Law School Discussion

Law Students => Current Law Students => Topic started by: ,.,.,.;.,.,. on November 14, 2008, 10:29:27 PM

Title: How Hard is it To Land a Legal Aid Position?
Post by: ,.,.,.;.,.,. on November 14, 2008, 10:29:27 PM
 ???

Can I bank on that and firms and RA?
Title: Re: How Hard is it To Land a Legal Aid Position?
Post by: resipsaloquitur on November 14, 2008, 10:50:08 PM
During the summer?  It would be hard to do all 3 of those things at one time, I would think.

As for how hard it is to get these things.  It depends on where you are, your personality, and who you know.

I worked at legal aid and for a professor my 1L summer.
Title: Re: How Hard is it To Land a Legal Aid Position?
Post by: ,.,.,.;.,.,. on November 14, 2008, 10:57:33 PM
Does school matter?

I live in Chicago, I don't know anyone, and I'm generally a nice guy.
Title: Re: How Hard is it To Land a Legal Aid Position?
Post by: Thistle on November 15, 2008, 06:50:52 AM
my local legal aid hires two for each summer.  usually these are extremely competitive, my 1L summer the other girl hired was #4 in the class. 

i think its a mistake to count on these as "backup" jobs, however.  they were advertising for an attorney while i was there and got over 150 applications from all over the country.

ymmv, though.
Title: Re: How Hard is it To Land a Legal Aid Position?
Post by: Private David Lewis on November 15, 2008, 09:34:45 AM
I "interviewed" at a legal aid place in Houston for my 1L summer.  The interview lasted about 3 hours and mostly consisted of the lawyers just telling war stories (while poor people were waiting to be seen outside).  They didn't seem like they had any system for hiring interns at all and were genuinely surprised when I sent them my resume.  Anyway, I was offered the job on the spot but never really considered it because they seemed so disorganized.   
Title: Re: How Hard is it To Land a Legal Aid Position?
Post by: Miss P on November 15, 2008, 10:37:22 AM
It depends on the office/location for summer hiring.  For attorney hiring these days, things are looking really bad.

::kills self::
Title: Re: How Hard is it To Land a Legal Aid Position?
Post by: Thistle on November 15, 2008, 10:39:17 AM
It depends on the office/location for summer hiring.  For attorney hiring these days, things are looking really bad.

::kills self::


youre telling me hon.  sigh.
Title: Re: How Hard is it To Land a Legal Aid Position?
Post by: dashrashi on November 15, 2008, 04:19:15 PM
It depends on the office/location for summer hiring.  For attorney hiring these days, things are looking really bad.

::kills self::

Buck up, lil camper.
Title: Re: How Hard is it To Land a Legal Aid Position?
Post by: Private David Lewis on November 15, 2008, 06:31:39 PM
It depends on the office/location for summer hiring.  For attorney hiring these days, things are looking really bad.

::kills self::

Buck up, lil camper.

Seconded!
Title: Re: How Hard is it To Land a Legal Aid Position?
Post by: resipsaloquitur on November 15, 2008, 06:42:46 PM
Don't bank on legal aid because it can be very competitive.  I volunteered with a legal aid office for an academic year and wanted to work in public service.  They interviewed me, but turned me down for a summer position. They did refer me to another legal aid program where I did get a job though.

As for working as an RA, it just depends on the professor.  Get to know some of them.
Title: Re: How Hard is it To Land a Legal Aid Position?
Post by: jamiejamie on November 19, 2008, 08:07:48 PM
One legal aid person told me that they didn't care about grades, and instead wanted people with a proven commitment to nonprofit/public work. And this was for an internship. I thought that was stupid because they seemed to be prefering this over competence. Also, it excludes people interested in this type of work that could potentially be interested in a long-term public service career.
Title: Re: How Hard is it To Land a Legal Aid Position?
Post by: jacy85 on November 20, 2008, 04:12:47 AM
Some thoughts:

1.  Grades in no way = competence.  I've seen some serious incompetence at school and work, and have heard stories of people that used to work at my firm during the last decade, who had to have good grades to get hired, but exhibited a scary level of incompetence.  I've also seen some incredibly competent and effective attorneys, litigation and transactional, private and government, who are incredibly talented and did not have great grades in law school.  Yes, grades show a *potential* to do well, but they in no way guarantee a great lawyer.

2.  Preference for people with proven commitment to public service isn't cutting anyone out of the picture.  There are so many ways to get involved that don't involve directly interning at Legal Aid.  There's tons of volunteer programs, and it's never too late for anyone to get involved.  And once you start getting involved, your resume will begin to reflect your commitment ot public service, no matter what your actual job might be.  That, along with networking and meeting the people at legal aid who might hire you, so they get to know you and your commitment to service, means that you will not be forever excluded from a long-term public service career.
Title: Re: How Hard is it To Land a Legal Aid Position?
Post by: Miss P on November 20, 2008, 06:23:41 AM
Some thoughts:

1.  Grades in no way = competence.  I've seen some serious incompetence at school and work, and have heard stories of people that used to work at my firm during the last decade, who had to have good grades to get hired, but exhibited a scary level of incompetence.  I've also seen some incredibly competent and effective attorneys, litigation and transactional, private and government, who are incredibly talented and did not have great grades in law school.  Yes, grades show a *potential* to do well, but they in no way guarantee a great lawyer.

2.  Preference for people with proven commitment to public service isn't cutting anyone out of the picture.  There are so many ways to get involved that don't involve directly interning at Legal Aid.  There's tons of volunteer programs, and it's never too late for anyone to get involved.  And once you start getting involved, your resume will begin to reflect your commitment ot public service, no matter what your actual job might be.  That, along with networking and meeting the people at legal aid who might hire you, so they get to know you and your commitment to service, means that you will not be forever excluded from a long-term public service career.

I completely agree with the above.

In addition, it's worth considering that experience in public service, particularly working with indigent and other marginal populations such as the mentally ill, may be part of what it takes to be competent as a public defender or legal services attorney.  Good representation really is more than applying the law to the facts; in the legal services context, it's also being able to elicit information from and communicate difficult concepts to your client and his or her family, understanding people and their needs, savvy about how to work with limited resources, ability to think on your feet, etc.

Further, while the public defender and legal services offices in my town don't care much about grades in hiring (AFAIK, only one requires a transcript, for instance), they do seem to care about certain indicia of good grades (LR, moot court, merit scholarships) and other academic honors.  Also, in an interview at the office that does ask for a transcript, my interviewer mentioned my (thankfully good!) grades in a few relevant classes (evidence, crimpro 1, crimpro 2, fed courts).  They may not care too much, but they do read it.  And I'm glad they didn't ask me about my corporations grade. :)
Title: Re: How Hard is it To Land a Legal Aid Position?
Post by: ,.,.,.;.,.,. on November 20, 2008, 06:50:43 AM
What type of incompetence have you seen, Jacy (and also Miss P)?  Are we talking about messing up term sheets?  Not knowing about the work product exception in discovery?  Filing an answer much later than they should have?
Title: Re: How Hard is it To Land a Legal Aid Position?
Post by: Private David Lewis on November 20, 2008, 07:05:37 AM
What type of incompetence have you seen, Jacy (and also Miss P)?  Are we talking about messing up term sheets?  Not knowing about the work product exception in discovery?  Filing an answer much later than they should have?

Last semester I was working with a friend of mine on a moot court brief.  She got a much higher grade than I did in civ pro.  The case we were writing the brief for was in the 9th Circuit, and she cited a U.S. District Court in Kansas for the proposition that California had adopted the Restatement of Torts. 
Title: Re: How Hard is it To Land a Legal Aid Position?
Post by: Miss P on November 20, 2008, 07:12:32 AM
What type of incompetence have you seen, Jacy (and also Miss P)?  Are we talking about messing up term sheets?  Not knowing about the work product exception in discovery?  Filing an answer much later than they should have?

Last semester I was working with a friend of mine on a moot court brief.  She got a much higher grade than I did in civ pro.  The case we were writing the brief for was in the 9th Circuit, and she cited a U.S. District Court in Kansas for the proposition that California had adopted the Restatement of Torts. 

This story makes me giggle every time.  Of course, your civpro class was about much deeper concepts, eh?

Wally, there are plenty of examples of incompetence, running the gamut from late filings to missing key arguments in papers or hearings to inability to understand what one's client really needs or wants.  It's probably a lot like other professions except our clients are not always in a great position to know when we've done them wrong.
Title: Re: How Hard is it To Land a Legal Aid Position?
Post by: Thistle on November 20, 2008, 07:15:25 AM
last summer i answered a complaint from the top law firm in the city (where hilary worked) written by one of the top graduates two years ago.  it was one of the most awful pleadings i have ever seen in my life.  disorganized, poorly pled, and with obviously only a passing acquaintance with constitutional law....

first i lulz'd.  then i got it dismissed.
Title: Re: How Hard is it To Land a Legal Aid Position?
Post by: ,.,.,.;.,.,. on November 20, 2008, 07:26:08 AM
last summer i answered a complaint from the top law firm in the city (where hilary worked) written by one of the top graduates two years ago.  it was one of the most awful pleadings i have ever seen in my life.  disorganized, poorly pled, and with obviously only a passing acquaintance with constitutional law....

first i lulz'd.  then i got it dismissed.

Did you 12(b)(6) it or was it something else?

How did ConLaw fit in?  I can see the right to a jury trial coming up with the 7th Amendment, but I don't have enough ConLaw to understand how the allegations themselves or something else might be problematic.

Good work, by the way.

Any other stories about incompetence would be much appreciated.  I can understand a misunderstanding about binding/persuasive authority, but Craig Finn's story makes me lulz.  And, yeah, we have a terrible policy-fixated bent here, too.  I have no idea how we're ever going to practice law at this rate.  Our Torts professor never practiced a day in his life and spends most of the time discussing ex ante/ex post notions of deterrance.
Title: Re: How Hard is it To Land a Legal Aid Position?
Post by: Thistle on November 20, 2008, 07:41:27 AM
last summer i answered a complaint from the top law firm in the city (where hilary worked) written by one of the top graduates two years ago.  it was one of the most awful pleadings i have ever seen in my life.  disorganized, poorly pled, and with obviously only a passing acquaintance with constitutional law....

first i lulz'd.  then i got it dismissed.

Did you 12(b)(6) it or was it something else?

How did ConLaw fit in?  I can see the right to a jury trial coming up with the 7th Amendment, but I don't have enough ConLaw to understand how the allegations themselves or something else might be problematic.

Good work, by the way.

Any other stories about incompetence would be much appreciated.  I can understand a misunderstanding about binding/persuasive authority, but Craig Finn's story makes me lulz.  And, yeah, we have a terrible policy-fixated bent here, too.  I have no idea how we're ever going to practice law at this rate.  Our Torts professor never practiced a day in his life and spends most of the time discussing ex ante/ex post notions of deterrance.


12(c).  didnt want to go full msj unless mtd was denied.

it was a constitutional complaint, wrongful firing without due process; whistleblower; stuff like that with a bunch of state issues thrown in willy-nilly.  wrong amendments were cited or misapplied.  it was kinda humorous, actually.
Title: Re: How Hard is it To Land a Legal Aid Position?
Post by: ,.,.,.;.,.,. on November 20, 2008, 07:45:53 AM
Because it's 12(c), and not 12(b)(6), I understand that they can't amend the complaint and come back; judgment on the pleadings was for the defendant.  That's a bummer for the client.

Or can they return?  This isn't a dismissal with or without prejudice, so it's as if it was adjudicated on the merits.  I wonder if they tried to take this to an appellate court, citing their own incompetence.
Title: Re: How Hard is it To Land a Legal Aid Position?
Post by: Thistle on November 20, 2008, 08:13:40 AM
Because it's 12(c), and not 12(b)(6), I understand that they can't amend the complaint and come back; judgment on the pleadings was for the defendant.  That's a bummer for the client.

Or can they return?  This isn't a dismissal with or without prejudice, so it's as if it was adjudicated on the merits.  I wonder if they tried to take this to an appellate court, citing their own incompetence.


i asked for prejudice, didnt get it, so for now they havent refiled.  if they do, we'll go full msj because we did depos and rogs in the meantime.  they could always file in state court un der state constiution, but i'd remove anyway, so they are out of luck there too.

its a clear cut at-will dismissal, we would have won on a 12b6 imo anyways, but i just do what i'm told lol
Title: Re: How Hard is it To Land a Legal Aid Position?
Post by: ,.,.,.;.,.,. on November 20, 2008, 08:23:52 AM
Haddle v. Garrison was actually one of our first 12(b)(6) cases for CivPro.  It's about a similar issue, in which, despite the at-will language, they allow the complaint.

Can you do depositions without getting to discovery?  How'd you know who to depose without the 26(a) automatic disclosures and the 26(f) discovery conference, and the judge's scheduling order?

Good work.  Your job sounds like a lot of fun.  I'm surprised, though, that you're with the defendant and not the plaintiff; I thought you worked in PI.
Title: Re: How Hard is it To Land a Legal Aid Position?
Post by: Thistle on November 20, 2008, 08:33:47 AM
Haddle v. Garrison was actually one of our first 12(b)(6) cases for CivPro.  It's about a similar issue, in which, despite the at-will language, they allow the complaint.

Can you do depositions without getting to discovery?  How'd you know who to depose without the 26(a) automatic disclosures and the 26(f) discovery conference, and the judge's scheduling order?

Good work.  Your job sounds like a lot of fun.  I'm surprised, though, that you're with the defendant and not the plaintiff; I thought you worked in PI.

ty.

the court had already issued a discovery order before we did the mtd.   pi?  where did you get that idea? 

i'm with the state municipal league defending cities and municipalities against all comers.  very interesting job, every day is something different, which i like.  lots of constitutional applications and immunity arguments which is interesting.  annexations, voting rights, employment, use of force, all kinds of stuff.
Title: Re: How Hard is it To Land a Legal Aid Position?
Post by: Private David Lewis on November 20, 2008, 09:02:35 AM
Of course, your civpro class was about much deeper concepts, eh?



Well, that's one way of putting it.