Advice for Law and Politics Path

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Vishkvishnuai

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Advice for Law and Politics Path

Post by Vishkvishnuai » Wed Sep 23, 2020 9:21 am

Hello- I hope you are all doing well during this time. I am feeling as if I am on the next key phase of my college search, so I wanted to learn more insight before moving forward.


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I have had some trouble closing in my college list because I want to really solidify what I am looking for. I started by looking at US News top rankings, specifically #20-50. I have broken down each college into the programs they provide, but I wanted to see everyone’s insight on this.

I used to think being a Human Rights lawyer would be helpful, but I want an American focus since I would be trying to help write legislation here. Civil Rights sounds strong in some cases, but I am worried about finding a career as I keep seeing the primary avenue is the unrealistically competitive ACLU. I have also read on here and the FaQ which has some strong points that make sense about these jobs being unicorn jobs. After reading Harvard’s insights, Administrative law seems like something I could do as I would be eager to regulate/check government entities and corporations as needed.

For some context, I am a history major who also really enjoys activism and current & past US politics. One of my primary beliefs is that in order to have any genuine results, you must have policy changes. My reasons to a JD are twofold- to help underprivileged families in my local community with any practice I partake in, and to understand how to write key legislation(hopefully related to systemic issues) concisely with foundational and relevant research embedded within. It’s never this simple, but I want to contribute with the teams of thinktanks and people suggesting and writing legislation and policy. I love research, but I also want to be in the chamber writing law. I have been contributing lately by volunteer for a local political organization so I am getting a better idea of how grassroots politics operate within the large field.

As it stands, my GPA is decent being about 3.5+ after LSAC weighting, and I will be taking the LSAT in November. I feel confident about getting at least a 157 as I have been using PowerScore, 7Sage, Khan, and Blind Reviewing PTs for a bit- ideally a 160+.

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Questions

Which kind of concentration would be most beneficial for understanding law and writing policy? The vocab college use differs, but common trends(which sometimes are merged) I have found are Public Interest, Public Policy(Sometimes), Human Rights Law, Constitutional Law, Civil Rights Law, Administrative Law which may be helpful. As a note if it helps, I have no interest at all in criminal or financially focused law. Even then, I can do what needs to be done. Public policy sounds great, but is limited to some colleges along with legislative internships. I know I won’t be an elected official right off that bat and I plan as said before to work in my community before running.

Are there any colleges you recommend in particular, even if they don’t fit the situation above just for insight?

How much do the Focus and Concentrations matter? Is it true I can shift my focus anyways if needed just using my own knowledge from law courses? Is there a way to understand quality, or should I just ask current students directly?

Where should I be paying attention to determine the quality of a law school? Is there anywhere I am missing?
I plan to attend the virtual LSAC Forum events to chat with any admissions staff directly. At the moment, I am been focusing on bar passage rates, financial aid rates, class ratios, clinics/interning opportunities, and where people actually get employed.

If you believe I should be doing another degree to get to where I need to go, what may you recommend? I still plan to do a JD, but I am still open to another degree if needed.

Any other advice from this stage?

Thank you all for your insight in advance!

The Lsat Airbender

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Re: Advice for Law and Politics Path

Post by The Lsat Airbender » Wed Sep 23, 2020 9:28 am

Hold on, first things first: are you currently looking at colleges, or law schools?

nixy

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Re: Advice for Law and Politics Path

Post by nixy » Wed Sep 23, 2020 10:05 am

Assuming by “college” you mean “law school,” focus/concentration are way less important than overall ranking. The best job opportunities come from the highest ranked schools, and the doors they open outweigh specific academic programs. You can take all the classes you’ll need from basically any law school.

(Not everyone needs to go to a top-ranked school, depending on their goals, but your goals are more likely the higher the pedigree you have.)

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Re: Advice for Law and Politics Path

Post by crazywafflez » Wed Sep 23, 2020 11:19 am

I'll try my best to carve out an answer for you- I also want to go into the political arena and I'll do my best to try and help you some.
1) A law degree does not help you get into politics. It offers no better avenue than an MBA or MPP. Honestly, an MPP would perhaps be the best preparation; especially if you are looking to help out a certain community & carve out legislation on a matter.
2) Local politics is way different compared to DC politics. I'm from the deep south/mid-south area. People here believe Ole Miss is comparable to Harvard. And they'd vote for a native (or close to a native) long before some Harvard man who moved in. I think this sentiment is strongest in the south but not unknown in other places - especially the midwest and semi-rural areas of the NE. If you are from NY and want to be a congressperson in the midwest, go to the state you want to be in and setup roots there- i.e. go to KU, live in Lawrence for years and then go to Witch and practice law etc. I'd say the same goes for MPP or MBA folks.
If you are doing DC level work the shinier the degree, the better. Emory or GW are fine, Gtown is better, Harvard/Yale are the golden ticket, etc.
3) You will most likely be doing 1 area of law and/or policy if you are doing high level DC stuff. Most folks really become specialists in their field and then are recruited by thinktanks or congresspeople to help write or give an opinion on something. So you'll go to WashU, work for a firm in employment law for 25 years and try and publish on the side or something and the state legislature will ask you (possibly) for help or you'll make connections with them and help. And it'll be much more narrow than just generic employment law.
4) If you want to work on the hill you'll need to volunteer or get in with somebody or some entity there. My cousin wants to do what you are fixing to do. His family is from rural AZ- he got an internship; then a continued internship after grad to work for a congressperson; now he's a scheduler and paid (this process has been like 3-5 years in the making and he makes very little). Eventually, he will get to craft policy for someone if he works his way up long enough (but he will be effectively asking other folks what to put- it is not like he knows how fair housing guides work with the ADA or something).
5) If you plan on running for office rather than writing policy look at 2 & 3.
6) If you want to help your community, run for local office or work in legal aid, as a PD, social worker, volunteer etc., there are lots of ways to help. DC politics aren't helping poor folk, go work in STL's local politics or as a social worker, trust me, you'll really change folks' lives.
7) I worked for a thinktank that was a part of the intelligence committee- we specialized on northern levant responses. My boss was a world renowned professor and specialist and exmilitary- out of the hundreds of reports and suggestions we sent, I think 99% were used as toilet paper.

I'm not trying to be mean or anything; I'm just trying to be honest and helping you save time and money. If it sounds intellectually riveting and enthralling to you to study how the architectural barrier act has worked with fair housing guidelines on elevators and disability access to lifts, then by all means do it! One of my best friends from law school loves this stuff and he really wants to work on helping certain groups come in compliance. He will keep writing legal articles on the issue and works in the area; he gives talks to politicians and agencies on the matter, and I'm sure one day will have a tangible effect on the community.

If you like law and want to be an attorney (and understand what that entails) go to law school. It is meant for that. Go to either a T-14 school, or a good scholarship to a T1 or local school where you want to practice (mileage will change depending on your goals).
Go to a college that is affordable and offers what you want to study. I wish I had chosen a less prestigious undergrad and studied something I loved; law school admins really only care about GPA and LSAT score (barring Olympic athletes).
Sorry this is so long, best of luck with whatever your goals are.

Vishkvishnuai

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Re: Advice for Law and Politics Path

Post by Vishkvishnuai » Wed Sep 23, 2020 2:21 pm

The Lsat Airbender wrote:
Wed Sep 23, 2020 9:28 am
Hold on, first things first: are you currently looking at colleges, or law schools?
Law schools- sorry should have been specific with that!
Last edited by Vishkvishnuai on Wed Sep 23, 2020 2:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Vishkvishnuai

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Re: Advice for Law and Politics Path

Post by Vishkvishnuai » Wed Sep 23, 2020 2:24 pm

nixy wrote:
Wed Sep 23, 2020 10:05 am
Assuming by “college” you mean “law school,” focus/concentration are way less important than overall ranking. The best job opportunities come from the highest ranked schools, and the doors they open outweigh specific academic programs. You can take all the classes you’ll need from basically any law school.

(Not everyone needs to go to a top-ranked school, depending on their goals, but your goals are more likely the higher the pedigree you have.)
Thank you for your insight! I was worried a bit about the focus- but knowing everywhere has a basline of classes is good to know as they often word the same courses/programs differently.

Vishkvishnuai

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Re: Advice for Law and Politics Path

Post by Vishkvishnuai » Wed Sep 23, 2020 2:40 pm

crazywafflez wrote:
Wed Sep 23, 2020 11:19 am
I'll try my best to carve out an answer for you- I also want to go into the political arena and I'll do my best to try and help you some.

Thank you so much! It is not mean at all! I would prefer someone to give me the hardest and most realistic truths as that can help me reflect based on your advice and insight.

Interestingly I am from the Deep South as well, but sometimes we may vote in Judges for example out of state like with our recent local elections. I am guessing everything depends on a case by case basis, but it is a factor worth considering and preparing for as you suggested.

While studying for the LSAT with my extra time I am planning to at least go to school somewhere in the area up near DC and find an internship- I was going to try recently but I have not had the money to travel anywhere to do an internship. Thank you also for the insight about your cousin's progress! I will be sure to keep these as notes while planing for the future.

ilovemang0s

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Re: Advice for Law and Politics Path

Post by ilovemang0s » Wed Sep 23, 2020 3:03 pm

crazywafflez wrote:
Wed Sep 23, 2020 11:19 am
I'll try my best to carve out an answer for you- I also want to go into the political arena and I'll do my best to try and help you some.
1) A law degree does not help you get into politics. It offers no better avenue than an MBA or MPP. Honestly, an MPP would perhaps be the best preparation; especially if you are looking to help out a certain community & carve out legislation on a matter.
1) is not necessarily true.

A law degree can help get you into politics. More specifically, a law degree from Yale, Harvard, Stanford, or a T6 broadly speaking can help you get into politics. And a law degree from an elite law school may offer a better avenue than a MBA or MPP.

A MPP is basically worthless -- all it is a generalized courseload on topics such as "politics, statistics, microeconomics, etc." where most of its grads become "program managers" at nonprofits/thinktanks which is a glorified word for a secretary/paper pusher. A significant other become consultants at like Mckinsey, which you can become if you went to a top undergrad. Literally, if you went to a Top 20 undergrad, you can land any job a MPP grad can land. There's no job you NEED a MPP. And the add on value of a MPP is very low. I'd rather have a Harvard College undergraduate degree with all its connections than a MPP from a top policy school. I'd have better career opportunities from Harvard College than the MPP program at, let's say, Georgetown.

Also, if you look at US Senators and Congressmen, the majority have law degrees. There are certain jobs that ONLY lawyers can do, and that set you up for politics. Think Attorney General, Federal Prosecutor, Legal Counsel for DOJ/FBI/Congressman/Senator, etc.

Just look at the more recent US senators. Most have law degrees and used their legal careers as a jump stone to their political careers.

1) Josh Hawley - SCOTUS Clerk, appellate litigator, ran for Attorney General in Missouri, now youngest US Senator
2) Ted Cruz, almost same career path as Josh Hawley but Solicitor General of Texas
3) Kamala Harris - Attorney General of California
4) Richard Blumenthal - Connecticut Senator, former Attorney General of Connecticut
5) Sheldon Whitehouse - Rhode Island Senator, former Attorney General of Rhode Island

There are broadly speaking 2 paths to politics.
1) Make a CRAP ton of money like Mitt Romney or Phil Murphy, and then use your money to buy political connections or influence
2) Lawyer where you are a former SCOTUS clerk, become state Attorney General, well known federal prosecutor, have legal experience in FBI, DOJ, State Department, etc.

Again, there are very few MPP grads in Congress or the Senate. Most of ppl with MPP are WORKING for the elected Senators or Congressmen in kind of low level research positions that any undergrad can do and do NOT require a MPP. No job REQUIRES a MPP.

But certain jobs like Attorney General REQUIRE a JD.

nixy

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Re: Advice for Law and Politics Path

Post by nixy » Wed Sep 23, 2020 3:35 pm

Correlation isn’t causation.

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ilovemang0s

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Re: Advice for Law and Politics Path

Post by ilovemang0s » Wed Sep 23, 2020 3:46 pm

nixy wrote:
Wed Sep 23, 2020 3:35 pm
Correlation isn’t causation.
of Course. But it's MUCH easier to run for the US Senate or Congress when you're like the Attorney General of the state or THE US Attorney for the SDNY, as opposed to a just being a nobody accountant. It's a fact that you have more publicity and political influence in those high level legal positions, which is needed if you wanna successfully run for Congress.

Also, most people who hold top legal positions (US Attorney, state Attorney General, legal counsel for a senior US Senator) pursue those positions because they know they're springboards for higher office. Those positions provide them with the political capital, connections, and fundraising opportunities to make a run for national office possible. Without those political connections, it's very difficult to launch a successful campaign for like the US Senate.

To run for office, you need publicity and public sphere recognition, political connections, and money. Being a biglaw partner who then becomes a State Attorney General checks many of those boxes. Many politicians have had political careers that followed that trajectory. Having those connections and $$$ just makes it easier to run for office and pursue politics.

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Re: Advice for Law and Politics Path

Post by nixy » Wed Sep 23, 2020 3:50 pm

So you’re saying that Joe Kennedy ended up in politics because he has a JD?

You’re overlooking the fact that lots of the JDs you’re looking at had money and connections anyway. And the thing is that the choice isn’t between getting a JD and being a nobody accountant. There are lots of other ways to get into politics that don’t require paying a shitload of money for three more years of schooling (like, for instance, actually working in politics).

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Re: Advice for Law and Politics Path

Post by crazywafflez » Wed Sep 23, 2020 4:28 pm

My MPP comment was for working in thinktanks. I wasn't stating it was best for politics- all of them "can" lead to a path there. I don't disagree that a law degree opens up careers, like AG, that are quasi political and MBAs cannot do. Nobody in MS knows that UVA is a better law school than Ole Miss and they think Duke or Vandy are better. Attorneys may know. Your doctor in Jackson or Casino owner in Tupelo won't. Certainly a JD from HYS opens doors. Perhaps more doors than someone with a top MBA degree. I largely agree with your two paths into the election side of politics (i.e. congress folks and the like).
You also could just not get a degree or just get an UG and work in Politics- for sure.
If you want any politics (inlcuding AG or DA), then a law degree could be the right path. If you want to be a congressman or a policy pusher, I think there are other paths that are just as likely to get you there that are 100k cheaper.
And of course out of state folks can win- I'm not saying they don't; it is just a lot harder. By deepsouth though do you mean like B'ham (an up and coming city with transplants) or you talking somewhere outside of like Jackson? If you mean B'ham, they are way friendlier to out of state people. Not that you can't place into Oxford or something without ties, it is just tough.

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Re: Advice for Law and Politics Path

Post by ilovemang0s » Wed Sep 23, 2020 5:04 pm

nixy wrote:
Wed Sep 23, 2020 3:50 pm
So you’re saying that Joe Kennedy ended up in politics because he has a JD?

You’re overlooking the fact that lots of the JDs you’re looking at had money and connections anyway. And the thing is that the choice isn’t between getting a JD and being a nobody accountant. There are lots of other ways to get into politics that don’t require paying a shitload of money for three more years of schooling (like, for instance, actually working in politics).
Well yea some JDs always had the money and connections.

But many don't.

Josh Hawley (the youngest current US senator at age 39) grew up in rural Missouri in a middleclass family where his mom was a teacher. His experiences at Stanford ungrad, then Yale Law, then SCOTUS clerk -- launched his political career...where he could eventually work in DC biglaw doing appellate litigatoin and then run for Missouri Attorney General.

His family in rural Missouri had little money or connections. It was his time at YLS and his SCOTUS clerk and his DC Biglaw gig that got him the money and connections and launched his political career.

Same thing can be said of Ted Cruz. His parents were Cuban immigrants and very middle class. It was his time at Princeton, HLS, and SCOTUS clerk that launched his political career. As a former SCOTUS clerk and DC lawyer, he was able to get appointed to senior positions in the Department of Justice and then work as a legal counsel to the Bush campaign (notice how these are all senior legal roles). After several senior legal roles in Bush's DOJ, he got called to become Solicitor General in Texas.

His family did not have the money and connections. It was his time at HLS and the fact that he was a HLS grad and SCOTUS clerk that opened up political opportunities that someone without a law degree could probably have not achieved -- Solicitor General, Legal Counsel to presidential campaign, senior DOJ main roles, etc.

OF course, there are other ways to get into politics. But going to Harvard, Yale, or Stanford Law (which all offer need based financial aid) do provide a TON of resources and connections that can help launch a political career.

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Re: Advice for Law and Politics Path

Post by nixy » Wed Sep 23, 2020 6:53 pm

You're overlooking the fact that people who get to Harvard/Yale/Stanford from backgrounds without money/connections have the talent/skill/drive to succeed without getting a JD. They just happened to choose the JD. Just because someone succeeds in jobs that they got with a JD, doesn't mean they wouldn't have succeeded in a different path without a JD.

(If you want to trade anecdotes, see: AOC, Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley.)

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Re: Advice for Law and Politics Path

Post by ilovemang0s » Wed Sep 23, 2020 8:56 pm

nixy wrote:
Wed Sep 23, 2020 6:53 pm
You're overlooking the fact that people who get to Harvard/Yale/Stanford from backgrounds without money/connections have the talent/skill/drive to succeed without getting a JD. They just happened to choose the JD. Just because someone succeeds in jobs that they got with a JD, doesn't mean they wouldn't have succeeded in a different path without a JD.

(If you want to trade anecdotes, see: AOC, Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley.)
Sure, fair point. I'm just saying that law school can provide unique resources and opportunities and positions (attorney general, legal counsel, appellate litigator) that can aid their political career that people without law degrees may not have.

Anybody can run for office. You can be a bartender--like AOC-- or like US Senator Jon Tester- a farmer.

Regardless, if you attend an elite law school and work in an elite legal job like state Attorney General or US Attorney or legal counsel to a US Senator, you may have more political opportunities than if you were not a lawyer.

Sure, maybe instead of law school you become a reality TV star and then run for office and then become President (like Trump).

But no one can deny that unique legal positions like state Attorney General or a US Attorney or White House Counsel provide a unique advantage and pathway to higher political positions.

Positions like bartender or even a management consultant arguably offer less political connections and opportunities than unique legal positions like state Attorney General.

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Re: Advice for Law and Politics Path

Post by nixy » Wed Sep 23, 2020 10:49 pm

I don’t think those legal positions provide unique advantages for politics, no.

(Also the vast majority of lawyers do not become state AG, a US attorney, or White House counsel.)

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Re: Advice for Law and Politics Path

Post by ilovemang0s » Thu Sep 24, 2020 12:05 am

nixy wrote:
Wed Sep 23, 2020 10:49 pm
I don’t think those legal positions provide unique advantages for politics, no.

(Also the vast majority of lawyers do not become state AG, a US attorney, or White House counsel.)
I agree the vast majority of lawyers do not achieve those positions.

Those are "unicorn" positions often most achieved by HYS grads.

My argument is that attending HYS for law school can be helpful for launching a career later in politics by opening up certain legal and political opportunities that one without a law degree cannot have.

Take Jake Sullivan as an example. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jake_Sullivan

Yale College, Rhodes Scholar, YLS, SCOTUS clerk. After a stint in Biglaw, he was able to achieve a job as Legal counsel to Senator Amy Amy Klobuchar, who then connected him to Hilary Clinton. He served as a legal and policy advisor to Clinton, and eventually became appointed Director of Policy Planning at the State Department. He played a key role in the Iran negotiations, and if Clinton had won in 2016, he would most likely have been her National Security Advisor.

I think the main point I wanna make is that his entry into politics was driven by 1) his mostly legal prestigious credentials that got him notice (YLS, Rhodes Scholar, SCOTUS clerk, etc) and 2) his legal ability where he could serve as Legal counsel to a US Senator.

Now if he didn't go to law school and become a lawyer, he probably could not have served as legal counsel to Amy Klobuchar. Maybe he could work as Chief of Staff or something. The thing is that finding a non-legal role in a political campaign/office (such as Chief of Staff) with no specific "expertise" is pretty difficult. Most of those ppl are like former McKinsey consultants. The fact that he was a lawyer, however, meant he had "legal expertise" he could offer, which allowed him to take on specific legal roles that a nonlawyer could not.

And your argument that "I don’t think those legal positions provide unique advantages for politics, no. "

Can you elaborate why?

Some political positions (like Attorney General and US Attorney) are strictly legal -- meaning you HAVE to be a lawyer to hold those positions. And being Attorney General is inherently a political position - in many states, you have to RUN for State Attorney General. This political position already knocks out all non lawyers from being eligible.

A state Attorney General has a lot of political and public influence in his/her state. A nonlawyer cannot be in that position.

If you're arguing that attending HYS for law school, being a SCOTUS clerk, becoming a State Attorney General, etc etc. have no benefit whatsoever in aiding one's political career and aspirations, then I don't know what to say.

I think the connections you make as a SCOTUS clerk, working in DOJ Main, the White House Legal Counsel Advisor, National Security Council legal staff, etc... help as these are all inherently both legal and political positions.

If you get nominated by the President to become a US Attorney, that is a political position...and a legal one.

Lots of high level political roles are only available to lawyers (The United States Attorney General, US Attorneys for SDNY/EDNY/etc., state Attorney Generals, White House counsel, State Department Legal Advisor, DoD General Counsel, FBI General Counsel, National Security Council Legal Staff, etc.).

And often lawyers who do those jobs get nominated to do other non-legal roles -- US Ambassadors, senior State Department positions, etc.

If you're arguing that there's no relationship whatsoever between law and politics and public policy, I don't know what to say. The fact is is that law, politics, and public policy are in many ways interlinked, and elite lawyers have a unique role and advantage in navigating that sphere.

EDIT:
also, lawyers have a unique role and advantage in enacting political change in society. Have you ever heard of the ACLU? Impact litigation? These are all political activities that are interlinked with politics...that only lawyers can do.

Ever hear of SCOTUS cases on topics like the Muslim Ban, DACA, Obamacare litigation, abortion?

These are all hotly contested political issues that lawyers have a unique role in shaping.

Sure, those lawyers who actually do this sexy impact appellate litigation work are very few. These are unicorn positions. But you can't say that lawyers have no role or unique position in politics.
Last edited by ilovemang0s on Thu Sep 24, 2020 12:15 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Advice for Law and Politics Path

Post by nixy » Thu Sep 24, 2020 12:15 am

I'm saying that I think you have the causation wrong. People who end up elected AG or appointed US attorney are people who have personalities/skills/qualities that get them into politics, which they happen to employ/use in a legal role. Going to an elite school can be an advantage, depending where you are/who you're trying to appeal to, but it doesn't have to be law school. Political connections are obviously an advantage, but those don't have to come from legal positions. You're looking for people with law degrees to prove your point, rather than looking more broadly at the wide swath of people involved in politics. I've already suggested examples of non-lawyers who are in politics, but there are lots more.

Which is all to say, go to law school if you want to be a lawyer, not because you think it will get you into politics.

Edit: influencing political issues through litigation is not remotely the same thing as "going into politics" and raising that is moving the goalposts. "Going into politics" means getting elected to [whatever position] and working in a legislature or in an executive role. That's not at all the same as being a practicing lawyer whose practice impacts the public. Being a lawyer for the ACLU or arguing for/against ACA is not "going into politics."

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Re: Advice for Law and Politics Path

Post by ilovemang0s » Thu Sep 24, 2020 12:23 am

nixy wrote:
Thu Sep 24, 2020 12:15 am
I'm saying that I think you have the causation wrong. People who end up elected AG or appointed US attorney are people who have personalities/skills/qualities that get them into politics, which they happen to employ/use in a legal role. Going to an elite school can be an advantage, depending where you are/who you're trying to appeal to, but it doesn't have to be law school. Political connections are obviously an advantage, but those don't have to come from legal positions. You're looking for people with law degrees to prove your point, rather than looking more broadly at the wide swath of people involved in politics. I've already suggested examples of non-lawyers who are in politics, but there are lots more.

Which is all to say, go to law school if you want to be a lawyer, not because you think it will get you into politics.
Well if you wanna look more broadly, 60% of the US Senate are lawyers, more than any other profession.

I agree that law school itself does not cause one to get into politics.

Law school is a professional education that helps people do lots of things in the law, such as being merger and acquisition lawyers, bankruptcy lawyers, securities litigation, etc.

I'm just saying that if you wanna get into politics, going to an elite law school and being a lawyer is a solid way to do it as it opens up unique connections, legal positions, and opportunities that many other occupations do not.

What's the alternative?

1) Go get an MBA and make millions of dollars and buy your political influence? Yes this works.

But ....

2) Work a regular 9-5 job as a normal accountant?
3) Answer phone calls for constituents at a Congressman's office?
4) Just do simple google searches and research as a "Research Assistant" for a congressman?
5) Make it big in social media or as a movie star and get a lot of publicity? -- like Kanye West?

I don't know -- what are other career paths/vocations/schools that provide a RELIABLE way to politics?

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Re: Advice for Law and Politics Path

Post by ilovemang0s » Thu Sep 24, 2020 12:28 am

nixy wrote:
Thu Sep 24, 2020 12:15 am


Edit: influencing political issues through litigation is not remotely the same thing as "going into politics" and raising that is moving the goalposts. "Going into politics" means getting elected to [whatever position] and working in a legislature or in an executive role. That's not at all the same as being a practicing lawyer whose practice impacts the public. Being a lawyer for the ACLU or arguing for/against ACA is not "going into politics."

True, but lots of politicians were former ACLU lawyers and leveraged their impact litigation experiences in their political campaigns.

When you campaign for higher office, you have to sell a story of yourself and show a track record for public service and commitment to the public good.

This can be done in many ways.

But when you campaign for public office, you can't just say "elect me...but I have no experience advancing the public good."

That's why many people running for politics talk about their veteran military experience (how they defended the country), or their experience as a federal prosecutor (how they pursued justice), etc.

Just watch any political ad.

EDIT: check out these articles that explain why lawyers become politicians
https://www.rollcall.com/2017/03/16/yes ... andidates/

https://thehill.com/homenews/campaign/3 ... ts-as-dems

https://www.theguardian.com/partner-zon ... oliticians

https://thepractice.law.harvard.edu/art ... -politics/

https://juudgeblog.wordpress.com/2018/1 ... liticians/

https://law.stanford.edu/stanford-lawye ... -politics/

https://today.law.harvard.edu/letter-fr ... e-leaders/

ilovemang0s

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Re: Advice for Law and Politics Path

Post by ilovemang0s » Thu Sep 24, 2020 12:42 am

ilovemang0s wrote:
Thu Sep 24, 2020 12:23 am
nixy wrote:
Thu Sep 24, 2020 12:15 am
I'm saying that I think you have the causation wrong. People who end up elected AG or appointed US attorney are people who have personalities/skills/qualities that get them into politics, which they happen to employ/use in a legal role. Going to an elite school can be an advantage, depending where you are/who you're trying to appeal to, but it doesn't have to be law school. Political connections are obviously an advantage, but those don't have to come from legal positions. You're looking for people with law degrees to prove your point, rather than looking more broadly at the wide swath of people involved in politics. I've already suggested examples of non-lawyers who are in politics, but there are lots more.

Which is all to say, go to law school if you want to be a lawyer, not because you think it will get you into politics.
Well if you wanna look more broadly, 60% of the US Senate are lawyers, more than any other profession.

I agree that law school itself does not cause one to get into politics.

Law school is a professional education that helps people do lots of things in the law, such as being merger and acquisition lawyers, bankruptcy lawyers, securities litigation, etc.

I'm just saying that if you wanna get into politics, going to an elite law school and being a lawyer is a solid way to do it as it opens up unique connections, legal positions, and opportunities that many other occupations do not.

What's the alternative?

1) Go get an MBA and make millions of dollars and buy your political influence? Yes this works.

But ....

2) Work a regular 9-5 job as a normal accountant?
3) Answer phone calls for constituents at a Congressman's office?
4) Just do simple google searches and research as a "Research Assistant" for a congressman?
5) Make it big in social media or as a movie star and get a lot of publicity? -- like Kanye West?

I don't know -- what are other career paths/vocations/schools that provide a RELIABLE way to politics?
EDIT: when you say "go to law school if you want to be a lawyer, not because you think it will get you into politics" - you're presenting a false dichotomy. It's possible you want to go to law school BOTH to become a lawyer and to go into politics. Think of the Washington DC "revolving door" between BigLaw and senior government officials. Look at Covington and Burling in DC and how their Partners include lots of former US Senators and ppl like Attorney General eric holder

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nixy

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Re: Advice for Law and Politics Path

Post by nixy » Thu Sep 24, 2020 7:36 am

Look, I get your overall point, but I think you’re overstating the influence of getting a JD (as opposed to the influence of just working in politics). Plenty of people get into politics through grass roots work (again, see AOC, Omar, and Pressley, none of whom were accountants, making phone calls for a Congressperson, or social media stars). Of course someone can use their JD experience to sell themselves when running for office - but they can also use whatever other relevant experience they had, which isn’t exclusive to being a lawyer. There isn’t anything magic about having a JD.

You’re also defining “politics” really broadly to try make your point stronger (going from Covington etc to working in a particular administration and back again isn’t the same as being elected to office. And who are the politicians you’re referring to who worked for the ACLU?). I’m not talking about influencing political issues; I’m talking about being elected to office.

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Re: Advice for Law and Politics Path

Post by nixy » Thu Sep 24, 2020 7:53 am

Dude, one of your own links (interview with Deval Patrick) points out that the number of lawyers in Congress has been declining. And lawyers talking about how great they are as politicians isn’t exactly an unbiased source.

ilovemang0s

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Re: Advice for Law and Politics Path

Post by ilovemang0s » Thu Sep 24, 2020 9:27 am

nixy wrote:
Thu Sep 24, 2020 7:36 am
Look, I get your overall point, but I think you’re overstating the influence of getting a JD (as opposed to the influence of just working in politics). Plenty of people get into politics through grass roots work (again, see AOC, Omar, and Pressley, none of whom were accountants, making phone calls for a Congressperson, or social media stars). Of course someone can use their JD experience to sell themselves when running for office - but they can also use whatever other relevant experience they had, which isn’t exclusive to being a lawyer. There isn’t anything magic about having a JD.

You’re also defining “politics” really broadly to try make your point stronger (going from Covington etc to working in a particular administration and back again isn’t the same as being elected to office. And who are the politicians you’re referring to who worked for the ACLU?). I’m not talking about influencing political issues; I’m talking about being elected to office.
i think we probably agree more than we disagree.

i agree some people make it into politics through grass roots work (like AOC). I would argue that's a more difficult path than 1) being REALLY wealthy or 2) being an elite HYS lawyer with lots of political inside connections.

And I think the statistics of the paths of people in congress bear that out. Most people are lawyers/businessmen, much fewer got there through grassroots.

And my example is Josh Hawley. He was affiliated with ADF (basically the ACLU but for conservatives) and did right-winged impact litigation at the Becket Fund. He leveraged those experiences as a defender of religious freedoms and conservative values when he ran for Attorney General and then the US Senate.

And yea lawyers in Congress have been declining, whereas the % of business people in Congress have been increasing. I think this is probably due to the fact that law school is more and more expensive now.

Idk I still think HYS law schools provide A solid and tried and true route into entry into politics, in addition to other paths like grassroots, business, etc.

The tough thing about people who try to get into politics via grassroots is that they have no backup plan/occupation if they lose the election. They have no tangible "skills" in professional areas such as law, business, etc. Sure they can maybe go into lobbying, but their options as just a regular college grad is more limited than a HYS/SCOTUS clerk alumni.

In other words, they're "poorer" and if they don't win the election, they can't just fall back to their cushy BigLaw job or Private Equity firm -- which lawyers and business people can.

Just another consideration.

nixy

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Re: Advice for Law and Politics Path

Post by nixy » Thu Sep 24, 2020 10:08 am

I mean, you said that lots of politicians were former ACLU lawyers who leveraged their impact litigation experience in political campaigns - but your example is one conservative dude who didn’t work at the ACLU. (Can you imagine why a cons

Also, most things in life are harder to do when you’re not 1) REALLY wealthy or 2) an elite HYS [fill in profession]. You keep mentioning HYS/SCOTUS clerks like this is some kind of realistic outcome for lawyers (also, are that many SCOTUS clerks actually politicians? Most of the ones I’m aware of are practicing lawyers or law profs or have left law entirely and aren’t in politics at all). JD = politics isn’t true if it has to be an elite JD with experience in the most elite jobs in the profession. Isn’t it easier for most people to get involved in grass-roots activism than get into HYS and clerk for SCOTUS?

Seriously? What are you waiting for?

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