So you want to do PI?

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JCougar
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Re: So you want to do PI?

Postby JCougar » Wed Apr 02, 2014 1:33 pm

I just hope this thread comes as a warning to prospective law students, in that PI jobs aren't just some "fall back" option where PSFL will save you if you strike out at biglaw. (I know I've made this point many times before, but I feel that it needs repeating after reading some recent posts in other threads.) Even the unpaid volunteer positions are highly competitive, and they are usually filled by students from the top law schools which have the funding to pay their own grads for fellowships. And most desirable full-time PI positions go to people who probably had the credentials for Biglaw but simply chose not to do OCI because they always knew they were in it for PI. There's just so few positions open around the country that there's no need for PI organizations to hire from schools ranked below T14, except in rare cases. Unless you're volunteering for state-based legal assistance or something similar (for which you may have to volunteer for a year or even more before you get paid), your chances of landing a PI position that actually qualifies for PSLF are about as slim as Biglaw.

If I wanted to do PI law, I wouldn't even think about going to law school outside the T25 or so unless I had pretty much a full scholarship and a spouse/SO to support me after graduation. And even then, you should really try to be at a T14 or better, depending on the school's LRAP/post-grad fellowship funding. And if you want to do prestigious PI, your only chance is HYSCCNB.

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

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Wed Apr 02, 2014 1:37 pm

JCougar wrote:I just hope this thread comes as a warning to prospective law students, in that PI jobs aren't just some "fall back" option where PSFL will save you if you strike out at biglaw. (I know I've made this point many times before, but I feel that it needs repeating after reading some recent posts in other threads.) Even the unpaid volunteer positions are highly competitive, and they are usually filled by students from the top law schools which have the funding to pay their own grads for fellowships. And most desirable full-time PI positions go to people who probably had the credentials for Biglaw but simply chose not to do OCI because they always knew they were in it for PI. There's just so few positions open around the country that there's no need for PI organizations to hire from schools ranked below T14, except in rare cases. Unless you're volunteering for state-based legal assistance or something similar (for which you may have to volunteer for a year or even more before you get paid), your chances of landing a PI position that actually qualifies for PSLF are about as slim as Biglaw.

If I wanted to do PI law, I wouldn't even think about going to law school outside the T25 or so unless I had pretty much a full scholarship and a spouse/SO to support me after graduation. And even then, you should really try to be at a T14 or better, depending on the school's LRAP/post-grad fellowship funding. And if you want to do prestigious PI, your only chance is HYSCCNB.

If your definition of PI includes PD/DA, I don't think the above is entirely true (though no debt is always good). If not, then you may be right (though I'm not sure the Feds are always pedigree obsessed, either). I think one of the problems here is that this site tends to use PI as synonymous with public sector, which may muddy the waters somewhat.

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whippersnappery
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Re: So you want to do PI?

Postby whippersnappery » Wed Apr 02, 2014 1:38 pm

worldtraveler wrote: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.


How possible is it to do IHR and live in the US?

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JCougar
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Re: So you want to do PI?

Postby JCougar » Wed Apr 02, 2014 1:42 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:
JCougar wrote:I just hope this thread comes as a warning to prospective law students, in that PI jobs aren't just some "fall back" option where PSFL will save you if you strike out at biglaw. (I know I've made this point many times before, but I feel that it needs repeating after reading some recent posts in other threads.) Even the unpaid volunteer positions are highly competitive, and they are usually filled by students from the top law schools which have the funding to pay their own grads for fellowships. And most desirable full-time PI positions go to people who probably had the credentials for Biglaw but simply chose not to do OCI because they always knew they were in it for PI. There's just so few positions open around the country that there's no need for PI organizations to hire from schools ranked below T14, except in rare cases. Unless you're volunteering for state-based legal assistance or something similar (for which you may have to volunteer for a year or even more before you get paid), your chances of landing a PI position that actually qualifies for PSLF are about as slim as Biglaw.

If I wanted to do PI law, I wouldn't even think about going to law school outside the T25 or so unless I had pretty much a full scholarship and a spouse/SO to support me after graduation. And even then, you should really try to be at a T14 or better, depending on the school's LRAP/post-grad fellowship funding. And if you want to do prestigious PI, your only chance is HYSCCNB.

If your definition of PI includes PD/DA, I don't think the above is entirely true (though no debt is always good). If not, then you may be right (though I'm not sure the Feds are always pedigree obsessed, either). I think one of the problems here is that this site tends to use PI as synonymous with public sector, which may muddy the waters somewhat.


The thing is, PD is also extremely competitive these days, and I think I know more DA people that are volunteering right now than I do people that are actually getting paid (even from my weaker T20 school). Hence the no debt thing and spouse/SO support after graduation.

I think you're right about these positions being less selective school-prestige-wise, though. You can get in from lower T1 schools with a ton of networking/hustle/internships.

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worldtraveler
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Re: So you want to do PI?

Postby worldtraveler » Wed Apr 02, 2014 2:34 pm

whippersnappery wrote:
worldtraveler wrote: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.


How possible is it to do IHR and live in the US?


Is this a serious question, or are you just making a bad joke?

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whippersnappery
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Re: So you want to do PI?

Postby whippersnappery » Wed Apr 02, 2014 2:36 pm

worldtraveler wrote:
whippersnappery wrote:
worldtraveler wrote: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.


How possible is it to do IHR and live in the US?


Is this a serious question, or are you just making a bad joke?


This is a serious questions (ignorant 0L). Most of the people I've spoken to who do IHR are based in places like Bogota, Seoul, Cairo, etc... doing work locally in their region.

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worldtraveler
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Re: So you want to do PI?

Postby worldtraveler » Wed Apr 02, 2014 2:48 pm

whippersnappery wrote:
worldtraveler wrote:
whippersnappery wrote:
worldtraveler wrote: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.


How possible is it to do IHR and live in the US?


Is this a serious question, or are you just making a bad joke?


This is a serious questions (ignorant 0L). Most of the people I've spoken to who do IHR are based in places like Bogota, Seoul, Cairo, etc... doing work locally in their region.


IHR work means you are working within regional or international human rights systems, such as taking claims to the Inter American Commission on Human Rights, UN treaty bodies, etc. Or you are using IHR treaties to work on human rights abuses in your own countries. For these reasons, most IHR lawyers either live in or travel to Geneva, NY, DC. There are plenty of people who also just work abroad and for example, work with an NGO trying to stop child marriage in Nigeria, but they really do a completely different kind of work.

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BlueLotus
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Re: So you want to do PI?

Postby BlueLotus » Wed Apr 02, 2014 6:36 pm

AmeriCorps counts towards the 120 PSLF payments, even though you're technically a volunteer, right?

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worldtraveler
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Re: So you want to do PI?

Postby worldtraveler » Wed Apr 02, 2014 7:10 pm

BlueLotus wrote:AmeriCorps counts towards the 120 PSLF payments, even though you're technically a volunteer, right?


I believe so, yes.

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BlueLotus
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Re: So you want to do PI?

Postby BlueLotus » Wed Apr 02, 2014 8:59 pm

worldtraveler wrote:
BlueLotus wrote:AmeriCorps counts towards the 120 PSLF payments, even though you're technically a volunteer, right?


I believe so, yes.


Provided that Congress doesn't pull the PSLF rug from under us! :shock:

worldtraveler, when you were applying for fellowships like EJW, when did you choose a sponsoring org?

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worldtraveler
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Re: So you want to do PI?

Postby worldtraveler » Wed Apr 02, 2014 9:09 pm

BlueLotus wrote:
worldtraveler wrote:
BlueLotus wrote:AmeriCorps counts towards the 120 PSLF payments, even though you're technically a volunteer, right?


I believe so, yes.


Provided that Congress doesn't pull the PSLF rug from under us! :shock:

worldtraveler, when you were applying for fellowships like EJW, when did you choose a sponsoring org?


I never ended up applying but generally people line up their sponsor between March and July of their 3L year, if they apply as a 3L. Most of the organizations that repeatedly get EJW and Skaddens or Soros fellows have a pretty formalized process and will put out a call for applications somewhere in that timeframe.

muzzy
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Re: So you want to do PI?

Postby muzzy » Wed Apr 02, 2014 9:32 pm

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Last edited by muzzy on Mon Apr 14, 2014 5:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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mt2165
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Re: So you want to do PI?

Postby mt2165 » Wed Apr 02, 2014 9:41 pm

muzzy wrote:Hoping this is a good place to drop this in.

I'm in at CCN + B, WL at H, hoping for WL (or miracle acceptance) at S.

Assuming I don't nab H or S, what's the most logical way to go about the decision?

Right now, there are a few factors I'm looking at:
- LRAP programs
- Scholarships (only heard back from NYU at this point and planning to negotiate)
- Institutional support (career office, summer internships, post grad fellowships, etc.)
- Specific professors and their areas of focus
- Location consideration (west vs. east coast)

Anything else I should really be looking at? With these in mind, I've found that NYU is coming out ahead.

This might warrant a stand-alone thread once I hear more scholarship offers, but I figured I'd ask you fine folk first.

(As a 0L set on PI, thanks for a great thread, all.)


In a relatively similar boat. Also if you do go to a T6 and do all the necessary networking and hustling, what do you think is the likelihood of attaining "prestigious" PI like impact litigation non-profits, fedgov, fellowships, etc?

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Nelson
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Re: So you want to do PI?

Postby Nelson » Wed Apr 02, 2014 9:44 pm

mt2165 wrote:In a relatively similar boat. Also if you do go to a T6 and do all the necessary networking and hustling, what do you think is the likelihood of attaining "prestigious" PI like impact litigation non-profits, fedgov, fellowships, etc?

About as good as whatever your school's fed clerk rate is give or take since most of those things strongly prefer clerks.

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JCougar
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Re: So you want to do PI?

Postby JCougar » Wed Apr 02, 2014 10:28 pm

Nelson wrote:
mt2165 wrote:In a relatively similar boat. Also if you do go to a T6 and do all the necessary networking and hustling, what do you think is the likelihood of attaining "prestigious" PI like impact litigation non-profits, fedgov, fellowships, etc?

About as good as whatever your school's fed clerk rate is give or take since most of those things strongly prefer clerks.


Pretty much. Except Fedgov really depends on the agency. Some agencies are more T25ish, although it helps to be magna cum laude if you're at 15-25. Others are T14 or bust.

As for impact litigation non-profits, you basically need T6+B and it helps a lot if you get an Article III clerkship...preferably with at least an Appeals Court judge (but a district court judge in the SF/LA/NYC/DC area is also ok). Also, it helps if you have previous work experience in the area. It's best to have both, but a lot of people have one or the other.

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mt2165
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Re: So you want to do PI?

Postby mt2165 » Thu Apr 03, 2014 7:48 am

JCougar wrote:
Nelson wrote:
mt2165 wrote:In a relatively similar boat. Also if you do go to a T6 and do all the necessary networking and hustling, what do you think is the likelihood of attaining "prestigious" PI like impact litigation non-profits, fedgov, fellowships, etc?

About as good as whatever your school's fed clerk rate is give or take since most of those things strongly prefer clerks.


Pretty much. Except Fedgov really depends on the agency. Some agencies are more T25ish, although it helps to be magna cum laude if you're at 15-25. Others are T14 or bust.

As for impact litigation non-profits, you basically need T6+B and it helps a lot if you get an Article III clerkship...preferably with at least an Appeals Court judge (but a district court judge in the SF/LA/NYC/DC area is also ok). Also, it helps if you have previous work experience in the area. It's best to have both, but a lot of people have one or the other.


Wow so basically, it makes little sense to bank on such opportunities considering the likelihood of you actually getting a clerkship. That's a little depressing.

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loomstate
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Re: So you want to do PI?

Postby loomstate » Thu Apr 03, 2014 12:44 pm

what is the normal or advisable career path for someone wanting to do environmental law for federal government or an NGO from a T14?

3L --> Biglaw --> fed gov/NGO

3L ---> fed gov/NGO

??

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JCougar
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Re: So you want to do PI?

Postby JCougar » Thu Apr 03, 2014 1:15 pm

mt2165 wrote:Wow so basically, it makes little sense to bank on such opportunities considering the likelihood of you actually getting a clerkship. That's a little depressing.


It's simply that there are a lot fewer prestigious PI positions than there are Biglaw. And there's still a ton of people that want them. When that happens, employers can be selective as fuck. Kind of like everything in law. The number of grads really needs to be cut in half for people to have job security when the graduate.

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Re: So you want to do PI?

Postby Tanicius » Thu Apr 03, 2014 1:17 pm

loomstate wrote:what is the normal or advisable career path for someone wanting to do environmental law for federal government or an NGO from a T14?

3L --> Biglaw --> fed gov/NGO

3L ---> fed gov/NGO

??



For environmental law, definitely the first option, with biglaw as your starting place. You'll be defending an oil or utilities company from litigation, or advising an oil or utilities company on regulatory law. You then take that experience in the industry and try to make it translate for a government or NGO position.

In fact, to be realistic, it's also quite possible that you would have to do Biglaw, THEN do in-house work for an oil or utilities company, and then LATER get into government/NGO work.
Last edited by Tanicius on Thu Apr 03, 2014 1:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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JCougar
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Re: So you want to do PI?

Postby JCougar » Thu Apr 03, 2014 1:19 pm

JCougar wrote:
mt2165 wrote:Wow so basically, it makes little sense to bank on such opportunities considering the likelihood of you actually getting a clerkship. That's a little depressing.


It's simply that there are a lot fewer prestigious PI positions than there are Biglaw. And there's still a ton of people that want them. When that happens, employers can be selective as fuck. Kind of like everything in law. The number of grads really needs to be cut in half for people to have job security when the graduate.


I mean, you can gun for other PI like state-level legal aid, local non-profits, etc. There's stuff out there, and you can get it from any school. But it takes a lot of networking, volunteering, and internship experience.

Just don't think you're going to be working at the SPLC or ACLU or the DOL or similar without a resume dripping of dat prestige.

Also, don't go to a TTT thinking you can just use PSLF to pay off debt. I know quite a few TTT grads that would give their left nut just to volunteer somewhere for free, but they can't get a volunteer job.

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mt2165
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Re: So you want to do PI?

Postby mt2165 » Thu Apr 03, 2014 1:28 pm

JCougar wrote:
JCougar wrote:
mt2165 wrote:Wow so basically, it makes little sense to bank on such opportunities considering the likelihood of you actually getting a clerkship. That's a little depressing.


It's simply that there are a lot fewer prestigious PI positions than there are Biglaw. And there's still a ton of people that want them. When that happens, employers can be selective as fuck. Kind of like everything in law. The number of grads really needs to be cut in half for people to have job security when the graduate.


I mean, you can gun for other PI like state-level legal aid, local non-profits, etc. There's stuff out there, and you can get it from any school. But it takes a lot of networking, volunteering, and internship experience.

Just don't think you're going to be working at the SPLC or ACLU or the DOL or similar without a resume dripping of dat prestige.

Also, don't go to a TTT thinking you can just use PSLF to pay off debt. I know quite a few TTT grads that would give their left nut just to volunteer somewhere for free, but they can't get a volunteer job.


Well for me personally its going to come down to a T6 @ sticker vs a lower T14 with money. But basically what I'm getting here is that the level of PI is competitive enough that maybe it shouldn't factor too much when deciding within the T14. I've heard mixed opinions, but does BigLaw in relevant areas help with placement in such positions further down the line?

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Re: So you want to do PI?

Postby worldtraveler » Thu Apr 03, 2014 1:29 pm

Tanicius wrote:
loomstate wrote:what is the normal or advisable career path for someone wanting to do environmental law for federal government or an NGO from a T14?

3L --> Biglaw --> fed gov/NGO

3L ---> fed gov/NGO

??



For environmental law, definitely the first option, with biglaw as your starting place. You'll be defending an oil or utilities company from litigation, or advising an oil or utilities company on regulatory law. You then take that experience in the industry and try to make it translate for a government or NGO position.

In fact, to be realistic, it's also quite possible that you would have to do Biglaw, THEN do in-house work for an oil or utilities company, and then LATER get into government/NGO work.



I don't know about that. I can think of 4 or 5 Boalt students who've done enviro law straight out of law school, with either an NGO, the feds, or a think tank. It's a tough road but big law first isn't necessarily the only path.

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Re: So you want to do PI?

Postby BlueLotus » Thu Apr 03, 2014 1:35 pm

JCougar wrote:
JCougar wrote:
mt2165 wrote:Wow so basically, it makes little sense to bank on such opportunities considering the likelihood of you actually getting a clerkship. That's a little depressing.


It's simply that there are a lot fewer prestigious PI positions than there are Biglaw. And there's still a ton of people that want them. When that happens, employers can be selective as fuck. Kind of like everything in law. The number of grads really needs to be cut in half for people to have job security when the graduate.


I mean, you can gun for other PI like state-level legal aid, local non-profits, etc. There's stuff out there, and you can get it from any school. But it takes a lot of networking, volunteering, and internship experience.

Just don't think you're going to be working at the SPLC or ACLU or the DOL or similar without a resume dripping of dat prestige.

Also, don't go to a TTT thinking you can just use PSLF to pay off debt. I know quite a few TTT grads that would give their left nut just to volunteer somewhere for free, but they can't get a volunteer job.


Damn at the last sentence. In your experience are T15-30 kiddos having similar difficulties finding even a volunteer position?

Kicking myself for choosing a school that doesn't offer their own PI fellowships. :(

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loomstate
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Re: So you want to do PI?

Postby loomstate » Thu Apr 03, 2014 2:07 pm

worldtraveler wrote:
Tanicius wrote:
loomstate wrote:what is the normal or advisable career path for someone wanting to do environmental law for federal government or an NGO from a T14?

3L --> Biglaw --> fed gov/NGO

3L ---> fed gov/NGO

??



For environmental law, definitely the first option, with biglaw as your starting place. You'll be defending an oil or utilities company from litigation, or advising an oil or utilities company on regulatory law. You then take that experience in the industry and try to make it translate for a government or NGO position.

In fact, to be realistic, it's also quite possible that you would have to do Biglaw, THEN do in-house work for an oil or utilities company, and then LATER get into government/NGO work.



I don't know about that. I can think of 4 or 5 Boalt students who've done enviro law straight out of law school, with either an NGO, the feds, or a think tank. It's a tough road but big law first isn't necessarily the only path.



if i want to get into this kind of work is there a significant bump for HYS grads above other T14s?

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Nelson
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Re: So you want to do PI?

Postby Nelson » Thu Apr 03, 2014 2:09 pm

There's a lot of environmental work at the state level too in some states (CA, NJ, NY), but it's tough because of hiring freezes. A technical background in a heavily regulated field (like land use, water quality, etc.) and relevant experience would probably be a necessity for a lot of program jobs though.




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