2L's: Do you know what career you want?

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billyez
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2L's: Do you know what career you want?

Postby billyez » Sat Jun 12, 2010 6:20 pm

I've had several people tell me that I only think I know what I want to do and that once I've been stewed in law school for a year or so, I'll find out that my best laid plans were all for naught. So, my question to those folks in their second years (or heck, why not, third years too if they wish) is, did you have a concrete plan for what your interest was and what job you were aiming for before you attended law school? If so, do you see yourself sticking to that original plan or has law school "stewed" it out of you and made you develop new interests? If so, do you consider that to be a bad or a good thing?

P.S. When I say I know what I want to do and have a plan for it, perish any thought of it being some incredibly ambitous far-flung dream - being the best public defender in Texas is as specific as it is attainable. No thought of being an AG or something like that here.

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macattaq
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Re: 2L's: Do you know what career you want?

Postby macattaq » Sat Jun 12, 2010 6:50 pm

No, if anything, it has made my career goals more clear. I came into law school wanting to do soft IP for musicians - copyright/licensing/trademark. Now, I'm interested in doing the same, but also helping musicians get setup as corporations/partnerships, handling taxes, that sort of thing. In the long run, I'd like to run a label based on a licensing, rather than copyright possession scheme, and work to put artists in a position where they can focus solely on making music. I guess I've learned that law is varied enough that once you start learning how different areas work together, you start to see that there is much more you can do than just the one thing you originally planned to do.

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vanwinkle
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Re: 2L's: Do you know what career you want?

Postby vanwinkle » Sat Jun 12, 2010 6:59 pm

billyez wrote:P.S. When I say I know what I want to do and have a plan for it, perish any thought of it being some incredibly ambitous far-flung dream - being the best public defender in Texas is as specific as it is attainable. No thought of being an AG or something like that here.

Okay, I'm really confused now. You're a Sarah Palin-reading Republican... and you want to be a public defender? :shock:

That said, actually working for a public defender has probably been the one thing that finally convinced me I probably don't wnat to be a public defender.

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billyez
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Re: 2L's: Do you know what career you want?

Postby billyez » Sat Jun 12, 2010 7:14 pm

Working for a public defender is what convinced me that it's what I wanted to do. Before, I just thought it was an avenue for helping others, now I'm sure. That's not to say it's not without its...urm, disadvantages shall we say. A quota of a hundred cases a month certainly doesn't make me happy. I wouldn't have a problem working with the DA's, since I interned there as well and liked it...but my heart is with the PD office.

You really should try to not view me in such narrow terms there, buddy. :wink: Being a Sarah-Palin reading, Texas conservative doesn't mean I don't care about people. Individuals are more complex than their traits might make you believe.
Last edited by billyez on Sat Jun 12, 2010 7:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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vanwinkle
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Re: 2L's: Do you know what career you want?

Postby vanwinkle » Sat Jun 12, 2010 7:15 pm

billyez wrote:Working for a public defender is what convinced me that it's what I wanted to do. Before, I just thought it was an avenue for helping others, now I'm sure. That's not to say it's not without its...urm, disadvantages shall we say. A quota of a hundred cases a month certainly doesn't make me happy.

100 cases a month is a light load compared to what I've seen. Highest I've heard was over 200. It varies from PD office to office, but is usually ridiculous to some extent.

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billyez
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Re: 2L's: Do you know what career you want?

Postby billyez » Sat Jun 12, 2010 7:19 pm

More on topic...did you already know what you were going to do when you started at UVA? Did you stick with it?

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vanwinkle
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Re: 2L's: Do you know what career you want?

Postby vanwinkle » Sat Jun 12, 2010 7:24 pm

billyez wrote:You really should try to not view me in such narrow terms there, buddy. :wink: Being a Sarah-Palin reading, Texas conservative doesn't mean I don't care about people. Individuals are more complex than their traits might make you believe.

I've worked in three different PD offices so far, and the one thing they all had most in common was a dearth of Republicans. There really is a common link in general between political leaning and career goals; Democrats tend to be liberal Don Quixote types who do well in PD offices, while Republicans tend to believe in the free market and follow money and opportunity, believing they'll benefit things more by going the corporate route and donating some of the extra money they make to the occasional charity.

I make no judgment about which is the right path to take, especially since I found out how much of the local budget comes from law firm donations, but it is an incredibly common division. Furthermore, if you're likely to see one side not following that stereotype, it's Democrats following the money, not the other way around, especially not among the Sarah Palin brand of them. I understand that not everyone follows the rule, but if you don't, you still are the exception.

billyez wrote:More on topic...did you already know what you were going to do when you started at UVA? Did you stick with it?

I knew I wanted to do criminal law. Once I realized that many PDs possess such an absolute hatred of DAs and working for a DA would poison future employment opportunities with PDs, I chose to go the PD route. What I'm discovering doing it is that I don't think I'd be happy here working on either side. The criminal justice system is so messed up and broken, and I'd quickly grow frustrated at an inability to change or fix it while I was here, if this were my permanent paying job.

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billyez
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Re: 2L's: Do you know what career you want?

Postby billyez » Sat Jun 12, 2010 7:35 pm

Once I realized that many PDs possess such an absolute hatred of DAs and working for a DA would poison future employment opportunities with PDs, I chose to go the PD route. What I'm discovering doing it is that I don't think I'd be happy here working on either side. The criminal justice system is so messed up and broken, and I'd quickly grow frustrated at an inability to change or fix it while I was here, if this were my permanent paying job.


I noticed this as well when I was at the PD's office. It wasn't pervasive by any means, but...it's certainly there. It made me quite happy that I worked at the DA's first, so I could understand that both groups really are working towards doing the right thing...even though they do it through different ways. That common goal actually made me a slight bit confused by some of the enmity. Oddly, I really think this is an entirely one-sided feeling - I never heard of an Assistant DA even talk about the PD's.

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vanwinkle
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Re: 2L's: Do you know what career you want?

Postby vanwinkle » Sat Jun 12, 2010 7:40 pm

billyez wrote:I noticed this as well when I was at the PD's office. It wasn't pervasive by any means, but...it's certainly there. It made me quite happy that I worked at the DA's first, so I could understand that both groups really are working towards doing the right thing...even thought they do it through different ways. That common goal actually made me a slight bit confused by some of the enmity.

I have that same understanding, that both groups are working toward the "right thing" in their own mind... but keep in mind that the law is an adversarial system, and opposing sides represent truly opposing interests, with a kind of "winner take all" outcome. Given all of that, it's not surprising to see the kind of enmity displayed between the two groups; the PDs take their clients' side and rail against an imperfect and often discriminatory system, the excessive sentences for seemingly minor offenses, and the lack of regard for mitigating factors, while DAs take the "people's" side and fight for maximum punishment of those who violate the law to deter future lawbreaking and protect the innocent who manage to not break the law. They both care very much about their jobs, so it makes sense that they end up having such strong negative feelings against each other.

DAs don't have to be quite so righteous, since everything is tilted in their favor.




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