Law School Discussion

strange world of public interest careers

strange world of public interest careers
« on: February 06, 2008, 05:31:23 PM »
I decided to go to law school because I want to go into disability advocacy; I'm very much set on a public interest career.

As I start meeting representatives from various non-profit firms, and getting to know other students headed that direction who are involved with PILF and that sort of thing, I'm getting a weird feeling about the little sub-culture of public interest folks, and I don't really fit in. I feel like there's an assumption that everyone in the field has super liberal political views and anyone who doesn't isn't really welcome. I'm probably overreacting, but the idea of spending my whole career where I don't feel like I "belong" is a little scary.

Any thoughts? Has anybody with sort of moderate political views (or a lack of political views) and who is not a vegan and who owns a car and doesn't feel guilty about it experienced this? Has anyone done an internship or anything with a non-profit firm and not felt out of place?


  • ****
  • 2381
  • January 6, 2007
    • View Profile
Re: strange world of public interest careers
« Reply #1 on: February 06, 2008, 09:09:53 PM »
If that is really what you want to do, you need to get some experience now.  Volunteer at some legal aid offices or other legal nonprofits.  Meeting people and working with them are two totally different things.

People worry too much about fitting in.  If you are passionate about the work, and you have experience, it will show.  Its important to be cordial and to get along with co workers, but you do not have to be carbon copies.

Re: strange world of public interest careers
« Reply #2 on: February 10, 2008, 08:30:36 PM »
If by disability advocacy you are including the possibility of litigating for individual disabled plaintiffs, then remember that you can always just set up shop yourself and do it that way. Certainly your disabled clients will not generally care if you are a vegan and a hippie and in fact they will probably be happy to just have a regular, down-to-earth person going to bat for them.


Re: strange world of public interest careers
« Reply #3 on: February 11, 2008, 10:54:39 AM »
There are many public interest groups that are right-leaning or centrist. But to be frank, PI people are usually VERY passionate about what they do; they actually believe in it. The places I've looked at are all either right or left, very few fall into the middle. Best of luck to you.