So you want to do PI?

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worldtraveler
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Re: So you want to do PI?

Postby worldtraveler » Tue May 06, 2014 4:50 pm

Yeah there are a lot of different outside funding options. Your CDO should have some suggestions.

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twenty
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Re: So you want to do PI?

Postby twenty » Tue May 06, 2014 4:51 pm

I actually don't feel like summer funding (or lack thereof) is that huge of a deal. Yeah, an extra 3-5k is always nice, but you're not going to have to dig too far into your savings even if you don't get a paid summer gig for either summer.

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worldtraveler
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Re: So you want to do PI?

Postby worldtraveler » Tue May 06, 2014 4:55 pm

twenty wrote:I actually don't feel like summer funding (or lack thereof) is that huge of a deal. Yeah, an extra 3-5k is always nice, but you're not going to have to dig too far into your savings even if you don't get a paid summer gig for either summer.


Said by someone who has money.

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BlueLotus
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Re: So you want to do PI?

Postby BlueLotus » Tue May 06, 2014 4:59 pm

Don't some 1L SAs allow you to split summers? Or allow you to do a substantial pro bono project? That way you'd get the best of both worlds.

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twenty
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Re: So you want to do PI?

Postby twenty » Tue May 06, 2014 5:01 pm

worldtraveler wrote:
twenty wrote:I actually don't feel like summer funding (or lack thereof) is that huge of a deal. Yeah, an extra 3-5k is always nice, but you're not going to have to dig too far into your savings even if you don't get a paid summer gig for either summer.


Said by someone who has money.


Yeah, shit, I do hate being that guy. :|

Okay, if you have savings going into USC (which you're basically on a full ride at regardless), consider saving it rather than paying tuition right away and using it for your summers instead.

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mt2165
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Re: So you want to do PI?

Postby mt2165 » Tue May 06, 2014 5:03 pm

So I'm in a bit of a quandary. I opted for Cornell over Columbia due to financial issues, i.e I wanted to minimize debt. I think I'll graduate closer to 6 figures of debt, hopefully a little less but definitely greater than 85. Ultimately I want to do government work (whether that be federal, state, or I suppose local) or nonprofit/lobbying (I would say impact litigation but c'mon). Realizing that six figures of debt is still gunna put me on the path of LRAP if I choose qualifying employment, would the debt savings be null at that point vs Columbia. And also, do my chances of getting my desired employment decrease substantially if I go the private sector route in order to get rid of my debt. It wouldn't be a super high amount so I like to think I'd have a little greater flexibility in regards to biglaw or bust. Thanks in advance.

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logicspeaks
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Re: So you want to do PI?

Postby logicspeaks » Tue May 06, 2014 5:19 pm

BlueLotus wrote:Don't some 1L SAs allow you to split summers? Or allow you to do a substantial pro bono project? That way you'd get the best of both worlds.

Yeah, I found this one pretty quickly and saw I could spend 3 out of 10 weeks doing PI and thought that was cool. Still, I don't want potential employers seeing the BigLaw line on my resume to be wary of me. If it makes me less competitive for PI in the long run I don't want to do it.

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sd5289
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Re: So you want to do PI?

Postby sd5289 » Tue May 06, 2014 5:54 pm

EJW also doesn't apply if you have the "misfortune" of landing a federal gov't gig (which as far as I know, was a good thing career wise). Seriously?! You would've considered me had I been state or local, but since I'm federal the answer is no?

I'm even a federal "service corp" alum. Boo.

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twenty
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Re: So you want to do PI?

Postby twenty » Tue May 06, 2014 5:56 pm

mt2165 wrote:So I'm in a bit of a quandary.


For fedgov and (big) state gov, lateralling over from biglaw is pretty common.

Cornell is absolutely the way to go here. Columbia effectively forecloses you out of the biglaw -> government option, because there's no way you can justify even doing biglaw at all if you're paying so much on your loans. Your only choice at that point is to try and get government right out of Columbia. Now your chances of getting feds might be slightly better from Columbia, but that's definitely not a reason to turn down Cornell with a ~100k price tag.

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mt2165
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Re: So you want to do PI?

Postby mt2165 » Tue May 06, 2014 6:10 pm

twenty wrote:
mt2165 wrote:So I'm in a bit of a quandary.


For fedgov and (big) state gov, lateralling over from biglaw is pretty common.

Cornell is absolutely the way to go here. Columbia effectively forecloses you out of the biglaw -> government option, because there's no way you can justify even doing biglaw at all if you're paying so much on your loans. Your only choice at that point is to try and get government right out of Columbia. Now your chances of getting feds might be slightly better from Columbia, but that's definitely not a reason to turn down Cornell with a ~100k price tag.


Thanks that's what I was thinking. Really I wanted school-wise was a balance between ability to meet my goals and some semblance of economic freedom in the somewhat near future (i.e not 200k plus debt but also not a 10 year LRAP qualifying employment slave), so it sounds good to hear that I made the better choice. But is biglaw necessary to get into those govt/PI positions? Like would I have an substantially worse chance with a lesser known boutique or a lower ranked firm that might have marginally better QOL? Ik that these questions are being asked a wee bit early.

quijotesca1011
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Re: So you want to do PI?

Postby quijotesca1011 » Tue May 06, 2014 6:27 pm

twenty wrote:I actually don't feel like summer funding (or lack thereof) is that huge of a deal. Yeah, an extra 3-5k is always nice, but you're not going to have to dig too far into your savings even if you don't get a paid summer gig for either summer.


Yeah, if you are taking out loans (even dependent on LRAP) I think summer funding is critical, especially since you have a minimal expected contribution as a student. There's no way that hustling and volunteering is happening otherwise. Those who don't need it are lucky, but given what you said about professional experience and connections being key, it is a pretty huge deal for a lot of people.

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worldtraveler
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Re: So you want to do PI?

Postby worldtraveler » Tue May 06, 2014 6:48 pm

logicspeaks wrote:
BlueLotus wrote:Don't some 1L SAs allow you to split summers? Or allow you to do a substantial pro bono project? That way you'd get the best of both worlds.

Yeah, I found this one pretty quickly and saw I could spend 3 out of 10 weeks doing PI and thought that was cool. Still, I don't want potential employers seeing the BigLaw line on my resume to be wary of me. If it makes me less competitive for PI in the long run I don't want to do it.


I would really question if someone with 1L firm experience really wanted PI if I saw that on a resume. But this is also even assuming you'll get one of those so it's probably not worth fretting over.

Really if you know you want to do PI housing law, look into summer funding options or the ability to split and do a paid RA or something like that.

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Pragmatic Gun
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Re: So you want to do PI?

Postby Pragmatic Gun » Wed May 07, 2014 6:10 pm

PI-interested student checking in. I really want to do criminal law on the prosecutor's side. International criminal law has always interested me, but that's a extremely difficult reality to achieve. The more earthly option would be the DA's office here in NYC or the DOJ, or any kind of prosecutorial work in DC. I'll be attending GWU in the fall.

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BlueLotus
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Re: So you want to do PI?

Postby BlueLotus » Wed May 07, 2014 9:34 pm

sd5289 wrote:EJW also doesn't apply if you have the "misfortune" of landing a federal gov't gig (which as far as I know, was a good thing career wise). Seriously?! You would've considered me had I been state or local, but since I'm federal the answer is no?

I'm even a federal "service corp" alum. Boo.


Are you referring to EJW Summer Corps?

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Tanicius
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Re: So you want to do PI?

Postby Tanicius » Wed May 07, 2014 10:00 pm

Pragmatic Gun wrote:PI-interested student checking in. I really want to do criminal law on the prosecutor's side. International criminal law has always interested me, but that's a extremely difficult reality to achieve. The more earthly option would be the DA's office here in NYC or the DOJ, or any kind of prosecutorial work in DC. I'll be attending GWU in the fall.


The DC prosecutor's office is a US Attorney's office. Pretty much no one starts in the criminal branch of a US attorney's office out of graduation. The other option you're interested in, NYC DA work, is doable but extremely difficult to obtain. Come join us in the PD/DA gunner thread: viewtopic.php?f=23&t=155423.

The Dark Shepard
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Re: So you want to do PI?

Postby The Dark Shepard » Thu May 08, 2014 12:19 am

Tanicius wrote:
Pragmatic Gun wrote:PI-interested student checking in. I really want to do criminal law on the prosecutor's side. International criminal law has always interested me, but that's a extremely difficult reality to achieve. The more earthly option would be the DA's office here in NYC or the DOJ, or any kind of prosecutorial work in DC. I'll be attending GWU in the fall.


The DC prosecutor's office is a US Attorney's office. Pretty much no one starts in the criminal branch of a US attorney's office out of graduation. The other option you're interested in, NYC DA work, is doable but extremely difficult to obtain. Come join us in the PD/DA gunner thread: http://top-law-schools.com/forums/viewt ... 3&t=155423.


Aren't 0Ls not supposed to post there? I've been reading the thread, but I havn't asked questions because of that..lol

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kay2016
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Re: So you want to do PI?

Postby kay2016 » Thu May 08, 2014 12:30 am

The Dark Shepard wrote:
Tanicius wrote:
Pragmatic Gun wrote:PI-interested student checking in. I really want to do criminal law on the prosecutor's side. International criminal law has always interested me, but that's a extremely difficult reality to achieve. The more earthly option would be the DA's office here in NYC or the DOJ, or any kind of prosecutorial work in DC. I'll be attending GWU in the fall.


The DC prosecutor's office is a US Attorney's office. Pretty much no one starts in the criminal branch of a US attorney's office out of graduation. The other option you're interested in, NYC DA work, is doable but extremely difficult to obtain. Come join us in the PD/DA gunner thread: http://top-law-schools.com/forums/viewt ... 3&t=155423.


Aren't 0Ls not supposed to post there? I've been reading the thread, but I havn't asked questions because of that..lol



Yep, just join us in August :)

Enjoy your summer before 1L!

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Gooner91
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Re: So you want to do PI?

Postby Gooner91 » Thu May 08, 2014 12:22 pm

The Dark Shepard wrote:
Tanicius wrote:
Pragmatic Gun wrote:PI-interested student checking in. I really want to do criminal law on the prosecutor's side. International criminal law has always interested me, but that's a extremely difficult reality to achieve. The more earthly option would be the DA's office here in NYC or the DOJ, or any kind of prosecutorial work in DC. I'll be attending GWU in the fall.


The DC prosecutor's office is a US Attorney's office. Pretty much no one starts in the criminal branch of a US attorney's office out of graduation. The other option you're interested in, NYC DA work, is doable but extremely difficult to obtain. Come join us in the PD/DA gunner thread: http://top-law-schools.com/forums/viewt ... 3&t=155423.


Aren't 0Ls not supposed to post there? I've been reading the thread, but I havn't asked questions because of that..lol


This is "choosing a law school forum", post away.

quijotesca1011
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Re: So you want to do PI?

Postby quijotesca1011 » Thu May 15, 2014 9:03 pm

This is a bit of a random question, but the 'journals are useless' thread made me wonder:

The consensus on TLS from what I have read seems to be that LR and secondary journals aren't an incredibly good use of time if you are set on PI (correct me if I'm wrong, that's the impression from the threads I have read).

This surprised me, I had thought that journals would provide skills relevant to some PI positions, i.e. those that involve: fact-finding, writing reports, policy analysis/proposals, etc. (research and writing heavy positions -- I'm mostly interested in IHR/NGO and IGO work, so not really referring to government, DA, etc.)

Was curious to get some thoughts and clarification.

If journals are at all useful in this regard (i.e. honing and showing research and writing skills) is it worth it to try for LR, or are you just as well off writing for a secondary journal in the area of PI you are most interested in?

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Re: So you want to do PI?

Postby The Dark Shepard » Thu May 15, 2014 11:17 pm

So got a couple of questions in terms of DA/PD

1. Do you have to know which one you wish to be part of right away? Given I think both are extremely valuable and essential professions for the legal system. I could see myself in either. I'm not as extreme as it gets on either end <_<

2. If I were to get top grades, is it worth going to OCI that fall? Or would that turn those offices against me? Or is it always best to keep options open

3. Is it possible to transfer big/mid law ---> DA/PD?

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worldtraveler
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Re: So you want to do PI?

Postby worldtraveler » Thu May 15, 2014 11:24 pm

quijotesca1011 wrote:This is a bit of a random question, but the 'journals are useless' thread made me wonder:

The consensus on TLS from what I have read seems to be that LR and secondary journals aren't an incredibly good use of time if you are set on PI (correct me if I'm wrong, that's the impression from the threads I have read).

This surprised me, I had thought that journals would provide skills relevant to some PI positions, i.e. those that involve: fact-finding, writing reports, policy analysis/proposals, etc. (research and writing heavy positions -- I'm mostly interested in IHR/NGO and IGO work, so not really referring to government, DA, etc.)

Was curious to get some thoughts and clarification.

If journals are at all useful in this regard (i.e. honing and showing research and writing skills) is it worth it to try for LR, or are you just as well off writing for a secondary journal in the area of PI you are most interested in?


The thing is, you either have the credentials and background to get hired in IHR or you don't. If you have them, you were probably an overachiever in everything and did a journal and a billion other things. If you don't have everything else, the journal doesn't matter.

So should you do one? Depends on whether you can do it and do everything else you should be doing. It's not going to make or break anything either way. And the skills you get from a journal won't be relevant for anything, so long as you can sort of cite sources.

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Re: So you want to do PI?

Postby quijotesca1011 » Thu May 15, 2014 11:42 pm

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Last edited by quijotesca1011 on Wed Jul 09, 2014 1:00 am, edited 1 time in total.

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twenty
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Re: So you want to do PI?

Postby twenty » Fri May 16, 2014 12:56 am

The idea isn't so much "journals don't mean anything to PI employers", it's just that it's not sufficient to get you into PI work. It is totally feasible (in fact, becoming increasingly more the norm) to attend a decent school, get decent to good grades, end up on a journal, basically all the stuff you're "supposed to do" in law school, and yet completely strike out when you apply to PI gigs. Why? Because if a PI gig wanted a kid with law review on his/her resume, there's more than enough people that meet that qualification that also want that job.

On the other hand, look back to WT's post where she straight up says they would take someone on if they could demonstrate French proficiency. You say, "wtf, no one learns French in law school" -- and that's exactly the point. If you want to work on a big Algerian refugee project, either you speak French and have lived in North Africa, or you haven't. The pool of "typical law students that do everything right" is a lot bigger than the pool of "law grads with a year of volunteer experience at this nonprofit, having already two years prior to law school with a volunteer group in the target country, and already speaks the local language."

So again, not that journals are bad or don't matter (I'm sure they'd be looked at favorably by basically any legal position, really), it's just not "the thing" that gets you in.

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twenty
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Re: So you want to do PI?

Postby twenty » Fri May 16, 2014 1:11 am

1. Do you have to know which one you wish to be part of right away? Given I think both are extremely valuable and essential professions for the legal system. I could see myself in either. I'm not as extreme as it gets on either end <_<


I'm going to refer you to the DA/PD gunner thread, but I think the big tl;dr take away from that thread is that you should probably gun for one or the other; you probably don't want to mix and match. While I'm sure the spirit of each individual offices varies, and some offices will insist on a "true believer" that's been going for DA since who knows, other offices will just be like, "oh, yeah, exploring your options in law school is great."

I think the bigger advantage to committing to one over the other early on is that you're able to put in more face time with the group you're targeting. In terms of fungibility, every hour you spend at the DA's office is an hour you weren't able to spend at the PD's, for instance. It's not that the opposite experience is necessarily harmful to your resume, but that you may be at a disadvantage having not really put in enough face time with either.

2. If I were to get top grades, is it worth going to OCI that fall? Or would that turn those offices against me? Or is it always best to keep options open


My rule is that if you're asking this question, you should do OCI. I would say the majority of people that start law school thinking they want to do PI/govt end up not doing PI/govt for any number of reasons articulated on the OP. OCI isn't this place where all the "PI washouts" go -- in this day and age, don't shoot yourself in the foot by not taking advantage of every job-getting opportunity provided to you.

UNLESS

You're one of those rare individuals that's so set on a specific type of PI that they'd rather do non-legal PI work than do legal work that's not PI. This is not most people.

3. Is it possible to transfer big/mid law ---> DA/PD?


Yes and no. It's certainly possible to transfer from certain big/midlaw practices to a larger group that does similar work, like DOJ/USAO or SEC, but you will rarely find biglaw people that lateral into DA/PD. There are a few reasons why. First, given the choice between working for the DA's office for 60k/year and working in-house for 110k/year, most will choose the latter. Second, there are way too many people competing for DA/PD offices to justify giving a spot to a biglaw alumni with no real relevant experience. If you're a PD, you're always going to hire the kid that externed for you during 2L/3L and has been volunteering for the past year without pay over a biglaw alumni that's never been inside the PD's office.

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worldtraveler
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Re: So you want to do PI?

Postby worldtraveler » Fri May 16, 2014 12:48 pm

quijotesca1011 wrote:
worldtraveler wrote:
quijotesca1011 wrote:This is a bit of a random question, but the 'journals are useless' thread made me wonder:

The consensus on TLS from what I have read seems to be that LR and secondary journals aren't an incredibly good use of time if you are set on PI (correct me if I'm wrong, that's the impression from the threads I have read).

This surprised me, I had thought that journals would provide skills relevant to some PI positions, i.e. those that involve: fact-finding, writing reports, policy analysis/proposals, etc. (research and writing heavy positions -- I'm mostly interested in IHR/NGO and IGO work, so not really referring to government, DA, etc.)

Was curious to get some thoughts and clarification.

If journals are at all useful in this regard (i.e. honing and showing research and writing skills) is it worth it to try for LR, or are you just as well off writing for a secondary journal in the area of PI you are most interested in?


The thing is, you either have the credentials and background to get hired in IHR or you don't. If you have them, you were probably an overachiever in everything and did a journal and a billion other things. If you don't have everything else, the journal doesn't matter.

So should you do one? Depends on whether you can do it and do everything else you should be doing. It's not going to make or break anything either way. And the skills you get from a journal won't be relevant for anything, so long as you can sort of cite sources.


I'm not sure I understand what you mean - do you mean you either have the credentials coming into law school or you don't? Or that we are supposed to 'magically' know what to do/do it all? I don't understand why it doesn't make sense to plan and manage what you devote your time to during law school.

All I was wondering was whether a journal was a credential that is sought after in PI and/or gave you useful skills for the field. And perhaps, additionally, whether LR is top-choice in terms of journals or a subject specific journal is just as good. I'm sorry that that apparently those were stupid questions.


There isn't a straight up answer for that. It will not give you useful skills for anything, that much is clear. But I can't just outright say they don't matter or they do matter. Some elite PI employers like DOJ really like to see journal membership. Why, I don't know. Others don't care at all.

But the point is that you shouldn't worry about whether or not to do a journal when at the very most, it would be a tiny fraction of why they would hire you. If you really want IHR work there are a million other things to worry about. If you can do all that and do a journal, go for it. If you have to prioritize, don't do it.




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