So you want to do PI?

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twenty
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Re: So you want to do PI?

Postby twenty » Fri Mar 28, 2014 4:16 pm

Elleonleo wrote:Twenty, I was wondering where you saw the list of previous ACLU fellows?


Because ACLU has no central hiring authority, you won't find a massive list of every fellow in the history of ever. Some chapters post their attorney bios, some don't. Northern California, for example, does not post, but SoCal ACLU posts right here. As you'll notice, every recently (within the last 5 years) hired attorney on that list graduated from a T14 school, (mostly HYS + N) with one notable exception -- and that guy appears to have preexisting ties to ACLU/SC.

That said, you'll probably find in some less-prestigious offices (i.e, Colorado and Pennsylvania) the resumes are more slanted towards hustle and dedication rather than pedigree. Keep in mind that these offices virtually never hire, and when they do, they hire former non-legal folks from within. Don't go to Temple assuming that just because two other staff attorneys are from Temple that you'll be fine. :P

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d cooper
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Re: So you want to do PI?

Postby d cooper » Fri Mar 28, 2014 5:42 pm

twenty wrote:
Elleonleo wrote:Twenty, I was wondering where you saw the list of previous ACLU fellows?


Because ACLU has no central hiring authority, you won't find a massive list of every fellow in the history of ever. Some chapters post their attorney bios, some don't. Northern California, for example, does not post, but SoCal ACLU posts right here. As you'll notice, every recently (within the last 5 years) hired attorney on that list graduated from a T14 school, (mostly HYS + N) with one notable exception -- and that guy appears to have preexisting ties to ACLU/SC.

That said, you'll probably find in some less-prestigious offices (i.e, Colorado and Pennsylvania) the resumes are more slanted towards hustle and dedication rather than pedigree. Keep in mind that these offices virtually never hire, and when they do, they hire former non-legal folks from within. Don't go to Temple assuming that just because two other staff attorneys are from Temple that you'll be fine. :P


I asked about the ACLU and the lower T14 on the previous page. This SoCal list looks like a pretty even mix of CCN/lower T14/TTT schools.

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worldtraveler
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Re: So you want to do PI?

Postby worldtraveler » Fri Mar 28, 2014 6:10 pm

I am also going to add not to get blinded by big names in PI. I'm sure there are some awesome aspects of working at the ACLU or other big name places, but they are not the only places that do that kind of work. Sometimes I'm not sure if people want to work at the ACLU because of what they actually do or if it's just because they've heard of it. There are a lot of smaller non-profits that do work on women's rights, immigrants, rights of prisoners, etc., and you probably have a better chance of getting hired as well as a better chance to take on responsibility earlier.

Basically, make your decisions about the kind of work you want to do, not necessarily where you want to do it.

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Tanicius
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Re: So you want to do PI?

Postby Tanicius » Fri Mar 28, 2014 6:13 pm

worldtraveler wrote:I am also going to add not to get blinded by big names in PI. I'm sure there are some awesome aspects of working at the ACLU or other big name places, but they are not the only places that do that kind of work. Sometimes I'm not sure if people want to work at the ACLU because of what they actually do or if it's just because they've heard of it. There are a lot of smaller non-profits that do work on women's rights, immigrants, rights of prisoners, etc., and you probably have a better chance of getting hired as well as a better chance to take on responsibility earlier.

Basically, make your decisions about the kind of work you want to do, not necessarily where you want to do it.



This is really important. Also, the work you're going to be doing for the ACLU as a junior attorney is pretty run-of-the-mill, biglaw-levels boring stuff. You'll get a lot more exposure and more worthwhile work experience at a smaller organization, if that is the type you actually want to do and not just use the type of work as a line on your resume to get something more prestigious.

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LSL
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Re: So you want to do PI?

Postby LSL » Fri Mar 28, 2014 6:22 pm

For those of you who went non-profit over government, would you say you're able to still get decent retirement benefits? Gov't retirement benefits get a reputation for being very good. Just wondering the consensus on how this stacks up for non-profits.

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worldtraveler
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Re: So you want to do PI?

Postby worldtraveler » Fri Mar 28, 2014 6:29 pm

LSL wrote:For those of you who went non-profit over government, would you say you're able to still get decent retirement benefits? Gov't retirement benefits get a reputation for being very good. Just wondering the consensus on how this stacks up for non-profits.



It varies, but I think in general it doesn't compare to the government. I'm on a fellowship so my benefits are terrible.

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Nelson
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Re: So you want to do PI?

Postby Nelson » Fri Mar 28, 2014 6:32 pm

LSL wrote:For those of you who went non-profit over government, would you say you're able to still get decent retirement benefits? Gov't retirement benefits get a reputation for being very good. Just wondering the consensus on how this stacks up for non-profits.

Your benefits at most legal nonprofits will be bad (assuming you're talking nonprofit law firm as opposed to being general counsel for the United Way), both insurance and retirement. Law firm benefits in general are crappy and a small nonprofit has even less resources than a small firm. Also LOL at retirement benefits of any kind beyond unmatched 401K in 2014.

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LSL
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Re: So you want to do PI?

Postby LSL » Fri Mar 28, 2014 6:51 pm

Yeah, unfortunately, that's what I kinda figured. Thanks for the info. For the first time since law school started, I'm leaning toward non-profit work over gov't work. Just trying to figure out the financial particulars of the life game.

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twenty
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Re: So you want to do PI?

Postby twenty » Fri Mar 28, 2014 7:52 pm

d cooper wrote:I asked about the ACLU and the lower T14 on the previous page. This SoCal list looks like a pretty even mix of CCN/lower T14/TTT schools.


Then we're not looking at the same lists, because of the recent legal hires (the ones that will matter to you as a recent grad AND a subject of "ITE") only one was from a non-T14 school, and he was seriously connected.

As a side note, +1 to WT -- there are lots of organizations that do "human rights work" that aren't called ACLU. In a lot of ways, the reason the ACLU is so competitive is because it's seen as a segue into politics/policy. For anything that's not going to get you into a political appointee position later on, those opportunities exist in "non-prestigious PI" form. At which point, the rules of engagement for low-prestige PI apply.

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d cooper
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Re: So you want to do PI?

Postby d cooper » Fri Mar 28, 2014 8:00 pm

twenty wrote:
d cooper wrote:I asked about the ACLU and the lower T14 on the previous page. This SoCal list looks like a pretty even mix of CCN/lower T14/TTT schools.


Then we're not looking at the same lists, because of the recent legal hires (the ones that will matter to you as a recent grad AND a subject of "ITE") only one was from a non-T14 school, and he was seriously connected.

As a side note, +1 to WT -- there are lots of organizations that do "human rights work" that aren't called ACLU. In a lot of ways, the reason the ACLU is so competitive is because it's seen as a segue into politics/policy. For anything that's not going to get you into a political appointee position later on, those opportunities exist in "non-prestigious PI" form. At which point, the rules of engagement for low-prestige PI apply.


Yeah, but the lower T14 are well represented in that (tiny) sample, which is what I was curious about. (So it looks slightly better for the lower T14 than your initial answer seemed to imply.)

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worldtraveler
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Re: So you want to do PI?

Postby worldtraveler » Fri Mar 28, 2014 8:13 pm

twenty wrote:
d cooper wrote:I asked about the ACLU and the lower T14 on the previous page. This SoCal list looks like a pretty even mix of CCN/lower T14/TTT schools.


Then we're not looking at the same lists, because of the recent legal hires (the ones that will matter to you as a recent grad AND a subject of "ITE") only one was from a non-T14 school, and he was seriously connected.

As a side note, +1 to WT -- there are lots of organizations that do "human rights work" that aren't called ACLU. In a lot of ways, the reason the ACLU is so competitive is because it's seen as a segue into politics/policy. For anything that's not going to get you into a political appointee position later on, those opportunities exist in "non-prestigious PI" form. At which point, the rules of engagement for low-prestige PI apply.


Not really. Anything involving human rights or civil rights litigation is incredibly prestige obsessed. People love the title of being a human rights lawyer and not a housing lawyer or immigration lawyer and competition is intense.

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Re: So you want to do PI?

Postby Gooner91 » Fri Mar 28, 2014 8:17 pm

worldtraveler wrote:Not really. Anything involving human rights or civil rights litigation is incredibly prestige obsessed. People love the title of being a human rights lawyer and not a housing lawyer or immigration lawyer and competition is intense.


I think the distinction gets blurred in reality sometimes but one sounds way cooler. 8)

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Tanicius
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Re: So you want to do PI?

Postby Tanicius » Fri Mar 28, 2014 8:19 pm

worldtraveler wrote:
twenty wrote:
d cooper wrote:I asked about the ACLU and the lower T14 on the previous page. This SoCal list looks like a pretty even mix of CCN/lower T14/TTT schools.


Then we're not looking at the same lists, because of the recent legal hires (the ones that will matter to you as a recent grad AND a subject of "ITE") only one was from a non-T14 school, and he was seriously connected.

As a side note, +1 to WT -- there are lots of organizations that do "human rights work" that aren't called ACLU. In a lot of ways, the reason the ACLU is so competitive is because it's seen as a segue into politics/policy. For anything that's not going to get you into a political appointee position later on, those opportunities exist in "non-prestigious PI" form. At which point, the rules of engagement for low-prestige PI apply.


Not really. Anything involving human rights or civil rights litigation is incredibly prestige obsessed. People love the title of being a human rights lawyer and not a housing lawyer or immigration lawyer and competition is intense.


That's just semantics. A small husband and wife shop that sues police departments for a living is technically a civil rights law firm, and they are technically "civil rights" attorneys. Also, a legal aid attorney who represents immigrants, the homeless and sex workers caught up in the pimping game is a "human rights" attorney. That might not be how they refer to themselves at a cocktail party, but that's what it is. People just use labels that have connotative nuance.

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twenty
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Re: So you want to do PI?

Postby twenty » Fri Mar 28, 2014 8:30 pm

d cooper wrote:Yeah, but the lower T14 are well represented in that (tiny) sample, which is what I was curious about. (So it looks slightly better for the lower T14 than your initial answer seemed to imply.)


I still stand by my position on Page 20/throughout the thread. The (spotty) data seems to correlate this -- I looked through several other ACLU chapters' staff lists, where recent HYS + N grads outnumber the rest of the T14 alumni on almost a 3-1 ratio (based on a sample size of approximately 40 attorneys). Granted, there's a huge gap between lower T14 and even T20, but there's a pretty large gap between HYSN and T14 as well.

My reaction to someone who wanted to go to a T1 for getting prestigious PI (i.e, ACLU) would be "Oh hell no," from the T14, "...That's probably not a good idea." and from HYSCCN, "Yeah, go for it." So yeah. :P

Not really. Anything involving human rights or civil rights litigation is incredibly prestige obsessed. People love the title of being a human rights lawyer and not a housing lawyer or immigration lawyer and competition is intense.


I'm specifically (and probably unfortunately) thinking of immigration law and housing law as part of "human rights work." Hell, if I did immigration, I'd tell people I was a civil rights lawyer. :D

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worldtraveler
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Re: So you want to do PI?

Postby worldtraveler » Fri Mar 28, 2014 8:44 pm

Tanicius wrote:
worldtraveler wrote:
twenty wrote:
d cooper wrote:I asked about the ACLU and the lower T14 on the previous page. This SoCal list looks like a pretty even mix of CCN/lower T14/TTT schools.


Then we're not looking at the same lists, because of the recent legal hires (the ones that will matter to you as a recent grad AND a subject of "ITE") only one was from a non-T14 school, and he was seriously connected.

As a side note, +1 to WT -- there are lots of organizations that do "human rights work" that aren't called ACLU. In a lot of ways, the reason the ACLU is so competitive is because it's seen as a segue into politics/policy. For anything that's not going to get you into a political appointee position later on, those opportunities exist in "non-prestigious PI" form. At which point, the rules of engagement for low-prestige PI apply.


Not really. Anything involving human rights or civil rights litigation is incredibly prestige obsessed. People love the title of being a human rights lawyer and not a housing lawyer or immigration lawyer and competition is intense.


That's just semantics. A small husband and wife shop that sues police departments for a living is technically a civil rights law firm, and they are technically "civil rights" attorneys. Also, a legal aid attorney who represents immigrants, the homeless and sex workers caught up in the pimping game is a "human rights" attorney. That might not be how they refer to themselves at a cocktail party, but that's what it is. People just use labels that have connotative nuance.


I agree, that is human rights work, but any job posting for a human rights attorney usually wants something very different. It's a stupid, prestige whoring distinction, but it exists. I'm specifically talking more about lawyers engaged with working with human rights treaties, which is a field really dominated by the elite. Usually on psjd it's listed as a constitional or human rights litigator. It's not like they do anything more impressive than someone representing sex workers (if anything, what they do is far less useful), but it's just a lot harder to get a job in it. And when 0ls talk about wanting to do human rights law or civil rights law, they are usually thinking of constitutional or treaty kind of stuff.

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Re: So you want to do PI?

Postby BlueLotus » Fri Mar 28, 2014 10:30 pm

finished the duolingo spanish tree. feelsgoodman. :)

is choosing your 2L summer employer as a fellowship sponsor TCR? also, anyone have experience applying for the americorps legal fellowships? will being an americorps alum (city year) be a boost?

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Nelson
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Re: So you want to do PI?

Postby Nelson » Sat Mar 29, 2014 10:24 am

There's so much weird misinformation in this thread. Whether pedigree matters depends on if you're looking at orgs that do impact litigation (big complicated cases against government entities for injunctive/class action relief) or some kind of client service (representing poor people as individuals). For the former, you need top credentials to snag a fellowship (this does not require HYS so much as it requires clerkship grades) if you want to do it immediately out of school without working at a firm first. For the latter, you just need experience in law school. Not to mention that the actual work and the skills required are completely different between the two.

There's a middle ground for private firms that take cases on contingency to enforce "civil rights" statutes, but being a Title VII lawyer is more like being a member of the plaintiffs bar than it is like doing one of the other two.

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Re: So you want to do PI?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Sat Mar 29, 2014 11:39 am

Nelson wrote:There's so much weird misinformation in this thread. Whether pedigree matters depends on if you're looking at orgs that do impact litigation (big complicated cases against government entities for injunctive/class action relief) or some kind of client service (representing poor people as individuals). For the former, you need top credentials to snag a fellowship (this does not require HYS so much as it requires clerkship grades) if you want to do it immediately out of school without working at a firm first. For the latter, you just need experience in law school. Not to mention that the actual work and the skills required are completely different between the two.

There's a middle ground for private firms that take cases on contingency to enforce "civil rights" statutes, but being a Title VII lawyer is more like being a member of the plaintiffs bar than it is like doing one of the other two.

I kinda thought that's what this thread basically said.

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Re: So you want to do PI?

Postby BlueLotus » Sat Mar 29, 2014 11:46 am

Nelson wrote:There's so much weird misinformation in this thread. Whether pedigree matters depends on if you're looking at orgs that do impact litigation (big complicated cases against government entities for injunctive/class action relief) or some kind of client service (representing poor people as individuals). For the former, you need top credentials to snag a fellowship (this does not require HYS so much as it requires clerkship grades) if you want to do it immediately out of school without working at a firm first. For the latter, you just need experience in law school. Not to mention that the actual work and the skills required are completely different between the two.

There's a middle ground for private firms that take cases on contingency to enforce "civil rights" statutes, but being a Title VII lawyer is more like being a member of the plaintiffs bar than it is like doing one of the other two.


TCR. I'm aiming for direct client services work and have yet to be asked about grades/journal. What I gather is that they care more about your hustle and dedication. Perhaps this will change when applying to paid FTLT jerbs? Or is the criteria similar as it is for internships, but just obviously more competitive?

Also, if I work for free for a PD/Legal Aid place postgrad (which I totally envision doing at this point), what should my "title" be on my resume/Linkedin--"attorney", "volunteer attorney", "law fellow", etc.?

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Nelson
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Re: So you want to do PI?

Postby Nelson » Sat Mar 29, 2014 12:25 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:
Nelson wrote:There's so much weird misinformation in this thread. Whether pedigree matters depends on if you're looking at orgs that do impact litigation (big complicated cases against government entities for injunctive/class action relief) or some kind of client service (representing poor people as individuals). For the former, you need top credentials to snag a fellowship (this does not require HYS so much as it requires clerkship grades) if you want to do it immediately out of school without working at a firm first. For the latter, you just need experience in law school. Not to mention that the actual work and the skills required are completely different between the two.

There's a middle ground for private firms that take cases on contingency to enforce "civil rights" statutes, but being a Title VII lawyer is more like being a member of the plaintiffs bar than it is like doing one of the other two.

I kinda thought that's what this thread basically said.

I dunno, it seems like the last couple pages are people arguing over what "human rights" work is.

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twenty
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Re: So you want to do PI?

Postby twenty » Sat Mar 29, 2014 1:01 pm

BlueLotus wrote:Also, if I work for free for a PD/Legal Aid place postgrad (which I totally envision doing at this point), what should my "title" be on my resume/Linkedin--"attorney", "volunteer attorney", "law fellow", etc.?


I'm not absolutely sure about this, but I think you're still an attorney even if you're not being paid for your services. I wish I had a better answer for you though.

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worldtraveler
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Re: So you want to do PI?

Postby worldtraveler » Sat Mar 29, 2014 2:06 pm

twenty wrote:
BlueLotus wrote:Also, if I work for free for a PD/Legal Aid place postgrad (which I totally envision doing at this point), what should my "title" be on my resume/Linkedin--"attorney", "volunteer attorney", "law fellow", etc.?


I'm not absolutely sure about this, but I think you're still an attorney even if you're not being paid for your services. I wish I had a better answer for you though.


If you are not on any kind of fellowship, volunteer attorney is probably the most appropriate. If you are on a paid fellowship, then law fellow is probably best. But I don't think it would matter at all, as you'd be doing the same work either way.

I'm not sure if this would apply to where you want to work, but some places are reluctant to take on volunteers without funding. They know those people are usually working a 2nd job and can't focus solely on the work. They're also likely to leave immediately when they find something (obviously understandable), so it's hard to entrust them with clients.

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

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Sat Mar 29, 2014 2:26 pm

Nelson wrote:
A. Nony Mouse wrote:
Nelson wrote:There's so much weird misinformation in this thread. Whether pedigree matters depends on if you're looking at orgs that do impact litigation (big complicated cases against government entities for injunctive/class action relief) or some kind of client service (representing poor people as individuals). For the former, you need top credentials to snag a fellowship (this does not require HYS so much as it requires clerkship grades) if you want to do it immediately out of school without working at a firm first. For the latter, you just need experience in law school. Not to mention that the actual work and the skills required are completely different between the two.

There's a middle ground for private firms that take cases on contingency to enforce "civil rights" statutes, but being a Title VII lawyer is more like being a member of the plaintiffs bar than it is like doing one of the other two.

I kinda thought that's what this thread basically said.

I dunno, it seems like the last couple pages are people arguing over what "human rights" work is.

But it's like a 20+ pp. thread. That was a digression about a specific subset of jobs.

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BlueLotus
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Re: So you want to do PI?

Postby BlueLotus » Sun Mar 30, 2014 9:22 pm

worldtraveler wrote:
twenty wrote:
BlueLotus wrote:Also, if I work for free for a PD/Legal Aid place postgrad (which I totally envision doing at this point), what should my "title" be on my resume/Linkedin--"attorney", "volunteer attorney", "law fellow", etc.?


I'm not absolutely sure about this, but I think you're still an attorney even if you're not being paid for your services. I wish I had a better answer for you though.


If you are not on any kind of fellowship, volunteer attorney is probably the most appropriate. If you are on a paid fellowship, then law fellow is probably best. But I don't think it would matter at all, as you'd be doing the same work either way.

I'm not sure if this would apply to where you want to work, but some places are reluctant to take on volunteers without funding. They know those people are usually working a 2nd job and can't focus solely on the work. They're also likely to leave immediately when they find something (obviously understandable), so it's hard to entrust them with clients.


worldtravler and Nony, are your respective offices swamped with postgrad folks wanting to volunteer?

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worldtraveler
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Re: So you want to do PI?

Postby worldtraveler » Sun Mar 30, 2014 10:55 pm

We have had a lot of volunteer requests, but we only take full time people with funding so I think most requests get ignored. The majority of applicants aren't that well-qualified anyway, so if we saw someone with great qualifications and seemed reliable, we might take them without funding. Just haven't seen that happen yet. For instance, if we had one from a fluent French speaker we'd probably take that person immediately.

This is also in DC though, which has way too many law schools and tons of law grads searching for positions, especially in IHR because there are very few jobs and way too many people looking for one. Other cities might have far fewer applicants.




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