Will Public Interest WE hurt my chance at BigLaw?

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Anonymous User
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Will Public Interest WE hurt my chance at BigLaw?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Feb 02, 2013 10:30 pm

0L here, heading to MVP.

I want to go into BigLaw for the first few years, make enough to pay off my family's debt, and eventually go back to public interest. The thing is, my WE is public interest related (Greeenpeace, women's rights related gov agency, refugee org.). Would this hurt my chance at BigLaw??

I've also been told that going back to public interest won't be easy either because I would be seen as betrayer.... any thought?

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thesealocust
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Re: Will Public Interest WE hurt my chance at BigLaw?

Postby thesealocust » Sat Feb 02, 2013 10:50 pm

No.

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cinephile
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Re: Will Public Interest WE hurt my chance at BigLaw?

Postby cinephile » Sat Feb 02, 2013 11:04 pm

Anonymous User wrote:0L here



In the legal employment forum? That's not right.

law2015
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Re: Will Public Interest WE hurt my chance at BigLaw?

Postby law2015 » Sat Feb 02, 2013 11:19 pm

Anonymous User wrote:0L here, heading to MVP.

I want to go into BigLaw for the first few years, make enough to pay off my family's debt, and eventually go back to public interest. The thing is, my WE is public interest related (Greeenpeace, women's rights related gov agency, refugee org.). Would this hurt my chance at BigLaw??

I've also been told that going back to public interest won't be easy either because I would be seen as betrayer.... any thought?


Actually a lot of people work Biglaw and then go on to work in government and public interest. You will have to think of a way to spin your WE and make sure you will have a good response as to why you want to work in a firm.

anattorney
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Re: Will Public Interest WE hurt my chance at BigLaw?

Postby anattorney » Sat Feb 02, 2013 11:38 pm

Your biglaw experience will hurt you in public interest more than vice versa.

When you say your family's debt, do you mean pre-existing debt before law school? Like you are helping out your parents or something? Or just your law school debt?

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thesealocust
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Re: Will Public Interest WE hurt my chance at BigLaw?

Postby thesealocust » Sat Feb 02, 2013 11:43 pm

anattorney wrote:Your biglaw experience will hurt you in public interest more than vice versa.


That really depends. I know lots of people who went from biglaw -> public interest, it's quite a common career trajectory. Some PI places might really desire "lifers" and look on short stints in biglaw as a blemish, but by no means all of them (and honestly I doubt many of them).

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JamMasterJ
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Re: Will Public Interest WE hurt my chance at BigLaw?

Postby JamMasterJ » Sat Feb 02, 2013 11:45 pm

thesealocust wrote:
anattorney wrote:Your biglaw experience will hurt you in public interest more than vice versa.


That really depends. I know lots of people who went from biglaw -> public interest, it's quite a common career trajectory. Some PI places might really desire "lifers" and look on short stints in biglaw as a blemish, but by no means all of them (and honestly I doubt many of them).

For the most part, government and PI don't have the money to afford training you. They accept you working 3-4 years in biglaw as a means to an end.

anattorney
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Re: Will Public Interest WE hurt my chance at BigLaw?

Postby anattorney » Sat Feb 02, 2013 11:51 pm

thesealocust wrote:
anattorney wrote:Your biglaw experience will hurt you in public interest more than vice versa.


That really depends. I know lots of people who went from biglaw -> public interest, it's quite a common career trajectory. Some PI places might really desire "lifers" and look on short stints in biglaw as a blemish, but by no means all of them (and honestly I doubt many of them).


I don't know, maybe this varies by region or something? That's not what I have seen. I'm not saying it's impossible, but I do think it's a hurdle in the interview process. Maybe if you are dealing with national, high profile public interest orgs this isn't the case. I think for your garden variety local legal aid type org, biglaw is a red flag.

I'm not including government here.

Anonymous User
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Re: Will Public Interest WE hurt my chance at BigLaw?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Feb 03, 2013 1:34 am

In my personal experience, having too much pub. Int. on my resume did in fact hurt my biglaw chances. I had the grades, rank, school, etc. but got far fewer screener interviews than my peers who had lower stats, because I didn't have any business-related interests on my resume. Biglaw firms may be looking to avoid wasting time and money on training someone who will jump ship as soon as the ACLU gives them an offer. My advice is to try to diversify your legal resume (once youre in law school) and gear it towards business-related fields.

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thesealocust
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Re: Will Public Interest WE hurt my chance at BigLaw?

Postby thesealocust » Sun Feb 03, 2013 1:46 am

Anonymous User wrote:In my personal experience, having too much pub. Int. on my resume did in fact hurt my biglaw chances. I had the grades, rank, school, etc. but got far fewer screener interviews than my peers who had lower stats, because I didn't have any business-related interests on my resume. Biglaw firms may be looking to avoid wasting time and money on training someone who will jump ship as soon as the ACLU gives them an offer. My advice is to try to diversify your legal resume (once youre in law school) and gear it towards business-related fields.


Post hoc ergo propter hoc much?

TooOld4This
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Re: Will Public Interest WE hurt my chance at BigLaw?

Postby TooOld4This » Sun Feb 03, 2013 11:19 am

You are well situated for your goals, if you can successfully spin your PI work experience in your OCI interviews.

One of the common factors in making hiring decisions tends to be how quickly a candidate is likely to leave BigLaw. If everything on your resume draws a bright line to PI, you need to be prepared to explain why you want BigLaw. You may get very explicit questions, you may not. But you should assume that there will be an interest in figuring out why you aren't just going into PI.

That said, it's not terribly hard to answer the question and there isn't a right way to answer it (though, I want to make big bucks for a couple of years would be a wrong answer). Just anticipate the question, be ready for the direct question, and have answers to general questions (like, why are you interested in our firm) that will give them comfort that you really do want this path and not PI.

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bk1
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Re: Will Public Interest WE hurt my chance at BigLaw?

Postby bk1 » Sun Feb 03, 2013 11:25 am

Is reading the stickies at the top of this forum really that difficult?




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