So you want to do PI?

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Dingo Starr
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Re: So you want to do PI?

Postby Dingo Starr » Sat Jan 04, 2014 12:29 pm

BlueLotus wrote:nice! though i'm not sure i have any notable or unique hobbies, save playing an unusual instrument (which i'm rather rusty on now)

How would they know that you're rusty?
No one says that interests have to be particularly unique or notable. You are trying to create a bond with an interviewer by casting a fairly wide net. You might catch their interest or you might not.
For instance, I would list something fairly non-specific like hiking. This does not mean, necessarily, that I regularly hike the Appalachian Trail although it could open up a friendly conversation on the subject if your interviewer is so inclined.
More specifically, I would list something like flying remote control helicopters. This could spark genuine related interest from your interviewer or it could open up more widely divergent topics like the various applications of drones or the potential for invasion of privacy issues.
Just be genuine. If you are no longer interested in your weird rusty instrument, I would probably not list it unless you know the interviewer will be hooked. In that case you will just have to parlay your memories of the interest you once had, a slightly more difficult approach.

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BlueLotus
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Re: So you want to do PI?

Postby BlueLotus » Sat Jan 04, 2014 12:53 pm

thanks!^

would say, being a fan of a particular sports team based in the market you're targeting, be a good addition? it's not particularly unique (which you say doesn't really matter), but it is a potential conversation piece

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Dingo Starr
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Re: So you want to do PI?

Postby Dingo Starr » Sat Jan 04, 2014 5:07 pm

BlueLotus wrote:would say, being a fan of a particular sports team based in the market you're targeting, be a good addition? it's not particularly unique (which you say doesn't really matter), but it is a potential conversation piece

This is an interesting question and I am somewhat divided about it. Naturally, I asked my wife her opinion because she is a sports fan and in HR. Her primary concern about listing sports affiliation is that your future employer may be concerned about how sports events could distract you and lower productivity. You know that person at work who is only talking and thinking about whatever big game is on the tv or radio. Those people are not thinking enough about doing their job, even if it is only during select times of the year. She also pointed out that passively watching sports does not come across in an interview as anything other than lazy.
I asked her about how any potential brownie points earned in the interview could offset these impressions and she did not seem to think that it would be worth chancing it. You do not know, going in, that the interviewer is a sports fan of the dominant team in the region. There may be multiple teams or the interviewer may absolutely abhor sports. Risking a potentially negative interaction for a minimal gain does not seem like a good plan.
With all that said, you could mention it offhand in the interview and score some conversational points. Don't force it in, but if you see sports junk cluttering up the office you will know that you are good to go.

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midwest17
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Re: So you want to do PI?

Postby midwest17 » Sat Jan 04, 2014 6:34 pm

sd5289 wrote:In the spirit of that line of thinking, I'm (genuinely) curious as to what alternative there is to the prison system for serious offenses (full disclosure: could care less about the kid caught with a joint or the turnstile jumper). How should the CRJ system treat offenders, aka: defendant proven guilty, who committed homicide? Assault with a weapon? Or how about a chronic repeat drunk driver who hasn't killed someone...yet? I've asked the PD hopefuls in classes this a number of times, but never seem to get an answer.


I can only speak for myself (as a 0L PD-aspirant), but I don't morally object to prison systems in general. I do, however, object to the prison-rape-abuse system in the US.

IM (unrealistic) O, prosecutors should refuse to send people to prison until it's reformed to basic levels of humaneness. In the meantime, I have a lot of respect for PDs who do everything (legal) they can to either keep one client out of prison, even if only temporarily, or put pressure on the system to reform (such as driving up the costs of prosecution, or getting prosecutors to see the moral problems with their actions.)

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Pleasye
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Re: So you want to do PI?

Postby Pleasye » Sat Jan 04, 2014 6:42 pm

Dingo Starr wrote:
BlueLotus wrote:would say, being a fan of a particular sports team based in the market you're targeting, be a good addition? it's not particularly unique (which you say doesn't really matter), but it is a potential conversation piece

This is an interesting question and I am somewhat divided about it. Naturally, I asked my wife her opinion because she is a sports fan and in HR. Her primary concern about listing sports affiliation is that your future employer may be concerned about how sports events could distract you and lower productivity. You know that person at work who is only talking and thinking about whatever big game is on the tv or radio. Those people are not thinking enough about doing their job, even if it is only during select times of the year. She also pointed out that passively watching sports does not come across in an interview as anything other than lazy.

This is dumb and could be said about anything. Oh, this person said they like hiking, they must be thinking about the next time they can go to the mountains all day!

And no employer is going to hate you because they don't like the sports team in your interests section. If they let something like that color their decision making you were in for a rough ride no matter what you choose to put in that section.

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Dingo Starr
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Re: So you want to do PI?

Postby Dingo Starr » Sat Jan 04, 2014 8:12 pm

Pleasye wrote:This is dumb and could be said about anything. Oh, this person said they like hiking, they must be thinking about the next time they can go to the mountains all day!

If only my former employers knew about how much I dreamed about going to the mountains all day.
You are absolutely right. It could be said of anything. Shouldn't mention TLS as an interest because they will probably worry about how you spend all day thinking up witty responses to post.
I have never had a job where a coworker of mine brought up hiking, or specifically an annual hiking event, to the degree that it impeded the flow of work. I have had several jobs where the talk about brackets, championships, or play-offs dominated the discussions for at least a week and distracted people from their work. This is just my experience. YMMV.
However, showing an interest in hiking (or any other physical activity for that matter) does give employers an idea about your interest in physical fitness in a way that watching sports events does not. Healthy employees are more productive overall and may reduce insurance costs, if that is a concern.
no employer is going to hate you because they don't like the sports team in your interests section. If they let something like that color their decision making you were in for a rough ride no matter what you choose to put in that section.

Agreed.

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sd5289
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Re: So you want to do PI?

Postby sd5289 » Sun Jan 05, 2014 4:53 pm

midwest17 wrote:I can only speak for myself (as a 0L PD-aspirant), but I don't morally object to prison systems in general. I do, however, object to the prison-rape-abuse system in the US.

IM (unrealistic) O, prosecutors should refuse to send people to prison until it's reformed to basic levels of humaneness. In the meantime, I have a lot of respect for PDs who do everything (legal) they can to either keep one client out of prison, even if only temporarily, or put pressure on the system to reform (such as driving up the costs of prosecution, or getting prosecutors to see the moral problems with their actions.)


So go work for the prison-reform movement and pressure the DOC directly? Because they could really care less how many clients PD's are keeping out of the prison system. Perhaps I've missed something, but I don't really see the link between the day-to-day work that PD's do and the necessary "pressure" on the DOC to address issues like violence in the prison system, overcrowding, etc. Also, how are prosecutors engaging in some sort of "moral" dilemma by doing their jobs and prosecuting violation of the Penal Law? It's one thing to say that prosecutors routinely conceal Brady material or falsify evidence in order to get a jury to convict (both of which I would term "moral problematic actions"), but simply being a prosecutor is not morally problematic.

Pleasye wrote:This is dumb and could be said about anything. Oh, this person said they like hiking, they must be thinking about the next time they can go to the mountains all day!


Agreed.

I think a one line interest section is fine, and can actually create a connection to your interviewer that's unique to you. If it's particularly interesting, they might ask you about it anyway because s/he is genuinely curious. I have a one line interest section down, and have almost always been asked about it. It doesn't generate an extensive discussion or some sort of method to disqualify you as a candidate. It's just a conversation starter, and really can't hurt you.

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midwest17
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Re: So you want to do PI?

Postby midwest17 » Sun Jan 05, 2014 6:20 pm

sd5289 wrote:
midwest17 wrote:I can only speak for myself (as a 0L PD-aspirant), but I don't morally object to prison systems in general. I do, however, object to the prison-rape-abuse system in the US.

IM (unrealistic) O, prosecutors should refuse to send people to prison until it's reformed to basic levels of humaneness. In the meantime, I have a lot of respect for PDs who do everything (legal) they can to either keep one client out of prison, even if only temporarily, or put pressure on the system to reform (such as driving up the costs of prosecution, or getting prosecutors to see the moral problems with their actions.)


So go work for the prison-reform movement and pressure the DOC directly? Because they could really care less how many clients PD's are keeping out of the prison system. Perhaps I've missed something, but I don't really see the link between the day-to-day work that PD's do and the necessary "pressure" on the DOC to address issues like violence in the prison system, overcrowding, etc. Also, how are prosecutors engaging in some sort of "moral" dilemma by doing their jobs and prosecuting violation of the Penal Law? It's one thing to say that prosecutors routinely conceal Brady material or falsify evidence in order to get a jury to convict (both of which I would term "moral problematic actions"), but simply being a prosecutor is not morally problematic.


The first part of your response is conflating two separate parts of what I said. There's (a) keeping individuals out of prison (which is a good thing if you believe that the current American prison system is morally indefensible) and (b) putting pressure on the system. PDs can put pressure on the system by forcing the government to prove it's case fully (which drives up the cost of prosecution and thus tends to lead to fewer prosecutions/less imprisonment) or by making prosecution more difficult in other ways. Starting from the same priors, it's not at all difficult to see how one would think working as a prosecutor is immoral: they're an essential part of an inherently immoral system, working to put people into morally indefensible prisons.

I'm not trying to argue the baseline moral issues here. But you were complaining that PDs don't try to see things from a prosecutorial perspective (which I think is generally wrong; most PDs aren't anarchists, and would support *some* criminal justice system; and not all are true believers: many do support the current criminal justice system, and are just playing the important role that the current system allocates to defense attorneys). I'm trying to show you a PD perspective that, starting from non-ridiculous premises (even if you don't agree with them) explains the behavior you're complaining about. Look at it this way: if you think that prisons / other elements of the criminal justice system are inherently unjust, that prosecutors are perpetuating that system, and that prosecutors are able to do so more effectively/cheaply when they're assisted by legal interns, might you not reasonably conclude that you have a moral obligation to dissuade people from working in those internships?

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worldtraveler
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Re: So you want to do PI?

Postby worldtraveler » Sun Jan 05, 2014 7:54 pm

You guys are ruining a helpful thread.

lowcountry
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Re: So you want to do PI?

Postby lowcountry » Sun Jan 05, 2014 9:29 pm

+1 worldtraveler

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BlueLotus
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Re: So you want to do PI?

Postby BlueLotus » Sun Jan 05, 2014 9:46 pm

how do employers look at school-based clinics v. externships?

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Re: So you want to do PI?

Postby BlueLotus » Sun Jan 05, 2014 10:26 pm

worldtraveler wrote:You guys are ruining a helpful thread.


i dunno, it might be helpful for 0Ls/1Ls interested in crim law to know how much of "true believer" mentality prevails in PD circles and how important it is to show unfailing commitment to defendant's rights...to the point that volunteering to help DV/SA survivors in even a civil context is seen as a huge red flag.

i'm sure as hell that PDs offices would never take a chance me given all my work with U/VAWA seekers.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: So you want to do PI?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Sun Jan 05, 2014 10:38 pm

BlueLotus wrote:i dunno, it might be helpful for 0Ls/1Ls interested in crim law to know how much of "true believer" mentality prevails in PD circles and how important it is to show unfailing commitment to defendant's rights...to the point that volunteering to help DV/SA survivors in even a civil context is seen as a huge red flag.

I agree that that point is important... but (speaking as someone who contributed to the derail), I think worldtraveler is right, in that the same debate tends to recur in these threads, and I don't think anyone on either side is going to change their mind about the other.

BlueLotus wrote:how do employers look at school-based clinics v. externships?

I think it probably depends on what exactly you do in either of them. All else being equal, externships where you're working directly for an employer probably look a little better, but if your externship has you e.g. writing memos and observing court, while your clinic has you work directly with clients and stand up in court, the clinic would likely be more valuable. Unless, of course, the externship got you connected to someone responsible for hiring in a PI organization... so, it would depend.

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twenty
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Re: So you want to do PI?

Postby twenty » Sun Jan 05, 2014 10:53 pm

This is sort of a weirdly-specific question, but I was wondering if any of you folks had even anecdotal evidence for this:

Suppose a law student wants a PD's office in a region notorious for not hiring fresh grads (i.e. DC, SF). Would it be better to:

1) Gun for it anyway (lots of volunteer work, etc.) at a local school that may not otherwise offer the best opportunities for grads (i.e, Hastings for SF).

2) Go to school in a "safer" region that hasn't completely frozen entry PD hiring (i.e, Texas, Virginia, Georgia) and gun for PD there. After a few years, try and get back to SF/DC with the other market's PD background on your resume.

3) Traditional TLS wisdom -- go for a T14, potentially wind up in biglaw, and hopefully leave after a few years for federal public defender or the state PD's office. Put all loans on 30-year or PAYE in the expectation of using LRAP/PSLF once you make it over to the PD's office (unlike traditional TLSW, where you would pay off loans as fast as possible in biglaw)

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BlueLotus
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Re: So you want to do PI?

Postby BlueLotus » Sun Jan 05, 2014 11:16 pm

Is the "true believer" mentality as prevalent in civil divisions of PD offices? I'm talking about like the Child Advocacy Unit of the Philly PD, the Child and Family Law Division of CPCS (MA's PD) or the Family Defense Practice of the Bronx Defenders. I have relevant volunteer experience family/juvenile law.

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mr. wednesday
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Re: So you want to do PI?

Postby mr. wednesday » Sun Jan 05, 2014 11:58 pm

BlueLotus wrote:Is the "true believer" mentality as prevalent in civil divisions of PD offices? I'm talking about like the Child Advocacy Unit of the Philly PD, the Child and Family Law Division of CPCS (MA's PD) or the Family Defense Practice of the Bronx Defenders. I have relevant volunteer experience family/juvenile law.

The true believer thing varies from office to office or even attorney to attorney. Generally, if you want to work anywhere in a PD office, avoid DA work and even to some extent anything corporate. Some places will look askance at victims rights work as well, but general family law isn't really going against PD work. Maybe if you were primarily representing victims of DV, but even then I don't think it's a disqualifier so much as something to explain.

Ultimately, you have to work with whatever background you have. If you can get hired as a PD 1L and 2L with that background and do well, it probably won't be much of a factor post-grad. The most important thing will be excelling as an intern/extern during law school. That, and deciding that it's a job you feel passionate about and able to do.

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BlueLotus
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Re: So you want to do PI?

Postby BlueLotus » Mon Jan 06, 2014 12:48 am

A. Nony Mouse wrote:
BlueLotus wrote:i dunno, it might be helpful for 0Ls/1Ls interested in crim law to know how much of "true believer" mentality prevails in PD circles and how important it is to show unfailing commitment to defendant's rights...to the point that volunteering to help DV/SA survivors in even a civil context is seen as a huge red flag.

I agree that that point is important... but (speaking as someone who contributed to the derail), I think worldtraveler is right, in that the same debate tends to recur in these threads, and I don't think anyone on either side is going to change their mind about the other.

BlueLotus wrote:how do employers look at school-based clinics v. externships?

I think it probably depends on what exactly you do in either of them. All else being equal, externships where you're working directly for an employer probably look a little better, but if your externship has you e.g. writing memos and observing court, while your clinic has you work directly with clients and stand up in court, the clinic would likely be more valuable. Unless, of course, the externship got you connected to someone responsible for hiring in a PI organization... so, it would depend.


^good advice. leaning towards clinic though, b/c i feel weird paying my school tuition to work somewhere else full-time for free, lol.

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sd5289
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Re: So you want to do PI?

Postby sd5289 » Mon Jan 06, 2014 12:02 pm

worldtraveler wrote:You guys are ruining a helpful thread.


Which is why I'm ignoring the rest of it, and trying to get back to what this thread was originally about.

twenty wrote:Suppose a law student wants a PD's office in a region notorious for not hiring fresh grads (i.e. DC, SF). Would it be better to:

1) Gun for it anyway (lots of volunteer work, etc.) at a local school that may not otherwise offer the best opportunities for grads (i.e, Hastings for SF).

2) Go to school in a "safer" region that hasn't completely frozen entry PD hiring (i.e, Texas, Virginia, Georgia) and gun for PD there. After a few years, try and get back to SF/DC with the other market's PD background on your resume.

3) Traditional TLS wisdom -- go for a T14, potentially wind up in biglaw, and hopefully leave after a few years for federal public defender or the state PD's office. Put all loans on 30-year or PAYE in the expectation of using LRAP/PSLF once you make it over to the PD's office (unlike traditional TLSW, where you would pay off loans as fast as possible in big law)


This is a hard question to answer (especially for 0L's) because a lot can change in the 3-4(ish) years between now and when you'd graduate into the job market. However, in response to #2 and #3, I'm not entirely sure if it's as true for PD's as it is for ADA's, but there don't seem to be a lot of "lateral" transfers from one office into another. DA's offices do get some laterals who are former clerks, and occasionally from big law firms, but that's not terribly common either. Perhaps a PD can chime in here as to how true that is for PD offices.

As for #1, I'd only go to a school that has a strong connection to the office(s) you'd want to work for, i.e. there are alumni from that school in the office, perhaps there are professors or other faculty who used to work there, etc. I'd also only go to one of these schools on a full ride. I think that "local schools" get derided by default on TLS even though in some PI instances, a full ride at one of these schools may actually put you in a stronger position hiring wise because you've worked for and connected with the market.

EDIT: edited to add that if you go to a local school, don't expect to go there and work for a PD's office in that region and then successfully transfer into a PD's office in a city like DC or SF. You'd have more luck gunning for federal PD at that point.

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worldtraveler
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Re: So you want to do PI?

Postby worldtraveler » Mon Jan 06, 2014 12:21 pm

twenty wrote:This is sort of a weirdly-specific question, but I was wondering if any of you folks had even anecdotal evidence for this:

Suppose a law student wants a PD's office in a region notorious for not hiring fresh grads (i.e. DC, SF). Would it be better to:

1) Gun for it anyway (lots of volunteer work, etc.) at a local school that may not otherwise offer the best opportunities for grads (i.e, Hastings for SF).

2) Go to school in a "safer" region that hasn't completely frozen entry PD hiring (i.e, Texas, Virginia, Georgia) and gun for PD there. After a few years, try and get back to SF/DC with the other market's PD background on your resume.

3) Traditional TLS wisdom -- go for a T14, potentially wind up in biglaw, and hopefully leave after a few years for federal public defender or the state PD's office. Put all loans on 30-year or PAYE in the expectation of using LRAP/PSLF once you make it over to the PD's office (unlike traditional TLSW, where you would pay off loans as fast as possible in biglaw)


Honestly if you are 100% sure you want to be a PD and know you will not change your mind, go to the best school you can (hopefully also in the geographical range of the place you want to live) and do PAYE/IBR.

If you aren't 100% sure, figure it out before you apply.

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coldshoulder
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Re: So you want to do PI?

Postby coldshoulder » Mon Jan 06, 2014 2:51 pm

My 2 cents - expect your school to do absolutely fucking nothing for you. I've missed major deadlines for paid summer gigs because I expected my career services office to at least inform us of things in which we had indicated an interest. Nope. Now I'm stuck almost certainly working my summer between 2L and 3L unpaid. Start looking August of your 2L year for paid summer gigs and you'll have to dig and call and email because no one gives a single shit about law students who want to do public interest work and it's not easy to find anything good.

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twenty
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Re: So you want to do PI?

Postby twenty » Mon Jan 06, 2014 3:10 pm

coldshoulder wrote:My 2 cents - expect your school to do absolutely fucking nothing for you. I've missed major deadlines for paid summer gigs because I expected my career services office to at least inform us of things in which we had indicated an interest. Nope. Now I'm stuck almost certainly working my summer between 2L and 3L unpaid. Start looking August of your 2L year for paid summer gigs and you'll have to dig and call and email because no one gives a single shit about law students who want to do public interest work and it's not easy to find anything good.


Where are you at, out of curiosity? This kind of reinforces my thoughts that a school's career services office motivation is critical for PI placement.

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worldtraveler
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Re: So you want to do PI?

Postby worldtraveler » Mon Jan 06, 2014 3:14 pm

coldshoulder wrote:My 2 cents - expect your school to do absolutely fucking nothing for you. I've missed major deadlines for paid summer gigs because I expected my career services office to at least inform us of things in which we had indicated an interest. Nope. Now I'm stuck almost certainly working my summer between 2L and 3L unpaid. Start looking August of your 2L year for paid summer gigs and you'll have to dig and call and email because no one gives a single shit about law students who want to do public interest work and it's not easy to find anything good.


Most PI summer jobs are unfunded, except government. You should be able to apply for outside fellowship funding.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: So you want to do PI?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Mon Jan 06, 2014 3:19 pm

And even plenty of government summer gigs are unpaid. Depending on what kind of work you want to do, I don't think there's a lot of outside funding. (E.g. cause-based stuff might have fellowship opportunities, but less so PD/DA stuff.) Unless it's just that my school sucked at providing such info, too.

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sd5289
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Re: So you want to do PI?

Postby sd5289 » Mon Jan 06, 2014 3:22 pm

Yeah, with the exception of the DOJ Summer Law Internship Program, most summer PI gigs (including gov't) are unpaid. I'll be at a USAO this coming summer, which will be unpaid even though the local DA I worked for 1L summer was paid.

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BlueLotus
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Re: So you want to do PI?

Postby BlueLotus » Mon Jan 06, 2014 9:51 pm

How important is moot court for PI jerbs? Aiming for legal aid here. I am already interning ~20 hours/week, so not sure sure I have the time to devote to it.




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