Peace Corp. After Law School

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Re: Peace Corp. After Law School

Postby 1981be » Mon Mar 23, 2009 11:57 am

Cleareyes wrote:I don't know for sure, but I think that you'd be in bad shape on both accounts. I don't think you can defer your loans to volunteer, just for future school, and not only do you miss the normal channels of school to employment but firms are going to ask why you decided, as a newly minted lawyer, to go build huts in Africa right away. It makes you look like you don't actually want to practice law, since if you did that's what you'd be doing (In a public interest venue most likely.)

This seems like a horrible plan.

You hit the nail on the head. No one is going to want to hire the OP because it does not seem like you are serious about the practice of law. Unless you have rich parents, and therefore money does not matter, do not do this plan. Do it before law school.

If your goal is to give back to the less fortunate there are limitless ways of doing so with your law degree. If you were to work for an organization that gave free legal advice to those who could not afford it, then this would be an acceptable way of deferring another legal career path. Although I would still say it's not well thought out, since you would be better served (as would your clients) to do this later in your career once you are established and have some skills to share.

Unless you have rich parents and a law degree is just for fun, you are quite possibly making the worst mistake of your life by doing the peace corp for 2 years after law school unless you never intend to actually practice.

You say there are reasons behind this decision; share away, because I can't think of a single reason why this is a good idea.

Another final thought: the less fortunate will benefit more by you donating $20,000 of your paycheck per year than by you going and building mud huts in Africa. With that money, in many countries, they could hire at least a thirty labourers/teachers (with a generous salary). Non-profits need money more than volunteers, especially right now.

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Re: Peace Corp. After Law School

Postby dborch » Sat Jul 17, 2010 6:39 pm

I realize that serving in the PC after law school maybe be good way to seriously harm one's employment prospects. However, one of the reasons I served in the military was to gain some overseas experience, which is very personally very important to me. Due to a bad muscle injury, my military career was cut short, and I did not get to spend the time I wanted overseas. In addition, I've worked the last couple of years to cover the expenses related to the injury and build some savings.

In a month, I'll start OSU on a full scholarship, and my plan is to settle down and build my career in Columbus. I still want to pursue some kind of overseas service work, if only for 6-12 months. If the PC is not a good option, what is? I'm 26, and I'm excited about the path I'm on for law, but I know I'll regret it later in life iif I did not take some time to spend overseas. I tried before and it did not work out; I want to try again. Are there law-oreinted service opportunities overseas that I could pursue for a short time after law school and not ruin my employment opportunities?

I appreciate the feedback!

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Re: Peace Corp. After Law School

Postby Voodoo94 » Sat Jul 17, 2010 6:52 pm

Go to the Peace Corps.

The non-competitive eligibility for Federal positions is a good benefit.

The legal industry is imploding.

A JD with overseas Peace Corps experience and accrued language skills is a good way to "recareer" into something more fulfilling and worthwhile. With the non-competitive eligibility, you may have a real leg up for non-legal Federal positions (i.e. the really rewarding ones).

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Re: Peace Corp. After Law School

Postby 270910 » Sat Jul 17, 2010 6:55 pm

Voodoo94 wrote:non-legal Federal positions (i.e. the really rewarding ones).


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Re: Peace Corp. After Law School

Postby Voodoo94 » Sat Jul 17, 2010 6:56 pm


I just saw that you are a veteran. This is golden. Make sure you utilize our veteran's preference. It will help with Federal employment. Also, if you have not, I implore you to file a VA disability claim for your injury. Even if the VA finds you 0% disabled, you will be conferred a 10 point "disabled veteran" preference for life for any Federal job you apply to. This is a serious advantage in the hiring process and you must pursue it at all costs. Plus, you may get a small disability pension. If you are rated 20% or more by the VA, you are also eligible for vocational rehab - a serious program that can pay for almost any graduate program.

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Re: Peace Corp. After Law School

Postby legalease9 » Sat Jul 17, 2010 6:58 pm

alveron wrote:I checked my Sallie Mae Loans to see if it was available and it was also an option. However, it would not let me see what the requirements were. I would suggest you call lenders used by Texas and SMU to make sure that the deferments are all granted on the same conditions regardless of the lender since you would be taking out Stafford and Grad PLUS loans.

All Federal loans are now directly from the Federal government (as of July 1 2010) so there are no other lenders for federal loans any more. Its all fed.

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Re: Peace Corp. After Law School

Postby Voodoo94 » Sat Jul 17, 2010 6:59 pm

Disco Barred,

I am a Federal employee. The folks in an agency's General Counsel don't make policy. They handle "nug" work that gets assigned by the policy makers.

The real action is in the policy and program side of the house. In many of these positions, a JD is actually viewed favorably and not as a liability.

In my experience, 0301 and 0343 series positions are infinitely more interesting/rewarding that most non-DOJ attorney coded positions.

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Re: Peace Corp. After Law School

Postby jpritchett5 » Sun Dec 19, 2010 8:35 pm

I am currently serving for the Peace Corps in Ecuador. I decided to do the Peace Corps first because I didn't want to be like every other 22/23 white middle-class law student. Unfortunately, legal skills are not as valuable in many of the countries where the Peace Corps operates and working under the assumption that the Peace Corps will utilize your legal skills is a little precarious. Flexibility is a key characteristic of a "good" volunteer, i.e., a volunteer that makes it through the two year commitment. The decision to serve after law school is your prerogative.

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Re: Peace Corp. After Law School

Postby starrynight62 » Mon Dec 20, 2010 11:36 pm

Former Peace Corps Volunteer here. A few thoughts:

1. Federal student loans are deferrable. Private loans are probably deferrable, check with your lender. If you complete the two years, there is a loan forgiveness program for some of the loans. (Up to 30% of Perkins loans, I believe, check into that.) If you complete the two years, you also get a lump sum payment of around $6000. If you have unsubsidized student loans, Peace Corps will advance up to half of this money to you to pay the interest while you are serving. Peace Corps = not necessarily stupid because of the loan thing.

2. I never thought of signing up for income-based repayment as previous post suggests. This *may* be an excellent idea because PC will count as "public interest" work, you will owe nothing for two years, and government will pay for the interest that accrues. Not sure if this is allowed, although I don't really see why not.

3. I don't know much about how it will affect your job prospects. Probably for biglaw-ish jobs it may indicate that you "aren't serious about the law." No OCI is a downer. If you are interested in government work it may be a leg up. If you are interested in doing international work (lawyering for a non-profit in another country), it should give you a huge opportunity. All the PC volunteers I served with who wanted to stay there got paying jobs with NGOs, etc, and they didn't have JDs. If you want to return to Columbus, it may depend on the connections you have. Can you talk to some alumni/mentors and get their take on your prospects?

4. Just a matter of life philosophy, but what is a "dumb choice" for some people is a great choice for other people. Depends on what your priorities are. Obviously think it through, but don't not do something that may be a once-in-a-lifetime experience because other people tell you it can't be done. *waves pom-poms*

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