Only want direct legal services - skip journal?

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Milksteak
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Only want direct legal services - skip journal?

Postby Milksteak » Tue May 30, 2017 9:08 pm

Fully committed to direct legal services work. At a top school, PI scholarship, direct service background, top 1/3 grades. Not close to done my writing packet and just wondering if I should even bother. Would never consider big law, not pumped about the idea of clerking though everyone seems to say I shouldn't count that out cause its such a good experience.

Career goals are direct legal services with the goal to help grow the community lawyering movement and work at the intersection of community organizing and lawyering. Long term goals may include running for elected office or managing a non-profit focused on movement lawyering.

Is there any reason for me to do a secondary journal even if PI focused? I would rather do almost anything besides it (work on my Spanish, get more involved in student orgs). Can anyone give me a reason to do this besides "everyone does?"

Jchance
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Re: Only want direct legal services - skip journal?

Postby Jchance » Tue May 30, 2017 9:11 pm

Have you accounted for when you change your mind (e.g. I want to clerk/biglaw)?

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Milksteak
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Re: Only want direct legal services - skip journal?

Postby Milksteak » Tue May 30, 2017 9:21 pm

Zero interest in big law ever. Not doing OCI. Clerking I dunno it is hard to say.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Only want direct legal services - skip journal?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Tue May 30, 2017 9:25 pm

I don't think it would hurt you to do it, but I also don't think you need to - you'd probably be better off getting real world experience.

jjking
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Re: Only want direct legal services - skip journal?

Postby jjking » Tue May 30, 2017 9:37 pm

I'd do it. We have pretty similar backgrounds and interests and I did LR and its been great. Some reasons:

1) If you are completely direct services-oriented, you will probably be competing for Skadden/EJW fellowships. Skadden particularly considers clerking and journal membership a plus.
2) Many "direct services" organizations also do impact litigation where both journal writing skills and clerking are valuable.
3) Many direct services organizations don't hire out of law school and clerking is a way of getting a year or two of experience to get around that.
4) A lot of public-interest lawyers start out in direct services and move into larger-scale litigation where again journal/clerking help (think Make the Road->Center for Popular Democracy).
4) Movement lawyering-you're not super specific, but if you mean place like Center for Constitutional Rights, they are often in federal court so journal/clerking would be useful.

hlsperson1111
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Re: Only want direct legal services - skip journal?

Postby hlsperson1111 » Wed May 31, 2017 1:17 am

By "top school" do you mean HYS or do you mean like a T20? It makes a difference, but I'd probably do it in either event. (It doesn't need to be LR if you are at HYS or a top school with walk-on secondary journals, and doing a left-leaning secondary journal with a lower time commitment is a good compromise and something a lot of my classmates did.) If you were 100% dead set on not clerking I think you should not do it, but realistically there are some very PI-focused judges who would be great connections/mentors, and doing a journal and clerking for one of those judges and doing other PI-focused activities is a very strong signaling device for this line of work.

cavalier1138
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Re: Only want direct legal services - skip journal?

Postby cavalier1138 » Wed May 31, 2017 5:28 am

If you happen to be at NYU (educated guess), then at least submit for moot court. That gives you oral advocacy training, and you really only have to do the Bluebooking exercise, since your brief is done.

If you're not at NYU, ignore that, and good luck.

snowball2
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Re: Only want direct legal services - skip journal?

Postby snowball2 » Wed May 31, 2017 12:26 pm

Milksteak wrote:Fully committed to direct legal services work. At a top school, PI scholarship, direct service background, top 1/3 grades. Not close to done my writing packet and just wondering if I should even bother. Would never consider big law, not pumped about the idea of clerking though everyone seems to say I shouldn't count that out cause its such a good experience.

Career goals are direct legal services with the goal to help grow the community lawyering movement and work at the intersection of community organizing and lawyering. Long term goals may include running for elected office or managing a non-profit focused on movement lawyering.

Is there any reason for me to do a secondary journal even if PI focused? I would rather do almost anything besides it (work on my Spanish, get more involved in student orgs). Can anyone give me a reason to do this besides "everyone does?"


Aiming low is never a great strategy. Every compromise you make now creates some limitation in the future. Let the system decide. If your work product isn't up to snuff, then at least you tried. If you're in, it's another feather in your cap. Barack Obama was a community organizer with law review under his belt.

You may later decide you'd like to teach or even enter the political arena. "Better" qualifications are always better.

arose928
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Re: Only want direct legal services - skip journal?

Postby arose928 » Wed May 31, 2017 9:50 pm

I am in a similar boat with regards to career aspirations (shout out to the movement lawyers!). I didn't do write-on, basically to close off any path that would care about prestige. Kind of like the Groucho Marx quote "I don't want to be part of any club that would have me" but more "I don't want to work anywhere that would actually care about that." I also just didn't/don't give a shit about law review so why would I put myself through that. Anyway, plenty of people will tell you to do it anyway but FWIW I'm over here, not doing it, not giving a flip. I think it helps also that basically no one in my social circle at law school did, and they are people whose politics I respect, so I don't feel like I'm missing something.

ETA that none of the 3Ls I know who just graduated and who are going to legal service orgs or doing community lawyering did law review or clerkships. THERE IS ANOTHER WAY.

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Nebby
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Re: Only want direct legal services - skip journal?

Postby Nebby » Wed May 31, 2017 10:59 pm

I say do it if you can get on a secondary journal that's more PI focused

lolwat
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Re: Only want direct legal services - skip journal?

Postby lolwat » Wed May 31, 2017 11:38 pm

arose928 wrote:I am in a similar boat with regards to career aspirations (shout out to the movement lawyers!). I didn't do write-on, basically to close off any path that would care about prestige. Kind of like the Groucho Marx quote "I don't want to be part of any club that would have me" but more "I don't want to work anywhere that would actually care about that." I also just didn't/don't give a shit about law review so why would I put myself through that. Anyway, plenty of people will tell you to do it anyway but FWIW I'm over here, not doing it, not giving a flip. I think it helps also that basically no one in my social circle at law school did, and they are people whose politics I respect, so I don't feel like I'm missing something.

ETA that none of the 3Ls I know who just graduated and who are going to legal service orgs or doing community lawyering did law review or clerkships. THERE IS ANOTHER WAY.


Good for you I guess but doing LR can ONLY help. It might not help everywhere but it also will not hurt. Idk about all LR but outside of some EIC or board positions it's generally very low time investment anyway. I think there is no reason for the OP to put themselves in a position where they might look back and regret not doing LR for whatever reason might happen down the road.

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Milksteak
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Re: Only want direct legal services - skip journal?

Postby Milksteak » Wed May 31, 2017 11:52 pm

Well, I skipped it. Maybe someday I will regret it, but for now I am looking forward to getting more involved in other things more directly relevant to my goals. Thank you all for weighing in (especially you movement lawyering folks). Much appreciated!




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