Interested in Public Interest/Academia, what do?

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Anonymous User
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Interested in Public Interest/Academia, what do?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Jan 11, 2014 2:58 pm

Top 5% easy at DCNG after first semester, interested in Public Interest law or Academia (the latter is a long shot I know).

I've already applied to some major nonprofits (ACLU, SPLC) and all of the Attorneys General offices that interest me, along with some other government agencies. I assume I should also be applying to judges? Other than that, what else is a good idea? And if I end up with multiple options, what should I lean toward?

Also, my ConLaw prof, unsolicited, offered me an RA position for the coming semester/part-time during the summer. I assume it's a good idea to take it? He's relatively prominent, so far as I can tell.

Anonymous User
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Re: Interested in Public Interest/Academia, what do?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Jan 11, 2014 3:19 pm

I would definitely take the RA position and I would try to do as many internships that are related to the type of career you want. Personally speaking, I know many classmates who had a hard time getting PI after doing private practice internships.

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worldtraveler
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Re: Interested in Public Interest/Academia, what do?

Postby worldtraveler » Sat Jan 11, 2014 3:24 pm

What kind of PI do you want?

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Re: Interested in Public Interest/Academia, what do?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Jan 11, 2014 3:26 pm

worldtraveler wrote:What kind of PI do you want?


Eventually? I'd love to end up working with one of the aforementioned major nonprofits. However, I acknowledge that's very unlikely right out of law school, so I just want to get on that path.

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worldtraveler
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Re: Interested in Public Interest/Academia, what do?

Postby worldtraveler » Sat Jan 11, 2014 3:34 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
worldtraveler wrote:What kind of PI do you want?


Eventually? I'd love to end up working with one of the aforementioned major nonprofits. However, I acknowledge that's very unlikely right out of law school, so I just want to get on that path.


But doing what kind of work? The ACLU does about 100 different kinds of law and it takes different credentials to get into each division.

I would suggest deciding what kind of PI interests you the most (immigration, housing, impact litigation on civil rights or whatever) and then focus on getting experience in that this summer. Sometimes smaller organizations will give you more opportunity to do substantive work as a 1L, too.

The goal should be to find an organization that will give you great supervision and training and where you can make good connections. You also want a great letter of reference from it. If you really want PI, working for a judge 1L summer isn't the best use of your time (for academia it probably good but you would want to clerk anyway).

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Re: Interested in Public Interest/Academia, what do?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Jan 11, 2014 3:41 pm

worldtraveler wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
worldtraveler wrote:What kind of PI do you want?


Eventually? I'd love to end up working with one of the aforementioned major nonprofits. However, I acknowledge that's very unlikely right out of law school, so I just want to get on that path.


But doing what kind of work? The ACLU does about 100 different kinds of law and it takes different credentials to get into each division.

I would suggest deciding what kind of PI interests you the most (immigration, housing, impact litigation on civil rights or whatever) and then focus on getting experience in that this summer. Sometimes smaller organizations will give you more opportunity to do substantive work as a 1L, too.

The goal should be to find an organization that will give you great supervision and training and where you can make good connections. You also want a great letter of reference from it. If you really want PI, working for a judge 1L summer isn't the best use of your time (for academia it probably good but you would want to clerk anyway).


You are, of course, correct about the variety of work they do. I'm aiming rather high, looking to either do impact litigation on civil rights or lobbying from a legislative office, both of which may be hard to get experience with over a summer. Thanks for the thought about smaller organizations, though. I will look around for more focused, less prominent organizations that do such things. The EFF just popped to mind as one example.

TooOld4This
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Re: Interested in Public Interest/Academia, what do?

Postby TooOld4This » Sun Jan 12, 2014 11:03 am

LOL at EFF being less prominent.

You need to network like your career depends on it -- because if this is the sort of thing you want to do, it does. To network effectively, you need to figure out what you want to do ASAP. You are actually already behind. People who are really successful at the type of PI you want or academia show up to law school with an agenda. They seek out relationships with professors from day one. Their research interests have a decent amount of thought put into it already. They are seeking introductions to people who work in the field.

Effective networking requires more than generalized ambition or desire to "do good." To really get anything out of the process, and to get people you meet to be willing to help you out, you need direction. You need to demonstrate it is worth their while to make time for you in their lives. This doesn't mean you have to bring something to the table -- the professional relationship will be asymmetrical. But people are busy and finding more than an hour to meet a person who is adrift in a sea of vague plans is about all you can expect. If, however, you can demonstrate genuine interest in what that person does, you are much more likely to have them pick up the phone to introduce you to someone else or keep you in mind for opportunities.




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