Before I embarrass myself about "public interest"

(Applications Advice, Letters of Recommendation . . . )
Kulax22
Posts: 149
Joined: Wed Mar 25, 2009 1:23 am

Before I embarrass myself about "public interest"

Postby Kulax22 » Tue Jan 19, 2010 11:47 pm

OK so I did make a similar post in the "law school" section, :oops: but I am hoping Admissions is the better place for it?

- I am about to submit my app to a final school which emphasizes public interest law. Does education law count? Does family law count? I don't know the field well enough to say, but I don't want to rave about my desire to be a "public interest family lawyer" and then realize no such thing exists. :shock:

User avatar
kumba84
Posts: 125
Joined: Thu Oct 08, 2009 1:40 am

Re: Before I embarrass myself about "public interest"

Postby kumba84 » Wed Jan 20, 2010 12:01 am

Education law would probably be considered public interest law (ok, I know nothing about education law, but I assume most positions are with government and nonprofits?). Basically, public interest law involves working for underserved populations/interests (disadvantaged social and economic groups, the environment, civil liberties, etc.). Public service is a subset of that, where you are employed by the government.

However, if you're asking what public interest law is right before you're submitting your applications, do you really want to be a public interest lawyer? I wouldn't suggest writing about a desire to practice public interest law just because a particular school emphasizes it.

Anonymous Loser
Posts: 568
Joined: Fri Sep 11, 2009 11:17 am

Re: Before I embarrass myself about "public interest"

Postby Anonymous Loser » Wed Jan 20, 2010 12:02 am

The exact boundaries of what can be considered "public interest" are a bit hard to define, but as a general rule of thumb, consider who is signing your paycheck. The practice area itself is likely not determinative.

Examples:

Family Law #1: You are representing a client in a custody dispute. He's paying you $600 an hour out of his own pocket. Not public interest.

Family Law #2: You are representing a client in a custody dispute. You were appointed to this case by the state judiciary, and are being paid by a non-profit legal defense fund. This is public interest.

Environmental Law #1: You are representing a client who is adversely affected by recent changes to BLM regulations. A large mining conglomerate is paying you $2.3 million to argue that cyanide-leaching does not create unnecessary or undue harm to federal lands. Not public interest.

Environmental Law #1: You are representing a client who is adversely affected by recent changes to BLM regulations. U.S. Fish & Wildlife is paying you to argue that recently enacted hard rock mining regulations violate FLPMA. This is public interest.

articulably suspect
Posts: 304
Joined: Mon Mar 31, 2008 3:01 am

Re: Before I embarrass myself about "public interest"

Postby articulably suspect » Wed Jan 20, 2010 12:22 am

Kulax22 wrote:OK so I did make a similar post in the "law school" section, :oops: but I am hoping Admissions is the better place for it?

- I am about to submit my app to a final school which emphasizes public interest law. Does education law count? Does family law count? I don't know the field well enough to say, but I don't want to rave about my desire to be a "public interest family lawyer" and then realize no such thing exists. :shock:


What is public interest law? I can't define it, but I know it when I see it.

I'm confused, are you trying to convince adcoms at said school that you are interested in public interest law and just want an example to use?

Kulax22
Posts: 149
Joined: Wed Mar 25, 2009 1:23 am

Re: Before I embarrass myself about "public interest"

Postby Kulax22 » Wed Jan 20, 2010 1:29 am

Thanks everyone.

I see myself doing family law (possibly education law) and hopefully representing "underprivileged" in the widest sense of the word people. Of course that might change.

To clarify I am asking because I could not find a definitive answer whether family law or education law was public interest. I guess that's because it depends whether you yourself make it such. :|

deadlinguo
Posts: 55
Joined: Sat Aug 22, 2009 9:47 pm

Re: Before I embarrass myself about "public interest"

Postby deadlinguo » Wed Jan 20, 2010 1:40 am

Anonymous Loser wrote:The exact boundaries of what can be considered "public interest" are a bit hard to define, but as a general rule of thumb, consider who is signing your paycheck. The practice area itself is likely not determinative.

Examples:

Family Law #1: You are representing a client in a custody dispute. He's paying you $600 an hour out of his own pocket. Not public interest.

Family Law #2: You are representing a client in a custody dispute. You were appointed to this case by the state judiciary, and are being paid by a non-profit legal defense fund. This is public interest.

Environmental Law #1: You are representing a client who is adversely affected by recent changes to BLM regulations. A large mining conglomerate is paying you $2.3 million to argue that cyanide-leaching does not create unnecessary or undue harm to federal lands. Not public interest.

Environmental Law #1: You are representing a client who is adversely affected by recent changes to BLM regulations. U.S. Fish & Wildlife is paying you to argue that recently enacted hard rock mining regulations violate FLPMA. This is public interest.


What if you're part of a group of lawyers handling a class action lawsuit for the plaintiffs without charging them, but you'll get a large portion of the payout from the defendant if you win?

Leeroy Jenkins
Posts: 1003
Joined: Sat Jun 07, 2008 10:19 pm

Re: Before I embarrass myself about "public interest"

Postby Leeroy Jenkins » Wed Jan 20, 2010 2:01 am

deadlinguo wrote:What if you're part of a group of lawyers handling a class action lawsuit for the plaintiffs without charging them, but you'll get a large portion of the payout from the defendant if you win?

Um.

No.

Anonymous Loser
Posts: 568
Joined: Fri Sep 11, 2009 11:17 am

Re: Before I embarrass myself about "public interest"

Postby Anonymous Loser » Wed Jan 20, 2010 2:33 am

Yeah, I can't really imagine a situation where a contingent fee arrangement is going to be utilized in something I'd consider public interest.

User avatar
reasonable_man
Posts: 2200
Joined: Thu Feb 12, 2009 5:41 pm

Re: Before I embarrass myself about "public interest"

Postby reasonable_man » Wed Jan 20, 2010 2:58 am

deadlinguo wrote:
Anonymous Loser wrote:The exact boundaries of what can be considered "public interest" are a bit hard to define, but as a general rule of thumb, consider who is signing your paycheck. The practice area itself is likely not determinative.

Examples:

Family Law #1: You are representing a client in a custody dispute. He's paying you $600 an hour out of his own pocket. Not public interest.

Family Law #2: You are representing a client in a custody dispute. You were appointed to this case by the state judiciary, and are being paid by a non-profit legal defense fund. This is public interest.

Environmental Law #1: You are representing a client who is adversely affected by recent changes to BLM regulations. A large mining conglomerate is paying you $2.3 million to argue that cyanide-leaching does not create unnecessary or undue harm to federal lands. Not public interest.

Environmental Law #1: You are representing a client who is adversely affected by recent changes to BLM regulations. U.S. Fish & Wildlife is paying you to argue that recently enacted hard rock mining regulations violate FLPMA. This is public interest.


What if you're part of a group of lawyers handling a class action lawsuit for the plaintiffs without charging them, but you'll get a large portion of the payout from the defendant if you win?



HAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAH

ohhh that was good.

In response to your question, this is called adopting the business model of nearly every personal injury lawyer to ever try a case in the US.

User avatar
reasonable_man
Posts: 2200
Joined: Thu Feb 12, 2009 5:41 pm

Re: Before I embarrass myself about "public interest"

Postby reasonable_man » Wed Jan 20, 2010 2:59 am

Anonymous Loser wrote:The exact boundaries of what can be considered "public interest" are a bit hard to define, but as a general rule of thumb, consider who is signing your paycheck. The practice area itself is likely not determinative.

Examples:

Family Law #1: You are representing a client in a custody dispute. He's paying you $600 an hour out of his own pocket. Not public interest.

Family Law #2: You are representing a client in a custody dispute. You were appointed to this case by the state judiciary, and are being paid by a non-profit legal defense fund. This is public interest.

Environmental Law #1: You are representing a client who is adversely affected by recent changes to BLM regulations. A large mining conglomerate is paying you $2.3 million to argue that cyanide-leaching does not create unnecessary or undue harm to federal lands. Not public interest.

Environmental Law #1: You are representing a client who is adversely affected by recent changes to BLM regulations. U.S. Fish & Wildlife is paying you to argue that recently enacted hard rock mining regulations violate FLPMA. This is public interest.


Wrong (as in not right).
Last edited by reasonable_man on Wed Jan 20, 2010 3:16 am, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
groundkontrol
Posts: 244
Joined: Tue Feb 03, 2009 12:25 am

Re: Before I embarrass myself about "public interest"

Postby groundkontrol » Wed Jan 20, 2010 3:10 am

To me public interest is anything that doesn't directly relate to the private sector. It includes government work as well. So labor law, immigration law, public defense, human rights law, child advocacy law, etc. Most likely if there is a clinic on the subject, then it is related to "public interest" law in my opinion. So yes, I'd say that education law, and more so education advocacy--essentially closing the achievement gap and restructuring educational programs--counts as public interest law. Hope that helps.

User avatar
reasonable_man
Posts: 2200
Joined: Thu Feb 12, 2009 5:41 pm

Re: Before I embarrass myself about "public interest"

Postby reasonable_man » Wed Jan 20, 2010 3:19 am

If I may, I'm going to step in and make this really easy.

If you work for the government, a special interest group or a not-for profit company/agency, you do 'public interest' work.

If you work at a law firm, no matter what your practice area, you do not work in 'public interest.'

deadlinguo
Posts: 55
Joined: Sat Aug 22, 2009 9:47 pm

Re: Before I embarrass myself about "public interest"

Postby deadlinguo » Wed Jan 20, 2010 4:52 am

reasonable_man wrote:
deadlinguo wrote:
Anonymous Loser wrote:The exact boundaries of what can be considered "public interest" are a bit hard to define, but as a general rule of thumb, consider who is signing your paycheck. The practice area itself is likely not determinative.

Examples:

Family Law #1: You are representing a client in a custody dispute. He's paying you $600 an hour out of his own pocket. Not public interest.

Family Law #2: You are representing a client in a custody dispute. You were appointed to this case by the state judiciary, and are being paid by a non-profit legal defense fund. This is public interest.

Environmental Law #1: You are representing a client who is adversely affected by recent changes to BLM regulations. A large mining conglomerate is paying you $2.3 million to argue that cyanide-leaching does not create unnecessary or undue harm to federal lands. Not public interest.

Environmental Law #1: You are representing a client who is adversely affected by recent changes to BLM regulations. U.S. Fish & Wildlife is paying you to argue that recently enacted hard rock mining regulations violate FLPMA. This is public interest.


What if you're part of a group of lawyers handling a class action lawsuit for the plaintiffs without charging them, but you'll get a large portion of the payout from the defendant if you win?



HAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAH

ohhh that was good.

In response to your question, this is called adopting the business model of nearly every personal injury lawyer to ever try a case in the US.


No shit, it's not a literal question. What I mean is that, a major class action lawsuit can lead to positive reforms in consumer protection law, which would benefit the public interest. These cases are important for keeping companies in check and consumers safe. No the lawyers aren't charitable, but I think you could argue that what they're doing is beneficial to the public.

I don't know if I'd consider that "public interest law" myself. Is it really as simple as "working for the govt" vs "working for a private firm"?

edit: This is an example of what I'm talking about btw: http://www.builderonline.com/legal-issu ... versy.aspx

biggiemike000
Posts: 29
Joined: Mon Sep 21, 2009 9:58 pm

Re: Before I embarrass myself about "public interest"

Postby biggiemike000 » Wed Jan 20, 2010 9:19 am

Kind of piggybacking off this talk of public interest law, I had a similar question. If one wanted to advocate/fight for stricter advertising regulations for nutrition and exercise supplements (because the current system allows too much deception) what aspect of law would that be? I'm assuming that if I felt that the nutrition education in schools needed to be improved that would be considered public interest?

User avatar
j.wellington
Posts: 265
Joined: Wed Dec 23, 2009 11:09 am

Re: Before I embarrass myself about "public interest"

Postby j.wellington » Wed Jan 20, 2010 9:51 am

biggiemike000 wrote:Kind of piggybacking off this talk of public interest law, I had a similar question. If one wanted to advocate/fight for stricter advertising regulations for nutrition and exercise supplements (because the current system allows too much deception) what aspect of law would that be? I'm assuming that if I felt that the nutrition education in schools needed to be improved that would be considered public interest?


This would be advocacy, not necessarily public interest. It could be public interest if you were working for a public agency to enforce food and drug laws. As someone else said, it's largely a matter of where your paycheck comes from. Working in a legal capacity on behalf of a noble cause does not in itself, strictly speaking, qualify as public interest law.

Anonymous Loser
Posts: 568
Joined: Fri Sep 11, 2009 11:17 am

Re: Before I embarrass myself about "public interest"

Postby Anonymous Loser » Wed Jan 20, 2010 10:22 am

reasonable_man wrote:If I may, I'm going to step in and make this really easy.

If you work for the government, a special interest group or a not-for profit company/agency, you do 'public interest' work.

If you work at a law firm, no matter what your practice area, you do not work in 'public interest.'



This is exactly what I posted above, which you stated was "wrong."

Renzo
Posts: 4265
Joined: Tue Dec 02, 2008 3:23 am

Re: Before I embarrass myself about "public interest"

Postby Renzo » Wed Jan 20, 2010 10:58 am

Anonymous Loser wrote:
reasonable_man wrote:If I may, I'm going to step in and make this really easy.

If you work for the government, a special interest group or a not-for profit company/agency, you do 'public interest' work.

If you work at a law firm, no matter what your practice area, you do not work in 'public interest.'



This is exactly what I posted above, which you stated was "wrong."

I think the "wrong" part was that the boundaries are hard to define, not your examples.

The only "hard to define" part would be whether or not prosecutorial work counts. It counts as "public interest" in terms of LRAP/ loan forgiveness, but most lefties would bristle at the idea that locking up minorities and poor people is in the "public interest"

Kulax22
Posts: 149
Joined: Wed Mar 25, 2009 1:23 am

Re: Before I embarrass myself about "public interest"

Postby Kulax22 » Wed Jan 20, 2010 10:59 am

OK to further complicate matters:

What is the difference between public interest and public sector?

Renzo
Posts: 4265
Joined: Tue Dec 02, 2008 3:23 am

Re: Before I embarrass myself about "public interest"

Postby Renzo » Wed Jan 20, 2010 11:00 am

Kulax22 wrote:OK to further complicate matters:

What is the difference between public interest and public sector?

Public sector means the government signs your paycheck.

Kulax22
Posts: 149
Joined: Wed Mar 25, 2009 1:23 am

Re: Before I embarrass myself about "public interest"

Postby Kulax22 » Wed Jan 20, 2010 7:02 pm

Thanks Renzo.

EDIT So both are public interest, but public sector (=govt) and non profit (= part of private sector)? Do not-for-profits count?
Last edited by Kulax22 on Wed Jan 20, 2010 7:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
reasonable_man
Posts: 2200
Joined: Thu Feb 12, 2009 5:41 pm

Re: Before I embarrass myself about "public interest"

Postby reasonable_man » Wed Jan 20, 2010 7:25 pm

Kulax22 wrote:Thanks Renzo.

So public interest = public sector (=govt) and non profit (= part of private sector)? Do not-for-profits count?


You didn't cary the 1.

User avatar
kumba84
Posts: 125
Joined: Thu Oct 08, 2009 1:40 am

Re: Before I embarrass myself about "public interest"

Postby kumba84 » Wed Jan 20, 2010 7:51 pm

So everyone seems to agree that "public interest" includes both government and nonprofit jobs. I emailed the career office for one of my top choices to ask for more detailed info on their recent grads' public interest employment yesterday. When I asked them to augment the list they sent me with government jobs, they responded that they did not include them since I had only asked for "public interest" careers. Is there some other word I don't know about that includes both? It seems like they're being sort of picky with their words.

Renzo
Posts: 4265
Joined: Tue Dec 02, 2008 3:23 am

Re: Before I embarrass myself about "public interest"

Postby Renzo » Wed Jan 20, 2010 10:43 pm

kumba84 wrote:So everyone seems to agree that "public interest" includes both government and nonprofit jobs. I emailed the career office for one of my top choices to ask for more detailed info on their recent grads' public interest employment yesterday. When I asked them to augment the list they sent me with government jobs, they responded that they did not include them since I had only asked for "public interest" careers. Is there some other word I don't know about that includes both? It seems like they're being sort of picky with their words.

Sometimes career service people are silly this way.




Return to “Law School Admissions Forum”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: bns212, dannyswo, Google [Bot], nubcs, Pozzo and 7 guests