Law School Discussion

Nine Years of Discussion
;

Author Topic: Volunteering at Legal Aid...  (Read 1179 times)

orky13

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 297
  • Legally Blonde
    • View Profile
Volunteering at Legal Aid...
« on: December 17, 2006, 01:42:39 PM »
I just sent my info in to volunteer at Legal Aid for some of their brief advice clinics, etc. I am wondering if any other people on the board have done any of this work. If so:

a. Have you found it rewarding or is it something you wouldn't do again?
b. What were the biggest challenges you experienced?
c. Have you found it helped or hurt you in your job search? As in, do you avoid talking about it with firms or do they generally value the experience?
It comes to this: Cleveland Marshall, Lewis & Clark
Waitlisted: Case

jacy85

  • LSD Obsessed
  • *****
  • Posts: 6859
    • View Profile
Re: Volunteering at Legal Aid...
« Reply #1 on: December 17, 2006, 03:00:56 PM »
Why would you not talk about it on interviews?

1. You're getting legal work experience - always a plus.

2. You're getting involved in your local legal community - employers eat this up because the more attorneys they have that are willing to volunteer, sit on boards, be active in charity and pro bono, etc., the more visible the firm becomes both in and outside the legal community.  A good reputation = good advertising.

3.  Whenever you volunteer, you show an ability to commit for something for the cause.  Even though firms tend to pay hefty salaries, the fact that you've shown commitment to something without being paid may encourage the belief that you will be loyal to the firm for more than a paycheck.

rhombot

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 717
  • hanthala
    • View Profile
Re: Volunteering at Legal Aid...
« Reply #2 on: December 17, 2006, 07:52:25 PM »
I just sent my info in to volunteer at Legal Aid for some of their brief advice clinics, etc. I am wondering if any other people on the board have done any of this work. If so:

a. Have you found it rewarding or is it something you wouldn't do again?
b. What were the biggest challenges you experienced?
c. Have you found it helped or hurt you in your job search? As in, do you avoid talking about it with firms or do they generally value the experience?

a. rewarding. i mean, just a little bit, because you're just doing the intake, but in some cases, you're actually helping people who wouldn't otherwise get legal advice.

b. i had one person who was there more for sympathy than legal advice, which was annoying.

c. job search?
case '09

up_late

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 29
    • View Profile
Re: Volunteering at Legal Aid...
« Reply #3 on: January 02, 2007, 02:44:39 AM »
a. Have you found it rewarding or is it something you wouldn't do again?

It's great to get law-related experience in any form you can get it.  And you may get a good reference out of it.  And, you become more informed about the issues, even if you don't develop a deep knowledge.  I would volunteer again.

b. What were the biggest challenges you experienced?

The biggest challenge for me was getting assignments that weren't essentially clerical work.  Legal aid and public interest firms don't have the money to hire the support staff they need, and it's easier to assign mindless work than to train and supervise inexperienced people who won't be around full time.  By talking with my supervisors, I got research and writing and client interviewing tasks that were more interesting.

The projects where I had these problems involved litigation.  Working at the brief advice clinic may be a lot better because you could get some great client interviewing experience and perhaps also some client counseling experience.  Depending on your background, it may increase your understanding of the legal needs of the poor.  I doubt you'd learn a lot of substantive law, but that's what law school classes are for.

c. Have you found it helped or hurt you in your job search? As in, do you avoid talking about it with firms or do they generally value the experience?

It's on my resume, but the firms don't seem to care much about it in OCI.  My experience, however, did contribute to my performance as a summer associate, and I expect that it will help me as I seek out pro bono opportunities once I start work.

orky13

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 297
  • Legally Blonde
    • View Profile
Re: Volunteering at Legal Aid...
« Reply #4 on: February 25, 2007, 02:49:37 PM »
Great advice. I just worked my first Brief Advice Clinic and I found it SO rewarding. I am glad I did it. It reminded me of the counselling aspect of law. I will do it again as soon as I am able!
It comes to this: Cleveland Marshall, Lewis & Clark
Waitlisted: Case

LawLady

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 172
    • View Profile
Re: Volunteering at Legal Aid...
« Reply #5 on: February 25, 2007, 06:34:57 PM »
I am glad you enjoyed it!

Strong

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 398
    • View Profile
Re: Volunteering at Legal Aid...
« Reply #6 on: February 25, 2007, 11:08:11 PM »
a. Have you found it rewarding or is it something you wouldn't do again?

I did find it rewarding. More than anything some of these people want someone to talk to.

b. What were the biggest challenges you experienced?

Trying to get a 90 year old man out of a Sparkletts contract for $10/month.

c. Have you found it helped or hurt you in your job search? As in, do you avoid talking about it with firms or do they generally value the experience?

1) It's community service
2) Firms send lawyers to the clinic to get pro bono hours