So you want to do PI?

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muzzy
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Re: So you want to do PI?

Postby muzzy » Thu Apr 03, 2014 2:16 pm

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worldtraveler
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Re: So you want to do PI?

Postby worldtraveler » Thu Apr 03, 2014 2:26 pm

muzzy wrote:
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.)
Any thoughts?


What are you hoping to do? It's tough to give any advice without a sense of your goals.

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JCougar
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Re: So you want to do PI?

Postby JCougar » Thu Apr 03, 2014 2:40 pm

BlueLotus wrote: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. :(


Nah, I don't think it's that bad. T15-30 people are getting volunteer positions if they want them, it seems. I had FedGov lined up, and then got screwed by the sequester/shutdown nonsense. So I have to volunteer in the meantime while the hiring freeze is lifted, and after that, there's still no guarantees. I got this fellowship position pretty easily, it seemed.

When I said TTT, I really meant Tier 3. Not the TLS version of TTT, which has come to mean anything outside of the T13. The kids I knew from the local TTT that wanted to get into PI: 1) is working at the school law library, and 2) the other volunteered for state-based legal aid for 2 years while his interest on his loans compounded and he scraped by on nothing. And his school didn't have the funded PI fellowships either. And after 2 years, he found a shitlaw plaintiff's job that pays about $40K/year.

I don't want to freak you out on here, though. I think you'll find something because you have good experience and you have a lot of focus in the area. Just mentally brace yourself for the financial and psychological fight that lies ahead. It's tough. I don't even look at my loan interest compounding. I haven't logged in to my DL Servicer site since December because I just don't want to know.

muzzy
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Re: So you want to do PI?

Postby muzzy » Thu Apr 03, 2014 3:34 pm

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mt2165
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Re: So you want to do PI?

Postby mt2165 » Thu Apr 03, 2014 3:36 pm

muzzy wrote:
worldtraveler wrote:What are you hoping to do? It's tough to give any advice without a sense of your goals.
You're right: I should've provided some more info.

Areas I'm interested in (these are incredibly vague and I apologize in advance):
- federal agencies (namely State / DOJ - long shots, I know)
- legislative work on the Hill
- US non-profits (akin to SPLC / ACLU but not impossible to obtain)
- US non-profits with international focus (foundation work, human rights / development advocacy)

Completely understand that some of these are wild goose chases and/or vague.

I'm not pulled towards the PD/DA track, but that might be due to lack of knowledge rather than lack of interest.

Moderate/strong ties to NYC, DC, and SF / non-profit / government networks.


Very similar interests. Ditto.

Lady Finch
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Re: So you want to do PI?

Postby Lady Finch » Thu Apr 03, 2014 3:47 pm

Is there a good job search site to use to search for JD-preferred positions with non-profits? I often use psjd.org and idealist.org, but was wondering if I'm missing out on other places I should be looking?

Straw_Mandible
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Re: So you want to do PI?

Postby Straw_Mandible » Thu Apr 03, 2014 4:06 pm

Lady Finch wrote:Is there a good job search site to use to search for JD-preferred positions with non-profits? I often use psjd.org and idealist.org, but was wondering if I'm missing out on other places I should be looking?


Also interested.

quijotesca1011
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Re: So you want to do PI?

Postby quijotesca1011 » Thu Apr 03, 2014 11:29 pm

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worldtraveler
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Re: So you want to do PI?

Postby worldtraveler » Thu Apr 03, 2014 11:37 pm

quijotesca1011 wrote:Are people entering with 1 year or less WE at a disadvantage in applying to internships/post-grad opportunities in PI/IHR in particular?


hell yes

Straw_Mandible wrote:
Lady Finch wrote:Is there a good job search site to use to search for JD-preferred positions with non-profits? I often use psjd.org and idealist.org, but was wondering if I'm missing out on other places I should be looking?


Also interested.


I would look up websites for organizations that interest you. A lot of jobs are only posted on their sites. National Endowment for Democracy has about 5 openings right now only posted on their site.

muzzy wrote:
worldtraveler wrote:What are you hoping to do? It's tough to give any advice without a sense of your goals.
You're right: I should've provided some more info.

Areas I'm interested in (these are incredibly vague and I apologize in advance):
- federal agencies (namely State / DOJ - long shots, I know)
- legislative work on the Hill
- US non-profits (akin to SPLC / ACLU but not impossible to obtain)
- US non-profits with international focus (foundation work, human rights / development advocacy)

Completely understand that some of these are wild goose chases and/or vague.

I'm not pulled towards the PD/DA track, but that might be due to lack of knowledge rather than lack of interest.

Moderate/strong ties to NYC, DC, and SF / non-profit / government networks.


You're pretty much chasing every single unicorn here. You'll need a combination of very good grades, top school, probably some language skills, and mad connections. I don't know much about gov hiring, but in terms of non-profits, I think your best bet is to go to a top 10 school with post grad fellowships. If you are not lucky enough to get a job or a clerkship straight out, take the fellowship and go to an NGO in DC. Either network like crazy into a job or do your fellowship at a place that will hire you when it's done. Everyone I know who has gotten elite non-profits or NGOs in recent years had some kind of fellowship from outside the organization.

quijotesca1011
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Re: So you want to do PI?

Postby quijotesca1011 » Thu Apr 03, 2014 11:44 pm

to the point where it makes sense to consider deferring if that is a possibility? I didn't really want to take more time before school (been out of undergrad for a year and working abroad in my area of human rights interest) but recently have been questioning if I'm going to be at such a disadvantage that I should be concerned. Currently planning on attending HLS in the fall, interest in PI/IHR. Every summer in undergrad I undertook internships related to my interest abroad in my region of interest (undergrad scholarship made it possible) and all extracurriculars were in HR.
Last edited by quijotesca1011 on Sat May 03, 2014 3:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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worldtraveler
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Re: So you want to do PI?

Postby worldtraveler » Thu Apr 03, 2014 11:48 pm

quijotesca1011 wrote:
worldtraveler wrote:
quijotesca1011 wrote:Are people entering with 1 year or less WE at a disadvantage in applying to internships/post-grad opportunities in PI/IHR in particular?
hell yes



to the point where it makes sense to consider deferring if that is a possibility? I didn't really want to take more time before school (been out of undergrad for a year and working abroad in my area of human rights interest) but recently have been questioning if I'm going to be at such a disadvantage that I should be concerned. Currently planning on attending HLS in the fall, interest in PI/IHR. Every summer in undergrad I undertook internships related to my interest abroad in my region of interest (undergrad scholarship made it possible) and all extracurriculars were in HR.


Are you fluent in some foreign languages? Have some connections in your field?

If you already have a job in IHR, I would seriously consider deferring and gaining some more experience, but it's also tough to say without knowing your goals.

quijotesca1011
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Re: So you want to do PI?

Postby quijotesca1011 » Thu Apr 03, 2014 11:55 pm

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muzzy
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Re: So you want to do PI?

Postby muzzy » Fri Apr 04, 2014 12:13 am

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worldtraveler
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Re: So you want to do PI?

Postby worldtraveler » Fri Apr 04, 2014 12:50 am

If the costs are equal I think NYU would be best. They have the best post grad fellowships and the best PI placement rate. If Berkeley is cheaper then consider that, or if you just personally prefer the west coast. Same if you are interested in enviro law or an ultra unicorn like technology and human rights (believe it or not that is a thing).

Every school on that list is going to have similarly awesome professors and funded PI summers. All have good clinic options too.

I have yet to meet a Chicago grad in the IHR field. I'm sure there are some out there, but they just don't attract people into that field as much. I'm sure you can get the same options out of Chicago, but there may be a disadvantage in the lack of alumni base where you want to work. Their CDO also might be slightly less aware of what opportunities are out there just because they have less experience working with people with those interests.

I think there are also some networking advantages to being in NY, with the bay area a second option and Chicago in third. The exception is LGBT issues and enviro NGOs, all of which have a huge presence in SF, along with a surprising amount of int'l development.

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mt2165
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Re: So you want to do PI?

Postby mt2165 » Fri Apr 04, 2014 1:15 am

worldtraveler wrote:If the costs are equal I think NYU would be best. They have the best post grad fellowships and the best PI placement rate. If Berkeley is cheaper then consider that, or if you just personally prefer the west coast. Same if you are interested in enviro law or an ultra unicorn like technology and human rights (believe it or not that is a thing).

Every school on that list is going to have similarly awesome professors and funded PI summers. All have good clinic options too.

I have yet to meet a Chicago grad in the IHR field. I'm sure there are some out there, but they just don't attract people into that field as much. I'm sure you can get the same options out of Chicago, but there may be a disadvantage in the lack of alumni base where you want to work. Their CDO also might be slightly less aware of what opportunities are out there just because they have less experience working with people with those interests.

I think there are also some networking advantages to being in NY, with the bay area a second option and Chicago in third. The exception is LGBT issues and enviro NGOs, all of which have a huge presence in SF, along with a surprising amount of int'l development.


Interesting, enlightening stuff. I guess I'm also a unicorn chaser but would it make more sense to take significant money at a lower t14 assuming more likely than not you're not going to catch one? Plus if you think there's at least a chance you'll end up doing OCI and subsequently biglaw?

muzzy
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Re: So you want to do PI?

Postby muzzy » Fri Apr 04, 2014 1:15 am

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Lady Finch
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Re: So you want to do PI?

Postby Lady Finch » Fri Apr 04, 2014 9:12 am

worldtraveler wrote:
Straw_Mandible wrote:
Lady Finch wrote:Is there a good job search site to use to search for JD-preferred positions with non-profits? I often use psjd.org and idealist.org, but was wondering if I'm missing out on other places I should be looking?


Also interested.


I would look up websites for organizations that interest you. A lot of jobs are only posted on their sites. National Endowment for Democracy has about 5 openings right now only posted on their site.


As a follow-up, is there a good/trusted site to use to browse non-profits? I know of a few organizations that I'm interested in and have applied to, but I am sure there are a ton of non-profits I've never heard of that I would be interested in. I'm particularly interested in education, civil rights, and constitutional law if that helps at all.

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worldtraveler
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Re: So you want to do PI?

Postby worldtraveler » Fri Apr 04, 2014 9:46 am

mt2165 wrote:
worldtraveler wrote:If the costs are equal I think NYU would be best. They have the best post grad fellowships and the best PI placement rate. If Berkeley is cheaper then consider that, or if you just personally prefer the west coast. Same if you are interested in enviro law or an ultra unicorn like technology and human rights (believe it or not that is a thing).

Every school on that list is going to have similarly awesome professors and funded PI summers. All have good clinic options too.

I have yet to meet a Chicago grad in the IHR field. I'm sure there are some out there, but they just don't attract people into that field as much. I'm sure you can get the same options out of Chicago, but there may be a disadvantage in the lack of alumni base where you want to work. Their CDO also might be slightly less aware of what opportunities are out there just because they have less experience working with people with those interests.

I think there are also some networking advantages to being in NY, with the bay area a second option and Chicago in third. The exception is LGBT issues and enviro NGOs, all of which have a huge presence in SF, along with a surprising amount of int'l development.


Interesting, enlightening stuff. I guess I'm also a unicorn chaser but would it make more sense to take significant money at a lower t14 assuming more likely than not you're not going to catch one? Plus if you think there's at least a chance you'll end up doing OCI and subsequently biglaw?


Why do you want to do what you want to do?

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mt2165
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Re: So you want to do PI?

Postby mt2165 » Fri Apr 04, 2014 10:10 am

For me? A lot of reasons. Ideological obviously, I tend to think there are enough people willing to defend corporations for a pretty penny while there are whole neglected populations that deserve advocacy and legal representation (probably has a little to do w socio-economic background and being URM). Two lifestyle, I don't want to work 80 hours a week doing something I hate for money. Slavery (to the dollar) sounds overrated. But like you've said somewhere I'm still worried about LRAP's and sticker debt, not that it doesn't work as advertised but that it's just so limiting. I like to think I have a genuine and wholehearted interest in PI but if want I really wanna do is near impossible to get (not that there's other PI I I cant see myself doing). The debt is just really intimidating.

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worldtraveler
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Re: So you want to do PI?

Postby worldtraveler » Fri Apr 04, 2014 10:27 am

mt2165 wrote:For me? A lot of reasons. Ideological obviously, I tend to think there are enough people willing to defend corporations for a pretty penny while there are whole neglected populations that deserve advocacy and legal representation (probably has a little to do w socio-economic background and being URM). Two lifestyle, I don't want to work 80 hours a week doing something I hate for money. Slavery (to the dollar) sounds overrated. But like you've said somewhere I'm still worried about LRAP's and sticker debt, not that it doesn't work as advertised but that it's just so limiting. I like to think I have a genuine and wholehearted interest in PI but if want I really wanna do is near impossible to get (not that there's other PI I I cant see myself doing). The debt is just really intimidating.


If you're going to work in elite PI you are going to work extremely long hours. You might not be a slave to the money but unless you take a full ride you will be a slave to PSLF. Think long and hard about what path you're taking.

I could be totally wrong here but it doesn't sound like you have a firm grasp of what you want to do or why. Getting any of the kind of jobs you're talking about really requires you to know those things. It's the first question asked in interviews and they really pay attention to the answer. Burnout is common too so unless you really want to be there, you probably won't last long and then you have debt and no firm job.

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Otunga
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Re: So you want to do PI?

Postby Otunga » Fri Apr 04, 2014 10:42 am

There looks to be a conception that PI usually has better hours than biglaw. How true is it? Are better hours limited to state and local government, with federal gigs as demanding as their biglaw counterparts? What about non-profits? I think a lot of us before going to law school suppose that the public sector isn't going be as demanding as biglaw. But couldn't it be worse if you're getting paid a lot less and don't have the big salary? Not to mention having to stay 10 years in the public sector if you graduate with a mountain of debt at a t14. Maybe beliefs change and you want a modest salary outside the public realm.

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

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Fri Apr 04, 2014 10:55 am

Federal government hours are often extremely reasonable. I'm sure it varies by agency/location (I suspect that the more prestigious the position, the worse the hours), and if you're in litigation and you're going to trial, well, you put in the hours that are necessary. And to some extent, the work can be what you make of it - people who want their life to be nothing but work can do that. But you don't have to, and generally, work-life balance can be a real thing, especially with things like flex-time (e.g. work 10 hrs 4 days a week, get Fridays off; some places arrange it so it's every other Friday; in some contexts you could set up a schedule where you get in early and leave early; that kind of thing).

I mean, work-life balance may not be a thing if you're, say, the head of the agency. But as your average line attorney it's possible.

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worldtraveler
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Re: So you want to do PI?

Postby worldtraveler » Fri Apr 04, 2014 11:10 am

I think what a lot of people fail to realize is that the work you do at an "elite" PI place like the ACLU or an impact litigation firm is going to be extremely similar to big law. You will work pretty long hours. You will spend 90% of your time sitting at a desk researching and writing. A lot of your work will not be on the profound injustices of our time but on tiny little details of a case, or endless conference calls. Ironically, most people want to go into PI in order to avoid that kind of work. You're not going to avoid it, unless you do the "in the trenches" PI work with a PD/DA's office or legal aid.

My work isn't all that different from working at a firm. The hours are a bit better and I usually don't have crises on the weekends. But the vast majority of it is pretty mundane. Sure, I deal with questions of treaty interpretation instead of federal statutes, but that's really the same work and just has different words substituted. I spent 16 hours last week on a memo about how a French/English translation of a treaty missed the correct interpretation of one single word. It was really, really boring. I doubt this is what a lot of 0Ls think you will do at a prestigious PI job, but it's what you will do.

quijotesca1011
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Re: So you want to do PI?

Postby quijotesca1011 » Fri Apr 04, 2014 12:08 pm

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worldtraveler
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Re: So you want to do PI?

Postby worldtraveler » Fri Apr 04, 2014 12:24 pm

Probably not an enormous difference, no. But what could make a big difference is retaking that 166 and getting much more scholarship money.

And it doesn't really matter the "prestige" of work you do in the next year. What is significant is time spent living in the region where you specialize. If you can use the next year to get fluent in another language, that is time well spent. Even teaching English somewhere just for the purpose of exposure to another language is well worth it.

I'm not sure what your exact interests are, but just as an example, tons of jobs in immigration/asylum work require fluent Spanish, but that is not hard to find. It's really become the norm. But a fluent Spanish and French speaker, or a fluent Haitian creole speaker really stands out. In almost every case, whoever has more languages will get the job unless that candidate is just truly terrible in other ways.




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