CFC1524 wrote:lowlands wrote:I searched the thread for this, but I'm asking again in case the answer has changed over the last few years: What's the public interest scene looking like these days? At ASW one student on the current student panel said he hoped/wished more Cornell students would pursue PI, which I found interesting. Are people finding good careers outside of biglaw? Are the resources and support there for the relatively few students who are pursuing PI?
I'm having a pretty tough time deciding between a few possible career paths, so I'm not committed to PI at the moment, just interested to hear people's take.
ETA I'm class of 2019.
A couple threshold points: yes, the large majority of students are not pursuing PI, and yes, sometimes it can feel like you're being pushed towards biglaw (although I'd add the push is more a result of professional realities than anything a classmate or the school does)
Obvious points aside, Cornell is a great place to pursue PI, and the "scene" is strong, supportive, and well-developed. There are a fair number of people directly pursing public interest jobs, and plenty more interested in related issues / involved in clinics, clubs, societies, etc. Essentially, there are lots of really good resources out there (Dean Comstack, teachers, upperclassmen, alumni, career services), you just have to be a little bit more engaged than someone who just wants a standard firm job in NYC. This is a good thing, honestly, as it keeps you involved / reminds you there are other things out there than your 4 doctrinals.
I'm a (soon-to-be) 2L, so I don't know too much about whether people "are finding good careers outside of biglaw." That said, of the 3L's and graduates I've talked to, all of them are employed in positions they find interesting / with organizations they wanted to work for. The new loan repayment program is solid (can speak more to this if you'd like), so that's something to bear in mind as well.
IDK whether the scene is "strong." Basically everyone on the PILU board my year now has a 2L SA. The respective boards at NYU and Michigan would probably pass out upon learning this. That said it does seem like Cornell has more resources for PI-focused students than actual PI-focused students, so you won't lack attention or opportunities. I'm pretty sure this past year Career Services extended the application deadline for a grant or fellowship for PI-focused students multiple times because there was no one there to claim it.