Getting involved in politics????

(Please Ask Questions and Answer Questions)
lukebyalibi
Posts: 56
Joined: Wed Dec 01, 2010 11:04 pm

Getting involved in politics????

Postby lukebyalibi » Fri Apr 22, 2011 4:56 pm

Say I wanted to get involved in the political scene in my state, would I be better off attending our flagship university for law school, or something higher ranked?

Also what is considered the best option to concentrate on in law school to become involved in politics?

Thanks

User avatar
Knock
Posts: 5152
Joined: Wed Jun 10, 2009 3:09 pm

Re: Getting involved in politics????

Postby Knock » Fri Apr 22, 2011 9:31 pm

lukebyalibi wrote:Say I wanted to get involved in the political scene in my state, would I be better off attending our flagship university for law school, or something higher ranked?

Also what is considered the best option to concentrate on in law school to become involved in politics?

Thanks


It would be better not to go to law school, and instead start to get involved in politics in your state. Only go to law school if you want to practice law.

User avatar
lzyovrachievr
Posts: 1695
Joined: Fri Aug 07, 2009 10:24 am

Re: Getting involved in politics????

Postby lzyovrachievr » Fri Apr 22, 2011 9:40 pm

^^

That said, 225 (168 Representatives and 57 Senators) of our Congress members in the 111th Congress had law degrees. That's 225/535.

Most of the ones I've researched (only probably 30 or so) went to a good school in the state they represent, with the exception of some Harvard degrees.

I can't say you should go to law school to become a politician, but I can say that if you do it, you'll be in good company, and being in your state helps you make connections to the people in your community that become the people you need to know to get elected.

User avatar
Flips88
Posts: 13542
Joined: Sun Oct 10, 2010 7:42 pm

Re: Getting involved in politics????

Postby Flips88 » Fri Apr 22, 2011 9:45 pm

Oklahoma perspective here. David Boren is the most powerful man in Oklahoma. His education track went:

Yale undergrad->Rhodes Scholars at Oxford->OU Law

then went Governor->U.S. Senator for 15 years->President of OU

But the point is, he probably could have gone anywhere he wanted for law school, but he chose OU because he knew he wanted to be political in the state.

Whether this plan is advisable when law school prices have increased exponentially is another thing to consider.

lukebyalibi
Posts: 56
Joined: Wed Dec 01, 2010 11:04 pm

Re: Getting involved in politics????

Postby lukebyalibi » Sat Apr 23, 2011 2:46 pm

Thanks for the info! I DO want to practice law, but also want to get involved at some point. My state school is pretty good and tuition is rather cheap for myself so not tooooo worried about debt

User avatar
AreJay711
Posts: 3406
Joined: Tue Jul 20, 2010 8:51 pm

Re: Getting involved in politics????

Postby AreJay711 » Sat Apr 23, 2011 2:55 pm

I know in MD, almost all of the judges went to either UMD or UBalt as did most of the state politicians. There are a few Harvard ppl and the occasional Gtown and GW grad. At the end of the day, I think it comes down to meeting a lot of people at your law school that will be important contacts in the future more than anything else. I don't know if it is really that helpful though or something that getting involved in politics after law school couldn't help. I also wouldn't let that make my decision alone without looking at scholarship offers and what is best for your legal career since that is more immediately important.

User avatar
mattviphky
Posts: 1117
Joined: Fri Jan 28, 2011 6:43 pm

Re: Getting involved in politics????

Postby mattviphky » Sat Apr 23, 2011 3:55 pm

in illinois our governor went to northwestern law, the daleys went to depaul, the lt. gov is a prof at siu law, and obama (former senator from chicago) went to harvard, however, he was an adjunct prof at university of chicago law. So law isn't exactly a prerequisite for politics, but it can't hurt. I'm planning to enter politics later in life too, but enjoy practicing for a few years and making connections before you try for office. my two cents

User avatar
Moxie
Posts: 665
Joined: Thu Aug 06, 2009 3:27 pm

Re: Getting involved in politics????

Postby Moxie » Sat Apr 23, 2011 4:07 pm

In MA, Deval Patrick was double Harvard (although this doesn't separate the local v. prestige argument).

Scott Brown and John Kerry both went to BC law, and Martha Coakley went to BU law. So it seems like all the influential state politicians went to LS in-state, but who knows why they chose their schools. For politics, I think the name of a Yale/Harvard would be helpful, but there are obviously benefits to going to a known regional school.

Connections are helpful, but national connections can be just as helpful as local ones.

User avatar
redsoxfan2495
Posts: 273
Joined: Tue Oct 26, 2010 12:13 am

Re: Getting involved in politics????

Postby redsoxfan2495 » Sat Apr 23, 2011 4:12 pm

I'd like to get involved in politics somewhere down the road. I hope I'm not jeopardizing my chances by attending a good school out of state rather than the one TTTT law school in my state. :|

User avatar
Bildungsroman
Posts: 5548
Joined: Sun Apr 11, 2010 2:42 pm

Re: Getting involved in politics????

Postby Bildungsroman » Sat Apr 23, 2011 4:43 pm

redsoxfan2495 wrote:I'd like to get involved in politics somewhere down the road. I hope I'm not jeopardizing my chances by attending a good school out of state rather than the one TTTT law school in my state. :|

Nah, you can't jeopardize what won't happen anyway.

bmili
Posts: 248
Joined: Fri Dec 03, 2010 6:21 pm

Re: Getting involved in politics????

Postby bmili » Sat May 07, 2011 9:09 am

.
Last edited by bmili on Tue Oct 25, 2011 11:15 am, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
vamedic03
Posts: 1579
Joined: Mon Sep 29, 2008 9:50 am

Re: Getting involved in politics????

Postby vamedic03 » Sat May 07, 2011 12:26 pm

bmili wrote:Bob McDonnell (current governor of Virginia) got his JD at Regent. I would think either school in state you want to be involved in or top 10 or so nationally. But getting your JD is just one small ingredient as to what can make a successful politician.


He's the massive exception to the rule. The majority (70%+) of Virginia governors in the past century have had UVA law degrees.

bmili
Posts: 248
Joined: Fri Dec 03, 2010 6:21 pm

Re: Getting involved in politics????

Postby bmili » Sat May 07, 2011 5:16 pm

.
Last edited by bmili on Tue Oct 25, 2011 11:15 am, edited 1 time in total.

BeenDidThat
Posts: 704
Joined: Thu Feb 03, 2011 12:18 am

Re: Getting involved in politics????

Postby BeenDidThat » Sat May 07, 2011 5:27 pm

Politics = Politics.

If you don't know a bunch of players, your family isn't "well-known", then going to school at flagship state school may very well give you the opportunity to meet folks who are (1) important themselves; or (2) members of a "well-known" family.

If you've already got connects, go wherever will give you better job prospects immediately, because you will always be in political circles.

But really, politics is politics. If you don't know this, you probably won't be a politician.

bmili
Posts: 248
Joined: Fri Dec 03, 2010 6:21 pm

Re: Getting involved in politics????

Postby bmili » Sat May 07, 2011 5:36 pm

.
Last edited by bmili on Tue Oct 25, 2011 11:15 am, edited 1 time in total.

lukebyalibi
Posts: 56
Joined: Wed Dec 01, 2010 11:04 pm

Re: Getting involved in politics????

Postby lukebyalibi » Sat May 07, 2011 8:40 pm

I know zero playas'!! and my family has zero prestige!

NVResident
Posts: 24
Joined: Mon Mar 28, 2011 12:16 pm

Re: Getting involved in politics????

Postby NVResident » Sat May 07, 2011 9:17 pm

Don't worry so much about not having family connections. I had no particular family name or money and yet got my first appointed position at age 25, my first elected position at 28, and have worked successfully as a lobbyist since that time. This was all based on connections I made while volunteering for others campaigns and serving on committees with the local Chamber of Commerce. Sure family connections can open doors, but politics is the art of the possible and people love smart, young, ambitious types who are committed to working hard.

With regards to the state school question, if well established it can give you a boost. Here in NV, we've only had a LS for a bit more than a decade. Even so, they boast 5 alumni in the current 63 member legislature. Prior to UNLV opening the LS, Pacific boasted of itself as Nevada's law school given it's close geographic proximity. I don't have an exact figure, but I would estimate that in the northern part of the state close to 30% of the judges (elected positions) are McGeorge grads (including the current Chief Justice of the NV Supreme Court).

This does not mean that an out-of-state T14 is in any way a handicap. Our current Governor is a Berkley alum. Keep in mind also that the smaller the state (like NV) the more it may mean to go to the in-state school than it does in larger states like CA, NY, and TX. I would check out the resumes of your state legislative representatives and judges. If you see a preponderance of in-state alumni, then there probably is a networking advantage to going that way. If not, it probably doesn't mean as much.

lukebyalibi
Posts: 56
Joined: Wed Dec 01, 2010 11:04 pm

Re: Getting involved in politics????

Postby lukebyalibi » Sat May 07, 2011 10:38 pm

NVResident wrote:Don't worry so much about not having family connections. I had no particular family name or money and yet got my first appointed position at age 25, my first elected position at 28, and have worked successfully as a lobbyist since that time. This was all based on connections I made while volunteering for others campaigns and serving on committees with the local Chamber of Commerce. Sure family connections can open doors, but politics is the art of the possible and people love smart, young, ambitious types who are committed to working hard.

With regards to the state school question, if well established it can give you a boost. Here in NV, we've only had a LS for a bit more than a decade. Even so, they boast 5 alumni in the current 63 member legislature. Prior to UNLV opening the LS, Pacific boasted of itself as Nevada's law school given it's close geographic proximity. I don't have an exact figure, but I would estimate that in the northern part of the state close to 30% of the judges (elected positions) are McGeorge grads (including the current Chief Justice of the NV Supreme Court).

This does not mean that an out-of-state T14 is in any way a handicap. Our current Governor is a Berkley alum. Keep in mind also that the smaller the state (like NV) the more it may mean to go to the in-state school than it does in larger states like CA, NY, and TX. I would check out the resumes of your state legislative representatives and judges. If you see a preponderance of in-state alumni, then there probably is a networking advantage to going that way. If not, it probably doesn't mean as much.


Wow, thanks for the awesome response!!! It looks like at least in the state senate, the majority went to our state school. This will definitely influence my decision when it comes time to choose a school to attend. Thanks for all the responses!

User avatar
mrtoren
Posts: 733
Joined: Wed Dec 29, 2010 9:43 pm

Re: Getting involved in politics????

Postby mrtoren » Wed May 11, 2011 7:09 pm

lukebyalibi wrote:Wow, thanks for the awesome response!!! It looks like at least in the state senate, the majority went to our state school. This will definitely influence my decision when it comes time to choose a school to attend. Thanks for all the responses!

Do NOT go to a Tier 4 school in-state with the hopes of one day making it in politics. Many, if not most, politicians are well into other careers before they decide to run. In fact, building your resume is half the battle. Graduating from a Tier 4 could leave you jobless and broke, both of which could impede a future in politics. You need to go to the best school you can, but be smart in making sure it is manageable. You don't want to end up near the bottom of your class. Also, if you don't really want to practice law, then find another career. Politicians come all sorts of backgrounds...dentists, businessmen, teachers, you name it.

The harsh reality of politics, and the side you rarely see, is what happens to the losers. Without a big name family or great press coverage, you're bound to lose elections. You need to have a viable career to go back to. Even if you make it into office, you could be ousted at any time. Politics is a tumultuous profession for normal people. Don't look at it as a career.

User avatar
Hippononymous
Posts: 292
Joined: Mon Apr 27, 2009 8:11 pm

Re: Getting involved in politics????

Postby Hippononymous » Thu May 12, 2011 11:15 pm

In Wisconsin last fall, the guy that ran against Paul Ryan for Congress was unemployed. It was basically like he had nothing better to do. He was an idiot, and he lost in a landslide.

Long story short, keep your debt down and your options open. If you want to get political, you'll probably have to spend a significant amount of time in unpaid/low paid positions first.

User avatar
niederbomb
Posts: 962
Joined: Sat Dec 12, 2009 12:07 pm

Re: Getting involved in politics????

Postby niederbomb » Thu May 12, 2011 11:27 pm

lukebyalibi wrote:Say I wanted to get involved in the political scene in my state, would I be better off attending our flagship university for law school, or something higher ranked?

Also what is considered the best option to concentrate on in law school to become involved in politics?

Thanks


Of course it depends on your state and what better universities are in the area. If you live in Virginia, Michigan, Minnesota, or Texas, I'd say go to the state school unless you get into HYS. On the east coast, however, the flagship university in the state might be an Ivy League - in which case you'd be better off going there.

If you live in Minnesota, for example, your best political network is probably going to be at the flagship state school. Going to the slightly higher-ranked Vanderbilt might not be a great idea if you want to do politics in Minnesota. However, the Calculus is considerably different if you're a PA resident. Go to UPenn, not Penn State.

Also, some small states might have a well-respected university in the region but a shitty state school. If you live in New Mexico, I'd definitely say go to UT if you can. Even though it's not actually in the state, it's the best school in the region, and thus, the networking opportunities (and job prospects) would serve you better than the local toilet.

In summary, I'd say if your state has a T20, go to it. If not, go to the T20/T13 school with the best network in your region. After all, being unemployed does not look good on a political resume (Alvin Green South Carolina lol lol lol).

User avatar
jtemp320
Posts: 481
Joined: Fri Jul 30, 2010 6:27 pm

Re: Getting involved in politics????

Postby jtemp320 » Thu May 12, 2011 11:43 pm

mrtoren wrote:
lukebyalibi wrote:Wow, thanks for the awesome response!!! It looks like at least in the state senate, the majority went to our state school. This will definitely influence my decision when it comes time to choose a school to attend. Thanks for all the responses!

Do NOT go to a Tier 4 school in-state with the hopes of one day making it in politics. Many, if not most, politicians are well into other careers before they decide to run. In fact, building your resume is half the battle. Graduating from a Tier 4 could leave you jobless and broke, both of which could impede a future in politics. You need to go to the best school you can, but be smart in making sure it is manageable. You don't want to end up near the bottom of your class. Also, if you don't really want to practice law, then find another career. Politicians come all sorts of backgrounds...dentists, businessmen, teachers, you name it.

The harsh reality of politics, and the side you rarely see, is what happens to the losers. Without a big name family or great press coverage, you're bound to lose elections. You need to have a viable career to go back to. Even if you make it into office, you could be ousted at any time. Politics is a tumultuous profession for normal people. Don't look at it as a career.


Having worked in around local and state politics in a major city and obsessively followed national politics this seems to be TCR to me.

If you want to get involved in politics - work in politics don't go to law school.

If you have serious talent and ambition and want to be a candidate yourself one day then focus on building a successful career first and remain active in politics (as a donor, activist etc.) until you have "made it". Think about building a serious network that will help you whether you ever go into politics or not. As for choosing a law school - you can pretty much follow the TLS conventional wisdom - go to a T14 if you can, if not go to school in the market you want to be in (and run in) and don't go at sticker . This will help you because the goal is to have a successful career as a lawyer.

If politics interests you - remain involved. Once you are a successful in private practice and have serious people who would back you, or have achieved something solid in government (as a high level staffer, interest group lawyer, prosecutor etc.) then you can squeeze anyone you've ever met for $ and support and run for something small, if you win then you start trying to move up the chain.

User avatar
mrtoren
Posts: 733
Joined: Wed Dec 29, 2010 9:43 pm

Re: Getting involved in politics????

Postby mrtoren » Sun May 15, 2011 3:46 pm

jtemp320 wrote:Having worked in around local and state politics in a major city and obsessively followed national politics this seems to be TCR to me.

If you want to get involved in politics - work in politics don't go to law school.

If you have serious talent and ambition and want to be a candidate yourself one day then focus on building a successful career first and remain active in politics (as a donor, activist etc.) until you have "made it". Think about building a serious network that will help you whether you ever go into politics or not. As for choosing a law school - you can pretty much follow the TLS conventional wisdom - go to a T14 if you can, if not go to school in the market you want to be in (and run in) and don't go at sticker . This will help you because the goal is to have a successful career as a lawyer.

If politics interests you - remain involved. Once you are a successful in private practice and have serious people who would back you, or have achieved something solid in government (as a high level staffer, interest group lawyer, prosecutor etc.) then you can squeeze anyone you've ever met for $ and support and run for something small, if you win then you start trying to move up the chain.

Where do you recommend working if one is attempting to establish a name in politics? I bypassed several offers from U.S. Representative's offices at my school and up near my home because I felt they would get me no where. The intern work appeared to be limited to filing papers and answering phones..both of which seem meaningless and unappealing to me. Instead, I decided to work with a state-level political organization that offered more hands-on work. The organization coordinates all of the Democratic State Senator's election campaigns...everything from finances to opposition research, social media management to press releases and district research. They even choose the candidates. Its a small of office of roughly a half dozen people and they're hiring on a dozen interns to help them prepare for the 2012 elections.

I'm really excited about this internship and plan to spend most of my free time at the office. However, I worry about being limited to state politics if I don't play my cards right. Not that that would be terrible, I would just like to have a choice if the time ever came. Should I be looking to make the jump to a U.S. Representative's office next summer if the opportunity arises? Or should I try to rise through the state ranks first?

paulinaporizkova
Posts: 2494
Joined: Mon Nov 22, 2010 9:25 pm

Re: Getting involved in politics????

Postby paulinaporizkova » Sun May 15, 2011 4:04 pm

Knock wrote:
lukebyalibi wrote:Say I wanted to get involved in the political scene in my state, would I be better off attending our flagship university for law school, or something higher ranked?

Also what is considered the best option to concentrate on in law school to become involved in politics?

Thanks


It would be better not to go to law school, and instead start to get involved in politics in your state. Only go to law school if you want to practice law.


what kind of fucked up logic is this son?

User avatar
Moxie
Posts: 665
Joined: Thu Aug 06, 2009 3:27 pm

Re: Getting involved in politics????

Postby Moxie » Sun May 15, 2011 4:20 pm

mrtoren wrote:Where do you recommend working if one is attempting to establish a name in politics? I bypassed several offers from U.S. Representative's offices at my school and up near my home because I felt they would get me no where. The intern work appeared to be limited to filing papers and answering phones..both of which seem meaningless and unappealing to me. Instead, I decided to work with a state-level political organization that offered more hands-on work. The organization coordinates all of the Democratic State Senator's election campaigns...everything from finances to opposition research, social media management to press releases and district research. They even choose the candidates. Its a small of office of roughly a half dozen people and they're hiring on a dozen interns to help them prepare for the 2012 elections.

I'm really excited about this internship and plan to spend most of my free time at the office. However, I worry about being limited to state politics if I don't play my cards right. Not that that would be terrible, I would just like to have a choice if the time ever came. Should I be looking to make the jump to a U.S. Representative's office next summer if the opportunity arises? Or should I try to rise through the state ranks first?


I think you're over thinking this. Both positions have clear benefits (networking with members of the Representative's staff, the hands-on experience within the State party's organization)

The same skills and experiences you get working within the State Democratic Party will be applicable to other political arenas. While obviously local, state, and national elections are different in their process, there's enough that unifies them to make any political experience an asset.

Plus, it sounds like all of these experiences are as an intern. You can always follow up an internship with another internship in a different office (ex: House of Reps, Senate, etc.) to increase your network and political abilities.




Return to “Law School FAQ”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests