Those are good ideas. I think ADA or PD in a high crime/high population area might be a great fit for you, as you get to put your degree to use as well as spend less time at a desk.
You are correct, most of the attorneys I work with spend a crap ton of time researching and writing briefs. Actually, the biggest time sink appears to be taking depositions. The cool thing about depositions though is that you get to travel often. Some of the associates I worked with over the summer were only at the office about 50-70% of the time. They were always arguing motions or something else in court or away taking depositions. The cool thing that is often overlooked about doing research and briefs is that the time goes by so quickly that it seems that there is absolutely not enough time in the day to get it all done. It's nice to think it's 9:00 a.m. and see that it's really 11:15. This never happened to me at my other jobs. Reading and writing makes the time fly, as evidenced by how quickly law school goes for us.
PI is great. I love being able to advocate for those who were wronged and also make great money in the process. The cases are extremely interesting. The characters are one of a kind. You can learn so much by watching the PI genius partners just nail the crap out of the cases they are working on. You can help set new precedent in your state. I helped an attorney that argued in front of the state supreme court about tort precedent we were trying to get overturned. He was a public speaking genius and made the other side look foolish. It is awesome knowing that that could be me someday.
You also have autonomy with your time, as long as you do your work well. I've never had any autonomy with my time in any of my previous jobs, such as when I was an entry-level accountant. The reason I asked if you went directly from UG is that many people that haven't worked in "corporate America" often talk badly about their experiences at law firms whereas those with work experience seem to like their work, in general from what I've seen. It's a shock to any UG student to see how much time actually goes into working an adult kind of job and how much it sucks to come in day in and day out doing something completely mind numbing. Law, well, PI work at least, is anything but mind numbing.
Those are all great points and good reasons. Really I am quite jealous in that I wish I felt the same way. Do you know if you will be able to work at this firm post-grad? One of the other turn-offs of PI is that it is one of the most saturated areas of law; it is expensive and difficult and time consuming to start a firm yourself and it could take literally a decade to see some decent money; and my concern over the tort reform battle, a battle that unfortunately I think plaintiffs' attorneys will continue to lose in the long run.
See also, the recent Scott Bullock article in the new jersey star ledger where you get to see how lousy it can be to be in your mid-30s and starting a law firm and barely making enough money to put food on the table.
Btw does anyone know if Reasonable_Man still posts around here? I know he ended up sticking with law but he was also considering becoming a cop, specifically, in the NYPD. I believe if I recall what he said, he was working rough hours and frankly making less or equal what a regular patrol officer makes. If you're out there Reasonable_Man, please PM me!