

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spaghetticat
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Re: Best Public Interest Law Schools

Postby spaghetticat » Sun Oct 17, 2010 2:46 pm

i can't tell if you're being snarky. if not, oh hai :)

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Jack Smirks
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Re: Best Public Interest Law Schools

Postby Jack Smirks » Sun Oct 17, 2010 3:24 pm

spaghetticat wrote:i can't tell if you're being snarky. if not, oh hai :)

No snark here. :D

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Other25BeforeYou
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Re: Best Public Interest Law Schools

Postby Other25BeforeYou » Sun Oct 17, 2010 8:51 pm

I read through this thread and saw that Cornell was discussed, but no one mentioned it's kick-ass LRAP.

Go here: http://www.lawschool.cornell.edu/admiss ... pilipp.cfm

Perhaps the best thing about it (apart from there being no salary cap) is that you can use it at any point after graduating. So if you do Biglaw for 1 year, hate it, and go into public interest, you can use Cornell's LRAP. And you don't have to do it for ten years straight. It's a yearly program, so if you do public interest upon graduation for 5 years, and Cornell pays back $50,000 on your loans in that time, and then you go into the private sector, you don't have to pay Cornell back the $50,000 or anything.

For those who don't want to read it, basically the amount you need to live in an area is calculated (for NYC it's $44,000ish, and for anywhere in the US it's never under $40,000ish), and then any income you make above that mark, you pay half of it toward loans, and Cornell pays the rest of your loan payments for the year. So if you owe $20,000 a year on you law school loans, and you make $60,000 in NYC, you hold onto $52,000, pay $8,000, and Cornell pays the other $12,000.

Which is, in my humble and biased opinion, awesome.

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sgtgrumbles
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Re: Best Public Interest Law Schools

Postby sgtgrumbles » Wed Oct 27, 2010 11:31 am

Does anyone know whether public interest jobs generally have the same brutal hours as biglaw positions? I'm not too keen on completely abandoning my life outside of work, so it would be an added bonus to work fewer hours each week than I would expect to in the private sector. Anyone have any insight?

adt231
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Re: Best Public Interest Law Schools

Postby adt231 » Wed Mar 16, 2011 1:42 am

sgtgrumbles wrote:Does anyone know whether public interest jobs generally have the same brutal hours as biglaw positions? I'm not too keen on completely abandoning my life outside of work, so it would be an added bonus to work fewer hours each week than I would expect to in the private sector. Anyone have any insight?


Bump.

Sadly, for whatever reason, no one responded to this question. Does anyone know about this? Of course, since PI includes pretty much everything in the non-profit arena, the answer to this question is probably going to depend greatly upon what sort of PI one is doing, no? So, what are the lifestyles of DOJ workers like, NGO workers, etc.?

Many thanks in advance!!

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Borhas
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Re: Best Public Interest Law Schools

Postby Borhas » Wed Mar 16, 2011 9:57 am

good bump

sgtgrumbles wrote:Does anyone know whether public interest jobs generally have the same brutal hours as biglaw positions? I'm not too keen on completely abandoning my life outside of work, so it would be an added bonus to work fewer hours each week than I would expect to in the private sector. Anyone have any insight?


The PI attorneys (PD's and Legal Aid) I know don't normally put in 60 hour weeks. If you have a trial coming up then yeah... but generally I think the stress of PI comes from working with people who have mental health issues and not the hours... often times they are homeless, government bureaucrats, have substance abuse problems, or are criminals . That can wear a person down.

====


DOJ?

don't know about them, but since they work for the Feds my guess is they work 35 hours a week and get 150 days off a year




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