is it reasonable to go to law school for this?

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Veyron
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Re: is it reasonable to go to law school for this?

Postby Veyron » Fri Mar 18, 2011 6:28 pm

Hgs412 wrote:Thank you to everyone who has responded.

I’m trying to take a very realistic view of my credentials and my capabilities, and I am under no impression that I will be the next big thing in constitutional law, or anything even close to it. I’m not trying to get advice as to how I could land a job with the ACLU (I know I almost certainly won't), but rather trying to determine whether, coming from a school like St. John’s, there would still be any way in which I could make some sort of meaningful contribution in this area of law.

Are you all saying that even someone graduating near or at the top of the class in St. John’s (or a comparably-ranked school) would have zero chance at even modest success in this field? I know that even if I graduated at the top of the class (and I realize that’s a big “if” at this point), I would have to work much harder to network and make myself stand out if I went to St. John’s. I don’t mind working at jobs that aren’t my first choice (or even jobs that I hate) for several years if doing so will eventually take me where I want to go. So if it’s simply a case of hard work, willingness to make sacrifices and compromises, and an understanding that I will never be the next Steven Shapiro, I believe I am up for the challenge.

However, it sounds like most of you are saying that no amount of hard work will ever give a Tier 2/3 graduate a chance to land a job in which he or she could make some kind of meaningful contribution to the civil liberties legal field. Is that pretty much the consensus on this board? If that truly is the case, I would like that reality to sink in now so I am under no misapprehensions if I do decide to attend law school.


No chance, no.

However, you have a better chance having a meaningful impact on con-law just running for your local JP seat (for which no JD is required) or for state house.

Remember, tons of the top kids from all of the very top schools are willing to work for very little money (and able because of LRAP) just to have a chance to work in con-law, ESPECIALLY on the east coast.
Last edited by Veyron on Fri Mar 18, 2011 6:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.

flcath
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Re: is it reasonable to go to law school for this?

Postby flcath » Fri Mar 18, 2011 6:28 pm

Veyron wrote:
flcath wrote:
Veyron wrote:Link to con-law jobs that pay shit money and take bottom tier talent?

Most con law is practiced by either (a) Biglaw (b) l33t PI shops.

--LinkRemoved--
http://www.hornsbylaw.com/our-people.aspx
http://www.jlondonlaw.com/biography.aspx

I mean, think about it: its not like anti-trust or securities law where you just can't practice it on a low level. I knew the director of Legal Service of North Florida (a graduate of the prestigious Cleveland-Marshall Law School), and he would handle cases like these fairly regularly. The stakes were just really low (I suspect).


Dude, labor and employment, family law, and personal injury law aren't con-law EVEN if you call it civil rights law. :roll:

And MED-MAL for the love of G-d? Really?

K. First, I I made it very clear I was not talking about glamorous work.

But most civil rights (which I guess wouldn't be con law, so much as a suit under 18 USC §242) cases can be gotten by finding street level plaintiffs who claim, in the course of their dealings w/ the 5-0, to have been battered and called the N-word.

The only reason every shitlaw crim defense guy doesn't handle these as an add-on is that they are, again, very long, and very hard to win.

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romothesavior
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Re: is it reasonable to go to law school for this?

Postby romothesavior » Fri Mar 18, 2011 6:29 pm

Veyron wrote:Dude, labor and employment, family law, and personal injury law aren't con-law EVEN if you call it civil rights law. :roll:

And MED-MAL for the love of G-d? Really?

I guess the most that you could say is that all law grows out of the constitution and so every type of law is con-law. I find this to be a stupid rationalization.

+1

With all due respect to flcath cause I like him and he seems like a good guy, I think he is conflating the type of con law OP wants to do with other types of PI or small level stuff.

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Veyron
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Re: is it reasonable to go to law school for this?

Postby Veyron » Fri Mar 18, 2011 6:30 pm

flcath wrote:
Veyron wrote:
flcath wrote:
Veyron wrote:Link to con-law jobs that pay shit money and take bottom tier talent?

Most con law is practiced by either (a) Biglaw (b) l33t PI shops.

--LinkRemoved--
http://www.hornsbylaw.com/our-people.aspx
http://www.jlondonlaw.com/biography.aspx

I mean, think about it: its not like anti-trust or securities law where you just can't practice it on a low level. I knew the director of Legal Service of North Florida (a graduate of the prestigious Cleveland-Marshall Law School), and he would handle cases like these fairly regularly. The stakes were just really low (I suspect).


Dude, labor and employment, family law, and personal injury law aren't con-law EVEN if you call it civil rights law. :roll:

And MED-MAL for the love of G-d? Really?

K. First, I I made it very clear I was not talking about glamorous work.

But most civil rights (which I guess wouldn't be con law, so much as a suit under 18 USC §242) cases can be gotten by finding street level plaintiffs who claim, in the course of their dealings w/ the 5-0, to have been battered and called the N-word.

The only reason every shitlaw crim defense guy doesn't handle these as an add-on is that they are, again, very long, and very hard to win.


Ummmmmm, civil rights law = ALL litigation concerning ALL legal rights that ALL individuals have. You might as well just have said non-corporate litigation.

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Re: is it reasonable to go to law school for this?

Postby flexityflex86 » Fri Mar 18, 2011 6:34 pm

Hgs412 wrote:Thank you to everyone who has responded.

I’m trying to take a very realistic view of my credentials and my capabilities, and I am under no impression that I will be the next big thing in constitutional law, or anything even close to it. I’m not trying to get advice as to how I could land a job with the ACLU (I know I almost certainly won't), but rather trying to determine whether, coming from a school like St. John’s, there would still be any way in which I could make some sort of meaningful contribution in this area of law.

Are you all saying that even someone graduating near or at the top of the class in St. John’s (or a comparably-ranked school) would have zero chance at even modest success in this field? I know that even if I graduated at the top of the class (and I realize that’s a big “if” at this point), I would have to work much harder to network and make myself stand out if I went to St. John’s. I don’t mind working at jobs that aren’t my first choice (or even jobs that I hate) for several years if doing so will eventually take me where I want to go. So if it’s simply a case of hard work, willingness to make sacrifices and compromises, and an understanding that I will never be the next Steven Shapiro, I believe I am up for the challenge.

However, it sounds like most of you are saying that no amount of hard work will ever give a Tier 2/3 graduate a chance to land a job in which he or she could make some kind of meaningful contribution to the civil liberties legal field. Is that pretty much the consensus on this board? If that truly is the case, I would like that reality to sink in now so I am under no misapprehensions if I do decide to attend law school.

I don't know some tier 3 was showing off about a movie made about one of their alumni. i forget which pamphlet it was. if you're really good at law, you'll be able to do something, but this is pretty impossible to predict. at least you're not someone who is like, "i'm going to cooley, but i got an A in like all my prelaw classes so I just know I'll be in the supreme court." these are more common than you'd think.

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Re: is it reasonable to go to law school for this?

Postby flcath » Fri Mar 18, 2011 6:35 pm

As one last point, I (and 3 other students in the student senate) was threatened w/ a lawsuit by the Christian Legal Society while at Florida State, over the senate's alleged violation of CLS's freedom of religion and association for revoking their funds (CLS doesn't allow gays to hold office).

The idea that the ACLU is right there, jumping at the opportunity to provide legal services to (undisputedly) poor ppl in clear con law suits, is false. We got a dude (an undergrad business prof) who went to West Virginia LS.

You could easily handle cases like these. In this case, though, you'd be working for free. Which brings me back to my initial point.

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Veyron
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Re: is it reasonable to go to law school for this?

Postby Veyron » Fri Mar 18, 2011 6:37 pm

flcath wrote:As one last point, I (and 3 other students in the student senate) was threatened w/ a lawsuit by the Christian Legal Society while at Florida State, over the senate's alleged violation of CLS's freedom of religion and association for revoking their funds (CLS doesn't allow gays to hold office).

The idea that the ACLU is right there, jumping at the opportunity to provide legal services to (undisputedly) poor ppl in clear con law suits, is false. We got a dude (an undergrad business prof) who went to West Virginia LS.

You could easily handle cases like these. In this case, though, you'd be working for free. Which brings me back to my initial point.


Yes, the main limitation on getting hired to do con-law is a lack of funds, not cases. This is why so many of the really important cases are litigated by large firms pro-b.

Factoid of the day, we owe our Miranda Warnings to an NLJ 250 firm that took the case because some senior people there wanted to have a little fun.

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Re: is it reasonable to go to law school for this?

Postby flcath » Fri Mar 18, 2011 6:44 pm

Veyron wrote:
flcath wrote:As one last point, I (and 3 other students in the student senate) was threatened w/ a lawsuit by the Christian Legal Society while at Florida State, over the senate's alleged violation of CLS's freedom of religion and association for revoking their funds (CLS doesn't allow gays to hold office).

The idea that the ACLU is right there, jumping at the opportunity to provide legal services to (undisputedly) poor ppl in clear con law suits, is false. We got a dude (an undergrad business prof) who went to West Virginia LS.

You could easily handle cases like these. In this case, though, you'd be working for free. Which brings me back to my initial point.


Yes, the main limitation on getting hired to do con-law is a lack of funds, not cases. This is why so many of the really important cases are litigated by large firms pro-b.

Factoid of the day, we owe our Miranda Warnings to an NLJ 250 firm that took the case because some senior people there wanted to have a little fun.

I distinctly remember, as we were being delivered very formal-looking paperwork, getting calls from the VPSA, etc., thinking "oh, don't worry. They've got a large political organization on their side; it's only a matter of time before a liberal organization (I kept using the ACLU as my example when talking to the other 3) comes to defend us."

What's funny is that, had we been able to fight the case (they named US, not the school... I'm not rich, and the other 3 kids were poorer than me), we might have been the namesakes of what later became CLS v. Martinez. (We'd have lost; FL's constitution is even weaker than Cali's in protecting gays.)

This is my cool story of the day, I guess.

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Veyron
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Re: is it reasonable to go to law school for this?

Postby Veyron » Fri Mar 18, 2011 6:46 pm

flcath wrote:
Veyron wrote:
flcath wrote:As one last point, I (and 3 other students in the student senate) was threatened w/ a lawsuit by the Christian Legal Society while at Florida State, over the senate's alleged violation of CLS's freedom of religion and association for revoking their funds (CLS doesn't allow gays to hold office).

The idea that the ACLU is right there, jumping at the opportunity to provide legal services to (undisputedly) poor ppl in clear con law suits, is false. We got a dude (an undergrad business prof) who went to West Virginia LS.

You could easily handle cases like these. In this case, though, you'd be working for free. Which brings me back to my initial point.


Yes, the main limitation on getting hired to do con-law is a lack of funds, not cases. This is why so many of the really important cases are litigated by large firms pro-b.

Factoid of the day, we owe our Miranda Warnings to an NLJ 250 firm that took the case because some senior people there wanted to have a little fun.

I distinctly remember, as we were being delivered very formal-looking paperwork, getting calls from the VPSA, etc., thinking "oh, don't worry. They've got a large political organization on their side; it's only a matter of time before a liberal organization (I kept using the ACLU as my example when talking to the other 3) comes to defend us."

What's funny is that, had we been able to fight the case (they named US, not the school... I'm not rich, and the other 3 kids were poorer than me), we might have been the namesakes of what later became CLS v. Martinez. (We'd have lost; FL's constitution is even weaker than Cali's in protecting gays.)

This is my cool story of the day, I guess.


Lol, I had a similar experience. Yours is much more epic though.

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Re: is it reasonable to go to law school for this?

Postby flcath » Fri Mar 18, 2011 6:51 pm

Veyron wrote:
flcath wrote:
Veyron wrote:
flcath wrote:As one last point, I (and 3 other students in the student senate) was threatened w/ a lawsuit by the Christian Legal Society while at Florida State, over the senate's alleged violation of CLS's freedom of religion and association for revoking their funds (CLS doesn't allow gays to hold office).

The idea that the ACLU is right there, jumping at the opportunity to provide legal services to (undisputedly) poor ppl in clear con law suits, is false. We got a dude (an undergrad business prof) who went to West Virginia LS.

You could easily handle cases like these. In this case, though, you'd be working for free. Which brings me back to my initial point.


Yes, the main limitation on getting hired to do con-law is a lack of funds, not cases. This is why so many of the really important cases are litigated by large firms pro-b.

Factoid of the day, we owe our Miranda Warnings to an NLJ 250 firm that took the case because some senior people there wanted to have a little fun.

I distinctly remember, as we were being delivered very formal-looking paperwork, getting calls from the VPSA, etc., thinking "oh, don't worry. They've got a large political organization on their side; it's only a matter of time before a liberal organization (I kept using the ACLU as my example when talking to the other 3) comes to defend us."

What's funny is that, had we been able to fight the case (they named US, not the school... I'm not rich, and the other 3 kids were poorer than me), we might have been the namesakes of what later became CLS v. Martinez. (We'd have lost; FL's constitution is even weaker than Cali's in protecting gays.)

This is my cool story of the day, I guess.


Lol, I had a similar experience. Yours is much more epic though.

I mean, were you not disappointed and surprised when no Atticus Finch types came to the rescue?

I was a biochem major, and so I knew a lot of premeds--they talk about wanting to help poor ppl (salary be damned) all the time. I just assumed there would be lawyers who felt the same way.

And so I stand by what I told the OP. I admit that I have yet to think of how this pays the bills; but HE'S GOT PASSION, right?

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Veyron
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Re: is it reasonable to go to law school for this?

Postby Veyron » Fri Mar 18, 2011 6:53 pm

[/quote]

Lol, I had a similar experience. Yours is much more epic though.[/quote]
I mean, were you not disappointed and surprised when no Atticus Finch types came to the rescue?

I was a biochem major, and so I knew a lot of premeds--they talk about wanting to help poor ppl (salary be damned) all the time. I just assumed there would be lawyers who felt the same way.

And so I stand by what I told the OP. I admit that I have yet to think of how this pays the bills; but HE'S GOT PASSION, right?[/quote]

There are plenty of lawyers willing to help the poor for 30k a year, just not for 0k. Anyway, for me, it wasn't a poor issue but a freedom issue. But yes, it did lead to quite a bit of disillusionment about how constitutional litigators operate.
Fortunately I'm now going to be lawyer and can kick big brother's ass.

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Leira7905
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Re: is it reasonable to go to law school for this?

Postby Leira7905 » Fri Mar 18, 2011 9:29 pm

Hgs412 wrote:Thank you to everyone who has responded.

I’m trying to take a very realistic view of my credentials and my capabilities, and I am under no impression that I will be the next big thing in constitutional law, or anything even close to it. I’m not trying to get advice as to how I could land a job with the ACLU (I know I almost certainly won't), but rather trying to determine whether, coming from a school like St. John’s, there would still be any way in which I could make some sort of meaningful contribution in this area of law.

Are you all saying that even someone graduating near or at the top of the class in St. John’s (or a comparably-ranked school) would have zero chance at even modest success in this field? I know that even if I graduated at the top of the class (and I realize that’s a big “if” at this point), I would have to work much harder to network and make myself stand out if I went to St. John’s. I don’t mind working at jobs that aren’t my first choice (or even jobs that I hate) for several years if doing so will eventually take me where I want to go. So if it’s simply a case of hard work, willingness to make sacrifices and compromises, and an understanding that I will never be the next Steven Shapiro, I believe I am up for the challenge.

However, it sounds like most of you are saying that no amount of hard work will ever give a Tier 2/3 graduate a chance to land a job in which he or she could make some kind of meaningful contribution to the civil liberties legal field. Is that pretty much the consensus on this board? If that truly is the case, I would like that reality to sink in now so I am under no misapprehensions if I do decide to attend law school.


I don't think it's impossible to accomplish your goals coming from St. Johns; however, I think what the TLSers are trying to tell you is that it would be extremely difficult. The fact is, there's a lot of competition and few jobs available in that sector of the legal field. The main point you should be taking away from this (and I'm sure I'll be corrected if I'm wrong) is that perhaps this shouldn't be the ONLY reason one goes to law school. Even if you graduate debt free (with a full ride at St. John's) it's still three years of your life that you'd be dedicating on the small chance that you'll land a job in the very narrow field that you're aiming towards. Even if you wait a year and re-take to go to a T-14 (or T-13 or whatever) you'll still be taking the time risk, and at that level, probably some substantial debt too.

However, if you could see yourself being happy working in some other areas of law, or if you're cool with taking the LS gamble even if it won't get you where you want to be, then go for it. Otherwise, maybe you should re-evaluate whether or not this is what you really want to do. Because, remember, you'll be competing with thousands of other law school graduates who have the same goals, and are 100% committed to accomplishing them no matter what it takes.

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Re: is it reasonable to go to law school for this?

Postby ams » Fri Mar 18, 2011 9:59 pm

I know you said you don't want to retake, but with that GPA you absolutely are Harvard material. I think you basically have to choose between your career goal or your desire not to retake. Either you retake and maybe have a shot at HYSCCN or you decide to revise your career goals. It's not a fun choice to make but I think that's where you're at. I think there is probably also a good chance that you will go to law school and find another area of law that you are very interested in.

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Re: is it reasonable to go to law school for this?

Postby TheTopBloke » Fri Mar 18, 2011 10:03 pm

Hgs412 wrote:This is less of a “what school should I attend?” question and more of a “should I attend law school at all?” question. I wasn’t sure where to post this topic, so I apologize if it is not the correct forum.

I am very passionate about free speech and privacy rights, and, in an ideal world, I would be able to make a career out of this interest. However, based on the limited research I have been able to do, there really isn’t much of an opportunity to work in this field. It seems that most people with jobs involving civil liberties issues tend to be college professors who teach and write on the subject. Unfortunately, due to my own personal strengths and weaknesses, I just cannot see myself as a professor. Outside of academia, the only other opportunities I have encountered are legal positions with organizations such as the ACLU or the Electronic Privacy Information Center. Most individuals working for such organizations have graduated from places like Harvard and Yale, but, while I consider myself to be intelligent and capable of success in my chosen career, I am just not Harvard material (3.9 GPA and 162 LSAT).

Are there many opportunities out there for someone who is interested in a legal career in civil liberties? Or is it totally naïve and ridiculous of me to think that I could some day be paid to do this type of work? I realize that I wouldn’t be making much money if I did end up working in this field, and I’m ok with that. I would be very grateful for any insight or information that board members could give me. And, in case this makes a difference in terms of how you respond, I have been accepted to Fordham, Cardozo, and Brooklyn with no scholarship offers, and St. John's with a full scholarship offer. I have already retaken the LSAT and I am not going to retake it again. If I do go to law school, it will most likely be St. John's.


Yes, there is a need for people such as yourself. If you are passionate about free speech, go to law school. Don't let anyone else tell you different.

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Re: is it reasonable to go to law school for this?

Postby EdmundBurke23 » Fri Mar 18, 2011 10:04 pm

Hgs412 wrote:This is not the only type of law I'm interested in, but it's the only thing I've ever been passionate about. I believe I could be satisfied with other types public interest work, though. I currently work for an organization assisting individuals complaining of illegal labor and housing practices, and I find many aspects of this job to be rewarding. However, civil rights violations just don't incite the same fire in that civil liberties (particularly privacy rights) violations do. If I couldn't get an actual job in civil liberties, I would still want to volunteer some of my time to some sort of privacy rights cause (if I had the salary/hours to do so, that is). But I don't even know if there's a market for volunteers in that field...


Why don't you try to get a higher LSAT score, get into a T6 program, become an associate at NLJ250 law firm, become partner, save up 10 million dollars, and create a non-profit free-speech/public interest law firm that operates off of the interest you gain from that 10 million dollars?

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Re: is it reasonable to go to law school for this?

Postby Leira7905 » Fri Mar 18, 2011 10:06 pm

EdmundBurke23 wrote:
Hgs412 wrote:This is not the only type of law I'm interested in, but it's the only thing I've ever been passionate about. I believe I could be satisfied with other types public interest work, though. I currently work for an organization assisting individuals complaining of illegal labor and housing practices, and I find many aspects of this job to be rewarding. However, civil rights violations just don't incite the same fire in that civil liberties (particularly privacy rights) violations do. If I couldn't get an actual job in civil liberties, I would still want to volunteer some of my time to some sort of privacy rights cause (if I had the salary/hours to do so, that is). But I don't even know if there's a market for volunteers in that field...


Why don't you try to get a higher LSAT score, get into a T6 program, become an associate at NLJ250 law firm, become partner, save up 10 million dollars, and create a non-profit free-speech/public interest law firm that operates off of the interest you gain from that 10 million dollars?


Wow. You're good! Why didn't I think of that????? FML

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Re: is it reasonable to go to law school for this?

Postby Borhas » Fri Mar 18, 2011 10:22 pm

privacy rights?

4th amendment stuff huh? you could try for public defender, defend drug dealers by suppressing evidence, there's privacy rights for ya

if you want more scholarly stuff you could try for federal PD, but that's harder

course that's not all you'd be doing. But as far as constitutional law, crim law probably has a lot of practical applications like that.
Last edited by Borhas on Fri Mar 18, 2011 10:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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TheTopBloke
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Re: is it reasonable to go to law school for this?

Postby TheTopBloke » Fri Mar 18, 2011 10:23 pm

Borhas wrote:privacy rights?

4th amendment stuff huh? PD, defend drug dealers by suppressing evidence, there's privacy rights for ya


Bitter are we?

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Borhas
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Re: is it reasonable to go to law school for this?

Postby Borhas » Fri Mar 18, 2011 10:24 pm

TheTopBloke wrote:
Borhas wrote:privacy rights?

4th amendment stuff huh? PD, defend drug dealers by suppressing evidence, there's privacy rights for ya


Bitter are we?

no, why?

plead the fif?

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TheTopBloke
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Re: is it reasonable to go to law school for this?

Postby TheTopBloke » Fri Mar 18, 2011 10:25 pm

Borhas wrote:
TheTopBloke wrote:
Borhas wrote:privacy rights?

4th amendment stuff huh? PD, defend drug dealers by suppressing evidence, there's privacy rights for ya


Bitter are we?

no, why?

plead the fif?


Every time.

ku1185
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Re: is it reasonable to go to law school for this?

Postby ku1185 » Fri Mar 18, 2011 10:34 pm

I'm looking to do something similar to the OP after graduating from law school. In fact, I'm going to law school in hopes of working on issues championed by EPIC, EFF, PK, CDT, MAP, etc., even some by ACLU. I understand that it will be hard to land a gig at one of those places, but I feel like I would also enjoy working for businesses that would deal with related issues (copyrights, user privacy, etc.) if my first choice doesn't really work out.

Of course, I won't be in quite the same position as the OP, having been admitted to T20 schools. I am still worried about the job market within my chosen field being highly competitive. That said, I plan on working my freaking ass off in law school, especially considering I'll be financing school entirely through loans.

And to the OP, I think you should really think hard about what you would like to be doing and what your chances are of making it. Would you be enjoying your work if you work on related issues that don't have, say, as significant an impact? Will you still have that 'fire?' What if you were doing something more and more different than what you currently want to do? Would you enjoy being a different type of lawyer from what you set out to be? Think about contingencies and how you would feel about having to resort to them.

These are some things I asked myself before I finally pulled the trigger on the whole law school thing.

P.S. Some friends of mine were represented by NYCLU. *drool*

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Veyron
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Re: is it reasonable to go to law school for this?

Postby Veyron » Fri Mar 18, 2011 10:44 pm

ku1185 wrote:I'm looking to do something similar to the OP after graduating from law school. In fact, I'm going to law school in hopes of working on issues championed by EPIC, EFF, PK, CDT, MAP, etc., even some by ACLU. I understand that it will be hard to land a gig at one of those places, but I feel like I would also enjoy working for businesses that would deal with related issues (copyrights, user privacy, etc.) if my first choice doesn't really work out.

Of course, I won't be in quite the same position as the OP, having been admitted to T20 schools. I am still worried about the job market within my chosen field being highly competitive. That said, I plan on working my freaking ass off in law school, especially considering I'll be financing school entirely through loans.

And to the OP, I think you should really think hard about what you would like to be doing and what your chances are of making it. Would you be enjoying your work if you work on related issues that don't have, say, as significant an impact? Will you still have that 'fire?' What if you were doing something more and more different than what you currently want to do? Would you enjoy being a different type of lawyer from what you set out to be? Think about contingencies and how you would feel about having to resort to them.

These are some things I asked myself before I finally pulled the trigger on the whole law school thing.

P.S. Some friends of mine were represented by NYCLU. *drool*


Just squeeking into a T20 isn't going to put you in any better position. Go do your homework and read some aclu bios. Even in the field offices you find kids who got full rides to T-14s.




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