Public Interest 2015: Thoughts, Anxieties, Experiences...

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Easy-E
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Re: Public Interest 2015: Thoughts, Anxieties, Experiences...

Postby Easy-E » Mon Jul 13, 2015 10:51 am

Anyone here have experience with clinics? I'm thinking of doing one this semester, obviously it varies depending on the school and the clinic, but just wanted to get some general thoughts. Seems like solid practical experience. The one I'm eyeing is for 8 credits so I assume it demands quite a bit of your time. Figured there would plenty of crossover ITT.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Public Interest 2015: Thoughts, Anxieties, Experiences...

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Mon Jul 13, 2015 11:03 am

Depends a little on the school/clinic, but generally I think they're great. You get actual experience and credit for it, too. Something to think about is how closely it aligns with what you want to do when you finish - if you want to be a PD and it's a criminal defense clinic, or legal aid and it's basically a legal aid clinic (does things like social security, immigration, maybe some domestic), it will be great experience. If the clinic is a little removed from your ultimate goal and you could instead extern directly for a potential future employer, you might consider doing an externship instead (not saying the clinic would be bad to do, at all - just something to consider). But in most cases a clinic will be great experience that looks good to PI employers and gives you specific, concrete experiences to show/discuss during the job application process.

They are usually a lot of work - my clinic was 4 credits and required 80 "billed" hours over the semester, which was apart from class time. Because of the nature of my clinic, some people had to stretch a bit to get to 80 hours, and others blew past it with ease (we did a mix of in-court stuff - which got you to 80 hours easy - and more writing/research projects - which made the hours a bit harder). And annoyingly, my school graded clinics on a curve along with everything else. You might want to talk to other people who've taken the one you're considering to make sure the hours will work for you. But lots of hours on real cases is much more rewarding than lots of hours on class/prep.

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Easy-E
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Re: Public Interest 2015: Thoughts, Anxieties, Experiences...

Postby Easy-E » Mon Jul 13, 2015 11:12 am

A. Nony Mouse wrote:Depends a little on the school/clinic, but generally I think they're great. You get actual experience and credit for it, too. Something to think about is how closely it aligns with what you want to do when you finish - if you want to be a PD and it's a criminal defense clinic, or legal aid and it's basically a legal aid clinic (does things like social security, immigration, maybe some domestic), it will be great experience. If the clinic is a little removed from your ultimate goal and you could instead extern directly for a potential future employer, you might consider doing an externship instead (not saying the clinic would be bad to do, at all - just something to consider). But in most cases a clinic will be great experience that looks good to PI employers and gives you specific, concrete experiences to show/discuss during the job application process.

They are usually a lot of work - my clinic was 4 credits and required 80 "billed" hours over the semester, which was apart from class time. Because of the nature of my clinic, some people had to stretch a bit to get to 80 hours, and others blew past it with ease (we did a mix of in-court stuff - which got you to 80 hours easy - and more writing/research projects - which made the hours a bit harder). And annoyingly, my school graded clinics on a curve along with everything else. You might want to talk to other people who've taken the one you're considering to make sure the hours will work for you. But lots of hours on real cases is much more rewarding than lots of hours on class/prep.


The one I'm thinking of is general legal aid I suppose. Housing, family, consumer, bankruptcy, etc. I'm currently working for an environmental PI firm, but as much as I enjoy the environmental work, I'm broadening my horizons (still doing PI), considering environmental PI jobs are slim, and obviously aren't real viable for small/solo-practice. So yeah, I would be doing work I would like to be doing after graduation in this clinic.

Yepp, heard they are a ton of work. This one is 8 credits, so I assume it is quite a bit of time. That said, I'd rather spend that time doing actual work than siting in a classroom pretending to not be checking fantasy football.

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Re: Public Interest 2015: Thoughts, Anxieties, Experiences...

Postby ClubberLang » Mon Jul 13, 2015 11:39 am

Young Marino wrote:A very unfortunate event this weekend has landed me in the hospital as I recover from a surgical procedure that was done this morning. I've made it through 6 weeks of a 9 week internship at the DA's office and this medical situation may cause me to miss the final 3 weeks of my internship. Needless to say, I am very frustrated as I feel I was building some great momentum. The past few weeks, I was making plea deals for the attorneys in my office and I had a pretty large role on an upcoming trial. I can honestly say that I have learned more about practicing law in the 6 weeks I've been here than my entire 1L year. How bad of an impact, if any, will this have on my chances of gaining employment with this office if I can't return to finish my internship? Obviously, I will have a doctors note to them. I'm so frustrated with this situation guys :(


What happened?

Anyhow, you're a rising 2L right? Your goal right now is just an invite back for next summer, so just let them know you regret what happened but would like to come back. But...if this is like a wisdom tooth or something, they're going to think you are soft and probably not invite you back.

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Holly Golightly
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Re: Public Interest 2015: Thoughts, Anxieties, Experiences...

Postby Holly Golightly » Mon Jul 13, 2015 11:42 am

Easy-E wrote:
A. Nony Mouse wrote:Depends a little on the school/clinic, but generally I think they're great. You get actual experience and credit for it, too. Something to think about is how closely it aligns with what you want to do when you finish - if you want to be a PD and it's a criminal defense clinic, or legal aid and it's basically a legal aid clinic (does things like social security, immigration, maybe some domestic), it will be great experience. If the clinic is a little removed from your ultimate goal and you could instead extern directly for a potential future employer, you might consider doing an externship instead (not saying the clinic would be bad to do, at all - just something to consider). But in most cases a clinic will be great experience that looks good to PI employers and gives you specific, concrete experiences to show/discuss during the job application process.

They are usually a lot of work - my clinic was 4 credits and required 80 "billed" hours over the semester, which was apart from class time. Because of the nature of my clinic, some people had to stretch a bit to get to 80 hours, and others blew past it with ease (we did a mix of in-court stuff - which got you to 80 hours easy - and more writing/research projects - which made the hours a bit harder). And annoyingly, my school graded clinics on a curve along with everything else. You might want to talk to other people who've taken the one you're considering to make sure the hours will work for you. But lots of hours on real cases is much more rewarding than lots of hours on class/prep.


The one I'm thinking of is general legal aid I suppose. Housing, family, consumer, bankruptcy, etc. I'm currently working for an environmental PI firm, but as much as I enjoy the environmental work, I'm broadening my horizons (still doing PI), considering environmental PI jobs are slim, and obviously aren't real viable for small/solo-practice. So yeah, I would be doing work I would like to be doing after graduation in this clinic.

Yepp, heard they are a ton of work. This one is 8 credits, so I assume it is quite a bit of time. That said, I'd rather spend that time doing actual work than siting in a classroom pretending to not be checking fantasy football.

I absolutely loved the clinics I did in law school. I got amazing experience and cared a lot about what I was doing. Yes, they require a lot of work, but for me it was 100% worth it. They also absolutely helped me get my current job. Could not recommend clinics enough.

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Young Marino
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Re: Public Interest 2015: Thoughts, Anxieties, Experiences...

Postby Young Marino » Mon Jul 13, 2015 12:45 pm

ClubberLang wrote:
Young Marino wrote:A very unfortunate event this weekend has landed me in the hospital as I recover from a surgical procedure that was done this morning. I've made it through 6 weeks of a 9 week internship at the DA's office and this medical situation may cause me to miss the final 3 weeks of my internship. Needless to say, I am very frustrated as I feel I was building some great momentum. The past few weeks, I was making plea deals for the attorneys in my office and I had a pretty large role on an upcoming trial. I can honestly say that I have learned more about practicing law in the 6 weeks I've been here than my entire 1L year. How bad of an impact, if any, will this have on my chances of gaining employment with this office if I can't return to finish my internship? Obviously, I will have a doctors note to them. I'm so frustrated with this situation guys :(


What happened?

Anyhow, you're a rising 2L right? Your goal right now is just an invite back for next summer, so just let them know you regret what happened but would like to come back. But...if this is like a wisdom tooth or something, they're going to think you are soft and probably not invite you back.

I'd rather not get into specifics but let's just say it's more severe than something like a wisdom tooth extraction. I spoke to them already and they seemed supportive/understanding. I'm pretty certain I'll be going back for my clinical work next fall or spring and maybe in the summer but we'll see.

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Re: Public Interest 2015: Thoughts, Anxieties, Experiences...

Postby Easy-E » Mon Jul 13, 2015 2:58 pm

Holly Golightly wrote: I absolutely loved the clinics I did in law school. I got amazing experience and cared a lot about what I was doing. Yes, they require a lot of work, but for me it was 100% worth it. They also absolutely helped me get my current job. Could not recommend clinics enough.


I reached out to the attorney who oversees this particular clinic (FWIW he responded quicker than any professor I've ever known lol). Said it's roughly a 26 hour / week commitment, gave me a rough breakdown of that time. Also said he expects 15 of those hours to be spent physically present at the clinic. Sounds reasonable enough considering I would only be taking two courses otherwise.

Quite a few people seem to have the extremely positive and rewarding experience you seem to have had. I think I'm going to end up enrolling, although I don't really know how competitive it is.

BK88
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Re: Public Interest 2015: Thoughts, Anxieties, Experiences...

Postby BK88 » Tue Jul 14, 2015 4:12 pm

swampman wrote:
BK88 wrote:Checking in - In a NYC DA's Office. The workload is very light and every time I ask for more, I get brushed off. I've done a few cool research assignments and got to second seat a trial, but for the last three days I've literally been reading blogs all day and staring at a wall. Starting to get to me.

Anyone else have similar experiences?

If you eventually want a job there (especially if this is Manhattan — they keep track of everything) lay low, ask for work often enough to seem like a hard worker, and do good work when it comes your way.
If you're willing to risk your reputation a little bit, then annoy the fuck out of people. Walk down the hall in the morning stopping at every office and ask if they have any work for you. Repeat after lunch. Ask to "shadow-write" any motions/briefs they're working on. Eventually they will give you something to do (even if they make it up just to get you off your back, it's still good experience for you). If that doesn't work, try asking paralegals if you can follow them around & help out. Learning how their end of things works can be really helpful.

If all else fails, go watch some trials.


Thanks man, I've been keeping it pretty low key and just being focused on doing really well on the assignments I have. I've spoken to the other interns who have sort of told me that their workloads are even less then mine. I figure it will be better in the long haul to have 4 or 5 people who really like me rather then risk having people think I'm really annoying. Also been watching a bunch of trials.

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Re: Public Interest 2015: Thoughts, Anxieties, Experiences...

Postby BlueLotus » Fri Jul 17, 2015 12:00 pm

Sent my fellowship sponsorship application today--put it in the executive director's inbox at around 9 am. Supervisor approached me later this morning in person. I was turned down by my summer employer for a postgraduate fellowship sponsorship. Shit sucks. Feel like crying. I can't concentrate on my assignments at all. Someone give me a hug. I thought I was doing a decent job at work. I guess not. I suppose I am good enough for free labor but not good enough to get paid to work for them. :cry:

I have no other leads. I am going to graduate unemployed and destitute. Is it too late in the summer to spam other orgs for a fellowship sponsorship? Probably.

The dark walls of the Vale are closing in on me. :shock:

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Re: Public Interest 2015: Thoughts, Anxieties, Experiences...

Postby Holly Golightly » Fri Jul 17, 2015 1:23 pm

BlueLotus wrote:Sent my fellowship sponsorship application today--put it in the executive director's inbox at around 9 am. Supervisor approached me later this morning in person. I was turned down by my summer employer for a postgraduate fellowship sponsorship. Shit sucks. Feel like crying. I can't concentrate on my assignments at all. Someone give me a hug. I thought I was doing a decent job at work. I guess not. I suppose I am good enough for free labor but not good enough to get paid to work for them. :cry:

I have no other leads. I am going to graduate unemployed and destitute. Is it too late in the summer to spam other orgs for a fellowship sponsorship? Probably.

The dark walls of the Vale are closing in on me. :shock:

It's not even August yet, it is definitely not too late to try to find a host org. I haven't even finalized the post for my office to announce that we're willing to host a fellow. I know it's hard, but now is the time to really grind and network as much as possible and send out as many apps as possible.

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Re: Public Interest 2015: Thoughts, Anxieties, Experiences...

Postby Young Marino » Fri Jul 17, 2015 2:24 pm

BlueLotus wrote:Sent my fellowship sponsorship application today--put it in the executive director's inbox at around 9 am. Supervisor approached me later this morning in person. I was turned down by my summer employer for a postgraduate fellowship sponsorship. Shit sucks. Feel like crying. I can't concentrate on my assignments at all. Someone give me a hug. I thought I was doing a decent job at work. I guess not. I suppose I am good enough for free labor but not good enough to get paid to work for them. :cry:

I have no other leads. I am going to graduate unemployed and destitute. Is it too late in the summer to spam other orgs for a fellowship sponsorship? Probably.

The dark walls of the Vale are closing in on me. :shock:

Damn Blue. Sorry to hear that. That appears to be the double edged sword of public interest jobs. You have to intern for free to simply have a shot at a job that rocks. Hope I don't get burned the same way. At this time, you gotta stay focused. Get your superiors to give awesome recommendations and if they know of any orgs hiring right now. I know it's tough to think that way after the shit that just happened so take a few days, drink a few bourbons and get back on the saddle after the weekend. Your school year has to be a full time job search from here on out. Develop a strategy and get out there to network. Stay positive brother. You my boy Blue!

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Re: Public Interest 2015: Thoughts, Anxieties, Experiences...

Postby BlueLotus » Fri Jul 17, 2015 5:11 pm

Thank you for your kindness and compassion. It was a very difficult afternoon for me. It was a struggle to hold back my tears and remain calm and composed as I did intake with clients at a clinic at the VA Medical Center this afternoon. I still find it hard to get motivated and my mood is currently very sluggish. I have been rejected by employers before, but it's never stung as bad as this. I was really enjoying my internship. I got up everyday excited and energized by the work I do and making a difference in people's lives. What really hurts is that my supervisor did not even look at my fellowship sponsorship application package--she handed the envelope (which contained a cover letter, resume, references, and 9 page writing sample) back to me hardly an hour after I placed it in the executive director's inbox and made some remarks saying that I have "great attention to detail" but that the fellowship wouldn't be a good "fit" for me--whatever that means. I have been working my ass off for the past eight or so weeks, and I *thought* I was doing a competent, professional job, but I guess not. :sigh:

There is a silver lining though--I was tearing up on the train ride home and a lawyer at a small firm in my city sitting near me struck up a conversation with me about my situation. As I was getting off the train, he gave me his business card and told me to contact him. I just sent him a thankful, heartfelt email along with a copy of my fellowship resume. I'll let you know how things go!

I will rest this weekend and recover from the heartache, but early next week I will spam public interest orgs in my city.

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Re: Public Interest 2015: Thoughts, Anxieties, Experiences...

Postby ClubberLang » Fri Jul 17, 2015 6:02 pm

Are you planning to go back to the internship next week? They could have been much more tactful with the rejection. Telling you when they didn't even have time to read the application is a bit of a slap in the face given how much time you have presumably volunteered. Although you don't want to burn bridges, a brief email to the guy who dinged you thanking him for the experience and letting him know you won't be returning might help you move on. Sorry to hear about this. Hopefully something comes of the new lead.

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Re: Public Interest 2015: Thoughts, Anxieties, Experiences...

Postby BlueLotus » Fri Jul 17, 2015 6:42 pm

Clubber--I have 3 more weeks left in my internship. I have agreed to serve a full 10 weeks so I can't back out no matter how upset I am at my supervisor.

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Re: Public Interest 2015: Thoughts, Anxieties, Experiences...

Postby swampman » Fri Jul 17, 2015 7:17 pm

BlueLotus wrote:Clubber--I have 3 more weeks left in my internship. I have agreed to serve a full 10 weeks so I can't back out no matter how upset I am at my supervisor.

Will you have any sort of exit interview / can you ask for one? Sounds like it would be helpful to find out what went wrong (who knows, maybe nothing went wrong and they only take yale students for fellowships). Maybe you'll learn something you need to work on, maybe you'll learn that they're just assholes. Also would be good to find out whether you can use anyone there as a reference.

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Re: Public Interest 2015: Thoughts, Anxieties, Experiences...

Postby BlueLotus » Fri Jul 17, 2015 7:20 pm

I'm assuming that I'll have an exit interview at the conclusion of the summer.

I will continue working my ass off because I want a good reference from this employer.

Still shaken. I thought that they would at least consider my application--not just hand back the fucking envelope to me hardly an hour after I put it in the executive director's inbox. :(

I thought I was doing a good job. Periodically I have case review meetings where I go over a spreadsheet of my clients with my supervisor and I have received overwhelmingly positive feedback. I just don't know WTF went wrong.

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Re: Public Interest 2015: Thoughts, Anxieties, Experiences...

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Fri Jul 17, 2015 9:35 pm

I'm sorry that this happened, but it may not be about you - they may have policies in place about how they handle fellows that exclude you, but don't have anything to do with what they think about your work. I know that doesn't make not getting the sponsor any better, but if you can, don't let it make you feel bad about your work there, because it may not be anything to do with that at all. Don't let it shake your confidence.

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Re: Public Interest 2015: Thoughts, Anxieties, Experiences...

Postby worldtraveler » Fri Jul 17, 2015 9:58 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:I'm sorry that this happened, but it may not be about you - they may have policies in place about how they handle fellows that exclude you, but don't have anything to do with what they think about your work. I know that doesn't make not getting the sponsor any better, but if you can, don't let it make you feel bad about your work there, because it may not be anything to do with that at all. Don't let it shake your confidence.


This, and you can also ask your supervisor for a more detailed performance review. If there is a reason why they rejected you, it's better to know that now because maybe it's something you can work on. Otherwise you might learn it has nothing to do with you. Sponsoring a fellow is actually a ton of work for an organization and some of them just don't want to do it, or maybe like Nony says there is some kind of policy or criteria that excludes you but has nothing to do with your work.

ETA: I also wouldn't read too much into them failing to read the application. Attorneys are busy and if they knew they couldn't take a fellow, they're not going to read it even if it's from the most amazing intern ever.

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BlueLotus
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Re: Public Interest 2015: Thoughts, Anxieties, Experiences...

Postby BlueLotus » Sat Jul 18, 2015 5:59 am

Does the fact that I was turned down for the fellowship mean that i cannot continue volunteering for the summer employer during the school year? (Going into my 3L year and haven't locked down a fall internship because in my cockiness I just assumed that they would let me continue my internship on a part-time basis into the fall. ) As upset as I am about their No offer decision I like the work and would like to continue being an unpaid intern (aka indentured servant) for them.

However I am sooooo ashamed that I can't face my supervisor/executive director and ask. :(

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Re: Public Interest 2015: Thoughts, Anxieties, Experiences...

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Jul 18, 2015 11:15 am

BlueLotus, I agree with others that the fact that you were rejected doesn't necessarily mean you did anything wrong. IME applying to public interest orgs, there were definitely times when I was given one reason for being rejected, and then found out later through contacts/friends that the organization actually didn't hire me for organizational reasons. Sometimes organizations even explicitly say on their website that they, or at least certain practice areas, are not accepting fellows. Unfortunately, many of these organizations are very opaque in their hiring process, and don't always communicate things clearly. I agree with others that asking questions in whatever exit interview you might have may be the best way to get to the bottom of it--although again, keep in mind that it could still be a decision related to organizational/bureaucratic reasons.

Whether or not you can work for them again is something I think you would have to ask your supervisor about at some point--but since you already know they are unable to offer you a position right now, maybe you should look into working for another organization, doing related work if that's what you would prefer.

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Re: Public Interest 2015: Thoughts, Anxieties, Experiences...

Postby BlueLotus » Sat Jul 18, 2015 2:05 pm

I can't work for a new org this fall. If I did that, then my one page resume would become two pages and my two page fellowship resume would become three pages, which would look ridiculous. I have like seven fucking unpaid legal internships under my belt, and it would look strange to add an eighth one. I have to either continue working for my current org, or return to intern at one of the orgs that I previously worked at in the same city.

I'm so ashamed that I can't face my Managing Attorney and Executive Director. :( I've received job rejections plenty of times, but this one stung hard. It will be a monumental challenge to remain motivated for the rest of this internship, but I have to complete my work in a diligent, prompt manner if I want to get a good reference out of them. :(

Fuck this shit hard. As terrible as this situation is, I will not let it dampen my spirits and I will continue spamming orgs left and right until someone bites. I will also look at small civil firms, state trial court clerkships, and SSA attorney advisor positions (doing a lot of SS disability cases this summer, so hopefully my resume will look strong for such a position)

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Re: Public Interest 2015: Thoughts, Anxieties, Experiences...

Postby starluck » Sat Jul 18, 2015 2:38 pm

Hi Everyone, recent grad studying for the bar here. I thought I'd drop by because I remember how stressed and hopeless I felt at this point last summer while I was still looking for a host organization and just skimming through some of the comments I know people are still looking. I had been applying all summer, applications every day, got pulled around by my summer employer who kept going back and forth on sponsoring someone and finally applied end of July to a host organization and got an interview the next day and was picked to be their candidate in August and got a fellowship then in March. Most my other friends who ended up getting organizations didn't get anyone till August and then just had a big push for EJW. There's still plenty of time. Just make sure you're really expressing why you and why this project/organization. Get personal. I felt like my cover letter was borderline unprofessional it was so personal about the issue I'm working on but that's what got me the position. And also just remember that fellowships really aren't the only game in town.

If anyone has questions or needs some reassurance feel free to reach out. I feel like particularly at schools that aren't used to getting a lot of fellows that career services don't have a clue about how to help.

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Re: Public Interest 2015: Thoughts, Anxieties, Experiences...

Postby smaug » Sat Jul 18, 2015 3:08 pm

BlueLotus wrote:I can't work for a new org this fall. If I did that, then my one page resume would become two pages and my two page fellowship resume would become three pages, which would look ridiculous. I have like seven fucking unpaid legal internships under my belt, and it would look strange to add an eighth one. I have to either continue working for my current org, or return to intern at one of the orgs that I previously worked at in the same city.


everyone has gone through this with you before, you can fix the resume thing

don't fixate on the resume thing

there is no resume thing

you will be fine. you will find something. don't give up.

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Holly Golightly
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Re: Public Interest 2015: Thoughts, Anxieties, Experiences...

Postby Holly Golightly » Sat Jul 18, 2015 3:26 pm

BlueLotus wrote:I can't work for a new org this fall. If I did that, then my one page resume would become two pages and my two page fellowship resume would become three pages, which would look ridiculous. I have like seven fucking unpaid legal internships under my belt, and it would look strange to add an eighth one. I have to either continue working for my current org, or return to intern at one of the orgs that I previously worked at in the same city.


This is the worst reasoning I have ever heard.

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BlueLotus
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Re: Public Interest 2015: Thoughts, Anxieties, Experiences...

Postby BlueLotus » Sat Jul 18, 2015 3:28 pm

I can't fit an eighth unpaid internship on my resume without making the font too small for Boomers. A crowded resume will look bad. I have to either continue working for the same org or return to a previous org.




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