Public service or biglaw?

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jediknight2424
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Public service or biglaw?

Postby jediknight2424 » Sat Apr 14, 2012 10:47 pm

UVA 0L here. I'm trying to figure out whether to pursue biglaw or public service. Does anyone have any resources they checked out when making this decision? Or any general advice?

Is it possible to straddle the line and keep both options open during law school? From what I've read they seem like two diverging paths.

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dingbat
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Re: Public service or biglaw?

Postby dingbat » Sun Apr 15, 2012 5:06 pm

jediknight2424 wrote:UVA 0L here. I'm trying to figure out whether to pursue biglaw or public service. Does anyone have any resources they checked out when making this decision? Or any general advice?

Is it possible to straddle the line and keep both options open during law school? From what I've read they seem like two diverging paths.

What do you want to do?
Biglaw: soulsucking work, but at least you get paid for selling your soul / doing the devil's work
public service: doing something you may feel good about, being a benefit to mankind

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puremorning
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Re: Public service or biglaw?

Postby puremorning » Sun Apr 15, 2012 5:46 pm

dingbat wrote:
jediknight2424 wrote:UVA 0L here. I'm trying to figure out whether to pursue biglaw or public service. Does anyone have any resources they checked out when making this decision? Or any general advice?

Is it possible to straddle the line and keep both options open during law school? From what I've read they seem like two diverging paths.

What do you want to do?
Biglaw: soulsucking work, but at least you get paid for selling your soul / doing the devil's work
public service: doing something you may feel good about, being a benefit to mankind


+1

Another point for public service: public service loan forgiveness :-)

Mal Reynolds
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Re: Public service or biglaw?

Postby Mal Reynolds » Sun Apr 15, 2012 5:51 pm

You should read this. viewtopic.php?f=1&t=182473

But why the hell are you trying to make this decision now? Who cares try to get good grades then figure out what you wan to do.

shoeshine
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Re: Public service or biglaw?

Postby shoeshine » Sun Apr 15, 2012 5:54 pm

dingbat wrote:What do you want to do?
Biglaw: soulsucking work, but at least you get paid for selling your soul / doing the devil's work
public service: doing something you may feel good about, being a benefit to mankind living just above the poverty line praying the government doesn't do away with the PSLF before you get to ten years

FTFY

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dingbat
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Re: Public service or biglaw?

Postby dingbat » Sun Apr 15, 2012 6:15 pm

shoeshine wrote:
dingbat wrote:What do you want to do?
Biglaw: soulsucking work, but at least you get paid for selling your soul / doing the devil's work
public service: doing something you may feel good about, being a benefit to mankind living just above the poverty line praying the government doesn't do away with the PSLF before you get to ten years

FTFY

You are absolutely right. Most of the time I agree with you.

jediknight2424
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Re: Public service or biglaw?

Postby jediknight2424 » Mon Apr 16, 2012 9:57 am

Mal Reynolds wrote:You should read this. http://www.top-law-schools.com/forums/v ... 1&t=182473

But why the hell are you trying to make this decision now? Who cares try to get good grades then figure out what you wan to do.



I was trying to decide whether or not to apply to my school's "law and public service" program. It's got all sorts of required classes so I wanted to figure out if public service is for me.

I think I'd like a career in federal government (DOJ/agencies)-- I'm not really interested in PD, prosecution, or non-profits. My hesitation with big law is not doing the devil's work but the long hours and the strain on your personal life. I'd like to start a family soon after law school.

On the other hand, I will be graduating with 200k+ worth of debt. If IBR fell through, I would be screwed. After reading the above thread, I think shooting for biglaw may give me more flexibility in the long-run.

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lsacqueen
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Re: Public service or biglaw?

Postby lsacqueen » Tue Apr 17, 2012 12:30 am

jediknight2424 wrote:
Mal Reynolds wrote:You should read this. viewtopic.php?f=1&t=182473

But why the hell are you trying to make this decision now? Who cares try to get good grades then figure out what you wan to do.



I was trying to decide whether or not to apply to my school's "law and public service" program. It's got all sorts of required classes so I wanted to figure out if public service is for me.

I think I'd like a career in federal government (DOJ/agencies)-- I'm not really interested in PD, prosecution, or non-profits. My hesitation with big law is not doing the devil's work but the long hours and the strain on your personal life. I'd like to start a family soon after law school.

On the other hand, I will be graduating with 200k+ worth of debt. If IBR fell through, I would be screwed. After reading the above thread, I think shooting for biglaw may give me more flexibility in the long-run.


^this. I wonder if anyone has experience on quitting biglaw before making partner, and possibly returning after a 1-5 year break?

rad lulz
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Re: Public service or biglaw?

Postby rad lulz » Tue Apr 17, 2012 12:34 am

.
Last edited by rad lulz on Wed May 29, 2013 12:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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lsacqueen
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Re: Public service or biglaw?

Postby lsacqueen » Tue Apr 17, 2012 1:01 am

rad lulz wrote:
lsacqueen wrote:^this. I wonder if anyone has experience on quitting biglaw before making partner, and possibly returning after a 1-5 year break?

BigFed, USAO, or something similar? Yes.

State AG, PD, DA, etc.? No.


I meant returning to BigLaw, say after a 1-5 year travel break.

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dingbat
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Re: Public service or biglaw?

Postby dingbat » Tue Apr 17, 2012 7:43 am

lsacqueen wrote:
rad lulz wrote:
lsacqueen wrote:^this. I wonder if anyone has experience on quitting biglaw before making partner, and possibly returning after a 1-5 year break?

BigFed, USAO, or something similar? Yes.

State AG, PD, DA, etc.? No.


I meant returning to BigLaw, say after a 1-5 year travel break.

Some firms may allow you to take a sabbatical after you've been there for a few years.

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sunynp
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Re: Public service or biglaw?

Postby sunynp » Tue Apr 17, 2012 7:57 am

lsacqueen wrote:
rad lulz wrote:
lsacqueen wrote:^this. I wonder if anyone has experience on quitting biglaw before making partner, and possibly returning after a 1-5 year break?

BigFed, USAO, or something similar? Yes.

State AG, PD, DA, etc.? No.


I meant returning to BigLaw, say after a 1-5 year travel break.


No I have never heard of this. And if you did take a sabbatical just to travel (which I don't think is allowed outside of some extraordinary personal circumstances), you are never making partner. You will have to fight to get good work and be taken seriously. This happens to women who take time off just to have a baby and stay home for a while (even on unpaid leave), you think anyone in biglaw is going to let you take time off for vacation and then give you great work when you get back?
Quitting and hoping another firm will hire you later is even riskier. [ Maybe if you get a solid few years in up to a senior associate at a V10 a lower firm might take you on years later as an associate? But why would you do this?]

You would either have to have a great reason to not work at the firm, be disabled or something (at my firm a guy had non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and was out for a long time), or quit and try to get another job later. But once you quit people won't think you are serious about your career. And, once you stop practicing you start to lose skills and lose touch.

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dingbat
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Re: Public service or biglaw?

Postby dingbat » Tue Apr 17, 2012 8:26 am

sunynp wrote:
lsacqueen wrote:
rad lulz wrote:
lsacqueen wrote:^this. I wonder if anyone has experience on quitting biglaw before making partner, and possibly returning after a 1-5 year break?

BigFed, USAO, or something similar? Yes.

State AG, PD, DA, etc.? No.


I meant returning to BigLaw, say after a 1-5 year travel break.


No I have never heard of this. And if you did take a sabbatical just to travel (which I don't think is allowed outside of some extraordinary personal circumstances), you are never making partner. You will have to fight to get good work and be taken seriously. This happens to women who take time off just to have a baby and stay home for a while (even on unpaid leave), you think anyone in biglaw is going to let you take time off for vacation and then give you great work when you get back?
Quitting and hoping another firm will hire you later is even riskier. [ Maybe if you get a solid few years in up to a senior associate at a V10 a lower firm might take you on years later as an associate? But why would you do this?]

You would either have to have a great reason to not work at the firm, be disabled or something (at my firm a guy had non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and was out for a long time), or quit and try to get another job later. But once you quit people won't think you are serious about your career. And, once you stop practicing you start to lose skills and lose touch.

Its not that bad, but it will slow your progress.
It really depends on the firm culture - at an up-or-out firm it's a bad idea, but there are firms that have sabbatical programs for associates
(I mean the ones that had it before the recession)
It does mean that you'll take longer to make partner. Figure on at least one, if not two or three extra years of grinding, so if you are a rising star who would make partner in 7, after taking a year off you might not make it to year 10
Again, it depends on the firm, so make sure you know before you start.




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