1L SA --> Public Interest?

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fromthelandofsb
Posts: 2
Joined: Fri Jan 09, 2015 9:42 pm

1L SA --> Public Interest?

Postby fromthelandofsb » Fri Jan 09, 2015 9:53 pm

I've been able to find some information on this topic but I'd really like some more opinions moving forward.

I'm URM (AA male) at a T20 and with my first semester grades back it looks like hovering around the top 20%. I am NOT interested in working Biglaw after graduation - I'm trying to go either PI, plaintiff side, or gov. My school has very limited funding for summers spent doing PI, but I absolutely need the money to make it through the summer because I have basically no savings and no support from family. I'm here on a big scholarship.

I'm considering taking a 1L SA but I'm worried about how it will affect my job search after this summer. Will doing a 1L SA be a huge problem when I apply for PI jobs going forward, or will most employers understand that I just needed to make sure I got paid this summer?

For the record, I would take a position as a research assistant if I can, and I'll also be mass-mailing plaintiff side firms to see if I can work there instead.

ash0117
Posts: 246
Joined: Tue Jun 28, 2011 10:10 pm

Re: 1L SA --> Public Interest?

Postby ash0117 » Sat Jan 10, 2015 12:30 am

fromthelandofsb wrote:I've been able to find some information on this topic but I'd really like some more opinions moving forward.

I'm URM (AA male) at a T20 and with my first semester grades back it looks like hovering around the top 20%. I am NOT interested in working Biglaw after graduation - I'm trying to go either PI, plaintiff side, or gov. My school has very limited funding for summers spent doing PI, but I absolutely need the money to make it through the summer because I have basically no savings and no support from family. I'm here on a big scholarship.

I'm considering taking a 1L SA but I'm worried about how it will affect my job search after this summer. Will doing a 1L SA be a huge problem when I apply for PI jobs going forward, or will most employers understand that I just needed to make sure I got paid this summer?

For the record, I would take a position as a research assistant if I can, and I'll also be mass-mailing plaintiff side firms to see if I can work there instead.


It's generally easier to go from 1L PI ---> 2L SA than the other way around. PI organizations generally like passion/ commitment. It also depends on what type of PI you're looking at. If you want to be a public defender, for instance, commitment is important. If you're aiming for FEDGOV, not so much necessarily. Will a research position + your school PI funding be enough? Maybe take an online summer course to get some student loan money - since you don't have much debt, this could help you make it through the summer). A limited number of 1L PI positions are paid (like, really limited), but you have good grades at a good school, so those jobs are worth hunting out.

k5220
Posts: 144
Joined: Mon Jan 02, 2012 10:36 pm

Re: 1L SA --> Public Interest?

Postby k5220 » Sat Jan 10, 2015 5:35 am

you can also look into splitting summers, working as many weeks as you can (i've had friends fit in 6 weeks big law / 6 weeks PI, but you could maybe even do 8 and 4 for the money) that way you'd have public interest experience too. if you do just go big law for your 1L summer, make sure to take on internships, clinics, or extracurriculars where you're doing real legal work to have something to show to public interest employers.

there are also things like the akin gump pro bono scholars program where the firm pays you a full salary to spend part of your time with the firm and most of your time at a public interest organization, but i don't know a lot about things like that or how transitioning out of that would work.

good luck!

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Clearly
Posts: 4165
Joined: Sat Feb 11, 2012 4:09 pm

Re: 1L SA --> Public Interest?

Postby Clearly » Sat Jan 10, 2015 5:39 am

My understanding is that a biglaw 1l looks quote bad to most pi




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