baloneydanza wrote:Man, I wish I'd seen this thread before I applied. Anyway, a few questions
1) I'm very interested in PI (especially more policy-oriented work at a top non-profit like the ACLU), but I'm also the kind of person who likes to keep their options open. How difficult is it to get into PI from biglaw and vice versa? Including government jobs. Ultimately I see myself in PI, as I don't think my conscience could deal with biglaw forever, but if I have to bypass biglaw altogether to have a shot at something like the ACLU or SPLC, then I'd want to know.
1a) What kind of hustling would I have to do to get to a top non-profit?
2) So far, the highest ranking school I've been admitted to is Harvard. I've been awarded a little over half of my tuition costs from Penn, and I'm waiting to hear back from NYU and Yale. These are the 4 schools I'm most interested in. From a PI standpoint, which school would be best to attend if cost was no obstacle? And what if it is an obstacle?
3) Why isn't working for a union PI?
Disclaimer: Am 0L
1: My understanding is that it can be difficult to get back to biglaw if you've had a lot of time in PI. They don't generally feel that your experience is super transferable, but you're also not going to be comfortable taking a starting level position at the firm and taking orders from people younger than you. They're is also a vague idea that you might not want to work the hours they expect.
Going the other way to non-profits seems to be mostly a matter of convincing them that you're sincere in wanting to, and it's not a matter of you being unable to cut it in biglaw. It's also obviously important that your experience be in a field related to what they do, which isn't that likely to be the case at biglaw.
It's also worth noting that it's hard to move from some kinds of PI to other related kinds. The go to example is that Legal Aid really dislikes seeing prosecutors applying to them, for obvious reasons.
1A: OP seems to cover this pretty well. You'll want to do all of your law school internships with non-profits or the government, which will fuck you over with biglaw. You'll want SLIP for DoJ for example.
2: Yale is obviously the best if you get in and cost doesn't matter, with HLS being second best. The Fed clerkship you may get out of it will help you with the prestige PI. If cost does matter, it depends on how much money you get at the other schools.
3: Same reason working as a lawyer for the company isn't. A union's job is to make money for its workers, which is great, but isn't particularly PI. Obviously, in practice, most liberals (including myself) are going to respect lawyers who work for the AFL-CIO, but the distinction between them and the ACLU or civil servants should be pretty clear.