Public interest vs. BL: Did you have an "aha" moment?

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tomwatts
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Joined: Wed Sep 16, 2009 12:01 am

Re: Public interest vs. BL: Did you have an "aha" moment?

Postby tomwatts » Sat Apr 15, 2017 9:03 am

I'm glad that people are finding that post/link helpful! I honestly think that private public interest is what about a third of law students at top law schools actually want to do except they don't know it exists, so I'm happy to spread the word whenever I can.

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pretzeltime
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Joined: Sat May 07, 2016 6:57 pm

Re: Public interest vs. BL: Did you have an "aha" moment?

Postby pretzeltime » Sat Apr 15, 2017 10:42 am

tomwatts wrote:I'm glad that people are finding that post/link helpful! I honestly think that private public interest is what about a third of law students at top law schools actually want to do except they don't know it exists, so I'm happy to spread the word whenever I can.


Hi! Thanks for doing this! If either you or classmates of yours are attempting to use LIPP at private public interest orgs, is it true that the taxation of LIPP money (even with harvard's adjustment for it) screws you over big time? Or is it workable? I've heard mixed things. Thx thx

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Milksteak
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Re: Public interest vs. BL: Did you have an "aha" moment?

Postby Milksteak » Sat Apr 15, 2017 11:25 am

"Aha! Working 100 hours a week to help rich people get even richer seems awful. I will either be a public interest lawyer or I will not be one at all." - my moment

tomwatts
Posts: 1694
Joined: Wed Sep 16, 2009 12:01 am

Re: Public interest vs. BL: Did you have an "aha" moment?

Postby tomwatts » Sat Apr 15, 2017 3:34 pm

pretzeltime wrote:Hi! Thanks for doing this! If either you or classmates of yours are attempting to use LIPP at private public interest orgs, is it true that the taxation of LIPP money (even with harvard's adjustment for it) screws you over big time? Or is it workable? I've heard mixed things. Thx thx

I have no idea, because nearly everywhere I've seriously considered pays enough that I wouldn't be on LIPP anyway. Big West Coast class action plaintiffs' firms (along the lines of Lieff Cabraser, Robbins Geller, Hagens Berman) tag their associate compensation not all that much lower than you'd make in biglaw, often about 2/3 of biglaw associate compensation. (Sometimes that compensation is primarily in the form of salary, and sometimes primarily in the form of an annual bonus based on personal and firm performance — e.g., your salary is 100K, but in a good year as a senior associate, your annual bonus is more than your salary — so it can be a little hard to interpret salary numbers on the plaintiffs' side unless you know about the bonus structure at the firm as well.) So you're not really living off LIPP when you're making over 100K starting, which is the usual situation at the kinds of firms I've considered.

I would be surprised if it's that big a problem even if you do end up living off LIPP in private public interest, though. (I guess this could happen if you're hired on as a fellow rather than an associate, which is how e.g. Sanford Heisler hires first-years.) I would think you'd have to be in a pretty weird situation to be making little enough in private public interest that you're relying heavily on LIPP but somehow your income is such that you have a tax rate significantly higher than HLS's adjustment.

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Hand
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Re: Public interest vs. BL: Did you have an "aha" moment?

Postby Hand » Sat Apr 15, 2017 4:53 pm

pancakes3 wrote:i only know 1 person who didn't go through OCI bc of of her commitment to PI.

Maybe it takes one to know one, but I know half a dozen folks just in my section, who, in addition to myself, skipped OCI for this reason. And I get the impression my section did particularly poor on this score as compared to the rest of the school.

Milksteak wrote:"Aha! Working 100 hours a week to help rich people get even richer seems awful. I will either be a public interest lawyer or I will not be one at all."

^ this basically. Which was my attitude long before I seriously started considering going to law school.




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