Best Schools For Public Interest?

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mpasi
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Best Schools For Public Interest?

Postby mpasi » Fri Jun 25, 2010 1:21 am

Pretty straightforward. I'm interested in working on human rights advocacy/poverty issues, possibly for an NGO or non-profit, but don't know what schools are the best. I really don't want to go by the US News rankings alone. Does anyone have experience with this? What schools have the best clinics/practicums, internships, courses, etc.? I recently decided to drop the idea of corporate law and follow my passions, so I'm pretty clueless when it comes to this side of legal practice.

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Cupidity
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Re: Best Schools For Public Interest?

Postby Cupidity » Fri Jun 25, 2010 1:38 am

Gulc has solid ibr, bu has a full pi scholarship worth applying to, Cornell has a concentration in human rights

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mpasi
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Re: Best Schools For Public Interest?

Postby mpasi » Fri Jun 25, 2010 1:40 am

That's a great starting point. Thanks!

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Cupidity
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Re: Best Schools For Public Interest?

Postby Cupidity » Fri Jun 25, 2010 1:49 am

Oh, fordhams Crowley program is impressive

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tru
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Re: Best Schools For Public Interest?

Postby tru » Fri Jun 25, 2010 2:41 am

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Last edited by tru on Fri May 20, 2016 3:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Tautology
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Re: Best Schools For Public Interest?

Postby Tautology » Fri Jun 25, 2010 2:46 am

The one that costs the least/has the best LRAP program.

TTTGrad
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Re: Best Schools For Public Interest?

Postby TTTGrad » Fri Jun 25, 2010 9:30 am

If you can get into GULC on a full ride go for it. Otherwise, GULC is not worth it. CUNY is recognized as a good law school for public interest and I believe it is one of the cheapest law schools in terms of tuition. There is no sense in taking out $100+K to get a degree from GULC or Cornell if you are going into public interest where starting salaries are in the $30-45K range.

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Unitas
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Re: Best Schools For Public Interest?

Postby Unitas » Fri Jun 25, 2010 9:48 am

TTTGrad wrote:If you can get into GULC on a full ride go for it. Otherwise, GULC is not worth it. CUNY is recognized as a good law school for public interest and I believe it is one of the cheapest law schools in terms of tuition. There is no sense in taking out $100+K to get a degree from GULC or Cornell if you are going into public interest where starting salaries are in the $30-45K range.


Uh what? If you are only making 30-45 GULC is perfect with their LRAP program.... The clinics there will give experience in public interest to be able to get a job. Plus if public interest doesn't work you can get a job at a firm.

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alexonfyre
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Re: Best Schools For Public Interest?

Postby alexonfyre » Fri Jun 25, 2010 9:56 am

Unitas wrote:
TTTGrad wrote:If you can get into GULC on a full ride go for it. Otherwise, GULC is not worth it. CUNY is recognized as a good law school for public interest and I believe it is one of the cheapest law schools in terms of tuition. There is no sense in taking out $100+K to get a degree from GULC or Cornell if you are going into public interest where starting salaries are in the $30-45K range.


Uh what? If you are only making 30-45 GULC is perfect with their LRAP program.... The clinics there will give experience in public interest to be able to get a job. Plus if public interest doesn't work you can get a job at a firm.


+1 for this, been taking a hard look at their LRAP myself, and you can't argue with keeping your options open as much as possible for the future.

EDIT: FWIW http://www.law.georgetown.edu/finaid/lrap/index.html

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Grizz
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Re: Best Schools For Public Interest?

Postby Grizz » Fri Jun 25, 2010 9:59 am

Tautology wrote:The one that costs the least/has the best LRAP program.

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Iconoclast
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Re: Best Schools For Public Interest?

Postby Iconoclast » Fri Jun 25, 2010 10:11 am

mpasi wrote:I'm interested in working on human rights advocacy/poverty issues...


I hear Florida Coastal and Cooley are both GREAT for getting experience with poverty issues :mrgreen:

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Re: Best Schools For Public Interest?

Postby vanwinkle » Fri Jun 25, 2010 10:36 am

Having done quite a bit of PI work already as a rising 2L, I'll tell you what I've learned about PI work.

1) I don't think debt matters much anymore now that IBR exists. Study IBR, decide whether it's right for you before you apply to law schools, and then apply based on it. If you're willing to go the high-debt-plus-IBR route, apply for the best schools you can possibly get into. You should be aiming for T1 if not better with this strategy, or at least the best school in the market you're going to be living in when you graduate. The point of this strategy is to maximize your odds of employment upon graduation. Keep in mind that some markets will be saturated more than others; Cardozo is a T1 school, but it's only the fourth-best law school in NYC, and many of those folks will be looking for local PI work when they graduate. On the other hand, there are several states whose best law schools are low T1 or even T2 schools. Rankings alone don't matter; where they related to the rest of the nearby schools does, too.

If you're not willing to take on high debt, then the scholarship route is better, and apply to schools that are willing to give you a full ride. This will vary based on your stats. You can predict who's going to give you a full ride based solely on your numbers and any significant other qualities (URM, WE).

2) Try to go to school in or near where you want to work when you graduate. The job market is tough right now, and even for summer internships, in the biggest cities the PI employers are asking what your connections to the city are. They're getting saturated with applications, and connections or locality are the best way to overcome those. This is especially useful if you start volunteering somewhere during the school year. You can't do that if you're not in the same city as where you want to work, but if you are, you can put some time in at a place during your 1L year and then probably have your first summer internship waiting for you. Even four or five hours a week, every week, would be enough to build a relationship with the place.

Clinics are great for this. They're basically preset legal internships that happen during the school year. But the problems with clinics are that 1) you can't do them as a 1L and 2) everyone at your school will want to do the good ones. You don't have to do a clinic to do pro bono work during the school year. The people who do best in PI are the people who pave their own way, and do it early. Clinics are a great way to complement this, but I'd recommend going to a school in the city you want to work in over a school with "great clinics" and then putting in the time on your own somewhere.

Alternatively, if you want to work where you're from, go to a T14 and put in time around your school during the school year. If you're wanting to go back to where you're from when you graduate, that should work out; it's easy to explain you're trying to get the best education you can and want to work back home when you graduate. Lots of people do this and it works out fine. This summer a couple of my classmates are interning in USAO offices back home (the smaller ones, you can't do this with like, SDNY); they applied to work for those offices before winter break, and got interviewed and accepted for the internships before we even got fall grades back.

It gets more complicated if you want to work in a city you have few ties to when you graduate. The best way to get an internship in a city you're not from is to spend your 1L winter break or spring break interning in the city that you want to work in over the summer. Make connections through your school, or just start contacting those PI employers directly, and asking if you can intern with them over the break because it's what you think you want to do and you'd love to get the exposure to the job and hopefully help out if you can. Try to meet people, get names, and remember details about what you saw, and then express a very deep personal interest in working there on your summer internship application based on what you saw. This is how I got work in NYC despite not being from here and seeking a highly competitive internship.

3) Make connections with your professors. Some of them will have PI contacts. You're going to have to network a lot while you're in law school. Doing well in classes and building a relationship with your professors can help with more than just increasing your odds of doing well in class.

Basically, in summary, the more work you put into getting a PI job, the more likely you can make it happen.

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mpasi
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Re: Best Schools For Public Interest?

Postby mpasi » Fri Jun 25, 2010 1:53 pm

Iconoclast wrote:
mpasi wrote:I'm interested in working on human rights advocacy/poverty issues...


I hear Florida Coastal and Cooley are both GREAT for getting experience with poverty issues :mrgreen:



You is funny. :lol:

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mpasi
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Re: Best Schools For Public Interest?

Postby mpasi » Fri Jun 25, 2010 2:00 pm

vanwinkle wrote:Having done quite a bit of PI work already as a rising 2L, I'll tell you what I've learned about PI work.

1) I don't think debt matters much anymore now that IBR exists. Study IBR, decide whether it's right for you before you apply to law schools, and then apply based on it. If you're willing to go the high-debt-plus-IBR route, apply for the best schools you can possibly get into. You should be aiming for T1 if not better with this strategy, or at least the best school in the market you're going to be living in when you graduate. The point of this strategy is to maximize your odds of employment upon graduation. Keep in mind that some markets will be saturated more than others; Cardozo is a T1 school, but it's only the fourth-best law school in NYC, and many of those folks will be looking for local PI work when they graduate. On the other hand, there are several states whose best law schools are low T1 or even T2 schools. Rankings alone don't matter; where they related to the rest of the nearby schools does, too.

If you're not willing to take on high debt, then the scholarship route is better, and apply to schools that are willing to give you a full ride. This will vary based on your stats. You can predict who's going to give you a full ride based solely on your numbers and any significant other qualities (URM, WE).

2) Try to go to school in or near where you want to work when you graduate. The job market is tough right now, and even for summer internships, in the biggest cities the PI employers are asking what your connections to the city are. They're getting saturated with applications, and connections or locality are the best way to overcome those. This is especially useful if you start volunteering somewhere during the school year. You can't do that if you're not in the same city as where you want to work, but if you are, you can put some time in at a place during your 1L year and then probably have your first summer internship waiting for you. Even four or five hours a week, every week, would be enough to build a relationship with the place.

Clinics are great for this. They're basically preset legal internships that happen during the school year. But the problems with clinics are that 1) you can't do them as a 1L and 2) everyone at your school will want to do the good ones. You don't have to do a clinic to do pro bono work during the school year. The people who do best in PI are the people who pave their own way, and do it early. Clinics are a great way to complement this, but I'd recommend going to a school in the city you want to work in over a school with "great clinics" and then putting in the time on your own somewhere.

Alternatively, if you want to work where you're from, go to a T14 and put in time around your school during the school year. If you're wanting to go back to where you're from when you graduate, that should work out; it's easy to explain you're trying to get the best education you can and want to work back home when you graduate. Lots of people do this and it works out fine. This summer a couple of my classmates are interning in USAO offices back home (the smaller ones, you can't do this with like, SDNY); they applied to work for those offices before winter break, and got interviewed and accepted for the internships before we even got fall grades back.

It gets more complicated if you want to work in a city you have few ties to when you graduate. The best way to get an internship in a city you're not from is to spend your 1L winter break or spring break interning in the city that you want to work in over the summer. Make connections through your school, or just start contacting those PI employers directly, and asking if you can intern with them over the break because it's what you think you want to do and you'd love to get the exposure to the job and hopefully help out if you can. Try to meet people, get names, and remember details about what you saw, and then express a very deep personal interest in working there on your summer internship application based on what you saw. This is how I got work in NYC despite not being from here and seeking a highly competitive internship.

3) Make connections with your professors. Some of them will have PI contacts. You're going to have to network a lot while you're in law school. Doing well in classes and building a relationship with your professors can help with more than just increasing your odds of doing well in class.

Basically, in summary, the more work you put into getting a PI job, the more likely you can make it happen.



Thank you so much for all this info! I figured someone would mention networking, which is not my strongest suit. I'm good at chopping it up with people, but not so great at getting what I want out of them. Eh. I have a year to figure it out...I'm working with Americorps until 2011 and plan to use that time to work on LSAT prep. I got the Americorps job by using an old contact, so maybe I'm not that bad at networking? :lol:

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Stanford4Me
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Re: Best Schools For Public Interest?

Postby Stanford4Me » Fri Jun 25, 2010 2:03 pm

NYU has a great PI program. Although I got a different scholarship from them, I plan on taking part in a lot of their colloquia and seminars.

They also have an amazing program where they provide funding for students who work in public interest (unpaid) summer positions, and their LARP is pretty epic, IMO.

http://www.law.nyu.edu/publicinterestla ... /index.htm

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alexonfyre
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Re: Best Schools For Public Interest?

Postby alexonfyre » Fri Jun 25, 2010 2:23 pm

Stanford4Me wrote:NYU has a great PI program. Although I got a different scholarship from them, I plan on taking part in a lot of their colloquia and seminars.

They also have an amazing program where they provide funding for students who work in public interest (unpaid) summer positions, and their LARP is pretty epic, IMO.

http://www.law.nyu.edu/publicinterestla ... /index.htm


Epic LARPing at NYU?!

--ImageRemoved--

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Stanford4Me
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Re: Best Schools For Public Interest?

Postby Stanford4Me » Fri Jun 25, 2010 2:26 pm

alexonfyre wrote:[
Epic LARPing at NYU?!


Haha, maybe "epic" was a bit much. :oops:




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