Education Law

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jlloyd
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Joined: Sat Jun 01, 2013 11:50 pm

Education Law

Postby jlloyd » Sun Jul 28, 2013 11:43 pm

I am currently a teacher, and plan on applying to law schools this upcoming cycle. I am really interested in education reform and policy, and also student advocacy. Ideally, I'd love to work for a nonprofit doing this kind of work. I know of a few nonprofits that specialize in this, but other than that I haven't been able to find much information. What I am most curious about is if there are any schools that would be best for this, and if there are certain paths to follow to achieve it. I have a 177 LSAT and 3.43 GPA, and I'm also unsure of how to work this goal into my application.

Any advice is greatly appreciated
Last edited by jlloyd on Sun Jul 28, 2013 11:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Scotusnerd
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Re: Education Law

Postby Scotusnerd » Sun Jul 28, 2013 11:53 pm

As a former teacher, I am absolutely amazed that anyone still enjoys the profession enough to want to have anything to do with it after getting the hell out.

Anyways, I'd make it a theme of your personal statement. Tell some crazy story from your teaching career.

As to education law...I know of one firm around here that has anything to do with education law. We also have an education journal at our law school. That's the extent of my knowledge, sorry. My guess is that most lawyerly contact with the public education field will be in the form of either working there and employment law. Possibly a firm that specializes in suing the government.

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twenty
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Re: Education Law

Postby twenty » Mon Jul 29, 2013 2:43 am

You're talking about, like, three different things in your post.

1) Education law is so specific that you're probably best-off taking a full ride at the best school you can get into (in a region you'd like to practice in, of course) and starting a solo practice. I wouldn't recommend this path to anyone who wasn't absolutely dead-set on doing law school for the one specific purpose of education law. If you're thinking you'd be just as happy/almost as happy with business lit, traditional TLS wisdom applies.

2) Education REFORM is a (generally political) policy-path where you're probably significantly better off going for your doctorate. Don't waste your time on a law degree, since education reform luvs their Ph.D folks. It's also not exactly lucrative, so if you start on this career path, it better be because you really love students. A Ph.D will basically lock you into this career path, but a JD will give you an outside shot at that career path... with a ton of debt attached.

3) You can get a job in student advocacy with just a bachelor's degree. A JD may help you, but there's no way it's worth 3 years of your life and any significant amount of money. Do yourself a favor and go for a one-year masters in education if you really want to do student advocacy.

Long story short, if you're thinking you want to go for something this specific, be more specific with your goals.

JJ123
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Joined: Wed Jun 12, 2013 11:40 am

Re: Education Law

Postby JJ123 » Mon Jul 29, 2013 9:11 am

Why not run for school board?

RoaringMice
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Re: Education Law

Postby RoaringMice » Mon Jul 29, 2013 11:23 am

I was also thinking that if this is your goal, you'd be better off in a PhD program in education, rather than with a JD.

blsingindisguise
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Joined: Thu Nov 26, 2009 1:08 am

Re: Education Law

Postby blsingindisguise » Mon Jul 29, 2013 11:26 am

jlloyd wrote:I am currently a teacher, and plan on applying to law schools this upcoming cycle. I am really interested in education reform and policy, and also student advocacy. Ideally, I'd love to work for a nonprofit doing this kind of work. I know of a few nonprofits that specialize in this, but other than that I haven't been able to find much information. What I am most curious about is if there are any schools that would be best for this, and if there are certain paths to follow to achieve it. I have a 177 LSAT and 3.43 GPA, and I'm also unsure of how to work this goal into my application.

Any advice is greatly appreciated


It sounds like you need to get a better handle on what you want from "education law." There are lawyers who handle low-level stuff, like claims of parents who want to get access to special needs services for their kids (probably not very lucrative), and there are lawyers who run years-long cases against municipalities for failing to provide equal funding for poor neighborhood schools. But the latter kind are few, and your chances of becoming one are slim.

My general rule of thumb when I hear people giving these vague, "policy" kinds of goals for going to law school is that the lower-ranked the top school you can get into is, and/or the more debt you're going to take on, the more I discourage the person, since (1) these kinds of career goals are rarely achieved by anyone other than from a top school (2) they're rarely achieved by anyone at all and (3) non-profit law work doesn't pay much.

Maybe just spend some time research education law/education lawyers and what they actually do? Google around, try to even contact a few people in the field and ask them what they do and how they got where they are. Most people who go to law school with an idea like this wind up doing something completely different.

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polareagle
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Re: Education Law

Postby polareagle » Mon Jul 29, 2013 12:07 pm

Scotusnerd wrote:Anyways, I'd make it a theme of your personal statement. Tell some crazy story from your teaching career.


Just a note, avoid (or at least be aware of) the TFA / teacher essay cliches (you don't actually have to have been in TFA to write an essay exactly like this): http://blogs.law.yale.edu/blogs/admissions/archive/2012/07/11/p-s-boot-camp-ii-the-tfa-essay.aspx.

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Scotusnerd
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Re: Education Law

Postby Scotusnerd » Mon Jul 29, 2013 4:51 pm

polareagle wrote:Just a note, avoid (or at least be aware of) the TFA / teacher essay cliches (you don't actually have to have been in TFA to write an essay exactly like this): http://blogs.law.yale.edu/blogs/admissions/archive/2012/07/11/p-s-boot-camp-ii-the-tfa-essay.aspx.



Huh, good point. I guess admissions officers get tired of seeing teachers. That kinda says something about the education field, doesn't it?

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Pneumonia
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Re: Education Law

Postby Pneumonia » Tue Jul 30, 2013 9:49 am

Scotusnerd wrote:Huh, good point. I guess admissions officers get tired of seeing teachers. That kinda says something about the education field, doesn't it?


Ask Asha said wrote:I want to make clear, before going further, that I heart teachers (who doesn't?). In fact, I am a total sucker for good teacher stories


The point of that blog was that adcoms like teachers, and it accordingly gives prospective applicants who are teachers some specific advice about PS cliches to avoid.




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