UNH vs. Catholic vs. UNLV

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cinderellasyndrome
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UNH vs. Catholic vs. UNLV

Postby cinderellasyndrome » Sun May 14, 2017 3:07 pm

Hi everyone,
I'm new to this forum and to the admissions / law school selection process. I appreciate frank advice, but I'd also appreciate it being framed constructively. (I.e. I'm very open to hearing and considering "retake and here's why," but I don't do well with "you're never gonna be successful at any of these, are you crazy, retake.")

For reference, I'd like to go into government work or some form of public interest/advocacy, particularly relating to public health and education policy. I have a full ride at UNH, $30k at Catholic, and haven't heard yet from UNLV (but it'd be an option if I did get in).

I deposited at UNH (to keep my spot at a school where I got a full scholarship) but am having serious reservations for two reasons:

1) I have really serious seasonal depression, and winters in southern New England (where I live now) are hard enough, so I can imagine going north would only exacerbate the problem. Depression has interfered with my studies before and impacted my ugrad GPA in a big way and I know I can't afford that in law school.

2) I'm really concerned about their ability to place outside NH (where I don't want to spend more than the 3 years of law school) or Mass (where I will never, ever live). Their public interest score is also fairly low.

I've already tried negotiating with Catholic for more money, and got my scholarship upped to $30k from $24k. But I'm very debt-averse and with cost of living in D.C. being what it is, I don't know that it's the wisest investment.

UNLV appealed to me because it's in a warm area, many of the legal issues going on there are things I'd like to get involved in, and the theoretical approach of their health law concentration is similar to research I've done.

I'm not gonna lie; I'm concerned about taking time off as I have no job currently, nothing in the works, and little to no work experience. I'm more open to the idea of sitting out a cycle than I used to be, given where my options are, but it wouldn't be ideal.

Finally, obligatory stats: GPA 3.2 (with extenuating circumstances) / LSAT 159. I am / would be a serious splitter at almost any decent school.

Again, I appreciate any advice.

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guynourmin
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Re: UNH vs. Catholic vs. UNLV

Postby guynourmin » Sun May 14, 2017 3:16 pm

regarding point 2: outside of the very top schools all schools are regional schools. You don't go to UNH if you don't want to live in New Hampshire for the rest of your life (or, at least, the next 10+ yrs).
Last edited by guynourmin on Sun May 14, 2017 3:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Rigo
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Re: UNH vs. Catholic vs. UNLV

Postby Rigo » Sun May 14, 2017 3:19 pm

cinderellasyndrome wrote:I deposited at UNH (to keep my spot at a school where I got a full scholarship) but am having serious reservations for two reasons:

1) I have really serious seasonal depression, and winters in southern New England (where I live now) are hard enough, so I can imagine going north would only exacerbate the problem. Depression has interfered with my studies before and impacted my ugrad GPA in a big way and I know I can't afford that in law school.

2) I'm really concerned about their ability to place outside NH (where I don't want to spend more than the 3 years of law school) or Mass (where I will never, ever live). Their public interest score is also fairly low.

You 100% should not go there then. I don't know why you would even apply if you don't want to be in New England.

I'm concerned about your general geographic application strategy, which is very important if you will be going to a regional school. Where do you want to practice?

Also, how much effort did you put into the LSAT? It's not that difficult to improve from the 150's with a solid plan and dedication. I imagine even a 163-165 would get you some pretty solid state flagship options and $$$$ even with your GPA. Definitely something to consider.

Have you considered non-legal options? Your goals don't really scream law school. A MPH, MPP, MPA would probably suit you better.

cavalier1138
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Re: UNH vs. Catholic vs. UNLV

Postby cavalier1138 » Sun May 14, 2017 4:28 pm

Yeah, I'm also in the "don't go at all" boat. Your goals are policy-oriented, especially since you mentioned that you were attracted to the "theoretical approach" to health law at one school. All schools take a theoretical approach to the doctrinal work, but if you're excited about that, you probably don't want to practice law.

If you're actually more interested in practicing law than shaping policy, you can't go to any of these schools with the expectation of practicing somewhere else.

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dm1683
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Re: UNH vs. Catholic vs. UNLV

Postby dm1683 » Sun May 14, 2017 6:12 pm

Do you have a semi marketable degree from a reputable institution? If so, then go chase that 30k policy job somewhere instead of throwing down six figures for a law degree that likely will have no positive impact on your career trajectory. Rise through the ranks like everyone else does and then reassess whether you still aspire to have a J.D. next to your name in a few years.

If you are hell bent on LS, then I would retake for better options. UCONN (with $$$) and the Boston schools not named harvard come to mind if you score high enough.

cinderellasyndrome
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Re: UNH vs. Catholic vs. UNLV

Postby cinderellasyndrome » Mon May 15, 2017 12:46 am

dm1683 wrote:Do you have a semi marketable degree from a reputable institution? If so, then go chase that 30k policy job somewhere instead of throwing down six figures for a law degree that likely will have no positive impact on your career trajectory. Rise through the ranks like everyone else does and then reassess whether you still aspire to have a J.D. next to your name in a few years.

If you are hell bent on LS, then I would retake for better options. UCONN (with $$$) and the Boston schools not named harvard come to mind if you score high enough.


No, I have an undergrad degree in psych from UConn. I'm getting entry-level if that and it's hard to find policy work in New England when you lean right politically.

cinderellasyndrome
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Re: UNH vs. Catholic vs. UNLV

Postby cinderellasyndrome » Mon May 15, 2017 12:47 am

cavalier1138 wrote:Yeah, I'm also in the "don't go at all" boat. Your goals are policy-oriented, especially since you mentioned that you were attracted to the "theoretical approach" to health law at one school. All schools take a theoretical approach to the doctrinal work, but if you're excited about that, you probably don't want to practice law.

If you're actually more interested in practicing law than shaping policy, you can't go to any of these schools with the expectation of practicing somewhere else.


I'm interested in shaping policy through law, if that makes sense.

cinderellasyndrome
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Re: UNH vs. Catholic vs. UNLV

Postby cinderellasyndrome » Mon May 15, 2017 12:48 am

Rigo wrote:
cinderellasyndrome wrote:I deposited at UNH (to keep my spot at a school where I got a full scholarship) but am having serious reservations for two reasons:

1) I have really serious seasonal depression, and winters in southern New England (where I live now) are hard enough, so I can imagine going north would only exacerbate the problem. Depression has interfered with my studies before and impacted my ugrad GPA in a big way and I know I can't afford that in law school.

2) I'm really concerned about their ability to place outside NH (where I don't want to spend more than the 3 years of law school) or Mass (where I will never, ever live). Their public interest score is also fairly low.

You 100% should not go there then. I don't know why you would even apply if you don't want to be in New England.

I'm concerned about your general geographic application strategy, which is very important if you will be going to a regional school. Where do you want to practice?

Also, how much effort did you put into the LSAT? It's not that difficult to improve from the 150's with a solid plan and dedication. I imagine even a 163-165 would get you some pretty solid state flagship options and $$$$ even with your GPA. Definitely something to consider.

Have you considered non-legal options? Your goals don't really scream law school. A MPH, MPP, MPA would probably suit you better.


I don't want to practice. I'd like to do federal government or work with an advocacy organization that plays a role in shaping policy through the courts.

mcmand
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Re: UNH vs. Catholic vs. UNLV

Postby mcmand » Mon May 15, 2017 1:48 am

cinderellasyndrome wrote:
Rigo wrote:
cinderellasyndrome wrote:I deposited at UNH (to keep my spot at a school where I got a full scholarship) but am having serious reservations for two reasons:

1) I have really serious seasonal depression, and winters in southern New England (where I live now) are hard enough, so I can imagine going north would only exacerbate the problem. Depression has interfered with my studies before and impacted my ugrad GPA in a big way and I know I can't afford that in law school.

2) I'm really concerned about their ability to place outside NH (where I don't want to spend more than the 3 years of law school) or Mass (where I will never, ever live). Their public interest score is also fairly low.

You 100% should not go there then. I don't know why you would even apply if you don't want to be in New England.

I'm concerned about your general geographic application strategy, which is very important if you will be going to a regional school. Where do you want to practice?

Also, how much effort did you put into the LSAT? It's not that difficult to improve from the 150's with a solid plan and dedication. I imagine even a 163-165 would get you some pretty solid state flagship options and $$$$ even with your GPA. Definitely something to consider.

Have you considered non-legal options? Your goals don't really scream law school. A MPH, MPP, MPA would probably suit you better.


I don't want to practice. I'd like to do federal government or work with an advocacy organization that plays a role in shaping policy through the courts.


Have people at those organizations you're interested in told you that you need a JD to do non-legal work for them? It just doesn't make sense to go to law school if you're not going to be practicing. Do they need/want people with public-policy type degrees?

There are some lawyers in the federal government that don't practice in the strictest sense - they do policy work for their respective agencies that aids the govt attorneys in the courts. But that's a pretty tight niche to be aiming towards, and they might expect you to have practiced at some point, too. Have you been meeting people in these kinds of positions and asking them how best to achieve your goals?

cavalier1138
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Re: UNH vs. Catholic vs. UNLV

Postby cavalier1138 » Mon May 15, 2017 6:19 am

cinderellasyndrome wrote:
cavalier1138 wrote:Yeah, I'm also in the "don't go at all" boat. Your goals are policy-oriented, especially since you mentioned that you were attracted to the "theoretical approach" to health law at one school. All schools take a theoretical approach to the doctrinal work, but if you're excited about that, you probably don't want to practice law.

If you're actually more interested in practicing law than shaping policy, you can't go to any of these schools with the expectation of practicing somewhere else.


I'm interested in shaping policy through law, if that makes sense.


It doesn't. The only people who can kind of do that are judges, and you won't become a federal judge from any of these schools.

If you want to shape policy, then you don't need a JD.

Edit: As mentioned, there are a handful of agency attorneys who have more of a policy focus, but that's a hyper-specific career path that's extremely unlikely from any of these schools.

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Re: UNH vs. Catholic vs. UNLV

Postby Npret » Mon May 15, 2017 6:39 am

Have you done any relevant work in policy organizations? What exactly are you talking about doing specifically? Have you applied for jobs and been turned down "Shaping policy through the courts" is such a generic phrase it doesn't tell us what you actually want to do.

mcmand
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Re: UNH vs. Catholic vs. UNLV

Postby mcmand » Mon May 15, 2017 11:33 pm

Maybe OP is trying to work at an org like FedSoc/ACS? Would help for OP to share a little more. I know that 99% of the ACS staff have JDs, and they're not fussy about the prestige/ranking. Not clear if a JD is expressly a requirement but it seems to effectively be one.

That said, as I and cavalier1138 mentioned, it's just so specific. If you don't get what you want, then you would need to be happy with alternatives. What are your alternatives to not getting these very specific jobs, OP?

EDIT: Just caught that OP wants to do more right-leaning political stuff, so FedSoc is the big thing there. Are you also thinking CATO institute or Heritage? Doesn't really change the fact it's a real niche to aim for.

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Re: UNH vs. Catholic vs. UNLV

Postby BigZuck » Mon May 15, 2017 11:53 pm

Yeah this doesn't really make sense to me either

OP- I'm not sure what you think law school is. But it most certainly ain't that.

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Ferrisjso
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Re: UNH vs. Catholic vs. UNLV

Postby Ferrisjso » Tue May 16, 2017 1:48 pm

If you wanted NH(I've been there a few times it's a nice place) UNH for free is a great outcome. Maybe even upper NE(A free UNH degree probably can get you somewhere in ME, VT or RI). If you want to go elsewhere not so much. I don't think you understand how this works aside from a handful of law schools, every school places in the state/region in which it is located. New Hampshire, DC and Nevada are three very different and far away places.

If you go to UNH and get a job you will almost certainly spend the rest of your life as a lawyer in NH. DC is not really in the equation there and tbh even if you went to Catholic DC still wouldn't be in the equation. DC is the MOST glutted law market in the USA with people from all over the country trying to crack it. As far as DC schools go, Catholic(especially if it's not free) is probably the worst possible law school you could attend in DC. Georgetown, GW and American are the three best schools there and of the other three, Howard's top 10-20% actually get a T1 OCI(it's the best HCBU in the country) and UDC is one of the cheapest law schools in America for DC residents so even if there's no gain, there's little pain. So Catholic with $ doesn't make sense for you or anyone for that matter.

Your numbers aren't terrible(especially LSAT) and you probably could get a good outcome if you reapplied(new apps open in like three months), however it comes across like you just applied to random schools in random areas. Of course if you visit NH and fall in love disregard everything I'm saying and go to UNH.

cinderellasyndrome
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Re: UNH vs. Catholic vs. UNLV

Postby cinderellasyndrome » Wed May 17, 2017 12:12 am

Ferrisjso wrote:If you wanted NH(I've been there a few times it's a nice place) UNH for free is a great outcome. Maybe even upper NE(A free UNH degree probably can get you somewhere in ME, VT or RI). If you want to go elsewhere not so much. I don't think you understand how this works aside from a handful of law schools, every school places in the state/region in which it is located. New Hampshire, DC and Nevada are three very different and far away places.

If you go to UNH and get a job you will almost certainly spend the rest of your life as a lawyer in NH. DC is not really in the equation there and tbh even if you went to Catholic DC still wouldn't be in the equation. DC is the MOST glutted law market in the USA with people from all over the country trying to crack it. As far as DC schools go, Catholic(especially if it's not free) is probably the worst possible law school you could attend in DC. Georgetown, GW and American are the three best schools there and of the other three, Howard's top 10-20% actually get a T1 OCI(it's the best HCBU in the country) and UDC is one of the cheapest law schools in America for DC residents so even if there's no gain, there's little pain. So Catholic with $ doesn't make sense for you or anyone for that matter.

Your numbers aren't terrible(especially LSAT) and you probably could get a good outcome if you reapplied(new apps open in like three months), however it comes across like you just applied to random schools in random areas. Of course if you visit NH and fall in love disregard everything I'm saying and go to UNH.


I definitely don't want NH. From what admissions have told me they place relatively well elsewhere and a lot of it comes down to networking.

Part of the issue is I'm not entirely sure where I want to end up geographically, which is why I kind of spread out a bit. I could see myself in southern New England or the west (not the west coast, but like Colorado / Utah / Nevada), but my top choice would probably be Virginia / North Carolina.

Yeah, I definitely wasn't clear about the "shaping policy through the courts" thing. Right now I think I'd like to do legal work for an organization that advances a clear policy, preferably related to education or health policy.

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Re: UNH vs. Catholic vs. UNLV

Postby Ferrisjso » Wed May 17, 2017 12:26 am

cinderellasyndrome wrote:
Ferrisjso wrote:If you wanted NH(I've been there a few times it's a nice place) UNH for free is a great outcome. Maybe even upper NE(A free UNH degree probably can get you somewhere in ME, VT or RI). If you want to go elsewhere not so much. I don't think you understand how this works aside from a handful of law schools, every school places in the state/region in which it is located. New Hampshire, DC and Nevada are three very different and far away places.

If you go to UNH and get a job you will almost certainly spend the rest of your life as a lawyer in NH. DC is not really in the equation there and tbh even if you went to Catholic DC still wouldn't be in the equation. DC is the MOST glutted law market in the USA with people from all over the country trying to crack it. As far as DC schools go, Catholic(especially if it's not free) is probably the worst possible law school you could attend in DC. Georgetown, GW and American are the three best schools there and of the other three, Howard's top 10-20% actually get a T1 OCI(it's the best HCBU in the country) and UDC is one of the cheapest law schools in America for DC residents so even if there's no gain, there's little pain. So Catholic with $ doesn't make sense for you or anyone for that matter.

Your numbers aren't terrible(especially LSAT) and you probably could get a good outcome if you reapplied(new apps open in like three months), however it comes across like you just applied to random schools in random areas. Of course if you visit NH and fall in love disregard everything I'm saying and go to UNH.


I definitely don't want NH. From what admissions have told me they place relatively well elsewhere and a lot of it comes down to networking.

Part of the issue is I'm not entirely sure where I want to end up geographically, which is why I kind of spread out a bit. I could see myself in southern New England or the west (not the west coast, but like Colorado / Utah / Nevada), but my top choice would probably be Virginia / North Carolina.

Yeah, I definitely wasn't clear about the "shaping policy through the courts" thing. Right now I think I'd like to do legal work for an organization that advances a clear policy, preferably related to education or health policy.


If you got a full ride to UNH, your numbers are good enough where you attending will help their numbers. It is in their best interests to mislead you about your outside employment prospects. Also what schools really mean when they say things like "a lot of it come down to networking" is "we won't be able to help get you jobs in those places, you're going to have to do the legwork all on your own"(which will be difficult because people in the regions you want to practice in will either hire graduates from their local schools or a T13 if they can). UNH's OCI will probably be all NH employers as they are a state school and their primary objective is to feed that market. If they have any reach beyond NH at all , it will be in bordering NE states(and even that will be surprising) not in different regions in the country.

Okay if you want VA/NC/Southwest apply to schools that will place you there(when apps open in August). UNLV would make sense if you want Nevada but seeing as you haven't heard back from them yet it doesn't seem like you'll be getting much money. Your best course of action is to apply the moment apps open (early apps allow people to marginally outperform their numbers) and apply to schools in all the regions you'll be happy to live and practice in.

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Re: UNH vs. Catholic vs. UNLV

Postby beforethelaw » Tue May 23, 2017 10:50 pm

You gotta take care of your mental health if you wanna be a lawyer. If you have seasonal depression, you should move out of New England, retake the lsat and reapply next year. With a nice bump you could get a full ride to Miami or San Diego. Get out of places that have winter and never look back.

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Re: UNH vs. Catholic vs. UNLV

Postby consideringlaw24 » Wed May 24, 2017 1:43 pm

beforethelaw wrote:You gotta take care of your mental health if you wanna be a lawyer. If you have seasonal depression, you should move out of New England, retake the lsat and reapply next year. With a nice bump you could get a full ride to Miami or San Diego. Get out of places that have winter and never look back.


This was my strategy for grad school (not law) the first time around. I really, really needed to not be in New England anymore. Even though I love snow, I just couldn't handle the winters. I moved somewhere much sunnier and I've never looked back. I think your line of reasoning is the best for OP's situation.

cinderellasyndrome
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Re: UNH vs. Catholic vs. UNLV

Postby cinderellasyndrome » Thu Jul 13, 2017 5:20 pm

consideringlaw24 wrote:
beforethelaw wrote:You gotta take care of your mental health if you wanna be a lawyer. If you have seasonal depression, you should move out of New England, retake the lsat and reapply next year. With a nice bump you could get a full ride to Miami or San Diego. Get out of places that have winter and never look back.


This was my strategy for grad school (not law) the first time around. I really, really needed to not be in New England anymore. Even though I love snow, I just couldn't handle the winters. I moved somewhere much sunnier and I've never looked back. I think your line of reasoning is the best for OP's situation.


I just looked back at this (had to review my post history because someone was weaponizing it on another post; aren't these forums fun? haha) and... thank you both? This is really solid advice and actually what I'll be doing (retaking and focusing on my health for a cycle).

Did you find that your health / ability to do work noticeably improved once you moved to a sunnier area?

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Re: UNH vs. Catholic vs. UNLV

Postby Slippin' Jimmy » Thu Jul 13, 2017 9:24 pm

If you want to work in right wing politics/policy you might have to go out of state, but it sounds like you don't want to be in the northeast long term anyway. You can easily get entry level jobs and work your way up, and there are some masters degrees out there that would help you much more than a JD, such as an MPP or some MA programs. I know University of Florida has an MA in political campaigning that is a big feeder program for the Florida Republican and Democratic parties, and I briefly considered pursuing this instead of a JD.

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Re: UNH vs. Catholic vs. UNLV

Postby DaydreamNation » Fri Jul 14, 2017 1:32 am

Echoing what Jimmy said above, I too have toyed with the idea of going the political route instead of pursuing law but have decided it's not what I want right now. If you want to get serious about either shaping policy or managing political campaigns (don't delude yourself that it's the same thing) I'd advise first moving to DC if you want a fed-level job or a state capital otherwise, and getting either a Masters in Political Management (if you go DC then GWU offers one) or a Masters of Public Policy (GWU and GT both offer in DC area).

I know that everyone from prelaw advisors to your mom to the West Wing (well maybe not if you're right-leaning) has probably told you that a JD is a great degree for a career in politics, but it's simply not true. The people you see in politics with JDs aren't there because they have a law degree, they're there because they've made the networking connections necessary to be successful and have sweated it out working 30k/yr jobs in high COL markets for decades. That's why you need to move to DC/a capital by the way: politics and policymaking is much more about your experience and connections than your degree.

HTH!

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Re: UNH vs. Catholic vs. UNLV

Postby consideringlaw24 » Fri Aug 04, 2017 11:58 pm

cinderellasyndrome wrote:I just looked back at this (had to review my post history because someone was weaponizing it on another post; aren't these forums fun? haha) and... thank you both? This is really solid advice and actually what I'll be doing (retaking and focusing on my health for a cycle).

Did you find that your health / ability to do work noticeably improved once you moved to a sunnier area?


Short story...yes, it did. Life is full of frustrating things that drag you down and suddenly one of those things, winter weather, just wasn't a factor for me anymore. It was just gone. It was like some sort of miracle pill.

Long story...your problems follow you wherever you go, so I still had issues with depression and anxiety. Life is life and I've had major problems that the weather couldn't save me from. Whenever I go back to New England to visit family however, I get to remember how shitty the weather is and it's always amazing to come back to my sunny home and throw my coat in the closet for the season. So I take for granted how great it really is.

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xRON MEXiCOx
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Re: UNH vs. Catholic vs. UNLV

Postby xRON MEXiCOx » Sat Aug 05, 2017 12:07 am

go ball out in vegas on that gov't loan money bro

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Re: UNH vs. Catholic vs. UNLV

Postby hamshotfirst » Mon Aug 07, 2017 2:13 pm

WARNING: Wall of text.

Throwing in my 2 cents. I'm not even an 0L yet, so take my words with a grain of salt, but I have a few years experience under my belt working in the public sphere with policy-makers in MA. You really don't need a JD to get into policy, and if you have no intention of practicing law, going to law school will actually be to your detriment.

In my experience, there are two real things you need to get a policy-related job: experience and contacts. You get your foot in the door from knowing someone and you get the job for the experience you have. One thing that you can do is look up people working at the kinds of places you want to work and email them asking if they'd be willing to meet you for an informal meeting. People LOVE giving guidance to people like you looking to get into their field. They can tell you inside info, what to look for, who to call etc, and if you make it, they can add another contact to their Rolodex.

I know you don't want to stay in New England, but I've worked with plenty of right-leaning staffers for public figures/government agencies in the region, you just have to go to the right districts.

if you still want to get a JD, great, and more power to you! But if your only goal is policy-related, I would heavily recommend not taking 3 years out of your life that could be spent working, because either way you're going to be starting from the bottom and will have to hustle to climb the ladder. My mentor worked as a bar tender and only applied at bars in Boston he knew was frequented by politicians so he could get more face time. Last fall I crashed a congressional fundraiser because the candidate's staff wasn't returning my calls. It takes 100% of your time, and getting a JD that you're not going to use might just end up wasting valuable time.




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