Going for DC jobs - JD a plus from experience?

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arturobelano
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Joined: Thu Dec 06, 2012 4:09 pm

Going for DC jobs - JD a plus from experience?

Postby arturobelano » Thu Jan 03, 2013 2:37 pm

At some point, I want to work in international development (probably during my 20s, as this involves a lot of overseas work,) immigration policy (both legal services and policy development) and ultimately flat-out domestic politics (elected office, think tank, or even lobbying.)

I feel as though this sort of career-jumping is actually fairly common in DC, from having interned there for two summers.

My two questions are, then, would a JD help me in achieving my career goals - and, does it need to be a JD from HYS? The general consensus on TLS seems to be that political prestige positions are more or less YS and occasionally H. Would that be a reason to try and take the LRAP/LIPP at an HYS school (realistically H) over good money at Chicago or better money at PVM?

Also, if I decide to go the JD route, would it be prudent to do so immediately after undergrad, or should I put the development stuff first?

cynthiad
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Re: Going for DC jobs - JD a plus from experience?

Postby cynthiad » Thu Jan 03, 2013 2:47 pm

arturobelano wrote:At some point, I want to work in international development (probably during my 20s, as this involves a lot of overseas work,) immigration policy (both legal services and policy development) and ultimately flat-out domestic politics (elected office, think tank, or even lobbying.)

I feel as though this sort of career-jumping is actually fairly common in DC, from having interned there for two summers.

My two questions are, then, would a JD help me in achieving my career goals - and, does it need to be a JD from HYS? The general consensus on TLS seems to be that political prestige positions are more or less YS and occasionally H. Would that be a reason to try and take the LRAP/LIPP at an HYS school (realistically H) over good money at Chicago or better money at PVM?

Also, if I decide to go the JD route, would it be prudent to do so immediately after undergrad, or should I put the development stuff first?


A JD from HYS might be slightly helpful, but I don't think it's worth the cost. Don't go anywhere else, not only will it not help it may count against you. Why don't you go to DC or abroad and try to get a job in the field you want to work in now? After a few years, reassess your goals and decide if you still want to go to law school. I don't think it's wise to go to any law school unless you plan to practice as a lawyer for a few years at least. This might be an OK strategy--work as a lawyer for a while, do political stuff on the side, then move into politics, but it may take a long time. You can get a Master's degree in a field related to your interests for less $$ and time.

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Doorkeeper
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Re: Going for DC jobs - JD a plus from experience?

Postby Doorkeeper » Thu Jan 03, 2013 3:05 pm

1) Get a job in DC for a year or two from a place where you can view people in positions that you want to be in 5-6 years from now.
2) Talk to said people about what it takes to get there.
3) Pursue that course of action

Generally speaking in DC, the positions that you hold and have held are more important than where you've gone to school. This being said, without a graduate degree, in most cases, you will hit a glass ceiling in terms of what positions you can hold in the Legislative or Executive branches. To overcome this, you will either need an MA/MPP in a specific policy area that you want to work in, a JD, or a PhD. It depends on the field, but this is generally the case. DC is one of the few places where people still believe that you can work on anything if you have a JD, so I would say that a JD from HY would be very beneficial. I've met people in DC who went to S, but they don't have nearly the entrenched networks that HY have in DC.

arturobelano
Posts: 40
Joined: Thu Dec 06, 2012 4:09 pm

Re: Going for DC jobs - JD a plus from experience?

Postby arturobelano » Thu Jan 03, 2013 9:11 pm

Thanks for the advice! My gut feeling is that I'll probably spend a few years in DC at the entry-level before moving onto the advanced degree I feel best suits my needs. Hopefully this also strengthens my application for whichever program I end up in, whether it's MPP/MA/JD or something else. Int'l development in particular seems to be more of an MA field than JD, although looking at immigration policy resumes suggests that JD is helpful but not necessary.




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