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Author Topic: Con law prospects  (Read 4846 times)

RokoMotion

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Con law prospects
« on: January 15, 2008, 10:31:10 AM »
I am a 0L looking for some advice.  I'm extremely interested in many aspects of constitutional law: federalism, separation of powers, bill of rights, etc.

Are there any top firms that actually have work available in those types of fields, or am I destined to work in government?  If I must work in government, what types of steps should I take to get to a career that involves those fields?

Thanks.


middlelanguage

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Re: Con law prospects
« Reply #1 on: January 17, 2008, 11:40:16 PM »
Separation of powers and questions of that nature or theoretical questions. The legal questions that arise, and are litigated, are far more narrow and typically do not deal with theoretical concepts . . . at least on the level of an academic. You will not be able to practice "Constitutional Law" as you know it.

PIL

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Re: Con law prospects
« Reply #2 on: January 18, 2008, 01:56:13 AM »
I am a 0L looking for some advice.  I'm extremely interested in many aspects of constitutional law: federalism, separation of powers, bill of rights, etc.

Are there any top firms that actually have work available in those types of fields, or am I destined to work in government?  If I must work in government, what types of steps should I take to get to a career that involves those fields?

Thanks.



Such conlaw issues do arise in some private practice settings, albeit uber-prestiguous ones.  For example, appellate practices of large firms may raise a separation of powers claim -- likely last among several others -- in challenging an action of an executive agency adverse to the client's interests.  If, however, you want to spend a substantial amount of your time with such issues, the Office of Legal Council (OLC) is the place to be (at least if you tend toward pro-executive).

Do know that you will likely discover other areas of law that interest you as much, if not more, once you begin law school, and especially after you dabble in practice over the summers.  Good luck!

jacy85

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Re: Con law prospects
« Reply #3 on: January 18, 2008, 07:47:25 AM »
I agree with what everyone here has said.  I'll add a couple of  thoughts I had.  First is that you could work for an organization like the ACLU or a private firm specializing in constitutional litigation.  These firms may be very selective, and the ACLU might not be to your taste, but they do a lot of Section 1983 litigation (suing the gov't for violations of const'l rights).  From the exposure to it I've had, that kind of litigation seems very complex, with a lot of interrelated issues.  That could be something to look into.

Second, you could go into academia, although this is infinitely more difficult, as you'll need the proper school pedigree, a great clerkship, etc.  One of the best professors I've ever had was for Federal Courts, which is loaded with federalism and sep of powers issues.  He went to Yale and was a SCOTUS clerk.  He gets to think and write about these issues every day. 

You don't necessarily need to go to Yale and clerk for a Supreme Court Justice to get into academia, but it can still be a difficult route.  Could be something to work towards?

RokoMotion

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Re: Con law prospects
« Reply #4 on: January 21, 2008, 10:06:26 AM »
I agree with what everyone here has said.  I'll add a couple of  thoughts I had.  First is that you could work for an organization like the ACLU or a private firm specializing in constitutional litigation.  These firms may be very selective, and the ACLU might not be to your taste, but they do a lot of Section 1983 litigation (suing the gov't for violations of const'l rights).  From the exposure to it I've had, that kind of litigation seems very complex, with a lot of interrelated issues.  That could be something to look into.

Second, you could go into academia, although this is infinitely more difficult, as you'll need the proper school pedigree, a great clerkship, etc.  One of the best professors I've ever had was for Federal Courts, which is loaded with federalism and sep of powers issues.  He went to Yale and was a SCOTUS clerk.  He gets to think and write about these issues every day. 

You don't necessarily need to go to Yale and clerk for a Supreme Court Justice to get into academia, but it can still be a difficult route.  Could be something to work towards?

This is my point, I suppose.  There are separation of powers and federalism issues in public policy all the time.  There have to be lawsuits involving them.  And, in order to do lawsuits, some one has to litigate.

I want to be one of those guys.  I'm going to a great school (not Yale though), so I'm just curious how I can plug myself into that niche.  I'll look into those small firms you were talking about. 

Thanks for your help guys.  If there are any more thoughts, I'd be grateful to hear them.

AntoniusBlock

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Re: Con law prospects
« Reply #5 on: February 06, 2008, 12:40:55 AM »
As people mentioned, unless you work for the OLC or go into academia, you are unlikely to deal directly with these broad issues on a regular basis.  However, as was also mentioned, there are many prospects for dealing with them in a narrower context - the constitution is all around us.  For example, sec. 1983 litigation is done by quite a few firms and allows you to directly deal with constitutional issues.  Even just practicing criminal law will allow you to deal with the 4th, 5th and 6th amendments.  In a variety of civil contexts, you will may encounter issues of Due Process, Seventh Amendment right to a jury trial, and so on.  Furthermore, you could work in a variety of state agencies and government positions that will allow you to deal with similar issues regarding state constitutions - these might not be what you are looking for but they still present many interesting issues.  If you do well in law school there is always the prospect of federal clerkships.  Finally, in any case, you are always free to research and write on your own regarding this topics and try to get your ideas published.

Jumboshrimps

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Re: Con law prospects
« Reply #6 on: February 06, 2008, 08:15:01 AM »
In a sense, any practice of law is the practice of constitutional law, since constitutions are the foundation of all our laws. I like constitutional arguments, too. So does Ron Paul.

It should be mentioned that criminal attorneys are constitutional law attorneys in the truest sense. If you like your con law courses, become a criminal attorney (or a criminal, for that matter).