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Author Topic: PeaceCorp  (Read 911 times)

ucsblaw8

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PeaceCorp
« on: April 02, 2007, 06:12:34 PM »
I'm a 2L night student at a t3...I have decent grades (probably top 15%) I am a research assistant for the Dean, a TA for Contracts and I am on the SBA Exec Board. After I graduate (and Pass the Bar) I want to take a 2 year leave to join the Peace Corp. Ideally, I want to work in Biglaw for a few years (if possible) and if not, well...I don't know...But I have considered applying for either an LLM or a Clerkship.

My question is...would joining the Peace Corp...after law school...have a negative effect on employment after I return? Would employers think I'm indecisive and nuts for leaving to a 3rd world country for 2 years or would this reflect possitively? I know the peace corp is viewed as a positive aspect for those coming out of undergrad but I've never heard of anyone applying after law school.

Any takers?

shine on

TDJD84

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Re: PeaceCorp
« Reply #1 on: April 02, 2007, 06:16:49 PM »
wow.... thats a unique predicament.  I don't know to tell you the truth!

Jumboshrimps

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Re: PeaceCorp
« Reply #2 on: April 02, 2007, 06:40:56 PM »
Are you familiar with Michael Maren's book on the peace corp?

http://www.amazon.com/ROAD-HELL-Michael-Maren/dp/0684828006

It was an eye-opener for me. He describes his extensieve peace corp experience and condemns the corp for its destructive cultural and political effects. There is no way in hell I would join the peace corp without reading this book.

We all want to help people and be useful. Have you thought about practicing law for those two years? Are lawyers really that useless?

ucsblaw8

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Re: PeaceCorp
« Reply #3 on: April 02, 2007, 06:45:32 PM »
Are you familiar with Michael Maren's book on the peace corp?

http://www.amazon.com/ROAD-HELL-Michael-Maren/dp/0684828006

It was an eye-opener for me. He describes his extensieve peace corp experience and condemns the corp for its destructive cultural and political effects. There is no way in hell I would join the peace corp without reading this book.

We all want to help people and be useful. Have you thought about practicing law for those two years? Are lawyers really that useless?



Interesting...I've never heard of it...thanks for the heads up. BTW, I don't think lawyers are useless...I just wanted to experience something different and be useful at the same time.
shine on

Strong

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Re: PeaceCorp
« Reply #4 on: April 02, 2007, 07:04:45 PM »
Problem is, they don't need many lawyers in Uganda. See The Last King of Scotland, Fox Searchlight (2006).

kolya

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Re: PeaceCorp
« Reply #5 on: April 03, 2007, 07:08:32 AM »
I'm a current Peace Corps volunteer, and I'll be entering law school this fall as a 1L.  In my entering class of PCVs, there were a number of lawyers.  They all made great volunteers, and by the end of the first year, they'd all terminated early.  A lot of this has to do with the sort of work the Peace Corps does.  Most of the work we're involved in is done at the most basic level - showing people how to fill out forms, where to look for grants or aid, giving basic health seminars.  Our responsibilities are relatively undefined regardless of what program you're in (with the exception of teachers, who have a required curriculum and number of hours per week) and productivity is extremely low, resulting more from the environments we work in than the actual efforts of volunteers.  This proved incredibly frustrating to the lawyers coming in to the Peace Corps, who were used to daily intellectual challenges and stimulation that you simply won't find in the Peace Corps, despite the other many values of the program.  The Peace Corps does provide challenge and stimulation, but of a different sort.  You won't be flexing your brain muscles trying to figure out a problem, but rather trying to overcome bureaucratic hurdles to simple and necessary projects, dealing with massive amounts of downtime, and trying to develop relationships that will help you get something/anything accomplished. Which is why the lawyer survival rate in my group (and, in fact, all groups in my country at the moment) is zero.

So think hard about it; while PC service is rewarding and has its benefits, you can travel and donate your time/efforts to those in need in ways which will allow you to more squarely apply the skills and mindset gained in law school/the practice of law.

check out http://www.abanet.org/ceeli/, or google some other international NGOs, many of them have use for lawyers or those with a legal background.

kolya

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Re: PeaceCorp
« Reply #6 on: April 03, 2007, 07:16:17 AM »
Oh, and as for the destructive nature of the Peace Corps mentioned above, I have two things to say:

1. We do a fair bit of good (cleaning up wells, health programs, dealing with corruption) but it's true that there is a destructive downside in terms of cultural imperialism and disporportionately benefiting the already-corrupt elite in a country if we're not careful.

2. You'll note that only one of the following goals of the Peace Corps listed below (http://www.peacecorps.gov/index.cfm?shell=learn.whatispc.mission) actually involves giving assistance, while the other two are essentially public diplomacy.  This is a reality that sinks in fairly early on during service: we're not here just to help, we're here to make people like America, for better or for worse.  In that sense, I think that Peace Corps is a pretty big success.

-Helping the people of interested countries in meeting their need for trained men and women.
-Helping promote a better understanding of Americans on the part of the peoples served.
-Helping promote a better understanding of other peoples on the part of Americans.

ucsblaw8

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Re: PeaceCorp
« Reply #7 on: April 04, 2007, 02:23:04 PM »
thanks for the reply  Koyla...I appreciate your input. I'll definitely check out what the ABA has to offer.
shine on