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Author Topic: Political Jobs  (Read 2787 times)

Maddie

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Political Jobs
« on: December 26, 2008, 07:42:56 PM »
Hi everyone -

I haven't posted much for awhile, and apologies if this has been addressed but I have been living under the 1L rock for awhile.  My question is about summer jobs that indicate political orientation.  Do you think it is a bad idea to take a job that clearly indicates your political leanings?  How much of an issue do you think that would be to 2L summer employers?  I know it can be hard to get summer jobs as a 1L under the best of circumstances and I'm at a T2.  Does anyone have any experience in this area, or know of anyone who has experience?
Thanks!

Captain

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Re: Political Jobs
« Reply #1 on: December 26, 2008, 10:39:24 PM »
Hi everyone -

I haven't posted much for awhile, and apologies if this has been addressed but I have been living under the 1L rock for awhile.  My question is about summer jobs that indicate political orientation.  Do you think it is a bad idea to take a job that clearly indicates your political leanings?  How much of an issue do you think that would be to 2L summer employers?  I know it can be hard to get summer jobs as a 1L under the best of circumstances and I'm at a T2.  Does anyone have any experience in this area, or know of anyone who has experience?
Thanks!

No. I worked for an organization with a very strong political leaning. I don't think it seriously affected my OCI interviews.
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NeverTrustKlingons

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Re: Political Jobs
« Reply #2 on: December 26, 2008, 10:47:16 PM »
Hiring people are just people, like anyone else.  Is there a chance you will get dinged due to divergent political beliefs?  Of course.  Should that stop you from pursuing something you're interested in, that aligns you with a political viewpoint?  No.  Would you want to work for that person anyway?

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NeverTrustKlingons

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Re: Political Jobs
« Reply #3 on: December 26, 2008, 10:51:21 PM »
My point is that you will always run the risk of running into those petty little people like whatever the name of Bush's idiot from Regent University at DOJ was... you don't let them stop you from doing what you want to do in life.  You certainly don't alter your plans or beliefs for them.

If we're talking about private law firms, it's not like the idiot who throws you out due to the color of your politics is the only guy on the block with some vacancies for corporate lawyers.

If we're talking about government, discrimination based on political beliefs that don't affect job performance (and aren't based on violently overthrowing the government) is against policy and, in the Federal government, can land you in front of a Congressional committee like the aforementioned idiot from Regent.
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NeverTrustKlingons

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Re: Political Jobs
« Reply #4 on: December 26, 2008, 11:02:03 PM »
I suppose, but my advice is still not to let any of this prospective rejection stop you or anyone else from doing what you want.  There are countless judges, all the way up to the Supreme Court, whose legal resumes leave very little doubt about which way they vote in elections.
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vap

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Re: Political Jobs
« Reply #5 on: December 27, 2008, 12:13:13 AM »
Choose a summer job that will aid your long term career goals.  SYN is correct that an extremely political resume shows a lack of judgment IMO. 

Maddie

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Re: Political Jobs
« Reply #6 on: December 27, 2008, 11:17:36 AM »
Thanks for all of your opinions!  My resume doesn't have anything overtly political that would be relevant to an employer, so at this point it can all be safely removed.  The job I am considering applying to is not issue specific since I agree that advertising your stance on an issue like abortion on your resume shows a lack of judgment.  I am considering working for a Congressional Republican, which I worry about in this political climate.

goaliechica

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Re: Political Jobs
« Reply #7 on: December 27, 2008, 12:58:22 PM »
Wow, this was not my experience at all. Maybe it depends on the market. I had tons of things on my resume indicating where I stand politically, and many of them turned out to be good jumping-off points for conversations during callback interviews with large firms. In fact, at many firms I had people eager to point out to me that their pro bono programs aligned with some of my apparent interests. Clearly you shouldn't go off on a political rant or seem like someone who can't get along with anyone who disagrees with you, but I don't think a partisan resume indicates that at all, if you seem personable. I think it would be absurd to try to hide your political views by removing things from your resume that would otherwise be relevant and a good indication of who you are as a candidate.
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goaliechica

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Re: Political Jobs
« Reply #8 on: December 27, 2008, 01:43:34 PM »
It really depends what you're "political organizations" on the resume are, rather than the market.  If you have an eco-friendly resume printed on recycled paper and want to be a biglaw environmental law attorney, you will have an extra hurdle. 
Rough guide for big law:
"Acceptable" political views: clean elections, helping refugees, Darfur, death penalty opposition, indigent services, poverty, general environmental (if you want to be a corporate attorney or non-enviro litigation attorney), health care, first amendment, immigration, NAACP, pro-gay organizations (if you are gay)

The benefits may outweigh the costs depending on the resume/employer, but generally leave off or sanitize: State Democratic or Republican party, national Democratic or Republican Party, working for well-known "whacko" legislators/Senators, pro-gay organizations (if you are not gay)

Leave off if possible: environmental (if you want to be an environmental lawyer), working for Blagojevich (insert other disgraced politician or someone who is off the charts nutty), Planned Parenthood, NARAL, pro-life organizations, guns/NRA, English as the national language, anti-gay organizations (law firms want someone who will fit in with the goal of attaining diversity, or at least won't cause them any lawsuits or Above-the-Law drama), your political blog, socialist/communist, libertarian/green party

I had pro-choice stuff on my resume. Again, I guess it just depends on what you're going for and whom you end up talking to. 

ETA: And wtf at leaving off pro-gay work if you're not gay? Again, I just don't think you can universalize about this stuff and how employers are going to feel about it. Who's to say that pro-gay organizations (if you're not gay) are going to raise a red flag, but health care work won't? I mean, lots of law firms represent pharmaceutical companies.

Again, maybe I am being overly optimistic here based on my experience, but I think that if you can talk about the things on your resume in a personable, non-aggressive way, and   explain convincingly why you still really want to work for a big law firm representing corporations, and these are otherwise relevant experiences, it shouldn't be a problem.
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goaliechica

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Re: Political Jobs
« Reply #9 on: December 27, 2008, 01:55:07 PM »
I had a partisan resume but certainly toned it down.  I took off lesser affiliations (college clubs, law school clubs, general membership roles), downplayed internships, and dropped the names of people I didn't need to list.  I also wound up getting a job with a firm that is of the exact opposite political leaning, and is well known for its bent. 

I didn't say a partisan resume won't get you a job, but it's smarter to try to please the largest number of potential evaluators in a job process.  It is wonderful that yours worked for you, but someone asked for advice.  This is what I've heard from my career services office (I discussed my resume at length), what I heard directly from attorneys this summer, and what I've gleaned from other people's job search experience. 

Fair enough on trying to give universal advice. I had successful interviews at well-known conservative firms, so, again, I think it just depends on how you spin it. However, if you hearken back to the OP's actual question, it is about whether or not she should take a 1L job that would reveal her political leanings, not about the degree to which she should purge her resume. My advice would be yes, she should, if it's a good job and will provide relevant legal experience. My career services office said the same, and that was my experience and the experience of many of my classmates. YMMV.
Quote from: Earthbound SNES
Get a sense of humor, Susan B. Anthony!
Quote from: dashrashi
I'm going to cut a female dog. With a knife with a brown handle, natch.
Quote from: Elephant Lee
Don't judge me. You've not had my life.