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Author Topic: Government Work and Politics  (Read 2833 times)

Grubesac

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Government Work and Politics
« on: April 14, 2005, 01:49:21 PM »
It is a known fact that a large proportion of those seeking a law degree do, in fact, possess a political science degree as well. I will be attending, in all probability, UC Hastings which reports that something in the neighborhood of 20% of its students fall into this category, myself included.

I am an idealist, and though working hard to graduate in the top of my class in order to "earn" the right to contribute handsomely to Dewey Cheatum and Howe has its allure (specifically, about $125,000 dollars a year worth of allure), it does not speak much to my core values, beliefs or ambitions. I’ve spent the better part of a year working for corporate America doing various tasks for the illustrious Target Corporation, and know that large firms operate in the same way. It is a lonely, empty, and unfulfilling existence. I am certain that there are many others who feel much the same way.

For all the talk and time individuals spend on these boards ranting about rankings and firm placement, is there not anyone who is concerned about their law degree and how it can be used in significant and meaningful ways:  upholding and advancing civil rights, promoting legislation that furthers the interests of the impoverished, identifying and reverse practices the results of which, though not intended to be racist, are racist.

So my question is, who is with me? Where are you political science majors? Does anyone have eyes for the “greater good”, for working on legislation, and being involved one way or another in public policy? What are you doing to prepare, what avenues are you peering down, and what’s the experience you are carving out for yourself in law school to facilitate your goal?

JManning

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Re: Government Work and Politics
« Reply #1 on: April 15, 2005, 05:35:15 PM »
I am definitely in sync with your line of thinking; unfortunately, I believe the majority of law students go in to law school thinking the same way but end up in a different career path by education.  I guess the true challenge will be to stay true to your initial beliefs.

rapunzel

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Re: Government Work and Politics
« Reply #2 on: April 15, 2005, 10:32:27 PM »
I see a corporate law job as a path to be active in areas where I would like to do good in the world.  In my before-lawschool life I was going to be a starving artist.  Now I hope to be able to be on the board of directors for a theatre troupe I admire.  I look around my transitional, regentrifying neighborhood and think about getting into redevelopment activities that would help keep the neighborhood diverse in income level.  If I work at a big firm for for a while, I could build the capital to start a company. 
I guess I've decided that my beliefs and values can be honored in more than one way, and that I'd like to open some doors for myself by first creating some wealth. 

Grubesac

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Re: Government Work and Politics
« Reply #3 on: May 02, 2005, 05:35:13 PM »
I guess no one? Everyone chases dollars? Do you know what the attrition rate is at the most coveted big law positions? 70% after 7 years. Have fun hating your life, all of you who see that 125k starting salary in your eyes. And really, truth be told, you are working two jobs, since thats what 80 hrs a week is. I'll work one job, thanks, and make 70k. I'm ok with that. Peace.

zemog

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Re: Government Work and Politics
« Reply #4 on: May 03, 2005, 10:42:00 PM »
I'm in my 30s and have been in the corp world for 10 years now.  I'm have chased the $$$ and am attending PT evening law school and will pursue a government/state type job.

Grubesac

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Re: Government Work and Politics
« Reply #5 on: May 04, 2005, 12:17:32 PM »
Had enough of the corporate hell? What area of business have been employed in? What has you changing your mind? Good to know there are others who see something beyond the devilish lure of BigLaw.

Jumboshrimps

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Re: Government Work and Politics
« Reply #6 on: May 04, 2005, 04:22:41 PM »
"Does anyone have eyes for the “greater good”, for working on legislation, and being involved one way or another in public policy?"

And where, do you suppose, those folks who become legislators and policy makes come from? Many, if not most, are attorneys for big firms.

This slamming of big law firm work is unwarranted. They are big and prosperous because they are competent and efficient. They are also diverse in their areas of specialty. I'm shooting for the biggest and richest firm I can get into, not for the money, but because it opens so many doors.

zemog

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Re: Government Work and Politics
« Reply #7 on: May 05, 2005, 01:11:39 AM »
It's not really what you are thinking, not that I am sick of the corporate world so much. I have worked in the consulting business for about 10 years now. I've always been interested in law enforcement and have worked with them when I was younger, but due to some incidents that could have taken my life, I steered clear of the law enforcement route.  I've just recently got the itch again and I guess a legal career in the DA or attorney general's office will take care of the itch without, hopefully endangering my life. 

Had enough of the corporate hell? What area of business have been employed in? What has you changing your mind? Good to know there are others who see something beyond the devilish lure of BigLaw.

Grubesac

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Re: Government Work and Politics
« Reply #8 on: May 05, 2005, 12:17:32 PM »
Well Jumbo,

I think there are many avenues that a large firm can open. I would just advise that you know what your life will look like and the type of work that you'll be doing. If you are ok with that, then its a good choice for you. However, I know what mind-numbingly boring corporate style office work is like, and to think that as an associate at a firm the types of jobs you'll be doing will be anything other than the most mundane and repetitive legal research, filing, and writing tasks would be erroneous. You will have very little responsibility (in the big picutre), be very far removed from any final product, and be able to take very little satisfaction in the end result of your work (unless of course business transactions fill you with a sense of fulness and well being). Legal work is dull, ask anyone lawyer, and the key is to assess why it is you want to do what you do. What door is it that you want opened? The post above this one is a great example and he/she finds the criminal justice system to be extremely engaging.

I find policy work and political struggle to be intriguing and their are many ways as a lawyer to work into a policy related position. I may even work at a large firm, but it would have to translate into government in some way and I know these positions are few and far between, usually reserved for those with very specialized government experience, not a newbie LS grad. Anyway, although a majority of elected officials may have been involved in private practice (the majority definately have not been a part of BigLaw), it is their political involvement in other arenas that allowed them to attain office.

NoelleMyBelle

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Re: Government Work and Politics
« Reply #9 on: May 05, 2005, 05:24:38 PM »
This thread has me wondering how many people in law school end up doing exactly what they thought they would do...