Public interest programs--share wisdom you've gained

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The_Steppenwolf
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Public interest programs--share wisdom you've gained

Postby The_Steppenwolf » Mon Nov 22, 2010 4:00 am

Hey everyone,

Being a 0L I don't know much about programs aside from the homogenized representations they offer me as an applicant. The consensus on these forums seems to be that prestige is the only relevant factor in choosing an institution (with cost/scholarships being secondary).

I have a 3.9/175, and I'm trying to apply to a broad range of schools. I was hoping to get some informed opinions on public interest programs. If you have first-hand knowledge of public interest law, please share any wisdom you've gleaned. In particular I'd like to know if I'm overlooking any good programs as well as which top schools offer the best public interest opportunities. I'm very passionate about this, and I want to get involved and work hard.

Thank you very much =)

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OperaSoprano
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Re: Public interest programs--share wisdom you've gained

Postby OperaSoprano » Mon Nov 22, 2010 4:20 am

I will come back and write more, but if you get into YLS, go. They have (hands down) the most generous LRAP available, and I believe they fully cover your loan payments if you do anything paying under $60k per year. On the other hand, a full ride from NYU would be hard to beat. The majority of T14 schools do have good to excellent LRAPs, and in general, the wealthier and higher ranked the school, the better the LRAP will be.

For PI hiring, you will find that your passion and demonstrated interest trumps most other factors save your background prior to law school. It will be harder to demonstrate interest if you were, say, a trader for five years before coming to LS. Note that for top PI jobs, school pedigree still matters. The ACLU is going to care that you went to Harvard (or wherever else), and the name still opens doors, as does the alumni network. If your school has alums at every organization under the sun, this can only help you.

My general sense is that the top three still offer you the best options. Absent serious money or a desire to stay in a specific locale, I see no reason not to attend the best school that will have you. I can say that NYU with money would tempt me a lot, given the preferences NYU students get for interview slots at the PILC Fair, and the general support level that exists. (CLS has pretty great opportunities too, I am told, but it almost seems a novelty to meet a CLS student with zero interest in biglaw. I do know some, and they are lovely people.)

Think about yourself, your background, and how you can demonstrate commitment. True desire for public interest work trumps grades (and school, for some employers), so this is what you need to think about as you move forward.

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Borhas
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Re: Public interest programs--share wisdom you've gained

Postby Borhas » Mon Nov 22, 2010 6:06 pm

The_Steppenwolf wrote:Hey everyone,

Being a 0L I don't know much about programs aside from the homogenized representations they offer me as an applicant. The consensus on these forums seems to be that prestige is the only relevant factor in choosing an institution (with cost/scholarships being secondary).

I have a 3.9/175, and I'm trying to apply to a broad range of schools. I was hoping to get some informed opinions on public interest programs. If you have first-hand knowledge of public interest law, please share any wisdom you've gleaned. In particular I'd like to know if I'm overlooking any good programs as well as which top schools offer the best public interest opportunities. I'm very passionate about this, and I want to get involved and work hard.

Thank you very much =)


your biggest problem will be turning away from the Big Law offers

just go to Yale or Harvard for the east coast or Stanford for the West Coast... I'd say that "prestige" is probably very important to the "prestigious" PI gigs, but aside from that you want to go to school in an urban setting. A big city (especially a very liberal big city) will always have more community/volunteering opportunities than elsewhere, and consequently the clinics will be better, and more PI oriented profs will work there...

Don't worry about money. Debt won't be an issue for you, even a full scholarship won't be a big deal, cause the schools you'll get into will have AWESOME LRAPs, and excellent job prospects even w/ the ITE-monster and general difficulty getting PI work.

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OperaSoprano
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Joined: Tue Nov 25, 2008 1:54 am

Re: Public interest programs--share wisdom you've gained

Postby OperaSoprano » Mon Nov 22, 2010 9:16 pm

Borhas wrote:
The_Steppenwolf wrote:Hey everyone,

Being a 0L I don't know much about programs aside from the homogenized representations they offer me as an applicant. The consensus on these forums seems to be that prestige is the only relevant factor in choosing an institution (with cost/scholarships being secondary).

I have a 3.9/175, and I'm trying to apply to a broad range of schools. I was hoping to get some informed opinions on public interest programs. If you have first-hand knowledge of public interest law, please share any wisdom you've gleaned. In particular I'd like to know if I'm overlooking any good programs as well as which top schools offer the best public interest opportunities. I'm very passionate about this, and I want to get involved and work hard.

Thank you very much =)


your biggest problem will be turning away from the Big Law offers

just go to Yale or Harvard for the east coast or Stanford for the West Coast... I'd say that "prestige" is probably very important to the "prestigious" PI gigs, but aside from that you want to go to school in an urban setting. A big city (especially a very liberal big city) will always have more community/volunteering opportunities than elsewhere, and consequently the clinics will be better, and more PI oriented profs will work there...

Don't worry about money. Debt won't be an issue for you, even a full scholarship won't be a big deal, cause the schools you'll get into will have AWESOME LRAPs, and excellent job prospects even w/ the ITE-monster and general difficulty getting PI work.


Well done. Concur. I should add that for students at top schools, PI can be harder to get than garden variety biglaw. Also, an urban location is 100% credited. I am hardly at an uberelite school, yet I have had great PI volunteer and internship opportunities simply because I go to school here in New York.

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chris0805
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Joined: Mon Oct 02, 2006 3:12 pm

Re: Public interest programs--share wisdom you've gained

Postby chris0805 » Tue Nov 23, 2010 2:33 pm

Borhas wrote:
The_Steppenwolf wrote:Hey everyone,

Being a 0L I don't know much about programs aside from the homogenized representations they offer me as an applicant. The consensus on these forums seems to be that prestige is the only relevant factor in choosing an institution (with cost/scholarships being secondary).

I have a 3.9/175, and I'm trying to apply to a broad range of schools. I was hoping to get some informed opinions on public interest programs. If you have first-hand knowledge of public interest law, please share any wisdom you've gleaned. In particular I'd like to know if I'm overlooking any good programs as well as which top schools offer the best public interest opportunities. I'm very passionate about this, and I want to get involved and work hard.

Thank you very much =)


your biggest problem will be turning away from the Big Law offers

just go to Yale or Harvard for the east coast or Stanford for the West Coast... I'd say that "prestige" is probably very important to the "prestigious" PI gigs, but aside from that you want to go to school in an urban setting. A big city (especially a very liberal big city) will always have more community/volunteering opportunities than elsewhere, and consequently the clinics will be better, and more PI oriented profs will work there...

Don't worry about money. Debt won't be an issue for you, even a full scholarship won't be a big deal, cause the schools you'll get into will have AWESOME LRAPs, and excellent job prospects even w/ the ITE-monster and general difficulty getting PI work.


I want to echo what some others have said in terms of seeking an urban environment, preferably one where you want to start your career. First, consider school pedigree, but in a close second, consider where you'll be able to be most involved, starting 1st semester your 1L year. Doing a lot of pro bono and building your resume from the start of law school will help you more than getting an A- (instead of a B/B+) in contracts.

In that regard, I would urge you to go to Yale if you get in, Stanford if you want to work out west, BUT also consider CLS/NYU if you think you want to work in NY, which has a lot of cutting edge and exciting pi organizations.

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worldtraveler
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Re: Public interest programs--share wisdom you've gained

Postby worldtraveler » Tue Nov 23, 2010 7:30 pm

What kind of PI are we talking about?

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chris0805
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Re: Public interest programs--share wisdom you've gained

Postby chris0805 » Wed Nov 24, 2010 9:48 am

worldtraveler wrote:What kind of PI are we talking about?


I thought about this too, but on consideration, I'm not sure that it makes that big of a difference. Whether the OP wants to do civil legal services, prosecution, indigent defense, civil rights, or human rights, I think all the general advice in this thread holds. I guess it changes a little if the person wanted DOJ honors or wanted to be an AUSA.

Otherwise, try to come in with as much relevant experience (and relevant skills) as possible and, regardless of that, try to get as much relevant "legal" experience from day one of law school. For that, I think urban schools have an adv., but prestige definitely still seems to be (in my experience) a relevant factor.




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