Justice Sotomayor on the Value of Public Service in Practice and in Life

Last Friday, Justice Sonia Sotomayor participated at the Equal Justice Works Conference and Career Fair.  The good folks at the Blog of the Legal Times have coverage of a Q&A session wiht the justice, who herself was a prosecutor in NYC:

In a speech late last week to law students, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor encouraged them to serve their communities, both as attorneys and as citizens.

It was that notion of service that led Sotomayor to consider a career in the law, she said during her October 26 presentation to the Equal Justice Works annual conference and career fair in Arlington, Va., which drew more than 1,000 law students from about 200 law schools.

“The law, regardless of how you practice it, if you practice honorably, you are doing service, and it was a service that appealed to me because it was a service I felt like I could contribute something to.” said Sotomayor. Judge David Tatel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit asked her questions onstage before members of the audience got a chance during a question and answer period.

Sotomayor conceded that she did not have lofty intentions when she made early career choices, but that she based her decisions on what she needed at each stage to develop skills to do meaningful work. She added that if the students in the audience think their job is the only form of public service available to them, they are narrowing themselves.

“Being an involved citizen requires not just doing a job, it requires being more involved in the broader issues of your community, of insuring you’re a good citizen in multiple different ways.”

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