Archive for Expert Opinion: Interviews and More

A message from NLADA regarding LSC funding.

As many of you know, the Trump administration’s proposed budget called for completely eliminating funding for LSC. Congress has the final say on appropriations, and it appears that at least some in Congress are in favor of a reduction in LSC funding. Below is a message from the National Legal Aid & Defender Association regarding Legal Services Corporation (LSC) funding for FY’18, and how you can act to tell Congress any reduction in LSC funding is a mistake.

From the National Legal Aid & Defender Association:

As you may know, the U.S. House Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies last week approved a spending package that would cut funding for Legal Services Corporation (LSC) grantees by 24 percent. This would impose unacceptable budget cuts that would force grantees to severely curtail services and potentially even close offices. At the same time, the White House and some in Congress appear to remain committed to eliminating LSC.

That is why I wanted to let you know about www.ActOnJustice.org, which provides information, fact sheets, and talking points about LSC and civil legal aid, which you may find useful for your own advocacy. The key purpose of the site however, is to give individuals a quick and simple way to contact their own elected officials to advocate for LSC.

With so many competing spending priorities facing Congress, it is vital that we demonstrate the depth of support for LSC that exists within members’ own constituencies. I would like to ask that you help achieve this by using the site and sharing it broadly throughout your networks. This effort will be most effective if it includes a cross section of stakeholder groups, particularly: (1) clients and former clients, (2) public interest advocates who work with populations that routinely experience civil legal needs, (3) private and corporate lawyers, particularly those that have experience working with legal services programs pro bono, and (4) law students and law school faculty.

Please note: if you receive LSC funds, you are prohibited from using this site for grassroots lobbying. However, the site does include other resources and updates you might find useful.

The national response to the White House recommendation to eliminate LSC has been deeply impactful, and with appropriations bills currently being drafted and considered in Congress, now is the time to elevate the voice of communities and constituents in a more coordinated way. Where permitted, please link to the site in your upcoming communications, and start a conversation using #ActOnJustice on Facebook and Twitter.

Thank you for helping to make sure that LSC continues to be protected, and that the clients of its grantees continue to receive access to justice.

David

DAVID MILLERManager, Policy Initiatives

www.nlada.org  |  D.Miller@nlada.org  |  (202) 452-0620 ext: 244

1901 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW Suite 500, Washington DC 20006

 

 

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Resource Roundup – Practice Area Guides

Image courtesy of The Diamond Gallery

Image courtesy of The Diamond Gallery

The PSJD Resource Center has valuable information for law students, career counselors and lawyers about public service law jobs.

The PSJD Practice Area Guides are designed to give students and job seekers brief overviews of several different legal fields. The guides include practical information regarding the types of employers and practice settings in various fields of law. The guides also include skills that would be useful to gain during law school if a student is seeking to practice in that area after graduation.

 

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*Career Counselor’s Corner*

 

Claudio Melo, JD, Director of the Career Center at University of Minnesota Law School says “I use these consistently with my 1L students. They provide a bite-size overview of common practice areas of interest. Also, if a student has an upcoming informational interview, I encourage them to review the attorney’s practice area of focus prior to the meeting.”

Couldn’t find the practice guide that you were looking for? Send us an email and we’ll do our best to create one and put it on the website.

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White House Legal Aid Interagency Roundtable (WH-LAIR) report

The White House Legal Aid Interagency Roundtable (WH-LAIR) recently issued its first report to President Obama, “Expanding Access to Justice, Strengthening Federal Programs.” The report documents the steps that the 22 federal agency roundtable members have taken to integrate civil legal aid into programs designed to serve low-income and vulnerable populations, with an aim of boosting their effectiveness and increasing access to justice.

The report was funded by the Department of Justice’s Office for Access to Justice and serves as a blueprint for how federal agencies can expand their collaborations with legal aid to address issues such as domestic violence, human trafficking, crime, reentry, financial exploitation of the elderly, and veteran homelessness. The report includes research and data on the efficacy of legal aid and makes policy recommendations for improving access to civil legal aid for youth, families, tribal communities, and special populations.

The Department of Justice and the White House Domestic Policy Council first convened the Legal Aid Interagency Roundtable in 2012. In September 2015, President Obama formally recognized the success of their efforts by designating the roundtable as a White House initiative, requiring annual reporting. WH-LAIR’s mission enumerated in the Presidential Memorandum is fivefold:

  1. improve coordination among federal programs that help the vulnerable and underserved, so that those programs are more efficient and produce better outcomes by including, where appropriate, legal services among the range of supportive services provided;
  2. increase the availability of meaningful access to justice for individuals and families, regardless of wealth or status;
  3. develop policy recommendations that improve access to justice in federal, state, local, tribal, and international jurisdictions;
  4. assist the United States with implementation of Goal 16 of the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development; and
  5. advance relevant evidence-based research, data collection, and analysis of civil legal aid and indigent defense, and promulgate best practices to support the activities detailed in [1-4 above].

Their efforts fall into four categories: leveraging resources to strengthen Federal programs by incorporating legal aid; developing policy recommendations that improve access to justice; facilitating strategic partnerships to achieve enforcement and outreach objectives; and advancing evidence-based research, data collection and analysis. One of the key components of LAIR’s work was the review of numerous federal grants from the perspective of potentially expanding the use of funds to incorporate legal aid into program strategies. As a result, many agencies clarified that dozens of grants can be used by grantees to provide legal services in furtherance of their program goals.  The number of long-term, far-reaching and positive outcomes of the first four years of effort by member agencies are very encouraging.

Some key initiatives reported:

  • HHS clarified that legal aid is included in the range of “enabling services” that HHS-funded health centers can provide to meet communities’ primary care needs.
  • CNCS and DOJ fund the Elder Justice AmeriCorps to help elder abuse victims and launched justice AmeriCorps to increase legal aid to unrepresented unaccompanied immigrant minors.
  • VA issued guidance supporting veterans’ access to legal aid at VA medical facilities.
  • IRS administers three grant programs to help low-income and other taxpayers in need with tax returns and tax disputes.
  • HUD funds fair housing enforcement organizations, including legal aid programs and a program that allows using funds for legal aid necessary to regain housing stability.
  • FTC developed the Legal Services Collaboration, a nationwide partnership with legal aid, to inform FTC’s law enforcement priorities and allow FTC to alert local communities about scams and respond to local concerns.
  • LSC is undertaking a new national legal needs survey to update the Justice Gap studies of 2005 and 2009.
  • WH-LAIR itself has online resources that provide information about civil legal aid and federal funding opportunities on the WH-LAIR website and in the Toolkit.

WH-LAIR agencies are also looking forward  to the steps they can take to further improve meaningful access to justice for all Americans. Several agencies are reviewing funding competitions and training and technical assistance programs to determine how grantees can use more funds to provide legal aid among program services. Agencies plan to develop a broader range of policies that further expanding access to justice and work towards effective implementation of those policies. Following the FTC’s lead with its Legal Services Collaboration, other agencies with enforcement mandates are exploring ways to work with legal aid to increase enforcement efforts and amplify their outreach. Finally, WH-LAIR agencies are developing metrics for evaluating whether and how legal aid improves agency programs.

This first report demonstrates in a variety of ways the vital importance of legal aid as part of federal programs and chronicles numerous program creation and expansions which have had a direct and positive impact on the communities and populations they serve.  Moving forward, one goal is for agencies to use the best practices developed to further expand access to justice and strengthen federal programs.

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Administration Change: Should I Stay or Should I Go?

The federal government has changed administrations since the beginning of our nation. However, this change in administration is unique in many ways, and is causing questions and concerns among those who seek a career in government or are currently in federal service. The most prevalent question I’ve been asked in the past month is, given my ideological beliefs or views on certain issues, should I enter federal service, or should I remain if I’m already there?

What should you do if you’re contemplating these questions? First, there is no “right” answer.  What you do is dependent on many personal factors and whether you’re deciding on an internship or a permanent position. In talking with individuals who have made these decisions during a political transition, one thing is clear – no matter what administration is in office, there will always be a need for reasoned and principled attorneys in the federal government. Another point often raised is that the government is like a large ship – it changes course slowly. So, for instance, if you’re considering an internship, you might not see any significant difference in your agency of choice in the short-term. A third item to consider is the difference between ideology and government service at its most basic level. There are frequently ideological differences between administrations, but you will find career federal government attorneys continue to serve across administrations.  One reason is the idea that giving back to the community is the duty of every lawyer, and federal service is a way to fulfill that duty. If you plan to make federal service a career choice, you may decide that you don’t want to wait to begin.  If you’re already a government attorney, you may take the long view, and decide to stay in order to “have a say” in actions this administration takes. It is sometimes the career employee, and not the political appointee, who can have the most affect on policy implementation.

There are resources to help you sort out the factors that will guide your decision. Your best resource is always your Career Development Office. The experts there can help you talk through the factors that will influence your decision-making.  They also have the expertise to counsel and support you throughout the process. Faculty and staff, particularly adjunct faculty, can also have great insight and on the ground experience with political transitions. Alumni who are or have been government attorneys are also a great resource.  They have been there during a political transition, know what to expect, and can illustrate some of the advantages and pitfalls. Your career development or alumni office can put you in touch with an alum who can help you navigate these questions. For example, Harvard Law School Bernard Koteen Office of Public Interest Advising has kindly shared some of their alumni reflections on political transitions.

And seek out opinions from experts from the entirety of the political spectrum. Below are some of the discussions on what it might mean to serve or not to serve in a Trump administration.

Just Security, an online forum for the rigorous analysis of U.S. national security law and policy, has a series of posts on the “ethical and legal dilemmas of serving in the Trump administration.” (Just Security)

“Who Will Serve in the Trump Administration?” by Amy Davidson, November 21, 2016 (The New Yorker)

“The Dilemma of Serving in a Trump Administration” by Daniel W. Drezner, November 14, 2016 (Washington Post)

“The Chess Clock Debates: Is There a Duty to Serve In Trump’s America?” by Clara Hendrickson, November 21, 2016 (Lawfare)

Ultimately, whether you stay or go will depend on your individual moral and ethical compass. Lawyers are critically important at this time, and whether inside or outside the government, public sector lawyers may be the most critical need of all.

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Equal Justice Works Class of 2016 Fellows

The 62 2016 Class of Equal Justice Fellows come from 34 schools and will work in 19 issue areas.  Fourteen schools had multiple awards: University of Minnesota Law School (4), Northeastern University School of Law (4), Georgetown University Law Center (4), University of California, Berkeley, School of Law (4), University of Texas School of Law (3), New York University School of Law (3), American University Washington College of Law (3), Harvard Law School (3), University of Washington School of Law (3), Columbia Law School (3), University of Houston Law Center (2), Yale Law School (2), University of Michigan Law School (2), and University of Chicago Law School (2).

The largest issue area is Immigrant Populations, with 12 projects based in organizations from Massachusetts and Minnesota to Texas and California. Children/Youth, Veterans, and Disability Rights were the next most commonly funded issue areas encompassing 19 projects.  Funded projects are located primarily on the east and west coasts and Texas, with a few notable exceptions.  Two immigrant populations projects will be housed at the National Immigrant Justice Center in Goshen, IN and the Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota in St. Paul, MN; a pro se and other legal representation systems project will be housed at the Tennessee Alliance for Legal Services in Nashville, TN; and a health care/medical-legal partnership project will be housed at the Prairie State Legal Services, Inc. in Rockford, IL.

Funding for these fellowships comes from law firms, corporations, foundations, and anonymous donors.  The most prevalent funding source is private law firms, with Greenberg Traurig, LLP contributing to all or a part of 8 fellowships.

By comparison, there were 53 Fellows in the Class of 2015, hailing from 31 schools.  These projects addressed 17 issue areas, with housing being the most prevalent issue.

Congratulations to the 2016 Equal Justice Works Fellows!  They will be doing outstanding work in their communities.

And the 2017 application is now open.  Visit the Equal Justice Works Fellowship page to download the application guide, view sponsor preferences and sign up for an application webinar.

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Expert Opinion: Top 10 Tips for Government Job Applicants (Illinois Attorney General’s Office)

Editor’s note: Our “Expert Opinion” series offers thoughts, insights, and career advice from public interest lawyers, law students, and others who work for the public good.  PSJD’s current Expert is Ruta Stropus, the Director of Attorney Recruitment and Professional Development for the Illinois Attorney General’s Office. Stropus has graciously agreed to offer some much-needed tips and advice on applying for government jobs. This edition, Ruta breaks down her top 10 tips for graduates applying to jobs within the Illinois Attorney General’s Office.

If you are new to the practice of law and are interested in our Office, the following guidelines might help explain our hiring process:

1)     We only hire by vacancy.  Due to budget constraints, we only hire by vacancy.  Hence, the positions that are listed on our website today might not be those listed tomorrow.  We modify our listings daily to reflect our open positions.  Positions are listed on the website until they are filled.  There is no other deadline or timeline in terms of the posting.

2)     Always go to our website to check on open positions.  Various sites can cut and paste our postings and make them available.  However, to get the most accurate and current information, visit our website.

3)     Read the posting carefully.  Each one of our vacancies is different in terms of experience and minimum qualifications.  Therefore, although you might be interested in a number of positions, it is unusual for any one candidate to qualify for all of our open positions.  Make sure your cover letter is specific in terms of your qualifications and your interests.  Instead of sending multiple cover letters for each position, just send one cover letter.

4)     Consider geography.  Chicago is a saturated legal market.  We are inundated with resumes every time we post for an open position.  Therefore, newly licensed attorneys are often outmatched by experienced attorneys.  However, our Springfield office often seeks out candidates and struggles to find the right person for the job.

5)     Be honest.  For example, if you are a native Chicagoan and have never visited Springfield, Illinois, we question your commitment to remain in central Illinois.  We do consider candidates for our Springfield positions that hail from the northern part of the State, but we also want to make sure that an attorney who fills our Springfield position is not going to flee at the first opportunity.

6)     Get a license.  Because our vacancies and hiring needs constantly change, we need someone already licensed in Illinois at the time of application.  We do not hold positions for 3L’s.  Although other agencies employ licensed attorneys as “law clerks”, our clerkship program is limited currently enrolled law students.  We have participated in some fellowship programs, but fellowships are limited to our Springfield office and are available only through the law schools that participate in the fellowship partnership agreement with us.

7)     Do your homework.  On average, we review upwards of 50 resumes a week.  I am constantly reviewing resumes, interviewing candidates, checking references, etc.  We have tried to provide quite a bit of information about our recruiting process on our website.  And, although we are available to answer questions, we appreciate those candidates who have taken the time to read and review the information first.

8)     Be patient.  Given our volume, it takes some time for candidates to hear back about their application.  Typically, we receive your information and enter it into the recruiting database.  Then, I review the resumes and decide which resumes meet the minimum qualifications listed in our job postings.  If the resume does meet the minimum qualifications of any available posting, it is sent on for further review.  Individuals at the bureau and division level decide if candidates merit an interview.  Usually, you will hear back from us in a 2-3 week period regarding your candidacy.  If you do not, then feel free to email or call to check on status.  We use three stages of interviews, weeding out candidates at all stages until we have a finalist.  Hence, the process is lengthy.

9)     Respect the process.  I do not meet candidates informally to discuss positions.  Please do not be offended if I decline an invitation to meet for coffee or do not meet you at reception if you are there to drop off a resume.  I respect the process  because it is the best means to provide fairness to all applicants.  My task is to make sure I find the best candidate for the position, not vis versa.

10)  Know what you are in for.  We have had a long-standing salary freeze.  Our pay is very modest, and the work is sometimes tedious and overwhelming.  Government service is challenging in many ways.  The candidates who impress us are those who have a commitment to public service, an amazing work ethic and who are willing to work independently and as part of a team.  During the interview, I ask candidates about their past – I want to know about those times in your life when things did not go as planned, when you had a disagreement with a colleague or supervisor, when you had to manage multiple and overlapping deadlines, when you had to enforce an ethical boundary.  In addition to the qualifications listed on a job posting, I want to know if your past performance or actions have prepared you for the future challenges of a position as an Assistant Attorney General.

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OMG – I Failed the Bar! Now What?

by Christina Jackson, NALP Director of Public Service Initiatives & Fellowships

I failed the first Bar I took.

There I said it.  I admit, I still feel the sting of shame when saying it.  I shouldn’t – I went on to pass two other bars, had a great career practicing civil rights defense, and am now doing what I absolutely love.  But, it’s there – shame, embarrassment, fear of failure, the thought that I am a failure despite my other successes.  So, I understand that right now you want to crawl under a rock and never come out.  That’s ok. And you should do the 2013 equivalent: Don’t check Facebook for a while, stay off Twitter, ignore the Instagram pics of your friends celebrating, [insert whatever other social media is relevant].  Give yourself time to grieve because you worked really hard and have suffered a huge disappointment.  Then, after a suitable mourning period, put down the tub of Ben & Jerry’s and make a recovery plan.  Why?  Because you’ve worked too hard not to.  Failing the Bar isn’t a reflection on how smart you are or how worthy you are to practice law.  It’s a setback to be sure, but one you can recover from with a good game plan.  I suggest examining the following in order to determine what you might need to change for the next time around.

1. IS THIS THE RIGHT BAR FOR YOU?

I know, that sounds like a stupid question, but hear me out.  This may not apply to you, but there are a number of folks out there who are pressured into taking a certain Bar because deadlines are coming up, and you have to pick something.  If that was the case for you, take some time to evaluate where you want to practice, what states might have reciprocity with other places you might like to practice, and where there are good bar passage rates for second-time test takers.  Has something come up that makes you want to be in another state?  You may find this wasn’t the right one in the first place, and you’ll be glad you didn’t pass.

2. DID YOU STUDY TOO MUCH/NOT ENOUGH/IN THE RIGHT WAY?

That was my problem.  I took an in-person class and didn’t work during my first bar, so I had “all the time in the world” to study.  Turns out I drastically misused my time, and didn’t retain nearly enough.  My advice on this point has always been (to a lot of success) to think about how you managed exams in law school.  If you were the type to have a lot going on so that you had to really focus in the precious time you had to study for exams (me), then you probably shouldn’t have an entire day every day to study for the Bar.  I also should not have attended in person classes, and remedied that mistake in the next two Bar exams I took (and passed).  Back in the day, there was an option to have the classes on cassette tape (I know, right?).  That’s how I did it for the next two Bars, and it made me really focus on what the instructor was saying.  I could study when I was the most focused (and not when the class was scheduled), and I could go back to places where I needed to listen again.  Now there are much better and varied tools, so think about what works best for you and make it happen.

3. ARE YOU TAKING ENOUGH BREAKS?

I know this sounds counter-intuitive, but I’m also sure you heard this a lot in law school.  It’s even more important now.  You know from the first time that you’re in the “Bar Study Bubble.”  You need to take care of yourself and make sure you get enough breaks so that you can sleep well, eat right and get some exercise.  Nothing will be retained if you can’t focus.  And, another important safety tip – have regular contact with people not taking the Bar (or about to practice law for that matter).  You need to talk about/think about things that are not law or Bar-related.  My boyfriend (now husband) and I were frankly poor when I was taking the Bar the second time.  But, he did make sure we regularly went to the movies or some other (even free) activity to get my mind off studying for the Bar for a while.  Don’t worry – it will still be there to obsess over when you’re done.

4. BY HOW MUCH DID YOU NOT PASS?

If it was by more than 12-15 points, then you need to seriously reevaluate how you studied and what bar review materials/mechanisms you used.  If you need some guidance in this area, go back to your law school’s student affairs office.  They are usually the ones with their pulse on all the Bar exams and their requirements, and are savvy about what tools work.

5. AND FINALLY – GIVE YOURSELF A BREAK!

Yes, you failed the Bar.  Yes, it sucks!  But, yes, you will get past it and go on to have a glorious career.  Just make sure you do what you need to do to get ready.  And good luck!  I will be doing the happy dance for you when you pass in February.

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Expert Opinion: Tips from a Government Employer

Editor’s note: Our “Expert Opinion” series offers thoughts, insights, and career advice from public interest lawyers, law students, and others who work for the public good.  This edition’s Expert is Ruta Stropus, the Director of Attorney Recruitment and Professional Development for the Illinois Attorney General’s Office. Stropus has graciously agreed to offer some much-needed tips and advice on applying for positions within the government. This edition is all about what to do (and what not to do!) during the pre-application process. Next time, Stropus will tackle cover letters and resumes. 

On to the advice…

Tips from a Government Employer

First of all, let me thank every wonderful professional who works in law school career centers.  I realize that you do tremendous work counseling and advising stressed out law students who are panicked about finding a job in these difficult economic times.  With the increase in law school debt, the decrease in law jobs – not to mention hiring and salary freezes in the government sector – being effective and positive is no easy task.

I rely on law school placement professionals to help recruit for my office.  We do not participate in the on campus interview process, because we rarely hire new graduates.  However, law school alumni networks are our lifeline, and we couldn’t do it without you.

Unfortunately, not all lawyers listen to the advice of their placement counselors.  After spending nine years as the director of attorney recruiting at a state agency, I still see candidates making the rookie mistakes before even getting in the cover letter and resume or making it to the interview.  So, although you and I know these are “don’ts”, many out there are still do-ing.

1)    The job search.  Other websites often list our positions.  That’s a good thing – we want to advertise broadly.  However, the most accurate and current information is on the agency website.  Therefore, candidates should always the employer’s website for complete information before calling the recruiter with questions.  I have spent a lot of time crafting job descriptions, setting out the application procedures, drafting a frequently asked questions guide.  One of the ways I judge applicants is their ability to follow directions.  For example, we do not allow candidates to email their application materials; if someone does so, not only is the person disregarding an employer’s specific request, but they are demonstrating that they haven’t read the instructions.

2)    The posting.  I am honest in my communications.  If the website notes that the position requires, at minimum, three years of post-graduation civil litigation experience, then that is the minimum requirement.  Just today, I had a candidate call and ask:  “The posting says that three years of criminal prosecution experience is required. I have six months experience. Will you consider my application?”  My response?  “No, we require three years.”  Others call and emphasize their interest in the position:  “I am very interested in the position, and I am a quick learner.”  Although that might be well and good, interest is not experience.  My favorite is the ole’ switch-a-roo:  “Your posting says the position is in Springfield, but I’m really interested in Chicago.”  Well, if the posting says Springfield, then the position is in (wait for it) Springfield!!!!

3)    The tenor.  As a recruiter, I am a professional.  My job is to find the very best candidate for the job.  Therefore, I do not be-friend applicants on Facebook or link with them on LinkedIn.  I do not go out for coffee with candidates who “want to learn more about the position.”  I do not like it when candidates email or call me and begin the conversation by addressing me by my first name.  When a candidate calls or emails with a question, I expect that question cannot be answered by our website and is something more than “I really just can’t email you my application?” Because I answer my own phone, I expect a greeting such as: “Hello, may I speak to Ms. Stropus?  Ms. Stropus, hello, my name is Cindy Earl and I have a quick question about your job posting.”  Sadly, what I usually get is:  “Ah …. hi…. yah…. I’ve been looking at your website and I’m confused….”

Bottom line here for candidates: You start interviewing for the job from the minute you start your job search.  Even before they submit their application paperwork, I expect candidates to have visited the agency website and read ALL the information that is available on the position and the agency – that includes the mission, the history, the recent activity.  If the candidate has a genuine question, I expect a polite and professional call or email, complete with salutation and thank you.

Next time on the PSJD Blog: the cover letter and resume!

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Expert Opinion: An Interview with Adriana Dinis, Staff Attorney with Gulfcoast Legal Services Children’s Immigration Legal Defense Program

by Ashley Matthews, PSJD Fellow

Editor’s note: Our “Expert Opinion” series offers thoughts, insights, and career advice from public interest lawyers, law students, and others who work for the public good.  This edition’s Expert is Adriana Dinis, a staff attorney with Gulfcoast Legal Service’s CHILD program. Dinis was a featured speaker at the 2013 Annual NALP Conference, and her journey to advocating for the rights of immigrant children was incredibly inspiring. On to the interview…

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Alternative Public Interest Part 1: Can I Do Public Interest Work at a Law Firm?

by Kristian Smith, PSJD Summer Projects and Publications Coordinator

This article is part one of a two part series about alternative public interest work. Check back next week for Part Two: Private Public Interest Firms.

When many law students and new lawyers are beginning to plan for their careers, they usually have to make a choice between working at a law firm or practicing public interest work. While law firms and public interest work are typically viewed as mutually exclusive, there are many ways for law students and new lawyers to do public interest work while still gaining training and experience at a law firm.

Many large, traditional law firms now have opportunities for attorneys to work on public interest projects while still receiving the training and resources that come along with large firms. With OCI and summer associate hiring fast-approaching, this is something for law students to keep in mind when looking for jobs.

Erica Knievel Songer, an associate at Hogan Lovells, has had a unique experience as a law-firm associate who has been able to spend much of her time at the firm working solely on pro bono projects. Songer said that Hogan’s pro bono practice has a rotation process for junior and senior attorneys to work solely on public interest work for a year at a time.  She said that she has been able to work on many different types of cases – from housing to voting rights – and that her firm encourages all attorneys to practice pro bono work. She said that doing public interest work at a law firm, as opposed to a non-profit or legal services agency, provides a wealth of resources that make it easier to make a difference in the lives of others.

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