What is government or public interest law really like?

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sabanist
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Re: What is government or public interest law really like?

Postby sabanist » Thu Apr 18, 2013 2:42 pm

Thank you so much, okinawa. This is really helpful.

I find white collar pretty interesting too, so that's especially good to hear. I'm under no delusion that civil rights would be a walk in the park to nab, hence it being merely a dream, haha.

That really sucks about PDs being so strict. I've interned with them before and really enjoyed it, so I hoped that door would be open despite a little experimentation to make sure there's not a better fit out there.

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okinawa
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Re: What is government or public interest law really like?

Postby okinawa » Thu Apr 18, 2013 7:10 pm

sabanist wrote:I find white collar pretty interesting too, so that's especially good to hear. I'm under no delusion that civil rights would be a walk in the park to nab, hence it being merely a dream, haha.

That really sucks about PDs being so strict. I've interned with them before and really enjoyed it, so I hoped that door would be open despite a little experimentation to make sure there's not a better fit out there.


The two are pretty different. A lot of PD offices are more akin to social work (depends on the office, of course) while white collar defense is more like corporate or securities work, especially the compliance side. You have to understand corporate law and how to set up a corporation pretty well to be able to do white collar work on behalf of a corporation. Very poor, uneducated clients vs. the 1% in both education and salary. Most PDs see the inside of a courtroom fairly often, even if it's just misdemeanors, and most FCPA or securities violations turn into non-pros or deferred pros agreements, not trials. So it's a pretty different experience--which is extremely, extremely different from what DOJ Civil Rights attorneys do.

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BlueLotus
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Re: What is government or public interest law really like?

Postby BlueLotus » Sun Jun 30, 2013 10:38 pm

BUMP. This thread is gold.

Anyone have any perspectives on hiring for non-governmental PI (i.e. Legal Aid)?

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scifiguy
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Re: What is government or public interest law really like?

Postby scifiguy » Mon Jul 01, 2013 12:26 pm

BlueLotus wrote:BUMP. This thread is gold.

Anyone have any perspectives on hiring for non-governmental PI (i.e. Legal Aid)?


^^^ bump bump

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BlueLotus
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Re: What is government or public interest law really like?

Postby BlueLotus » Mon Jul 01, 2013 1:40 pm

scifiguy wrote:
BlueLotus wrote:BUMP. This thread is gold.

Anyone have any perspectives on hiring for non-governmental PI (i.e. Legal Aid)?


^^^ bump bump


Also, what's the salary like in this field--starting out and 5-10 years in? Is a fellowship pretty much the only credited way to get this sort of gig?

nowasbestosfree
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Re: What is government or public interest law really like?

Postby nowasbestosfree » Wed Jul 03, 2013 3:55 pm

Most of the responses are in reference to the federal government. I work for state government, specifically for the legislature. I didn't get particularly good grades in law school, but I did a lot of more public-policy related stuff like policy journal, policy clinics, I interned at the statehouse, I interned with a state government agency. After school I worked for a lobbying firm in research. The legislature really looks for people with all sorts of backgrounds - we have economists, accountants, poli sci masters grads, historians, statisticians and a few attorneys. They just want people who can critically think and come up with answers in a short amount of time.

The hours can be pretty bizarre since you're working on the legislative calendar (assuming you work for a part-time legislature). Summers are completely dead - you might work on some interim issues or with interim committees, but for the most part you're reading blogs or playing solitaire. But Jan-June you're expected to work insane hours. We've had a few nights past 2 am.

Anyway, its pretty rewarding work as you're actively engaged with the creation of those laws that all those attorneys out there will have to interpret. The pay isn't great, and I won't be able to keep up this schedule for very long as I start a family, but you work with a lot of pretty powerful people, and you can often parlay a job like this into a job working at an important firm that does lobbying work.

LgllyBlnde
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Re: What is government or public interest law really like?

Postby LgllyBlnde » Fri Jul 05, 2013 2:39 pm

BlueLotus wrote:
scifiguy wrote:
BlueLotus wrote:BUMP. This thread is gold.

Anyone have any perspectives on hiring for non-governmental PI (i.e. Legal Aid)?


^^^ bump bump


Also, what's the salary like in this field--starting out and 5-10 years in? Is a fellowship pretty much the only credited way to get this sort of gig?


Salary = not good

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Bronte
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Re: What is government or public interest law really like?

Postby Bronte » Fri Jul 05, 2013 3:05 pm

I'm doing a graduate fellowship at a legal aid clinic before starting at a big firm. The clinic does everything from divorces to foreclosures.

The work is more focused on personal interaction and less focused on legal analysis. Many of the cases are highly routinized and do not raise any novel legal issues. Instead, the challenges arise in negotiating with opposing counsel and interacting with clients. Also, most of the attorneys are in and out of court on a daily basis.

Quality of life seems high. The office is dingy and cramped and all the furniture is seemingly from good will. But the lawyers mostly work roughly 9-5pm or a little bit longer. And everyone seems really happy and upbeat. The atmosphere is very social and loud and jovial.

I'm not sure what the qualifications are to get the job, as I don't really work there. A lot of the interns are from a local tier-four school, but most of the attorneys seem to be from state flagships. One other graduate fellow is from a T14, but it does not seem to be a very prestige-oriented environment.

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BlueLotus
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Re: What is government or public interest law really like?

Postby BlueLotus » Fri Jul 05, 2013 3:27 pm

Bronte wrote:I'm doing a graduate fellowship at a legal aid clinic before starting at a big firm. The clinic does everything from divorces to foreclosures.

The work is more focused on personal interaction and less focused on legal analysis. Many of the cases are highly routinized and do not raise any novel legal issues. Instead, the challenges arise in negotiating with opposing counsel and interacting with clients. Also, most of the attorneys are in and out of court on a daily basis.

Quality of life seems high. The office is dingy and cramped and all the furniture is seemingly from good will. But the lawyers mostly work roughly 9-5pm or a little bit longer. And everyone seems really happy and upbeat. The atmosphere is very social and loud and jovial.

I'm not sure what the qualifications are to get the job, as I don't really work there. A lot of the interns are from a local tier-four school, but most of the attorneys seem to be from state flagships. One other graduate fellow is from a T14, but it does not seem to be a very prestige-oriented environment.


^Good stuff, thanks! Was your fellowship EJW/Skadden type or school-sponsored?

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Bronte
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Re: What is government or public interest law really like?

Postby Bronte » Fri Jul 05, 2013 3:33 pm

BlueLotus wrote:^Good stuff, thanks! Was your fellowship EJW/Skadden type or school-sponsored?


It's firm sponsored.

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BlueLotus
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Re: What is government or public interest law really like?

Postby BlueLotus » Sat Jul 06, 2013 1:43 am

Bronte wrote:
BlueLotus wrote:^Good stuff, thanks! Was your fellowship EJW/Skadden type or school-sponsored?


It's firm sponsored.


Are you paid the typical 1st year associate salary during the fellowship?

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scifiguy
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Re: What is government or public interest law really like?

Postby scifiguy » Sat Jul 06, 2013 7:19 am

Bronte wrote:I'm doing a graduate fellowship at a legal aid clinic before starting at a big firm. The clinic does everything from divorces to foreclosures.

The work is more focused on personal interaction and less focused on legal analysis. Many of the cases are highly routinized and do not raise any novel legal issues. Instead, the challenges arise in negotiating with opposing counsel and interacting with clients. Also, most of the attorneys are in and out of court on a daily basis.

Quality of life seems high. The office is dingy and cramped and all the furniture is seemingly from good will. But the lawyers mostly work roughly 9-5pm or a little bit longer. And everyone seems really happy and upbeat. The atmosphere is very social and loud and jovial.

I'm not sure what the qualifications are to get the job, as I don't really work there. A lot of the interns are from a local tier-four school, but most of the attorneys seem to be from state flagships. One other graduate fellow is from a T14, but it does not seem to be a very prestige-oriented environment.


What was your reasoning for taking a graduate fellowship in non-biglaw work if you are headed to a big firm, Bronte?

Just the experience/interest? Do you plan to do this type of work at some point later in your career? TVM.

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Bronte
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Re: What is government or public interest law really like?

Postby Bronte » Sat Jul 06, 2013 11:50 am

BlueLotus wrote:Are you paid the typical 1st year associate salary during the fellowship?


scifiguy wrote:What was your reasoning for taking a graduate fellowship in non-biglaw work if you are headed to a big firm, Bronte?

Just the experience/interest? Do you plan to do this type of work at some point later in your career? TVM.


It's a two-month program that does not affect the start date at the firm. So it's similar to a summer internship. The firm pays a substantial stipend to participants in the program. I did it for the money, for the experience, and to help people. It is not an area that I plan on practicing in the future, but I could see myself doing pro bono work with this organization.

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BlueLotus
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Re: What is government or public interest law really like?

Postby BlueLotus » Sat Jul 06, 2013 8:24 pm

Bronte wrote:
BlueLotus wrote:Are you paid the typical 1st year associate salary during the fellowship?


scifiguy wrote:What was your reasoning for taking a graduate fellowship in non-biglaw work if you are headed to a big firm, Bronte?

Just the experience/interest? Do you plan to do this type of work at some point later in your career? TVM.


It's a two-month program that does not affect the start date at the firm. So it's similar to a summer internship. The firm pays a substantial stipend to participants in the program. I did it for the money, for the experience, and to help people. It is not an area that I plan on practicing in the future, but I could see myself doing pro bono work with this organization.


Wait, you're working FT while prepping for the bar?! :shock:

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Bronte
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Re: What is government or public interest law really like?

Postby Bronte » Sat Jul 06, 2013 8:27 pm

BlueLotus wrote:Wait, you're working FT while prepping for the bar?! :shock:


No. It's backloaded so you work a little bit before the bar and mostly after.

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BlueLotus
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Re: What is government or public interest law really like?

Postby BlueLotus » Sun Jul 07, 2013 2:38 am

Since getting hired in PI is so much about showing "demonstrated commitment to public service" and all that jazz, is it acceptable to submit a 2 page resume for internships/fellowships/jobs?

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lisjjen
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Re: What is government or public interest law really like?

Postby lisjjen » Mon Jul 08, 2013 6:33 pm

BlueLotus wrote:Since getting hired in PI is so much about showing "demonstrated commitment to public service" and all that jazz, is it acceptable to submit a 2 page resume for internships/fellowships/jobs?


Do you have 15 years of work experience and/or a decent sized list of published works?

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BlueLotus
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Re: What is government or public interest law really like?

Postby BlueLotus » Mon Jul 08, 2013 9:09 pm

lisjjen wrote:
BlueLotus wrote:Since getting hired in PI is so much about showing "demonstrated commitment to public service" and all that jazz, is it acceptable to submit a 2 page resume for internships/fellowships/jobs?


Do you have 15 years of work experience and/or a decent sized list of published works?


Not KJD, but a bit older than most. Should I get rid of non-legal work experience and college activities now that I'm a 2L? I have to make room for my summer gig and my yearlong clinic, which should both occupy at least 3 lines each.

Also, are Phi Beta Kappa and honor societies worth mentioning, or are they too run of the mill?

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Samara
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Re: What is government or public interest law really like?

Postby Samara » Mon Jul 08, 2013 9:36 pm

BlueLotus wrote:
lisjjen wrote:
BlueLotus wrote:Since getting hired in PI is so much about showing "demonstrated commitment to public service" and all that jazz, is it acceptable to submit a 2 page resume for internships/fellowships/jobs?


Do you have 15 years of work experience and/or a decent sized list of published works?


Not KJD, but a bit older than most. Should I get rid of non-legal work experience and college activities now that I'm a 2L? I have to make room for my summer gig and my yearlong clinic, which should both occupy at least 3 lines each.

Also, are Phi Beta Kappa and honor societies worth mentioning, or are they too run of the mill?

Yeah, I would take off the least relevant jobs, honor societies and cut or eliminate college activities. Honor society is not useful because it adds nothing your GPA doesn't show.

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lisjjen
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Re: What is government or public interest law really like?

Postby lisjjen » Sat Jul 20, 2013 5:30 pm

BlueLotus wrote:
lisjjen wrote:
BlueLotus wrote:Since getting hired in PI is so much about showing "demonstrated commitment to public service" and all that jazz, is it acceptable to submit a 2 page resume for internships/fellowships/jobs?


Do you have 15 years of work experience and/or a decent sized list of published works?


Not KJD, but a bit older than most. Should I get rid of non-legal work experience and college activities now that I'm a 2L? I have to make room for my summer gig and my yearlong clinic, which should both occupy at least 3 lines each.

Also, are Phi Beta Kappa and honor societies worth mentioning, or are they too run of the mill?


I would definitely keep honor societies on as a bullet point under your undergrad, they are not run of the mill or else they wouldn't mean anything. As far as college experiences it depends - were you team captain of your speech and debate team or president of your young business leaders group? Stuff like that can stay, but if you showed up a couple of dozen times to get free pizza at the campus sci-fi club and never took any position, that should go. Also, I would ditch non-legal work experience.

Building a resume will push most people to learn about fonts, margins, and a lot of other layout minutiae to jam as much crap as possible onto a single page and still make it readable.

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polareagle
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Re: What is government or public interest law really like?

Postby polareagle » Sat Jul 20, 2013 10:44 pm

Samara wrote:
BlueLotus wrote:
lisjjen wrote:
BlueLotus wrote:Since getting hired in PI is so much about showing "demonstrated commitment to public service" and all that jazz, is it acceptable to submit a 2 page resume for internships/fellowships/jobs?


Do you have 15 years of work experience and/or a decent sized list of published works?


Not KJD, but a bit older than most. Should I get rid of non-legal work experience and college activities now that I'm a 2L? I have to make room for my summer gig and my yearlong clinic, which should both occupy at least 3 lines each.

Also, are Phi Beta Kappa and honor societies worth mentioning, or are they too run of the mill?

Yeah, I would take off the least relevant jobs, honor societies and cut or eliminate college activities. Honor society is not useful because it adds nothing your GPA doesn't show.


Keep Phi Beta Kappa on there; take off any honor society you had to pay money to join.

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scifiguy
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Re: What is government or public interest law really like?

Postby scifiguy » Thu Jul 25, 2013 11:44 pm

Random curiosity:

What is the profile like for the average PI law seeker?

I'm esp. interested in T14 PI law job seekers. Do these people tend to be independently wealthy? Or, do they go into law school taking on $100K debt shooting for PI work - knowing how hard it may be to get these jobs and knowing what type of financial risk they may be taking on - because they have a very deep desire to really help people?




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