Options for Public Interest

(Rankings, Profiles, Tuition, Student Life, . . . )

Which school/package is better for someone seriously considering public interest work?

Poll ended at Sat Mar 10, 2012 4:53 pm

William and Mary (12k)
1
17%
Rutgers - Newark (10k + Instate)
5
83%
Penn State (25k)
0
No votes
 
Total votes: 6

toiletgecko
Posts: 13
Joined: Tue Oct 04, 2011 4:42 pm

Options for Public Interest

Postby toiletgecko » Sat Mar 03, 2012 4:53 pm

So, I'm sitting here pondering my options and I figured you guys would be helpful with all this. Right now, I'm weighing my options, and I'm coming down to a few final selections.

William and Mary with 12k
Rutgers Newark with 10k + instate
Penn State with 25k

I'm pretty sure that I want to work in a public interest position. I know that most consider going to a school with little to no debt for this kinda thing, but should I go to the higher ranked school? Would W&M give me more opportunities along the Middle Atlantic (VA, PA, NJ, MD, DC)? I'm down for settling anywhere between NY and VA, and I have ties in all three ties (though my strongest are in NJ).

Any comments?

northside
Posts: 102
Joined: Sun Oct 30, 2011 3:03 pm

Re: Options for Public Interest

Postby northside » Sat Mar 03, 2012 5:16 pm

Did you get into Dozo?
What are you stats?

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cinephile
Posts: 3469
Joined: Sun Jul 18, 2010 3:50 pm

Re: Options for Public Interest

Postby cinephile » Sat Mar 03, 2012 6:02 pm

What do those numbers reflect? How much you're paying, or scholarship amount? Each year or total?

User avatar
reformed calvinist
Posts: 287
Joined: Thu Feb 23, 2012 11:58 pm

Re: Options for Public Interest

Postby reformed calvinist » Sat Mar 03, 2012 6:44 pm

toiletgecko wrote:So, I'm sitting here pondering my options and I figured you guys would be helpful with all this. Right now, I'm weighing my options, and I'm coming down to a few final selections.

William and Mary with 12k
Rutgers Newark with 10k + instate
Penn State with 25k

I'm pretty sure that I want to work in a public interest position. I know that most consider going to a school with little to no debt for this kinda thing, but should I go to the higher ranked school? Would W&M give me more opportunities along the Middle Atlantic (VA, PA, NJ, MD, DC)? I'm down for settling anywhere between NY and VA, and I have ties in all three ties (though my strongest are in NJ).

Any comments?


What do you mean by public interest? It's an umbrella term people toss a lot of disparate things into. I assume you mean a nonprofit like the Southern Poverty Law Center or something like that, but some people include public defenders, prosecutors (especially stuff like sex crimes and domestic violence), NGOs, some government agencies.

I don't know if there's a significant difference in "prestige" between the three. For someplace crazy competitive like the ACLU, I don't think any of them are likely to raise more eyebrows than the other. Of course, that's not accounting for regional bias (i.e. guess which one a small outfit in PA might prefer), which I actually am only knowledgeable about with regards to private sector work.

There is an absolute assload of "public interest" stuff in DC and NY. Without more information, it seems like a wash. I don't know which school has better pull in its home region, and how much the degree of your ties amplify that. The general rule of thumb is that while with a lot of hard work and pounding the pavement you can move between regions, you are most likely (ties notwithstanding) to end up getting a job in your school's area and therefore choose accordingly.

If you want the type of NGOs or government stuff that populates D.C. (and civil rights litigation outfits, etc. although you can find them in NY as well) W&M is probably the place that puts the most people in D.C. (it might not have the greatest placement, but compared to Rutgers and Penn State I'm sure getting to D.C. is easier from there) Etc. If you're location agnostic and the job you seek is not really geographically dependent (i.e. becoming an ADA), go with whatever gives you the least amount of debt. Which, based on what I know looks like Rutgers, although I could be wrong. And if you're not location-agnostic, don't choose based on a small margin of money. I.e., if you really want to be a prosecutor in Newark, or practice immigration law in the tri-state area, don't go to Penn State because it's 5k cheaper a year or whatever.

I know (based on reading the damned thing while waiting for the class before my civ pro to shuffle out) that National Jurist has ranked Rutgers on its list of best law schools for public interest for a few years running. For all I know, that could mean jack shit. But look into stuff like that. Does the school put a lot of people into government work? The private sector? Is the career office helpful or worthless for public interest work? Etc. For state and local government work, have there been hiring freezes and other bad omens in the region?

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TIKITEMBO
Posts: 597
Joined: Sun Oct 24, 2010 5:07 pm

Re: Options for Public Interest

Postby TIKITEMBO » Sat Mar 03, 2012 7:13 pm

.




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