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Careers in legal aid

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Potat
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Re: Careers in legal aid

Post by Potat »

Hi all! Circling back to Dickinson Law, you think I'd have a good shot at legal aid in Philly? I think I would enjoy living there. My mom was raised there, so she's excited about the prospect.

I'm not seeing a whole lot of Dickinson Law representation in PA legal aid on LinkedIn. There are a few Dickinson Law alums practicing big law in Philadelphia. Surprisingly, I think I tracked more alums practicing big law in Delaware.
Story
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Re: Careers in legal aid

Post by Story »

I’m not as familiar with the legal aid market in Philly.

Are you sure you would want to spend your initial (at least) legal career in Philly? I forgot, do you have any SO that might object?

Have you asked Dickinson if they have stats about students who work in legal aid soon after law school? Maybe you can even ask to speak to an alumnus who does legal aid.

I imagine your chances of Philly legal aid will be pretty good. The biggest obstacle might be your lack of ties to the area. But if your mom is from there, maybe it could work as a “tie” to the area.
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Potat
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Re: Careers in legal aid

Post by Potat »

I don't think I'd mind. I have immediate family scattered in the northeast (DC, NYC, Boston), so I wouldn't feel alone. My mom's nearing retirement age, so she may even join me there soon after law school. I'm currently single.

I'll reach out to Dickinson for those stats and see if they can connect me with an alum. Thanks!
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BlendedUnicorn
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Re: Careers in legal aid

Post by BlendedUnicorn »

Philly seems like a cool city, but that's putting a lot of eggs in a basket kind of randomly. There's not a clear path back to California if you go and don't like it.
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ymmv
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Re: Careers in legal aid

Post by ymmv »

Potat wrote: Wed Oct 27, 2021 10:01 am Hi all! Circling back to Dickinson Law, you think I'd have a good shot at legal aid in Philly? I think I would enjoy living there. My mom was raised there, so she's excited about the prospect.

I'm not seeing a whole lot of Dickinson Law representation in PA legal aid on LinkedIn. There are a few Dickinson Law alums practicing big law in Philadelphia. Surprisingly, I think I tracked more alums practicing big law in Delaware.
yeah I don't practice in philly, but in living there and doing student clinics I met dozens if not hundreds of temple law grads, a fair number of drexel law grads, a few widener folks, yet don't recall ever meeting anyone from dickinson (and apologies to them if I've forgotten). dickinson is a long drive from philly and would make doing clinics or attending networking events during the school year fairly difficult if not impossible.
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BlendedUnicorn
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Re: Careers in legal aid

Post by BlendedUnicorn »

oh jeez yeah, I didn't realize how far out it was. Would not go. The combination of no network in place and it being really difficult/impossible to do clinics/externships/whatever with local lawyers makes that a tough sell even if getting a gig in philly was everything you'd ever hoped and dreamed for.
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Nony
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Re: Careers in legal aid

Post by Nony »

The thing is, it’s really early in the admissions cycle still - you don’t have to make any decisions now. It’s awesome that you got offered the full ride but I would let your cycle play out before getting committed to your various options.
Story
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Re: Careers in legal aid

Post by Story »

You know yourself better than I do. I thought I really wanted to live in NYC for my whole life. But then life, family, job satisfaction changes, and maybe you wanna move.

If you work first in Philly, it might be hard to go anywhere else later.
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sev
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Re: Careers in legal aid

Post by sev »

At least for my organization, there's a shortage of attorneys--if you're dedicated to serving our clientbase, you've got a good shot no matter where you're from.

That said, I'm in very conservative region in flyover country where access-to-justice minded people generally don't want to move... California may be different.
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Potat
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Re: Careers in legal aid

Post by Potat »

ymmv wrote: Wed Oct 27, 2021 12:22 pm
Potat wrote: Wed Oct 27, 2021 10:01 am Hi all! Circling back to Dickinson Law, you think I'd have a good shot at legal aid in Philly? I think I would enjoy living there. My mom was raised there, so she's excited about the prospect.

I'm not seeing a whole lot of Dickinson Law representation in PA legal aid on LinkedIn. There are a few Dickinson Law alums practicing big law in Philadelphia. Surprisingly, I think I tracked more alums practicing big law in Delaware.
yeah I don't practice in philly, but in living there and doing student clinics I met dozens if not hundreds of temple law grads, a fair number of drexel law grads, a few widener folks, yet don't recall ever meeting anyone from dickinson (and apologies to them if I've forgotten). dickinson is a long drive from philly and would make doing clinics or attending networking events during the school year fairly difficult if not impossible.
Did you meet any Rutgers (Camden) law grads? They've provided an offer with $$$+. I'll try to wipe the conditions. Also, Pepperdine made an offer without money (non-negotiable). :cry:

Have a happy turkey day!
williamramirez

Re: Careers in legal aid

Post by williamramirez »

Potat wrote: Wed Nov 24, 2021 8:42 am
ymmv wrote: Wed Oct 27, 2021 12:22 pm
Potat wrote: Wed Oct 27, 2021 10:01 am Hi all! Circling back to Dickinson Law, you think I'd have a good shot at legal aid in Philly? I think I would enjoy living there. My mom was raised there, so she's excited about the prospect.

I'm not seeing a whole lot of Dickinson Law representation in PA legal aid on LinkedIn. There are a few Dickinson Law alums practicing big law in Philadelphia. Surprisingly, I think I tracked more alums practicing big law in Delaware.
yeah I don't practice in philly, but in living there and doing student clinics I met dozens if not hundreds of temple law grads, a fair number of drexel law grads, a few widener folks, yet don't recall ever meeting anyone from dickinson (and apologies to them if I've forgotten). dickinson is a long drive from philly and would make doing clinics or attending networking events during the school year fairly difficult if not impossible.
Did you meet any Rutgers (Camden) law grads? They've provided an offer with $$$+. I'll try to wipe the conditions. Also, Pepperdine made an offer without money (non-negotiable). :cry:

Have a happy turkey day!
Hi. I want to go to law school next year. But I read your post, and now I'm thinking about how not everyone is lucky enough to get a good job after graduation... Now I'm questioning my abilities.
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Potat
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Re: Careers in legal aid

Post by Potat »

Hi William,

Are you a college student? What are your career goals, and what are you hoping to accomplish with a law degree?

You might have better luck connecting with current law students/attorneys by posting on a "law school admissions" thread. Also, you might want to try posting on some law-specific subreddits for advice. I'm hesitant to give advice, as I'm a 0L, but I think you're smart to be concerned about employment. I'll be 32 when I start law school next fall. I had the same doubts when I first contemplated a legal career 10 years ago. Take your time to network, connect with practicing attorneys, research the profession, consider things like opportunity cost. Don't rush into it. Law school could easily lead to financial ruin, if you're not careful. If you want to chat, feel free to PM me!
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Potat
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Re: Careers in legal aid

Post by Potat »

Hey all! My cycle is winding down. I'm now submitting final reconsideration requests and weighing my offers...

ASU $$+
Drexel $$$+
Indiana Bloomington $$
Penn State Dickinson $$$$
Pepperdine -
Rutgers Camden $$$$
SMU $+
Texas A&M $$+

All offers are unconditional except for Rutgers (2.7 gpa). Unfortunately, I was rejected at Loyola Los Angeles, so there's no chance of me staying home. I'm currently leaning TAMU. Its in-state reputation is growing and they maintain relatively small class sizes. Also, I have family in the DFW area. The Aggie network is huge... it's like a cult. I imagine there will be more opportunities in TX. Dickinson Law is a great value, but I think it's too far out for my liking.
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Stranger
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Re: Careers in legal aid

Post by Stranger »

Potat wrote: Thu Feb 17, 2022 9:38 pm Hey all! My cycle is winding down. I'm now submitting final reconsideration requests and weighing my offers...

ASU $$+
Drexel $$$+
Indiana Bloomington $$
Penn State Dickinson $$$$
Pepperdine -
Rutgers Camden $$$$
SMU $+
Texas A&M $$+

All offers are unconditional except for Rutgers (2.7 gpa). Unfortunately, I was rejected at Loyola Los Angeles, so there's no chance of me staying home. I'm currently leaning TAMU. Its in-state reputation is growing and they maintain relatively small class sizes. Also, I have family in the DFW area. The Aggie network is huge... it's like a cult. I imagine there will be more opportunities in TX. Dickinson Law is a great value, but I think it's too far out for my liking.
I don't remember seeing Rutgers on your list before, but it introduces an interesting wrinkle. NJ lends itself to state court clerkships--there are a ton of them, and almost half the folks who graduate from NJ law schools do one. As someone currently doing a state court clerkship (albeit not in NJ), I can tell you that it will give you a great opportunity to understand your role as a legal aid attorney and the sorts of things that will and won't work for you and your opponents. It will also count as public service, so to the degree you have any debt from law school, it will help with that as much as legal aid work. You will definitely become a better attorney by clerking in a trial court. I also don't think it will work against a career in legal aid at all--an attorney with a legal aid org kinda soft sell recruited me (not sure I want to work out here long term, but legal aid wouldn't be a bad gig here) when we bumped into each other at lunch last week.

But Rutgers has a conditional scholarship, and that's bullshit. You can get into state court clerkships from just about anywhere (so long as the state has trial court clerkships--NJ just has a disproportionately high number). Going to Pepperdine only makes sense if, right now, you can 100% say you are committed to 10 years of legal aid work and are willing to stare down a stupid high amount of student debt without blinking. Frankly, anything with a cost of attendance over $125K or so is the same. These aren't schools likely to put you in contention for a career that would ever pay off those loans, so PSLF is the way you'd go from anything over about that mark. You should almost definitely cross Indiana off your list unless you would love to spend the rest of your life in Indiana. I don't see any relative advantages to ASU or SMU at this point, either. PSU has the advantage if being the best offer financially, but is likely to limit you geographically (then again, anecdotally, I work a couple states away and know a partner in a local firm with a Dickinson Law degree, but his father is a prominent figure in the local legal community, so I suspect that's more from his own ties than the school).

If you'd be happy in Texas, TAMU makes a lot of sense. If you'd be happy in Philly, Drexel makes a lot of sense. Pepperdine, PSU, and Rutgers are all much more conditional, but could still make sense. I don't have a right answer for you, but hopefully have given you some things to think about and a little help narrowing a somewhat overbroad list.
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Potat
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Re: Careers in legal aid

Post by Potat »

Stranger wrote: Fri Feb 18, 2022 3:31 am
Potat wrote: Thu Feb 17, 2022 9:38 pm Hey all! My cycle is winding down. I'm now submitting final reconsideration requests and weighing my offers...

ASU $$+
Drexel $$$+
Indiana Bloomington $$
Penn State Dickinson $$$$
Pepperdine -
Rutgers Camden $$$$
SMU $+
Texas A&M $$+

All offers are unconditional except for Rutgers (2.7 gpa). Unfortunately, I was rejected at Loyola Los Angeles, so there's no chance of me staying home. I'm currently leaning TAMU. Its in-state reputation is growing and they maintain relatively small class sizes. Also, I have family in the DFW area. The Aggie network is huge... it's like a cult. I imagine there will be more opportunities in TX. Dickinson Law is a great value, but I think it's too far out for my liking.
I don't remember seeing Rutgers on your list before, but it introduces an interesting wrinkle. NJ lends itself to state court clerkships--there are a ton of them, and almost half the folks who graduate from NJ law schools do one. As someone currently doing a state court clerkship (albeit not in NJ), I can tell you that it will give you a great opportunity to understand your role as a legal aid attorney and the sorts of things that will and won't work for you and your opponents. It will also count as public service, so to the degree you have any debt from law school, it will help with that as much as legal aid work. You will definitely become a better attorney by clerking in a trial court. I also don't think it will work against a career in legal aid at all--an attorney with a legal aid org kinda soft sell recruited me (not sure I want to work out here long term, but legal aid wouldn't be a bad gig here) when we bumped into each other at lunch last week.

But Rutgers has a conditional scholarship, and that's bullshit. You can get into state court clerkships from just about anywhere (so long as the state has trial court clerkships--NJ just has a disproportionately high number). Going to Pepperdine only makes sense if, right now, you can 100% say you are committed to 10 years of legal aid work and are willing to stare down a stupid high amount of student debt without blinking. Frankly, anything with a cost of attendance over $125K or so is the same. These aren't schools likely to put you in contention for a career that would ever pay off those loans, so PSLF is the way you'd go from anything over about that mark. You should almost definitely cross Indiana off your list unless you would love to spend the rest of your life in Indiana. I don't see any relative advantages to ASU or SMU at this point, either. PSU has the advantage if being the best offer financially, but is likely to limit you geographically (then again, anecdotally, I work a couple states away and know a partner in a local firm with a Dickinson Law degree, but his father is a prominent figure in the local legal community, so I suspect that's more from his own ties than the school).

If you'd be happy in Texas, TAMU makes a lot of sense. If you'd be happy in Philly, Drexel makes a lot of sense. Pepperdine, PSU, and Rutgers are all much more conditional, but could still make sense. I don't have a right answer for you, but hopefully have given you some things to think about and a little help narrowing a somewhat overbroad list.
Yeah, I think I've narrowed it to Drexel and TAMU. I do think I'd experience a better quality of life in TX, but I have yet to experience Philadelphia. I'll visit soon. I'm intrigued by NJ clerkships, but I don't have a good feeling about Rutgers Camden. Their admin is slow in responding to inquiries, unwilling to reconsider offers, etc. I imagine I'd have a good shot at clerkships from Drexel. If ASU comes back with $$$+, I might reconsider. Thanks for your help!
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Potat
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Re: Careers in legal aid

Post by Potat »

I've been chosen as a public interest scholar at Dickinson Law. Program benefits include 1K more per year, guaranteed summer IOLTA fellowship (w/ stipend), and preferential consideration for post-grad IOLTA and Bridge fellowships. Sounds like a pretty sweet deal. I think they're back in the running. Any thoughts?

https://dickinsonlaw.psu.edu/grants-and-scholarships
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Hennessy
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Re: Careers in legal aid

Post by Hennessy »

think this is really going to come down to - where do you see yourself living, making connections, dropping roots while in school. None of these are bad options for careers in legal aid. You will leave school with debt no matter what. So no one here can really give you advice on where to attend unless you know where you want to attend.

Public interest scholar at Dickinson and a student at Drexel who lands some public interest summers are going to have the same or similar shot at post-grad legal aid careers. These programs like "publuc interest scholar" are a fancy way of getting students focused on career paths, but you already know what you want to do. Don't mean to rain on your parade at all, that's a cool thing to be a part of. But it shouldn't push you to attend one school over another when considered against things like overall debt load, career prospects, and most of all YOUR geographic preference.
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Hennessy
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Re: Careers in legal aid

Post by Hennessy »

Potat wrote: Fri Feb 18, 2022 9:20 am Yeah, I think I've narrowed it to Drexel and TAMU. I do think I'd experience a better quality of life in TX, but I have yet to experience Philadelphia. I'll visit soon. I'm intrigued by NJ clerkships, but I don't have a good feeling about Rutgers Camden. Their admin is slow in responding to inquiries, unwilling to reconsider offers, etc. I imagine I'd have a good shot at clerkships from Drexel. If ASU comes back with $$$+, I might reconsider. Thanks for your help!
Don't discount a school just because of their admin. If you want a clerkship, Rutgers literally sends like half the student body into clerkships (over 40%). Didn't they also give you some of the most money? And Rutgers is adjacent to NYC which is like the epicenter of East Coast legal aid careers.
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Hennessy
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Re: Careers in legal aid

Post by Hennessy »

All this is to say: figure out whether you want to live in Houston-Dallas, Phoenix, NYC, or Philly, and then choose the best school with the most money on the table.
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