Law School Discussion

public interest job vs judicial internship... advice?

public interest job vs judicial internship... advice?
« on: January 27, 2007, 12:20:08 PM »
So it looks like I may have two options to choose from:

1. A fellowship with a non-profit that advocates for workers'rights, or
2. An internship with a federal district judge.

The fellowship will give me a taste of an area of the law I might want to pursue, lots of client contact, and some cool networking opportunities (I've heard that labor lawyers look very highly upon candidates who have this on their resume -- and while I'm not sure I want to do labor law, if I do this could give me a boost). On the downside, I've heard that the organization I'd be working for is a little disorganized, and I'm worried I may not get as much substantive research/writing experience as I could elsewhere.

Working for a judge, on the other hand, I would do tons of research and writing and presumably learn a lot. I've also heard that internships with federal judges are difficult to get, somewhat prestigious, and shouldn't be turned down. Yet while learning to evaluate cases from a judge's perspective would be a valuable learning experience, I'm afraid I'd miss advocating for  people whose causes I believe in (something I've done in the past and which motivated me to attend law school in the first place).

Anyone care to advise? Money isn't an issue -- I just want to do what's best for my career.


Re: public interest job vs judicial internship... advice?
« Reply #1 on: January 27, 2007, 12:40:26 PM »
Personally, I would take a job with the judge...


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Re: public interest job vs judicial internship... advice?
« Reply #2 on: January 29, 2007, 04:27:32 PM »
did you get a peggy browning fellowship? i just got one of those.

personally, i would take the workers' rights job. but then, i'm pretty certain i want to work in labor or some other public interest field. and i'm much happier when i'm doing what i believe is good work.

Re: public interest job vs judicial internship... advice?
« Reply #3 on: January 30, 2007, 07:51:24 AM »
Part of the general nature of public interest law is that due to being constantly short-staffed, many of the workplaces are a tad disorganized.  However, there is an opportunity in that as well.  You can make your own internship more gratifying by "taking the bull by the horns" so to speak, and working with the org to make sure that you have plenty of interesting work to do.  Interested in advocacy? Advocate for yourself first, and you (and the org's clients) will be better for it!

Best of luck to you!

Re: public interest job vs judicial internship... advice?
« Reply #4 on: February 01, 2007, 10:57:34 PM »
If you have opportunities this good as a 1L, you'll probably be in a position later to get a yearlong clerkship after graduation.  Those are more prestigious than summer clerkships, and employers look very favorably on them.

Personally, I'd take the workers' rights job for the summer because it's a chance to experience public interest work and demonstrate interest.  Knowing how you feel about labor law and that particular public interest lawyering experience will be really helpful as you search for jobs later on. Also, if you want to go straight from law school into public interest work, it will be better to have a public interest law experience on your resume than the more generic (but still desirable) judicial clerkship.