Law school and then Peace Corps?

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llachans
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Law school and then Peace Corps?

Postby llachans » Mon Nov 14, 2011 3:38 pm

I know this might not be the right place to post this, but has anyone done Peace Corps after law school? Or know anyone who has?

I know the order of that might be a little non-traditional, but due to a medical condition I was unable to join right after my undergrad.

Pros/cons to doing this?

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rinkrat19
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Re: Law school and then Peace Corps?

Postby rinkrat19 » Mon Nov 14, 2011 3:45 pm

Since hiring for legal jobs typically occurs during law school, how are you planning on getting a legal job after getting out of Peace Corps?

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shepdawg
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Re: Law school and then Peace Corps?

Postby shepdawg » Mon Nov 14, 2011 4:05 pm

Pros:
It's an acceptable excuse for wasting a few years of your life.
Increased chances of hooking up with hippies or 3rd world hotties.

Cons:
Zero chance at big law, JAG, and almost any other prestigious entry level legal job.
Living life regretting your choice to waste a portion of your life
Begging your rich dad (usually only rich kids even consider peace corps) to fund your solo-practice

llachans
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Re: Law school and then Peace Corps?

Postby llachans » Mon Nov 14, 2011 4:11 pm

shepdawg wrote:Begging your rich dad (usually only rich kids even consider peace corps) to fund your solo-practice


Hm. I'm surprised that you think this. Anyone I've ever met that's done it was far from rich. They receive a stipend (although it's minimal, it's pretty manageable to live on) and often receive hefty scholarship money although that clearly wouldn't affect my situation since I'd be out of school.

I'm not aiming for big law by any means and I realize it would mess up the employment part quite a bit. I guess that's what I wanted feedback on because I am a clueless 0L.

Would it be 100% unfeasible to pursue externships/employment throughout 3 years of law school, do the Peace Corps stint, and return and try to follow up on contacts made while in law school?

I realize the employment prospects are terrible, hence wanting to get feedback. I'd really like to do pro bono work someday (I realize this might seem ludicrous with the current job market, but I expect it to turn up in the far future) and thought PC might look good if I did choose to pursue that avenue.

Sorry if this entire idea is outlandish. My co-worker and I were discussing it and I thought I'd throw it out there.

freestallion
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Re: Law school and then Peace Corps?

Postby freestallion » Mon Nov 14, 2011 4:18 pm

I think you'd be better of working/studying abroad during law school, especially since you can do externships abroad and get stipends during the summer to do internships with human rights organizations while you're in law school. Then you can get a law-related job in the US or abroad in the public interest sector; if you go into something other than law immediately, I hear it's very difficult to get back into the legal field.

llachans
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Re: Law school and then Peace Corps?

Postby llachans » Mon Nov 14, 2011 4:21 pm

freestallion wrote:I think you'd be better of working/studying abroad during law school, especially since you can do externships abroad and get stipends during the summer to do internships with human rights organizations while you're in law school. Then you can get a law-related job in the US or abroad in the public interest sector; if you go into something other than law immediately, I hear it's very difficult to get back into the legal field.


Thank you for the advice. I'll definitely look into this.

Are there downsides to using your summers to intern abroad? I'm just wondering if that too would greatly harm employment chances.

midwestls
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Re: Law school and then Peace Corps?

Postby midwestls » Mon Nov 14, 2011 4:51 pm

It's simply a very bad idea if you want to actually practice law.

It would make much more sense to do the Peace Corps first and then go to law school. It would help you in admissions and wouldn't interfere with your employment prospects.

llachans
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Re: Law school and then Peace Corps?

Postby llachans » Mon Nov 14, 2011 4:52 pm

midwestls wrote:It's simply a very bad idea if you want to actually practice law.

It would make much more sense to do the Peace Corps first and then go to law school. It would help you in admissions and wouldn't interfere with your employment prospects.


I would if I didn't have a medical condition that pretty much auto-denies me but will clear up in the next few years. I'm probably just not meant to do the Peace Corps.

freestallion
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Re: Law school and then Peace Corps?

Postby freestallion » Mon Nov 14, 2011 4:54 pm

llachans wrote:
freestallion wrote:I think you'd be better of working/studying abroad during law school, especially since you can do externships abroad and get stipends during the summer to do internships with human rights organizations while you're in law school. Then you can get a law-related job in the US or abroad in the public interest sector; if you go into something other than law immediately, I hear it's very difficult to get back into the legal field.


Thank you for the advice. I'll definitely look into this.

Are there downsides to using your summers to intern abroad? I'm just wondering if that too would greatly harm employment chances.

A huge number of people intern abroad between their first and second years. Your second summer, you should probably try to do something that gives you a good shot at getting a job. But you can also do externships abroad - for example, Michigan has an awesome South Africa externship that places you with legal services organizations. Stanford has clinics which are full-time in Asia/Africa, I believe. Berkeley also has externships abroad that you can basically design yourself. I know people going to firms but still taking advantage of these externship opportunities. Others are trying to get a public interest position, which is certainly competitive but doable from the top schools, and more internship/work experience in public service organizations can only help for such career paths.

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worldtraveler
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Re: Law school and then Peace Corps?

Postby worldtraveler » Tue Nov 15, 2011 1:49 am

freestallion wrote:
llachans wrote:
freestallion wrote:I think you'd be better of working/studying abroad during law school, especially since you can do externships abroad and get stipends during the summer to do internships with human rights organizations while you're in law school. Then you can get a law-related job in the US or abroad in the public interest sector; if you go into something other than law immediately, I hear it's very difficult to get back into the legal field.


Thank you for the advice. I'll definitely look into this.

Are there downsides to using your summers to intern abroad? I'm just wondering if that too would greatly harm employment chances.

A huge number of people intern abroad between their first and second years. Your second summer, you should probably try to do something that gives you a good shot at getting a job. But you can also do externships abroad - for example, Michigan has an awesome South Africa externship that places you with legal services organizations. Stanford has clinics which are full-time in Asia/Africa, I believe. Berkeley also has externships abroad that you can basically design yourself. I know people going to firms but still taking advantage of these externship opportunities. Others are trying to get a public interest position, which is certainly competitive but doable from the top schools, and more internship/work experience in public service organizations can only help for such career paths.


:?:

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IAFG
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Re: Law school and then Peace Corps?

Postby IAFG » Tue Nov 15, 2011 2:17 am

llachans wrote:I'm not aiming for big law by any means and I realize it would mess up the employment part quite a bit. I guess that's what I wanted feedback on because I am a clueless 0L.

A lot of people say that (usually when justifying their decision to attend a TT, TTT, or TTTT) and the follow-up question is always, "what were you thinking of doing instead?" BigLaw is a good launchpad for lots of other legal jobs, and while it's not the only thing, it's important to be realistic about other jobs (how competitive they are, what you need to get them, how many slots there are and how many qualified applicants are chasing them, etc).

It sounds like you don't really know what you want to do yet. Can I suggest not taking on 6 figure debt or wasting 3 years of your life until you're quite sure law school will actually put you in a better position?

llachans
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Re: Law school and then Peace Corps?

Postby llachans » Tue Nov 15, 2011 2:32 am

IAFG wrote:
It sounds like you don't really know what you want to do yet. Can I suggest not taking on 6 figure debt or wasting 3 years of your life until you're quite sure law school will actually put you in a better position?


I'd take that advice if I felt that was the case, but I genuinely think I've thought about my decision to attend law school quite a bit. I've always known I wanted to do law, but was initially torn on whether I wanted to do civil rights/non-profit work (because throughout college I was active with anything LGBT-related) or criminal law (something I've been interested in since a young child). I'm currently an intern at a jail and the past 6 months have taught me so much and truly challenged me and has completely solidified my interest in criminal law.

However, I have an intense desire to give back to other areas and hence was trying to maybe make the Peace Corps work somehow. It's not that I'm unsure at my career path in life - - I know what I want to do. It's just that I have a secondary desire that criminal law can not fulfill. I'm an adopted child and have had a rough life and realize how much worse it could have been without my adoption. Since being a young child, I've always wanted to volunteer in an orphanage/work with children in that situation. I don't think this varied interest takes away from my interest or commitment in law as a career. Both have different time commitments and the desire to help orphanages may have to take a backseat until I'm at a more secure time economically when I could take an alternative avenue to accomplish what I'd like to do (outside of the legal realm).

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Re: Law school and then Peace Corps?

Postby shock259 » Tue Nov 15, 2011 3:27 am

You are going to have an extremely difficult finding a job when you come back. Employers are going to see you as someone that doesn't want to practice law. Or someone that may just leave to go hang out in Thailand for a few years. The importance of your first job out of law school is hard to overstate. It can really set the trajectory of the rest of your legal career.

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worldtraveler
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Re: Law school and then Peace Corps?

Postby worldtraveler » Tue Nov 15, 2011 6:00 am

llachans wrote:
IAFG wrote:
It sounds like you don't really know what you want to do yet. Can I suggest not taking on 6 figure debt or wasting 3 years of your life until you're quite sure law school will actually put you in a better position?


I'd take that advice if I felt that was the case, but I genuinely think I've thought about my decision to attend law school quite a bit. I've always known I wanted to do law, but was initially torn on whether I wanted to do civil rights/non-profit work (because throughout college I was active with anything LGBT-related) or criminal law (something I've been interested in since a young child). I'm currently an intern at a jail and the past 6 months have taught me so much and truly challenged me and has completely solidified my interest in criminal law.

However, I have an intense desire to give back to other areas and hence was trying to maybe make the Peace Corps work somehow. It's not that I'm unsure at my career path in life - - I know what I want to do. It's just that I have a secondary desire that criminal law can not fulfill. I'm an adopted child and have had a rough life and realize how much worse it could have been without my adoption. Since being a young child, I've always wanted to volunteer in an orphanage/work with children in that situation. I don't think this varied interest takes away from my interest or commitment in law as a career. Both have different time commitments and the desire to help orphanages may have to take a backseat until I'm at a more secure time economically when I could take an alternative avenue to accomplish what I'd like to do (outside of the legal realm).


You don't have to do the Peace Corps to do that kind of work. There are a ton of ways to volunteer and work abroad. Plus, not all peace corps people do the work you're describing. If you really want to volunteer abroad, then work for a while, save some money, and go. Or, get a job teaching English to kids and get paid to do it. I'm not sure why you think Peace Corps is the only option for this.

CanadianWolf
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Re: Law school and then Peace Corps?

Postby CanadianWolf » Tue Nov 15, 2011 7:52 am

If unable to get a job as an attorney during & immediately after law school, then maybe it can lead to a career path in politics or government. Otherwise, it seems more logical to join the Peace Corps before law school.

freestallion
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Re: Law school and then Peace Corps?

Postby freestallion » Tue Nov 15, 2011 10:09 am

worldtraveler wrote:
freestallion wrote:
llachans wrote:
freestallion wrote:I think you'd be better of working/studying abroad during law school, especially since you can do externships abroad and get stipends during the summer to do internships with human rights organizations while you're in law school. Then you can get a law-related job in the US or abroad in the public interest sector; if you go into something other than law immediately, I hear it's very difficult to get back into the legal field.


Thank you for the advice. I'll definitely look into this.

Are there downsides to using your summers to intern abroad? I'm just wondering if that too would greatly harm employment chances.

A huge number of people intern abroad between their first and second years. Your second summer, you should probably try to do something that gives you a good shot at getting a job. But you can also do externships abroad - for example, Michigan has an awesome South Africa externship that places you with legal services organizations. Stanford has clinics which are full-time in Asia/Africa, I believe. Berkeley also has externships abroad that you can basically design yourself. I know people going to firms but still taking advantage of these externship opportunities. Others are trying to get a public interest position, which is certainly competitive but doable from the top schools, and more internship/work experience in public service organizations can only help for such career paths.


:?:

http://www.law.berkeley.edu/2821.htm

llachans
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Re: Law school and then Peace Corps?

Postby llachans » Tue Nov 15, 2011 11:15 am

worldtraveler wrote:I'm not sure why you think Peace Corps is the only option for this.


haha, I definitely don't think that at all. I've researched a lot of programs and the Peace Corps is the most legit one that I've found in which you don't have to pay to volunteer. That was why I threw PC out there.

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worldtraveler
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Re: Law school and then Peace Corps?

Postby worldtraveler » Wed Nov 16, 2011 1:23 am

http://www.law.berkeley.edu/2821.htm

Those are just internships that students applied to themselves and then arranged it to get academic credit. It's not unique to Berkeley at all and you can do the same exact thing from any law school. Although it might look like it it's not an actual Berkeley program to place students in those places.

A lot of law applicants seem to have this idea that law schools help you line up summer internships or secure placements for you. This is seldom the case and if you want to go abroad, you're almost always applying on your own. There are some exceptions but in general you can do the same kinds of internships from any T10 school. Faculty can help introduce you to people and there are a couple school specific programs, but even for those if you go to another peer school you can arrange to go through their link in a foreign country. For instance, Berkeley has an arrangement to place law students with government offices in Sierra Leone and students from other schools can also participate. The same with Michigan's stuff.

llachans wrote:
worldtraveler wrote:I'm not sure why you think Peace Corps is the only option for this.


haha, I definitely don't think that at all. I've researched a lot of programs and the Peace Corps is the most legit one that I've found in which you don't have to pay to volunteer. That was why I threw PC out there.
[/quote]

Nobody should be charging you to volunteer. If they are, they're a shitty organization.

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IAFG
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Re: Law school and then Peace Corps?

Postby IAFG » Wed Nov 16, 2011 1:50 am

WT, it's worth noting that some schools are more open to giving you credit for externships than others. For example, UChi is apparently quite strict about what you can get credit for off-campus, and I have heard NYU is the same.

The amount of flexibility NU gives me in planning curriculum and taking advantage of hands-on experiences is one of the unexpected perks that I didn't know to look for when I was an applicant.

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worldtraveler
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Re: Law school and then Peace Corps?

Postby worldtraveler » Wed Nov 16, 2011 5:48 am

IAFG wrote:WT, it's worth noting that some schools are more open to giving you credit for externships than others. For example, UChi is apparently quite strict about what you can get credit for off-campus, and I have heard NYU is the same.

The amount of flexibility NU gives me in planning curriculum and taking advantage of hands-on experiences is one of the unexpected perks that I didn't know to look for when I was an applicant.


That is true. I get the impression that everywhere is more flexible than Chicago on that kind of stuff.

freestallion
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Re: Law school and then Peace Corps?

Postby freestallion » Wed Nov 16, 2011 10:21 am

worldtraveler wrote:http://www.law.berkeley.edu/2821.htm

Those are just internships that students applied to themselves and then arranged it to get academic credit. It's not unique to Berkeley at all and you can do the same exact thing from any law school. Although it might look like it it's not an actual Berkeley program to place students in those places.

A lot of law applicants seem to have this idea that law schools help you line up summer internships or secure placements for you. This is seldom the case and if you want to go abroad, you're almost always applying on your own. There are some exceptions but in general you can do the same kinds of internships from any T10 school. Faculty can help introduce you to people and there are a couple school specific programs, but even for those if you go to another peer school you can arrange to go through their link in a foreign country. For instance, Berkeley has an arrangement to place law students with government offices in Sierra Leone and students from other schools can also participate. The same with Michigan's stuff.

Ah I see, but even so what I am personally looking for is at least to see if the school would be flexible in terms of allowing you to do an internship abroad if you get one, for credit. I think as long as the school is open to that, you could have at least one summer and one semester abroad - which adds up to a decent amount! Also, it seems like Michigan's externships in South Africa are basically arranged by them, no? Maybe not, but even if you have to apply, at least there's a program to support you getting credit out of it.

northside
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Re: Law school and then Peace Corps?

Postby northside » Wed Nov 16, 2011 2:58 pm

...good luck joining the Peace Corps without an engineering or environmental science degree.

Unless daddy's got a fat check book. I used to date a guy who paid his way to a kick ass internship in the Peace Corps. Hillary loves those contributions.

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Veyron
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Re: Law school and then Peace Corps?

Postby Veyron » Wed Nov 16, 2011 3:28 pm

northside wrote:...good luck joining the Peace Corps without an engineering or environmental science degree.

Unless daddy's got a fat check book. I used to date a guy who paid his way to a kick ass internship in the Peace Corps. Hillary loves those contributions.


?, the vast majority of applicants are accepted. The major limiting factor is peoples' wiliness to live in a hell-hole for 3 years, not difficulty getting into the program.

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Holly Golightly
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Re: Law school and then Peace Corps?

Postby Holly Golightly » Thu Nov 17, 2011 6:10 am

Eh, if OP is looking to do PI, I'm not sure a stint in the Peace Corps would necessarily be detrimental...

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observationalist
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Re: Law school and then Peace Corps?

Postby observationalist » Thu Nov 17, 2011 7:20 am

One of my classmates did this... went to Moldova for two years following school, just got back and is now working in DC on projects with USAID. He's doing transactional work but as far as I know he's not actually part of the legal team, so I can't tell you whether or not he managed to transition back into legal work upon returning. I can tell you that he seemed pretty unhappy working for firms 1L and 2L summer, and that jumping the ship and doing Peace Corps may very well have been the right thing for him to do.

In terms of debt purposes, Peace Corps is listed as one of the automatically-qualifying jobs for IBR's 10-year public interest forgiveness program. So you would be knocking two years off if you did that after school, leaving you with a minimum eight more years doing qualifying domestic/international PI work until your loans would be (hopefully) forgiven. This assumes you take out no private loans and that IBR survives for another dozen years or so. This latter assumption is problematic; I haven't yet seen anyone offer up an opinion as to what would happen to IBR if the student loan bubble bursts, but it could get ugly.

Hope that helps... it's definitely one of the "nontraditional career paths" schools try to advertise as proof of a JD's versatility, but it's important to consider that there may be better ways to utilize your next three years that won't put you in so much debt and would give you greater versatility. Until tuition drops off drastically and makes law school within reach (absent IBR continuing to exist), it's really not priced fairly and you could find yourself upset with your decision in three years.




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