Workload at a PI job?

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charliebrownwn
Posts: 36
Joined: Wed Sep 22, 2010 4:57 pm

Workload at a PI job?

Postby charliebrownwn » Wed Mar 02, 2011 11:43 am

As far as I can tell (OL here), the only info on public interest careers on TLS is:

-you won't make any money
-you will be left with life-destroying debt, which your school's LRAP may or may not help you with, and you won't make any money
-you can't use PI as a backup if you fail to get biglaw, because PI employers want you to have a PI background, and even if you get a PI job you wouldn't make any money

Right now I'm in the position to graduate with minimal debt from a T20 or maybe T14, so money is not such a big deal for me. So does anyone have info on the actual day-to-day work in a public interest career? Hours per week, type of work, specializations (are there any?), etc. Also the degree of competitiveness to get those type of jobs.


To be specific, I'm thinking about jobs at non-profits. District attorney/public defender work and government work not so much, but it's definitely on the radar.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273104
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Workload at a PI job?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Mar 02, 2011 12:02 pm

I work in a union-side labor law firm in NYC. Starting salary for 1st year associates out of law school is ~$57K. And that's for T14 grads. People work here not for the money, clearly, but because they enjoy the work and are passionate about it. Even the partners only make low 100K's. But they're all top grads, a few have even come from academia at T6.

Hours for associates is usually 9:30/10 - 6/6:30. Office is usually empty by 7, but sometimes there is work to be done. Vacation time is more than ample however, so in that sense the work/life balance is great if you enjoy the work you're involved with.

In sum, three things are required for this to be a reasonable outlet: a true PASSION for the work, very little debt, and a means to be comfortable with ~57-~80K for the next 6-8 years of your life, and very little more after that.

charliebrownwn
Posts: 36
Joined: Wed Sep 22, 2010 4:57 pm

Re: Workload at a PI job?

Postby charliebrownwn » Wed Mar 02, 2011 12:50 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I work in a union-side labor law firm in NYC. Starting salary for 1st year associates out of law school is ~$57K. And that's for T14 grads. People work here not for the money, clearly, but because they enjoy the work and are passionate about it. Even the partners only make low 100K's. But they're all top grads, a few have even come from academia at T6.

Hours for associates is usually 9:30/10 - 6/6:30. Office is usually empty by 7, but sometimes there is work to be done. Vacation time is more than ample however, so in that sense the work/life balance is great if you enjoy the work you're involved with.

In sum, three things are required for this to be a reasonable outlet: a true PASSION for the work, very little debt, and a means to be comfortable with ~57-~80K for the next 6-8 years of your life, and very little more after that.


Thanks for the reply. If you don't mind, what kind of summer employment did you have and how difficult was it for you to get the job you wanted?

Anonymous User
Posts: 273104
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Workload at a PI job?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Mar 03, 2011 3:00 am

Worked at a non-profit PI firm. I am not an attorney, but these are just some of my observations after working there for a year and talking with the attorneys I worked with. Biglaw to PI is definitely do-able. Just be prepared to do a LOT of volunteering to show you've really changed your mind, at least one of the attorneys I worked for told me. Said attorney came from a V50 and volunteered full-time for a year to show commitment and ultimately nabbed a job when a position opened up. Attorneys worked a normal 9-5, although the attorneys here are so passionate and love the work so much they usually go from 8-7ish, but they never seem to be "overworked." Starting salaries are at about 45k. Most of the attorneys here are T14 grads and a good portion of them have "lateraled" down from Biglaw to PI. I've looked at the schools of most of the attorneys and I only found one TTT, which really says a lot about their particular hiring practices. The turnover rate is very high here, and funding is so limited that attorneys that get hired sometimes have to find additional funding from separate grants or fellowships themselves. It is a firm so there are plenty of specializations. In each main area of practice there are numerous sub-units consisting of 2-3 attorneys specializing in one or two specific areas of that practice.
Last edited by Anonymous User on Thu Mar 03, 2011 3:09 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Eugenie Danglars
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Joined: Wed Jul 07, 2010 12:04 pm

Re: Workload at a PI job?

Postby Eugenie Danglars » Thu Mar 03, 2011 3:04 am

There was a similar discussion on this thread that you might find helpful.




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