If I want to work in public service, does LS rank matter?

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Brinson
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If I want to work in public service, does LS rank matter?

Postby Brinson » Sun Apr 25, 2010 12:11 am

I want to be a public defender. I'm currently attending college with a 3.2 GPA, when I apply I'll use an addendum becauuse one bad semester dropped me from 3.5 to 3.2, but, still, low GPA. Studying for the LSAT now, but am just wondering...

If I say...had the choice between a T1 at sticker and a T3 full ride with stipend...why would I choose the T1 if I KNEW I wanted to work as a public defender? I understand the jobs are fairly easy to come by.

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gdane
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Re: If I want to work in public service, does LS rank matter?

Postby gdane » Sun Apr 25, 2010 8:15 pm

If the tier 3 is a full ride and you definitely have your heart set on being a public defender, go for it. Its a low paying job, but if you wont have any significant law school debt, the salary shouldnt be an issue. Law school rank doesnt matter if youre interested in government positions such as in a public defenders office.

Try to do your best on the LSAT and see what happenes.

Good luck!

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SteelReserve
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Re: If I want to work in public service, does LS rank matter?

Postby SteelReserve » Sun Apr 25, 2010 8:32 pm

I understand the jobs are fairly easy to come by.


Surely you jest! I agree that if public defender is your route it would be smartest to go somewhere you had a full ride, but public defender jobs are very, very competitive; increasingly so for urban areas, less so for the most rural areas.

If that is your goal, just be sure to do everything you can to get into public defender internships throughout your law school career so you will have a leg up.

Those offices don't pay well, but you're kidding yourself if you don't think the competition isn't fierce; there are many, many attorneys who are willing to take the better hours of being a PD and trial work over being in private practice. That's in a normal economy. ITE there are laid off lawyers who would kill to have a PD job, but many states have hiring freezes.

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vanwinkle
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Re: If I want to work in public service, does LS rank matter?

Postby vanwinkle » Sun Apr 25, 2010 8:35 pm

Brinson wrote:I understand the jobs are fairly easy to come by.

You understand incorrectly.

SteelReserve wrote:there are many, many attorneys who are willing to take the better hours of being a PD and trial work over being in private practice.

You also understand incorrectly. I've interned for PDs in two big cities so far and there's no such thing as "better hours" at either of them.

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legalease9
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Re: If I want to work in public service, does LS rank matter?

Postby legalease9 » Sun Apr 25, 2010 8:43 pm

Go Tier 1. Public defender jobs are hard to come by and you need the prestige. And as for the debt... In ten years... what debt? Just IBR/cancel it away.

That being said, the region in which you want to Public Defend should be your most pressing concern. Go to a law school there.

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BruceBarr
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Re: If I want to work in public service, does LS rank matter?

Postby BruceBarr » Sun Apr 25, 2010 9:02 pm

legalease9 wrote:Go Tier 1. Public defender jobs are hard to come by and you need the prestige. And as for the debt... In ten years... what debt? Just IBR/cancel it away.

That being said, the region in which you want to Public Defend should be your most pressing concern. Go to a law school there.


ding ding ding.

legalized
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Re: If I want to work in public service, does LS rank matter?

Postby legalized » Mon Apr 26, 2010 9:15 pm

Brinson wrote:I want to be a public defender. I'm currently attending college with a 3.2 GPA, when I apply I'll use an addendum becauuse one bad semester dropped me from 3.5 to 3.2, but, still, low GPA. Studying for the LSAT now, but am just wondering...

If I say...had the choice between a T1 at sticker and a T3 full ride with stipend...why would I choose the T1 if I KNEW I wanted to work as a public defender? I understand the jobs are fairly easy to come by.


No one addressed this, but one bad semester changing your overall GPA will be GLARINGLY obvious when they scrutinize your transcript.

Do not write an addendum, instead write an even better personal statement than planned and maybe get an additional letter of recommendation from someone who (professionally) loves you.

I have read over and over Anna Ivey and others saying people need to stop writing addendums for every little thing, it looks terrible.

shock259
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Re: If I want to work in public service, does LS rank matter?

Postby shock259 » Mon Apr 26, 2010 10:45 pm

If you are absolutely certain you want to be a PD, I'd say take the highest ranked school at sticker in the region you want to practice, then take advantage of LRAP and be done with your debt in 10 years.

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Blindmelon
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Re: If I want to work in public service, does LS rank matter?

Postby Blindmelon » Mon Apr 26, 2010 10:47 pm

vanwinkle wrote:
Brinson wrote:I understand the jobs are fairly easy to come by.

You understand incorrectly.

SteelReserve wrote:there are many, many attorneys who are willing to take the better hours of being a PD and trial work over being in private practice.

You also understand incorrectly. I've interned for PDs in two big cities so far and there's no such thing as "better hours" at either of them.


+1 - I only worked at a PDs office for 1 week but my god, they all got in by 8am and were still there when I left at 9pm. Its a grueling job - but incredibly rewarding give what you're doing.

ToTransferOrNot
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Re: If I want to work in public service, does LS rank matter?

Postby ToTransferOrNot » Sat May 01, 2010 12:25 pm

Yes, getting drug dealers and rapists off through use of the exclusionary rule is incredibly rewarding.

:shock:

I acknowledge that the job is absolutely necessary, and there are certainly times when you're going to save an innocent person from prison, but let's be realistic, here.

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vanwinkle
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Re: If I want to work in public service, does LS rank matter?

Postby vanwinkle » Sat May 01, 2010 12:51 pm

ToTransferOrNot wrote:Yes, getting drug dealers and rapists off through use of the exclusionary rule is incredibly rewarding.

:shock:

I acknowledge that the job is absolutely necessary, and there are certainly times when you're going to save an innocent person from prison, but let's be realistic, here.

I love the sheer boldness of your ignorance.

CanadianWolf
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Re: If I want to work in public service, does LS rank matter?

Postby CanadianWolf » Sat May 01, 2010 1:06 pm

Agree with vanwinkle.

bigben
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Re: If I want to work in public service, does LS rank matter?

Postby bigben » Sat May 01, 2010 1:10 pm

lol.

Let's just say rewarding is in the eye of the beholder.

At the least, PDs are constantly dealing with new people, and new and (maybe) interesting factual scenarios.

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dextermorgan
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Re: If I want to work in public service, does LS rank matter?

Postby dextermorgan » Sat May 01, 2010 1:17 pm

When going for a PD/ADA job the importance of factors goes something like:
Dedication > Criminal Procedure/Evidence Grades > Overall Grades > School

The dedication part comes from 0L work experience (public interesty stuff), interning and volunteering in a PD/ADA office during law school summers, and proving to the interviewer that this is really what you want to do.

That being said, PD/ADA jobs are far far from fallback jobs. The students who end up with them often set out to get them from the first day in law school.

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vanwinkle
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Re: If I want to work in public service, does LS rank matter?

Postby vanwinkle » Sat May 01, 2010 1:26 pm

dextermorgan wrote:When going for a PD/ADA job the importance of factors goes something like:
Dedication > Criminal Procedure/Evidence Grades > Overall Grades > School

The dedication part comes from 0L work experience (public interesty stuff), interning and volunteering in a PD/ADA office during law school summers, and proving to the interviewer that this is really what you want to do.

That being said, PD/ADA jobs are far far from fallback jobs. The students who end up with them often set out to get them from the first day in law school.

This isn't entirely true, though it's close. I'm just going to nitpick on the idea that you should think about law school summers as a great way to show dedication.

I had no "public interesty stuff" as a 0L, but I came into law school and logged a metric assload of pro bono hours during my 1L year by volunteering for different public interest organizations, including over my winter and spring break. If I had waited until my 1L summer to start showing dedication, I would've been screwed, because they're using dedication even to pick out 1L summer interns in a lot of the big cities.

So you can fill in the "dedication" part during your 1L year if it's blank coming in, but you're going to have to be serious about it. And without the dedication I showed I would not have gotten the job that I did, period. Grades and school wouldn't have mattered, they had so many applicants that they had a supply of folks from better schools with better grades. It was the dedication that separated me out from most of them.

Big-city offices are intensely competitive, and the above poster is right that you're not going to get into one if you don't set out to get them from the beginning. They are certainly not fallback jobs.

fwaam
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Re: If I want to work in public service, does LS rank matter?

Postby fwaam » Sun May 02, 2010 12:50 am

Given all the talk in the papers about how it's hard to find public defenders and even harder to keep them, I find this TLS talk about how the jobs are "hard to get" eyebrow-raising at the very least. I'll accept that it's competitive in, say, NYC and DC, but someone will have to come up with some really good evidence if they want to prove that the jobs are "hard to come by" outside of the nation's largest legal markets.

yabbadabbado
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Re: If I want to work in public service, does LS rank matter?

Postby yabbadabbado » Thu May 06, 2010 1:01 am

If you want proof, start talking to PD that work in various counties in various states. Ask them how often they hire, how many apps they get for openings, how much turnover there is, etc. People who joined the office in the last couple of years or so should be able to give you a good idea of how hard it is to get a job there right now.

PD jobs can be very competitive, and not just in the big cities. The biggest hurdle to getting a PD (or DA) job is state budgets. Funding for these jobs can vary widely from year to year and hiring freezes are common. Outside the largest legal markets, take a random midsized city and the biggest county in the area might have 2-3 openings for new hires per year. To top it off, a lot of offices will not consider a new law grad period. They want an attorney with at least a few years experience who is already barred in that particular state.


fwaam wrote:Given all the talk in the papers about how it's hard to find public defenders and even harder to keep them, I find this TLS talk about how the jobs are "hard to get" eyebrow-raising at the very least. I'll accept that it's competitive in, say, NYC and DC, but someone will have to come up with some really good evidence if they want to prove that the jobs are "hard to come by" outside of the nation's largest legal markets.

honestabe84
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Re: If I want to work in public service, does LS rank matter?

Postby honestabe84 » Thu May 06, 2010 11:52 pm

The most concerning thing for me (and I think a lot of others that are interested in PD/DA jobs) is that with the economy the way it is, many people that were initially planning on going into the private sector are seeing that their job prospects are grim and are deciding to go public. I think things might start to get pretty competitive.

What do all of you think about this?
Last edited by honestabe84 on Thu May 06, 2010 11:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.

honestabe84
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Re: If I want to work in public service, does LS rank matter?

Postby honestabe84 » Thu May 06, 2010 11:55 pm

vanwinkle wrote:
dextermorgan wrote:When going for a PD/ADA job the importance of factors goes something like:
Dedication > Criminal Procedure/Evidence Grades > Overall Grades > School

The dedication part comes from 0L work experience (public interesty stuff), interning and volunteering in a PD/ADA office during law school summers, and proving to the interviewer that this is really what you want to do.

That being said, PD/ADA jobs are far far from fallback jobs. The students who end up with them often set out to get them from the first day in law school.

This isn't entirely true, though it's close. I'm just going to nitpick on the idea that you should think about law school summers as a great way to show dedication.

I had no "public interesty stuff" as a 0L, but I came into law school and logged a metric assload of pro bono hours during my 1L year by volunteering for different public interest organizations, including over my winter and spring break.
If I had waited until my 1L summer to start showing dedication, I would've been screwed, because they're using dedication even to pick out 1L summer interns in a lot of the big cities.

So you can fill in the "dedication" part during your 1L year if it's blank coming in, but you're going to have to be serious about it. And without the dedication I showed I would not have gotten the job that I did, period. Grades and school wouldn't have mattered, they had so many applicants that they had a supply of folks from better schools with better grades. It was the dedication that separated me out from most of them.

Big-city offices are intensely competitive, and the above poster is right that you're not going to get into one if you don't set out to get them from the beginning. They are certainly not fallback jobs.


What types of PI organizations did you volunteer at? What types of work did you do?

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vanwinkle
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Re: If I want to work in public service, does LS rank matter?

Postby vanwinkle » Thu May 06, 2010 11:57 pm

honestabe84 wrote:The most concerning thing for me (and I think a lot of others that are interested in PD/DA jobs) is that with the economy the way it is, many people that were initially planning on going into the private sector are seeing that their job prospects are grim and are deciding to go public.

What do all of you think about this?

I think this is spot-on. Add in budget cuts in many towns due to rapidly dropping tax revenue (lower sales taxes, property tax revenue hammered by foreclosures, etc.) and you see what a problem this is. Fewer new jobs and a lot more people wanting them.

honestabe84
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Re: If I want to work in public service, does LS rank matter?

Postby honestabe84 » Fri May 07, 2010 12:08 am

dextermorgan wrote:When going for a PD/ADA job the importance of factors goes something like:
Dedication > Criminal Procedure/Evidence Grades > Overall Grades > School

The dedication part comes from 0L work experience (public interesty stuff), interning and volunteering in a PD/ADA office during law school summers, and proving to the interviewer that this is really what you want to do.

That being said, PD/ADA jobs are far far from fallback jobs. The students who end up with them often set out to get them from the first day in law school.



I have been wondering this for a long time but could never find and answer: what does "ol" mean? Is it just referring to someone that intends to go to law school but hasn't started yet?

honestabe84
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Re: If I want to work in public service, does LS rank matter?

Postby honestabe84 » Fri May 07, 2010 12:17 am

shock259 wrote:If you are absolutely certain you want to be a PD, I'd say take the highest ranked school at sticker in the region you want to practice, then take advantage of LRAP and be done with your debt in 10 years.


No offense, but I've never heard anyone suggest doing this. I seriously doubt many PD/ADA offices (with a couple exceptions) are prestige whores. If you get a full scholarship at a strong regional school in the city that you want to practice in, you would have to be crazy to choose a higher ranked school at sticker.

Although IBR/LRAP would help a lot, when you're only making 35-40k a year, even $500 a month payments are a lot.

To echo what was said above, I think that demonstrating that you are truly interested in PI (through internships, crim law etc.) will go a lot further than someone from a higher ranked school and has decided to use PI as a back up.
Last edited by honestabe84 on Fri May 07, 2010 12:20 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Thomas Jefferson
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Re: If I want to work in public service, does LS rank matter?

Postby Thomas Jefferson » Fri May 07, 2010 12:20 am

legalease9 wrote:Go Tier 1. Public defender jobs are hard to come by and you need the prestige. And as for the debt... In ten years... what debt? Just IBR/cancel it away.

That being said, the region in which you want to Public Defend should be your most pressing concern. Go to a law school there.


This

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voice of reason
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Re: If I want to work in public service, does LS rank matter?

Postby voice of reason » Fri May 07, 2010 12:26 am

honestabe84 wrote:I have been wondering this for a long time but could never find and answer: what does "ol" mean? Is it just referring to someone that intends to go to law school but hasn't started yet?


0L: prospective law student
1L: first year law student
2L: 2nd
3L: 3rd

honestabe84
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Re: If I want to work in public service, does LS rank matter?

Postby honestabe84 » Fri May 07, 2010 12:30 am

voice of reason wrote:
honestabe84 wrote:I have been wondering this for a long time but could never find and answer: what does "ol" mean? Is it just referring to someone that intends to go to law school but hasn't started yet?


0L: prospective law student
1L: first year law student
2L: 2nd
3L: 3rd


Thanks




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