1L Summer - Public Interest or Fed District Court?

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spglasses

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1L Summer - Public Interest or Fed District Court?

Post by spglasses » Fri Mar 20, 2020 8:46 pm

Hi, all.

I have to choose between these two options.

One is NYC, the other is in LA. I'm not sure if the PI organization is especially reputable (it has a pretty legit Wikipedia page tho). I don't have ties to either city. Which one would look better come OCI if my goal is generic big law?

In terms of development as a lawyer, I think the PI gig would be better because Id get a lot of facetime with clients and the department culture seems to be very proactive and passionate. But, Im not sure if Id get as much or as diverse research and writing experience as I would if I were to work in a court chambers.

Id appreciate anything thoughts and insight.

dvlthndr

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Re: 1L Summer - Public Interest or Fed District Court?

Post by dvlthndr » Sat Mar 21, 2020 3:30 am

If you are applying for a generic biglaw litigation/corporate position, what really matters is (1) grades; and (2) your ability to hold a conversation like a normal human being. Nobody really expects you to gain meaningful skills during a ~10 week stint during the summer. Whatever you do will wind up being little more than interview fodder, so go with what you would enjoy most.

But if you are really hemming and hawing, my totally uninformed opinion is that working for a judge is an opportunity afforded to relatively few people. It strikes me as a little more prestigious, and there is value in seeing how cases actually proceed and develop over time. By comparison, there will probably be other chances to be involved in pro-bono and get facetime with "clients" during law school (via externships, clinics, clubs, etc.)

commonlaw

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Re: 1L Summer - Public Interest or Fed District Court?

Post by commonlaw » Sun Mar 22, 2020 2:53 am

I decided to extern for a fed judge this summer rather than doing public interest. I also plan on interviewing through OCI.

My thinking was that the most important skills for a big law associate are legal research and writing, and externship would provide the most substantial training in those skills. Learning how to research bench memoranda also seems like a useful experience because it teaches you how to write to persuade court clerks and interns, having stood in their shoes. And, while fed. judicial externships aren't super prestigious, they are more selective than the generic PI org with a wikipedia. Most 1ls end of working for some type of PI org.

Then again, my law school has tons of opportunities for 1ls to work with clients through lawyering skills, clinics, and pro bono projects. So, if you feel like this is something your legal education is lacking, maybe its worth using your summer to get facetime with clients.

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cavalier1138

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Re: 1L Summer - Public Interest or Fed District Court?

Post by cavalier1138 » Sun Mar 22, 2020 8:42 am

commonlaw wrote:I decided to extern for a fed judge this summer rather than doing public interest. I also plan on interviewing through OCI.

My thinking was that the most important skills for a big law associate are legal research and writing, and externship would provide the most substantial training in those skills. Learning how to research bench memoranda also seems like a useful experience because it teaches you how to write to persuade court clerks and interns, having stood in their shoes. And, while fed. judicial externships aren't super prestigious, they are more selective than the generic PI org with a wikipedia. Most 1ls end of working for some type of PI org.

Then again, my law school has tons of opportunities for 1ls to work with clients through lawyering skills, clinics, and pro bono projects. So, if you feel like this is something your legal education is lacking, maybe its worth using your summer to get facetime with clients.
The last thing you're going to get in your 1L summer is useful substantive experience, and firms know that.

Just do the thing you're more interested in.

commonlaw

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Re: 1L Summer - Public Interest or Fed District Court?

Post by commonlaw » Sun Mar 22, 2020 2:39 pm

The last thing you're going to get in your 1L summer is useful substantive experience, and firms know that.
I realize that firms don't care about the summer gig, but it seems to me the extra training in research and writing is useful for a student in terms of reinforcing the 1L legal writing curriculum if nothing else. My view is that a 10-week judicial externship is a better opportunity to reinforce those skills, regardless of whether I develop any new substantive skills. Maybe OP is more confident in this area than I am. I just wanted to share my perspective. I agree that OP should do whatever seems most interesting. Although, perhaps the availability of PILF funding for the PI gig or class credit for the judicial externship are also significant factors.

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