Public Interest - UNC v. American v. Northeastern v. Chance at Georgetown

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latetothis
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Public Interest - UNC v. American v. Northeastern v. Chance at Georgetown

Postby latetothis » Thu Mar 02, 2017 12:03 pm

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Re: Public Interest - UNC v. American v. Northeastern v. Chance at Georgetown

Postby areyn22 » Thu Mar 02, 2017 2:11 pm

latetothis wrote:I have the Public Interest Law Scholarship at Northeastern (full ride + $2,000 for each of four co-ops, three of must be public interest), a Capital Merit Scholarship at American (full ride), I'm a finalist for the Chancellors Scholarship at UNC (if I don't get it, I get 75% tuition covered), and I'm in the special group on the Preferred Waiting list at Georgetown. I also am interviewing for the K&L Gates Diversity Fellowship at the University of Pittsburgh (full ride, plus paid summer associate positions at K&L Gates). Totally lost on what to do, even though I know it's not decision time yet.

My goal is to work in public interest (ideal employer would be National Women's Law Center or ACLU, but I'm realistic and it seems these kinds of nonprofits recruit from the T14 mostly). I am interested in impact litigation, providing direct legal services for victims of domestic violence/sexual assault/sex trafficking, and perhaps public policy related to those issues at some point down the road. I would be interested in practicing in DC, NC, or NYC.

- Northeastern and American are well-regarded for public interest, but ranked fairly low (#82 and #78, respectively). I'm not that interested in living in Boston long-term, and am more interested in DC so American could be good for networking. But Northeastern has the bonus of providing me with public interest mentoring and networking bc of the PILS scholarship.

- UNC is ranked #38 and has good resources for public interest law, plus a loyal network of Chancellors scholars (should I get that scholarship). It's a regional school but has name recognition across the country, and on the off chance that I decide not to go into public interest law, I wouldn't be screwed.

- Georgetown was my first choice, but even if I get in, it means tons of debt. I'm still pursuing it seriously and will hope to get off the waitlist. Perhaps, attending Georgetown would give me the greatest chance at my dream jobs, though I know it'd still a tough road ahead.

- Pitt Law (tied with American at #78) has the bonus of being in an up-and-coming city with a low cost of living, plus automatic summer internships at K&L Gates for 1L and 2L summers, which might help me gain some credibility as I move forward in my career.

First seat deposit deadline is April 1 for American. Would very much appreciate your thoughts!


My vote is UNC. If you're comfortable staying in the Carolinas/Southeast and you can get the Chancellor's scholarship (full ride, yeah?), it's a pretty good deal. Even without that scholarship, 75% of tuition paid is nice. It's a good enough school that (outside of Biglaw) you'll have options outside of public interest. You've said you don't want to end up in Boston long-term, so I wouldn't think Northeastern would be the best bet for you. Georgetown is obviously the best school of the bunch, but if you're getting in off the waitlist my hunch is that they'll ask you to pay sticker and that's way too much money.

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Re: Public Interest - UNC v. American v. Northeastern v. Chance at Georgetown

Postby floatie » Thu Mar 02, 2017 4:55 pm

Unless they give you money, forget about Georgetown. It would be nearly $300k of debt, which is financial suicide if you want to do PI.

I also vote for UNC, as its the most reputable school on your list and a decent school overall. Northeastern would limit you to Boston and American is just crappy all around. If you get the K&L Gates fellowship I'd also strongly consider that. 1 paid SA position shouldn't detract too much from your PI focus (plus you can use the money you make that summer towards other costs during 3L)

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Re: Public Interest - UNC v. American v. Northeastern v. Chance at Georgetown

Postby Rigo » Fri Mar 03, 2017 1:37 am

Not American. Northeastern doesn't make sense either.
Hopefully you snag the UNC full ride. ACLU and other desirable impact-PI is unlikely to happen though.

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Re: Public Interest - UNC v. American v. Northeastern v. Chance at Georgetown

Postby usn26 » Fri Mar 03, 2017 8:05 am

Pitt would be your best bet financially (with K&L), although you'd have to be okay with being in that region long term. It's not impossible to get out, but it's an uphill battle of the type you'd want to assume you'll lose.

Northeastern doesn't seem to make much sense. UNC w/ 100% is the easy choice. Neither UNC at 75% or American at full are great options (retake), although I'd lean UNC if I had to choose.

You can do what you want to do from anywhere with no debt, but for all that money at Georgetown you're still probably not going to get ACLU type things, so it's not worth it.

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Re: Public Interest - UNC v. American v. Northeastern v. Chance at Georgetown

Postby Nebby » Fri Mar 03, 2017 9:02 am

Can you retake the LSAT? You seem to understand more than the average 0L and can probably take that maturity and bump up your LSAT by 3 or 4 points, and then you'd be looking at a picture that could really attain your goals.

If you can't, then American because of its location and ability to do externships during the year in DC. DC legal externships during the semester are easier to get because of less competition. If you can get a lot of experience in law school, then you'd have your best shit of getting a job.

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Re: Public Interest - UNC v. American v. Northeastern v. Chance at Georgetown

Postby latetothis » Fri Mar 03, 2017 10:43 am

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Re: Public Interest - UNC v. American v. Northeastern v. Chance at Georgetown

Postby Nebby » Fri Mar 03, 2017 10:52 am

latetothis wrote:
Nebby wrote:Can you retake the LSAT? You seem to understand more than the average 0L and can probably take that maturity and bump up your LSAT by 3 or 4 points, and then you'd be looking at a picture that could really attain your goals.

If you can't, then American because of its location and ability to do externships during the year in DC. DC legal externships during the semester are easier to get because of less competition. If you can get a lot of experience in law school, then you'd have your best shit of getting a job.


Thank you everyone for your input. In my crazier moments, I've definitely considered retaking the LSAT. I've taken it twice already and gotten the same score. I wonder about the process though - I'd have to get new letters of recommendation (from the same people) and rewrite personal statements?

What would matter more in terms of getting public interest jobs - ranking of school, class rank/grades, or experience during law school (summers, clinical programs, etc.)? I assume it's a combination of the three, but is there one that will be weighted more?

Honestly, it is all three.
A T14 w/ relevant experience can make up for median grades.
Great grades and great, relevant experience (at least two stints--whether summers or externships or combo of either/or--in an org/gov't agency relevant to the desired practice area) can make up for mediocre school rank.

However, school rank matters a lot for entry-level hiring at the type of organizations you want to work at. For example, my enviro org* overwhelming recruits from the T14 solely. The past few years entry-level hires were all from either HLS, CLS, NYU, Northwestern, Michigan, or Berkeley. We have some T1/2 grads that are staff attorneys, but they all came here after practicing for years prior elsewhere.

*enviro, like most PI, is a niche field and the hiring practices of my organization mirror other regional and national PI orgs. Local PI organizations don't care nearly as much about school rank--they care about hiring great people who will stay for a long time (hopefully).
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Re: Public Interest - UNC v. American v. Northeastern v. Chance at Georgetown

Postby Rigo » Fri Mar 03, 2017 10:53 am

latetothis wrote:I'd have to get new letters of recommendation (from the same people) and rewrite personal statements?

You can use the same LOR's. You can even use the same PS if you're applying to new schools since they won't have seen it previously (and if you use it again for these schools, I doubt they'd care since your numbers are competitive for scholarships already).

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Re: Public Interest - UNC v. American v. Northeastern v. Chance at Georgetown

Postby latetothis » Fri Mar 03, 2017 12:02 pm

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Re: Public Interest - UNC v. American v. Northeastern v. Chance at Georgetown

Postby latetothis » Fri Mar 03, 2017 12:03 pm

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Re: Public Interest - UNC v. American v. Northeastern v. Chance at Georgetown

Postby Rigo » Fri Mar 03, 2017 12:19 pm

latetothis wrote:
Rigo wrote:
latetothis wrote:I'd have to get new letters of recommendation (from the same people) and rewrite personal statements?

You can use the same LOR's. You can even use the same PS if you're applying to new schools since they won't have seen it previously (and if you use it again for these schools, I doubt they'd care since your numbers are competitive for scholarships already).

That's news to me! Thanks for the response.

No worries. I've reused letters and the only schools that had an issue with it were Stanford (wanting a new letter in addition to old letters if you're a reapplicant) and Columbia (requiring an employer LOR if you've been out school for over 2 years iirc).

I've been admitted using a LOR's 2-5 years old.
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Re: Public Interest - UNC v. American v. Northeastern v. Chance at Georgetown

Postby Nebby » Fri Mar 03, 2017 12:21 pm

latetothis wrote:Thank you! This is super helpful. Would you recommend Georgetown, then? Or not worth it, with the debt load? You said American might be the best choice because of the location -- I've seen mixed messages about the school. Curious to hear your thoughts on American, beyond the location.

As a gambling man, I took the route with a high-debt load with reliance on LRAP (loan repayment assistance program--mainly offered only by T14s), PSLF (public service loan forgiveness), and PAYE (pay as you earn income based student loan repayment plan).

It worked for me--I am an entry-level attorney at exactly the type of PI org I wanted. I had a combination of good school rank, good grades, and extensive relevant experience (two summers and two semesters doing this type of work).

I also have a net-worth that would make anyone's heart skip a beat, but so long as my plan holds true, after 10 years I'll have ended up only pay about $~80k out-of-pocket for undergrad/law school combined.

You would have to take this same route too, if you went to GULC. Or, you can do what I should have done but was too naive to do 4 years ago, and retake the LSAT and try to bump up your score 3 or 4 points so you can get $$$ from the schools that could best put you in a position to achieve your goals.

Also, here's a thread I run that may have helpful information for you (it's limited to T14s only though): viewtopic.php?f=1&t=262810

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Re: Public Interest - UNC v. American v. Northeastern v. Chance at Georgetown

Postby latetothis » Fri Mar 03, 2017 1:09 pm

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Re: Public Interest - UNC v. American v. Northeastern v. Chance at Georgetown

Postby latetothis » Fri Mar 03, 2017 1:11 pm

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Re: Public Interest - UNC v. American v. Northeastern v. Chance at Georgetown

Postby Rigo » Fri Mar 03, 2017 1:12 pm

latetothis wrote:
Rigo wrote:
latetothis wrote:
Rigo wrote:
latetothis wrote:I'd have to get new letters of recommendation (from the same people) and rewrite personal statements?

You can use the same LOR's. You can even use the same PS if you're applying to new schools since they won't have seen it previously (and if you use it again for these schools, I doubt they'd care since your numbers are competitive for scholarships already).

That's news to me! Thanks for the response.

No worries. I've reused letters and the only schools that had an issue with it were Stanford (wanting a new letter in addition to old letters if you're a reapplicant) and Columbia (requiring an employer LOR if you've been out school for over 2 years iirc).

I've been admitted using a LOR's 2-5 years old.


That seems to be doable. I already have two work-related LORs and a professor recommendation. I think I can scrounge up a new letter if need be.

I mean, if you're retaking hopefully these will be schools you laugh about next year and say "wtf was I thinking?"

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Re: Public Interest - UNC v. American v. Northeastern v. Chance at Georgetown

Postby jlc058 » Thu Mar 09, 2017 2:45 pm

latetothis wrote:I have the Public Interest Law Scholarship at Northeastern (full ride + $2,000 for each of four co-ops, three of must be public interest), a Capital Merit Scholarship at American (full ride), I'm a finalist for the Chancellors Scholarship at UNC (if I don't get it, I get 75% tuition covered), and I'm in the special group on the Preferred Waiting list at Georgetown. I also am interviewing for the K&L Gates Diversity Fellowship at the University of Pittsburgh (full ride, plus paid summer associate positions at K&L Gates). Totally lost on what to do, even though I know it's not decision time yet.

My goal is to work in public interest (ideal employer would be National Women's Law Center or ACLU, but I'm realistic and it seems these kinds of nonprofits recruit from the T14 mostly). I am interested in impact litigation, providing direct legal services for victims of domestic violence/sexual assault/sex trafficking, and perhaps public policy related to those issues at some point down the road. I would be interested in practicing in DC, NC, or NYC.

- Northeastern and American are well-regarded for public interest, but ranked fairly low (#82 and #78, respectively). I'm not that interested in living in Boston long-term, and am more interested in DC so American could be good for networking. But Northeastern has the bonus of providing me with public interest mentoring and networking bc of the PILS scholarship.

- UNC is ranked #38 and has good resources for public interest law, plus a loyal network of Chancellors scholars (should I get that scholarship). It's a regional school but has name recognition across the country, and on the off chance that I decide not to go into public interest law, I wouldn't be screwed.

- Georgetown was my first choice, but even if I get in, it means tons of debt. I'm still pursuing it seriously and will hope to get off the waitlist. Perhaps, attending Georgetown would give me the greatest chance at my dream jobs, though I know it'd still a tough road ahead.

- Pitt Law (tied with American at #78) has the bonus of being in an up-and-coming city with a low cost of living, plus automatic summer internships at K&L Gates for 1L and 2L summers, which might help me gain some credibility as I move forward in my career.

First seat deposit deadline is April 1 for American. Would very much appreciate your thoughts!


I don't have much advice for you but just wanted to say as someone who is in sort of a similar situation as you I really appreciated reading through your thought process! your career goals are very similar to my own and I also am trying to figure out how to make a decision between full rides with specific PI help at low ranked schools (American) $$ at not as terrible ranked schools (GW) and a little $ at Georgetown where I would love to go but am afraid of the debt. Hopefully for both of us we figure it out!

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Re: Public Interest - UNC v. American v. Northeastern v. Chance at Georgetown

Postby Nebby » Thu Mar 09, 2017 7:35 pm

jlc058 wrote:
latetothis wrote:I have the Public Interest Law Scholarship at Northeastern (full ride + $2,000 for each of four co-ops, three of must be public interest), a Capital Merit Scholarship at American (full ride), I'm a finalist for the Chancellors Scholarship at UNC (if I don't get it, I get 75% tuition covered), and I'm in the special group on the Preferred Waiting list at Georgetown. I also am interviewing for the K&L Gates Diversity Fellowship at the University of Pittsburgh (full ride, plus paid summer associate positions at K&L Gates). Totally lost on what to do, even though I know it's not decision time yet.

My goal is to work in public interest (ideal employer would be National Women's Law Center or ACLU, but I'm realistic and it seems these kinds of nonprofits recruit from the T14 mostly). I am interested in impact litigation, providing direct legal services for victims of domestic violence/sexual assault/sex trafficking, and perhaps public policy related to those issues at some point down the road. I would be interested in practicing in DC, NC, or NYC.

- Northeastern and American are well-regarded for public interest, but ranked fairly low (#82 and #78, respectively). I'm not that interested in living in Boston long-term, and am more interested in DC so American could be good for networking. But Northeastern has the bonus of providing me with public interest mentoring and networking bc of the PILS scholarship.

- UNC is ranked #38 and has good resources for public interest law, plus a loyal network of Chancellors scholars (should I get that scholarship). It's a regional school but has name recognition across the country, and on the off chance that I decide not to go into public interest law, I wouldn't be screwed.

- Georgetown was my first choice, but even if I get in, it means tons of debt. I'm still pursuing it seriously and will hope to get off the waitlist. Perhaps, attending Georgetown would give me the greatest chance at my dream jobs, though I know it'd still a tough road ahead.

- Pitt Law (tied with American at #78) has the bonus of being in an up-and-coming city with a low cost of living, plus automatic summer internships at K&L Gates for 1L and 2L summers, which might help me gain some credibility as I move forward in my career.

First seat deposit deadline is April 1 for American. Would very much appreciate your thoughts!


I don't have much advice for you but just wanted to say as someone who is in sort of a similar situation as you I really appreciated reading through your thought process! your career goals are very similar to my own and I also am trying to figure out how to make a decision between full rides with specific PI help at low ranked schools (American) $$ at not as terrible ranked schools (GW) and a little $ at Georgetown where I would love to go but am afraid of the debt. Hopefully for both of us we figure it out!

Look into GULC's LRAP

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Re: Public Interest - UNC v. American v. Northeastern v. Chance at Georgetown

Postby usn26 » Fri Mar 10, 2017 8:12 am

Nebby wrote:Look into GULC's LRAP


Our LRAP is so "good" that if/when the whole IBR system is shut down, it'll probably be one of the main reasons cited.

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Re: Public Interest - UNC v. American v. Northeastern v. Chance at Georgetown

Postby jlc058 » Fri Mar 10, 2017 10:38 am

Nebby wrote:
jlc058 wrote:
latetothis wrote:I have the Public Interest Law Scholarship at Northeastern (full ride + $2,000 for each of four co-ops, three of must be public interest), a Capital Merit Scholarship at American (full ride), I'm a finalist for the Chancellors Scholarship at UNC (if I don't get it, I get 75% tuition covered), and I'm in the special group on the Preferred Waiting list at Georgetown. I also am interviewing for the K&L Gates Diversity Fellowship at the University of Pittsburgh (full ride, plus paid summer associate positions at K&L Gates). Totally lost on what to do, even though I know it's not decision time yet.

My goal is to work in public interest (ideal employer would be National Women's Law Center or ACLU, but I'm realistic and it seems these kinds of nonprofits recruit from the T14 mostly). I am interested in impact litigation, providing direct legal services for victims of domestic violence/sexual assault/sex trafficking, and perhaps public policy related to those issues at some point down the road. I would be interested in practicing in DC, NC, or NYC.

- Northeastern and American are well-regarded for public interest, but ranked fairly low (#82 and #78, respectively). I'm not that interested in living in Boston long-term, and am more interested in DC so American could be good for networking. But Northeastern has the bonus of providing me with public interest mentoring and networking bc of the PILS scholarship.

- UNC is ranked #38 and has good resources for public interest law, plus a loyal network of Chancellors scholars (should I get that scholarship). It's a regional school but has name recognition across the country, and on the off chance that I decide not to go into public interest law, I wouldn't be screwed.

- Georgetown was my first choice, but even if I get in, it means tons of debt. I'm still pursuing it seriously and will hope to get off the waitlist. Perhaps, attending Georgetown would give me the greatest chance at my dream jobs, though I know it'd still a tough road ahead.

- Pitt Law (tied with American at #78) has the bonus of being in an up-and-coming city with a low cost of living, plus automatic summer internships at K&L Gates for 1L and 2L summers, which might help me gain some credibility as I move forward in my career.

First seat deposit deadline is April 1 for American. Would very much appreciate your thoughts!


I don't have much advice for you but just wanted to say as someone who is in sort of a similar situation as you I really appreciated reading through your thought process! your career goals are very similar to my own and I also am trying to figure out how to make a decision between full rides with specific PI help at low ranked schools (American) $$ at not as terrible ranked schools (GW) and a little $ at Georgetown where I would love to go but am afraid of the debt. Hopefully for both of us we figure it out!

Look into GULC's LRAP


Thanks, I've done a lot of research on it and its the best program I have seen (IMO) but I still would feel much better borrowing an amount that would be majority paid off by Georgetown's LRAP in the ten years of payments they offer because there is no guarantee that PSLF will still be around to just poof the rest of it. I'm not at that amount yet with what they have given me but still holding out hope for a bump in scholly to get me there. A small part of me is also afraid that if PSLF was phased out Georgetown would change their plan to something less incredible than it is now-I don't know how justified this worry is.

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Re: Public Interest - UNC v. American v. Northeastern v. Chance at Georgetown

Postby jlc058 » Fri Mar 10, 2017 10:42 am

usn26 wrote:
Nebby wrote:Look into GULC's LRAP


Our LRAP is so "good" that if/when the whole IBR system is shut down, it'll probably be one of the main reasons cited.


I don't think the IBR part matters- because while the payments are actually being made Georgetown is actually paying for the loans not taxpayers- its the PSLF at the end of the ten years that comes down on taxpayers and I think that would be the first thing to go and without it there would be no reason to get rid of IBR since it only racks up more interest and makes more money in the long run

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Re: Public Interest - UNC v. American v. Northeastern v. Chance at Georgetown

Postby usn26 » Fri Mar 10, 2017 10:58 am

jlc058 wrote:
usn26 wrote:
Nebby wrote:Look into GULC's LRAP


Our LRAP is so "good" that if/when the whole IBR system is shut down, it'll probably be one of the main reasons cited.


I don't think the IBR part matters- because while the payments are actually being made Georgetown is actually paying for the loans not taxpayers- its the PSLF at the end of the ten years that comes down on taxpayers and I think that would be the first thing to go and without it there would be no reason to get rid of IBR since it only racks up more interest and makes more money in the long run


That's correct. So I should have said our LRAP will continue to be amazing until it ruins PSLF for everyone (including ourselves).

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Re: Public Interest - UNC v. American v. Northeastern v. Chance at Georgetown

Postby Nebby » Fri Mar 10, 2017 11:08 am

usn26 wrote:That's correct. So I should have said our LRAP will continue to be amazing until it ruins PSLF for everyone (including ourselves).

Maybe, but any change will have a grandfather provision. It would truly be merciless to not grandfather people already on the program. Plus, such a harsh maneuver would likely not pass the Senate. It would make even Republicans a little queasy (remember, most of the people who would be hurt by this are lawyers and they likely personally know someone on PSLF by family or their family knows someone on PSLF).

If there's one thing you should know, the legal community is a pretty strong lobby and pretty protective of the profession and those within it.

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Re: Public Interest - UNC v. American v. Northeastern v. Chance at Georgetown

Postby jlc058 » Fri Mar 10, 2017 11:10 am

usn26 wrote:
jlc058 wrote:
usn26 wrote:
Nebby wrote:Look into GULC's LRAP


Our LRAP is so "good" that if/when the whole IBR system is shut down, it'll probably be one of the main reasons cited.


I don't think the IBR part matters- because while the payments are actually being made Georgetown is actually paying for the loans not taxpayers- its the PSLF at the end of the ten years that comes down on taxpayers and I think that would be the first thing to go and without it there would be no reason to get rid of IBR since it only racks up more interest and makes more money in the long run


That's correct. So I should have said our LRAP will continue to be amazing until it ruins PSLF for everyone (including ourselves).


Haha yep we are all doomed on that route. Although Georgetown students debt forgiveness is just bundled up with students from every other school looking for loan forgiveness-so whenever this year that first group has their loans forgiven its going to be an insane amount of money and will probably ruin PSLF even if Georgetown didnt have the LRAP it does.

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Re: Public Interest - UNC v. American v. Northeastern v. Chance at Georgetown

Postby jlc058 » Fri Mar 10, 2017 11:13 am

Nebby wrote:
usn26 wrote:That's correct. So I should have said our LRAP will continue to be amazing until it ruins PSLF for everyone (including ourselves).

Maybe, but any change will have a grandfather provision. It would truly be merciless to not grandfather people already on the program. Plus, such a harsh maneuver would likely not pass the Senate. It would make even Republicans a little queasy (remember, most of the people who would be hurt by this are lawyers and they likely personally know someone on PSLF by family or their family knows someone on PSLF).

If there's one thing you should know, the legal community is a pretty strong lobby and pretty protective of the profession and those within it.


I agree with that but am not sure where the grandfather provision would start- does it protect the people who have already graduated and started working in public service on the ten year path, Does it protect the people already in school that went based on thinking they would have this option, Does it protect people who took out loans based on thinking they would have this option but are just at the start of their education? and all that seems a little risky




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