bwaldorf wrote:Almost a full ride to WUSTL over here with $0 in debt to be incurred (maybe 10k in loans for 3L if I can't squeeze my savings through the third year/don't get an SA or really any paying job for the summer lol). Glad I seem to be in a good spot!
I'd be curious to hear thoughts on UT/Georgetown/George Washington/University of Illinois (all schools I considered).
My goals are BL ---> public defender ---> eventually own my own firm. I know BL will be a stretch but I do have a ton of ties to Missouri and St. Louis, so I'm hoping that helps. I chose Wash U because I won't have to incur any debt and I want to stay in St. Louis for good.
I am a PD now and we haven't had anyone lateral from BigLaw. I don't think it is because we wouldn't take former BL people but because it would be a huge drop in compensation, and a huge change in practice type. Basically, a rare fact pattern you have. Other than being lawyers and working long hours there is really no overlap at all between BL and PD work.
If I was a PD supervisor/hiring director I would know that you'd only do PD work for 1-3 years before bailing and I'd probably still hire you because I'd be a desperate PD supervisor in Missouri. Missouri's PD system in particular is awful, starting salaries at less than 40k? I mean I get that there is low COL there but jesus. I don't know anything else about them other than their salaries but I can't imagine they give you much to work with (investigators? expert witness funding? social workers?) and probably a bigger than average caseload to boot. However, assuming you want to have a solo practice (at first), PD work will give you tons of trial and motions hearing experience so you will be able to handle yourself in court fairly well when you go out on your own. On the other hand PD work is exclusively criminal so the breadth of your practice at the beginning will depend on your BL practice group. Some practice areas work better with criminal than others. Bankruptcy, Divorces, Personal Injury come to mind. Intellectual Property and transactional shit? not so much.
Anyway, you are going to be working primarily in private practice and are not going to a school which will safely place you in BL so you are right to lean towards 0 debt situation (Really almost always the right choice) and want to live in St. Louis so I can't think of a better choice than WUSTL.
I'm very familiar with MO's PD system and the problems it has. However, I think it would be a necessary step in eventually owning my own criminal practice as it, as you said, gives you tons of trial and motions hearing experience. My goal is criminal defense although I'm well aware I'd have to do other work to keep the doors open for awhile. I see no reason to go out of state to be a PD when I want to come back to St. Louis - which I'd probably have to in order to start a successful solo practice, as that is where my social network is. I'd be willing to be a prosecutor as well, although the ones I know said they made about the same as PDs in Missouri.
Basically, I know the overhead for owning my own firm will be huge, and I want BL solely for the money to save up for that (and possibly to make a few connections here and there). I'm by no means BL or bust. I'm going to shoot for it, and I think the connections I have will help me (hopefully), but I wouldn't be upset if I didn't get it. I'm more concerned with staying in St. Louis.
Anyways, I'm just a lowly 0L, so my career goals may certainly change. Criminal defense is what I've always wanted to do, though, so I'm trying to get there eventually.