Has Covid-19 impacted PI/Gov hiring or am I just a loser?

Saami
Posts: 236
Joined: Thu Feb 01, 2018 10:56 am

Has Covid-19 impacted PI/Gov hiring or am I just a loser?

Post by Saami » Wed Feb 24, 2021 10:24 am

I'm really starting to feel like I'm going to graduate unemployed. Fellowship opportunities seem to be few and far between at this point, and I'm just getting either radio silence or very quick rejections from the places to which I've applied. I'm trying to gauge how much of this is Covid-19 related and how much is something personal on my end. I'm not trying to sound entitled or cocky; I'd like to think though that I'm a fairly strong applicant.

I don't really know what to do at this point. Lacking any sort of job security post-graduation is really chipping away at my sanity. I can't focus on anything else cause I'm constantly checking emails and job listing sites. My career services is pretty useless and is telling me to "just apply for the Columbia JD Public Interest and Government Fellowship," but at this point it's pretty much impossible to find a host for a sponsored fellowship. And even if I did apply, I'm limited to NYC geographically because I have a wife and a kid on the way and I'm not moving us across the country for a $40k salary.

I just feel like one big loser. Like, what was the point of these past three years? I guess my next move is to apply extremely broad out of total desperation and give up on my life goals.
Last edited by Saami on Wed Feb 24, 2021 10:46 am, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
Hey_Everybody
Posts: 1302
Joined: Thu Feb 08, 2018 6:45 pm

Re: Has Covid-19 impacted PI/Gov hiring or am I just a loser?

Post by Hey_Everybody » Wed Feb 24, 2021 10:31 am

I'm a 3L with a PI/gov job lined up, but I'd say among my friends in the same boat it's about 50/50 if people have a job lined up yet or not. Nothing to do but just keep applying, that's the game. Lots of those kind of jobs don't even hire until post-bar anyway. The people I know looking in NY seem to be having a particularly rough time right now, but I have no idea why that is. Don't be too discouraged, totally normal to not have something lined up yet. Also grades and LR and being from Columbia are probably not gonna matter as much as you think they do, at least for some jobs. If you're overemphasizing that part of your resume as opposed to why you want to do the particular work and the experience you have in the area that could be part of the issue

Saami
Posts: 236
Joined: Thu Feb 01, 2018 10:56 am

Re: Has Covid-19 impacted PI/Gov hiring or am I just a loser?

Post by Saami » Wed Feb 24, 2021 10:38 am

Hey_Everybody wrote:
Wed Feb 24, 2021 10:31 am
If you're overemphasizing that part of your resume as opposed to why you want to do the particular work and the experience you have in the area that could be part of the issue
It takes up like 3% of my resume and 0% of my cover letters. Just figured I'd include the info in case it's relevant.

User avatar
Hey_Everybody
Posts: 1302
Joined: Thu Feb 08, 2018 6:45 pm

Re: Has Covid-19 impacted PI/Gov hiring or am I just a loser?

Post by Hey_Everybody » Wed Feb 24, 2021 10:42 am

Saami wrote:
Wed Feb 24, 2021 10:38 am
Hey_Everybody wrote:
Wed Feb 24, 2021 10:31 am
If you're overemphasizing that part of your resume as opposed to why you want to do the particular work and the experience you have in the area that could be part of the issue
It takes up like 3% of my resume and 0% of my cover letters. Just figured I'd include the info in case it's relevant.
OK then, sounds like you're good. Just wasn't really sure why you were including that info/if you were banking on that saving otherwise weak aspects of your applications. To answer your questions: Yes, hiring has been impacted to some extent although it's hard to say how much, and no, you're not a loser.
Last edited by Hey_Everybody on Wed Feb 24, 2021 10:44 am, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
BlendedUnicorn
Big Tent Energy
Posts: 14935
Joined: Thu Jan 25, 2018 3:13 pm

Re: Has Covid-19 impacted PI/Gov hiring or am I just a loser?

Post by BlendedUnicorn » Wed Feb 24, 2021 10:44 am

Yeah, just got to keep grinding it out. The certainty of having a job lined up is part of what you rejected when you turned down your summer firm, just have to own that now and trust the process.

I don’t know what your wife does, but unless she’s got a job she really doesn’t want to leave I’d consider broadening the search at least down to dc. Tons and tons of (prestige hungry) PI lawyer jobs and it’s still a short trip to NYC. You’re fighting with one hand tied behind your back if you’re not applying here.

Saami
Posts: 236
Joined: Thu Feb 01, 2018 10:56 am

Re: Has Covid-19 impacted PI/Gov hiring or am I just a loser?

Post by Saami » Wed Feb 24, 2021 10:49 am

BlendedUnicorn wrote:
Wed Feb 24, 2021 10:44 am
Yeah, just got to keep grinding it out. The certainty of having a job lined up is part of what you rejected when you turned down your summer firm, just have to own that now and trust the process.

I don’t know what your wife does, but unless she’s got a job she really doesn’t want to leave I’d consider broadening the search at least down to dc. Tons and tons of (prestige hungry) PI lawyer jobs and it’s still a short trip to NYC. You’re fighting with one hand tied behind your back if you’re not applying here.
Yea, DC's got some good opportunities for sure. To clarify, I'm fully willing to apply broadly if I get paid a livable salary for the position. But my career services office has suggested to me that at this point the only way I'm gonna get a job is through Columbia's fellowship, and that only pays $40k.

Any insights into the type of "prestige hungry" PI lawyers jobs you're thinking of? At this point I've limited myself mainly to fellowships and government positions because those are the only two that seem willing to hire someone directly out of law school.

Saami
Posts: 236
Joined: Thu Feb 01, 2018 10:56 am

Re: Has Covid-19 impacted PI/Gov hiring or am I just a loser?

Post by Saami » Wed Feb 24, 2021 10:51 am

Hey_Everybody wrote:
Wed Feb 24, 2021 10:42 am
OK then, sounds like you're good. Just wasn't really sure why you were including that info/if you were banking on that saving otherwise weak aspects of your applications.
Yea, you're right. I removed it. I think a huge problem for me too is I entered law school focusing on one subject, but about halfway through my interests shifted to another, but my only tangible work experience dealing with the second one is an internship I'm doing this semester. So, it's a bit of a hard sell to prove that I'm really interested in/dedicated to it.

User avatar
Hey_Everybody
Posts: 1302
Joined: Thu Feb 08, 2018 6:45 pm

Re: Has Covid-19 impacted PI/Gov hiring or am I just a loser?

Post by Hey_Everybody » Wed Feb 24, 2021 10:57 am

Saami wrote:
Wed Feb 24, 2021 10:51 am
Hey_Everybody wrote:
Wed Feb 24, 2021 10:42 am
OK then, sounds like you're good. Just wasn't really sure why you were including that info/if you were banking on that saving otherwise weak aspects of your applications.
Yea, you're right. I removed it. I think a huge problem for me too is I entered law school focusing on one subject, but about halfway through my interests shifted to another, but my only tangible work experience dealing with the second one is an internship I'm doing this semester.
That makes it tougher for sure. Just gotta make sure you're selling the story well of why you're invested in the work and the clients and keep grinding. You'll get a lucky break eventually, and that stuff will help on the margins with getting that break. It sucks, but it's just the name of the game. And don't knock the $40k fellowship too much, that's a pretty nice fallback and way to get your foot in the door. Gotta remember you aren't gonna be making $40k forever, even in the PI/gov world

User avatar
BlendedUnicorn
Big Tent Energy
Posts: 14935
Joined: Thu Jan 25, 2018 3:13 pm

Re: Has Covid-19 impacted PI/Gov hiring or am I just a loser?

Post by BlendedUnicorn » Wed Feb 24, 2021 10:57 am

Saami wrote:
Wed Feb 24, 2021 10:49 am
BlendedUnicorn wrote:
Wed Feb 24, 2021 10:44 am
Yeah, just got to keep grinding it out. The certainty of having a job lined up is part of what you rejected when you turned down your summer firm, just have to own that now and trust the process.

I don’t know what your wife does, but unless she’s got a job she really doesn’t want to leave I’d consider broadening the search at least down to dc. Tons and tons of (prestige hungry) PI lawyer jobs and it’s still a short trip to NYC. You’re fighting with one hand tied behind your back if you’re not applying here.
Yea, DC's got some good opportunities for sure. To clarify, I'm fully willing to apply broadly if I get paid a livable salary for the position. But my career services office has suggested to me that at this point the only way I'm gonna get a job is through Columbia's fellowship, and that only pays $40k.

Any insights into the type of "prestige hungry" PI lawyers jobs you're thinking of? At this point I've limited myself mainly to fellowships and government positions because those are the only two that seem willing to hire someone directly out of law school.
I mostly had fedgov honors in mind, but depending on what you want to do the DC Public Defender Service is considered one of the best local level defenders in the country and hires entry level lawyers, and some of the bigger NGOs (ACLU, HRW, etc...) have a reputation for hiring students out of law school with the right background, though I will put my cards on the table and say that's not a route I ever looked too much into.

User avatar
Nony
Posts: 9214
Joined: Thu Jan 25, 2018 2:34 pm

Re: Has Covid-19 impacted PI/Gov hiring or am I just a loser?

Post by Nony » Wed Feb 24, 2021 11:03 am

What does finding a fellowship sponsor entail? I know the district court judge I clerked for was more than happy to take on a third clerk for the year that they didn’t have to pay for. What about legal aid or other perennially cash-strapped organizations? I know they have to be willing to train you to some extent, so it’s not just a question of money, but have you reached out to any of them?

But yes, apply broadly. Getting any experience is better than no experience and you can pivot to other things. I went to a much less exalted school, I have a lot of classmates who started in stuff outside their chosen field and ended up getting there eventually. It may seem that you shouldn’t have to do that coming out of Columbia, but dwelling on that isn’t going to be very helpful.

The other thing is that if you do the fellowship for a year I think you’ll retain your eligibility for the next round of federal honors programs (check on this to be sure, but it’s an important thing to keep in mind).

User avatar
Kümmel
Posts: 1307
Joined: Thu Jan 25, 2018 9:07 pm

Re: Has Covid-19 impacted PI/Gov hiring or am I just a loser?

Post by Kümmel » Wed Feb 24, 2021 11:09 am

Okay let me start off with you're 100% not a loser. COVID-19 has decimated PI hiring in NYC. This year will probably be the worst year in recent memory for PI hiring in NYC. The state and city budgets have hamstrung PI organizations and everyone is competing for limited grant money. The 350 billion for local and state gov'ts (if passed) will hugely improve the situation, but it likely will have little effect for immediate hiring. I say that--not to be doom and gloom--but so you know it's not you AT ALL, it's COVID-19.

That being said, here's my advice:

(1) Make a list of every geographic region you are open to working in (be realistic).

(2) Check PSJD every single day and don't sort by geography (it' doesn't work well), just look through every single posted position in a region you are open to be in and apply if you're interested. Also check LinkedIn and Symplicity frequently, but I really think PSJD is going to be the best single daily site.

(3) Think about doing a state clerkship for a year or so. Look at NY courts, but you mentioned D.C. so also look at DC Superior and DC COA (local DC courts--not district and circuit), I wouldn't be surprised if there were some late clerk hirings down there. Clerking will at least pay a bit more and give you another year to ride through the COVID budget cuts.

(4) Meet with the different CLS SJI advisors to just be kept up to date with opportunities.

(5) Just keep applying--it may take awhile, but something will shake out.

(6) As said above, the 40k CLS PI funding is a single year, if you can just survive with it for one year and get your self placed somewhere that usually hires fellows to staff, then it's really worth keeping that in your back pocket.

User avatar
Clamence
Posts: 33
Joined: Sat Jan 27, 2018 6:02 pm

Re: Has Covid-19 impacted PI/Gov hiring or am I just a loser?

Post by Clamence » Wed Feb 24, 2021 2:21 pm

I have little to add other than you are definitely not a loser. In case it helps your mental state to hear of others struggling, I graduated last year and got a six month position at a government office. The office hired nearly exclusively from the pool of people in my position, and every year prior, they hired from that pool. This year, due to budget constraints caused by COVID, the office hired nobody, despite a substantial amount of attorneys retiring. I lucked out and managed to bounce to another office, but point is, everyone is struggling. Manage expectations accordingly, and best of luck.

Story
Posts: 94
Joined: Sun Feb 24, 2019 3:56 pm

Re: Has Covid-19 impacted PI/Gov hiring or am I just a loser?

Post by Story » Wed Feb 24, 2021 4:16 pm

I don’t know if and to what extent COVID is affecting current PI/gov hiring, but I presume hiring is being affected.

I would look into jobs other than fellowships and honors. Are there some agencies that you might be interested in that do regular entry-level hiring, such as prosecutors’ offices?

Have you considered going to private firm work for a while just to at least have a job? Then you can work PI/gov later?

Saami
Posts: 236
Joined: Thu Feb 01, 2018 10:56 am

Re: Has Covid-19 impacted PI/Gov hiring or am I just a loser?

Post by Saami » Mon Mar 01, 2021 6:15 pm

So, a NYC-based organization that I'd love to work for just said that they're open to potentially hosting me under Columbia's public interest fellowship. However, they asked me to submit a "brief summary of your proposed project." Does anyone know exactly what this means? I literally know nothing about project-based fellowships. I also emailed my career counselors to ask but I figured people on this forum might be faster to reply lol.

User avatar
Kümmel
Posts: 1307
Joined: Thu Jan 25, 2018 9:07 pm

Re: Has Covid-19 impacted PI/Gov hiring or am I just a loser?

Post by Kümmel » Mon Mar 01, 2021 6:36 pm

Congrats! Project based fellowships are very common and differ a lot from org to org. It really depends what kind of org they are. The SJI people should have some pretty solid examples for you and give you feedback on what you draft.

I think this resource (which is pretty old), gives you a general picture of what should be included:
Program or Project Description. Having defined the problem in the introduction, you should
use the body of your proposal to explain exactly what you intend to do. For example, if the problem is
employment issues affecting immigrant workers in Alameda County, and your objective is to provide legal
services to assist these individuals in exercising their rights as workers, you need to set out exactly how you
plan to do this. For example, are you planning to compose and distribute an educational brochure? Do
community outreach? Provide direct legal services to individuals with employment-related problems?
Assist them in filing workers= compensation claims? Union organizing? Network with church and
community groups? Identify potential law reform or impact litigation cases?
Describe the activities you propose with specificity and according to a timeline. Explain what will
be done, as well as when and how. Do not propose to do too much, or you run the risk of sounding scattered
and inefficient. Describe the organizational structure and staff, facilities, or other resources that will be part
of the project. Provide a proposed budget (an explanation is often helpful) that includes expenses such as
salaries, benefits, consultants, rental, telephone, travel, supplies, equipment, printing and duplicating. Do not
forget to disclose income, for example, if any fees or other funding dollars are anticipated. Provide criteria
for evaluation of your project. Mention additional funding available and dedicated support from the
community. Funders are reluctant to support projects which end when the grant expires; better proposals
describe strategies for long-term project viability. Also include a discussion of the level of coordination that
you anticipate with other community service providers.
Conclude your proposal with a somewhat more personal statement attesting to your capability to
undertake the project or program, including your background, experience, familiarity with the community or
constituency you propose to serve, references, skills, and, most importantly, your interest and commitment.
Do not merely repeat the information in your resume; link your qualifications to the task at hand and the
objectives of the funding organization.
https://www.law.berkeley.edu/files/fell ... g_2005.pdf

of course you're not trying to get a grant, because you already have the money. But if this org wants you to have a project proposal this is a starting point.

Saami
Posts: 236
Joined: Thu Feb 01, 2018 10:56 am

Re: Has Covid-19 impacted PI/Gov hiring or am I just a loser?

Post by Saami » Mon Mar 01, 2021 6:49 pm

Kümmel wrote:
Mon Mar 01, 2021 6:36 pm
Congrats! Project based fellowships are very common and differ a lot from org to org. It really depends what kind of org they are. The SJI people should have some pretty solid examples for you and give you feedback on what you draft.

I think this resource (which is pretty old), gives you a general picture of what should be included:

https://www.law.berkeley.edu/files/fell ... g_2005.pdf

of course you're not trying to get a grant, because you already have the money. But if this org wants you to have a project proposal this is a starting point.
Thanks for the overview! This sounds like something that requires a lot of planning though, and a deep understanding of very specific, unique issues that need to be addressed. Meanwhile, they want my application by tomorrow lol. I didn't realize this would be project-based when I'd reached out. Oops.

User avatar
Kümmel
Posts: 1307
Joined: Thu Jan 25, 2018 9:07 pm

Re: Has Covid-19 impacted PI/Gov hiring or am I just a loser?

Post by Kümmel » Mon Mar 01, 2021 7:01 pm

Saami wrote:
Mon Mar 01, 2021 6:49 pm
Kümmel wrote:
Mon Mar 01, 2021 6:36 pm
Congrats! Project based fellowships are very common and differ a lot from org to org. It really depends what kind of org they are. The SJI people should have some pretty solid examples for you and give you feedback on what you draft.

I think this resource (which is pretty old), gives you a general picture of what should be included:

https://www.law.berkeley.edu/files/fell ... g_2005.pdf

of course you're not trying to get a grant, because you already have the money. But if this org wants you to have a project proposal this is a starting point.
Thanks for the overview! This sounds like something that requires a lot of planning though, and a deep understanding of very specific, unique issues that need to be addressed. Meanwhile, they want my application by tomorrow lol. I didn't realize this would be project-based when I'd reached out. Oops.
It really doens't need to be that detailed if they just asked for a "brief summary." Come up with some aspect of the role you're interested in and just sketch out what you would do if hired. Think about some covid-19/post covid-19 issues that the client base/mission might face. people get hired as project specific all the time without really doing much of their "project" (but that changes a lot based on the place)

Saami
Posts: 236
Joined: Thu Feb 01, 2018 10:56 am

Re: Has Covid-19 impacted PI/Gov hiring or am I just a loser?

Post by Saami » Wed Mar 03, 2021 11:27 am

I don't know what happened but suddenly one state-affiliated ACLU is pretty close to offering to host me, my top-choice org is gonna speak with me tomorrow about potentially hosting me, and I have an interview on Friday for an internally funded fellowship at another state-affialiated ACLU. All of this happened over the past couple days lol. Divine intervention?

Story
Posts: 94
Joined: Sun Feb 24, 2019 3:56 pm

Re: Has Covid-19 impacted PI/Gov hiring or am I just a loser?

Post by Story » Wed Mar 03, 2021 1:00 pm

Congratulations! Sometimes it’s just your day.

Guest

Re: Has Covid-19 impacted PI/Gov hiring or am I just a loser?

Post by Guest » Wed Mar 03, 2021 5:25 pm

Nony wrote:
Wed Feb 24, 2021 11:03 am
What does finding a fellowship sponsor entail? I know the district court judge I clerked for was more than happy to take on a third clerk for the year that they didn’t have to pay for. What about legal aid or other perennially cash-strapped organizations? I know they have to be willing to train you to some extent, so it’s not just a question of money, but have you reached out to any of them?

But yes, apply broadly. Getting any experience is better than no experience and you can pivot to other things. I went to a much less exalted school, I have a lot of classmates who started in stuff outside their chosen field and ended up getting there eventually. It may seem that you shouldn’t have to do that coming out of Columbia, but dwelling on that isn’t going to be very helpful.

The other thing is that if you do the fellowship for a year I think you’ll retain your eligibility for the next round of federal honors programs (check on this to be sure, but it’s an important thing to keep in mind).
Can you tell me who this judge is? I’m running low on options at this point

User avatar
Nebby
Posts: 10781
Joined: Thu Jan 25, 2018 3:24 pm

Re: Has Covid-19 impacted PI/Gov hiring or am I just a loser?

Post by Nebby » Sun Mar 07, 2021 7:25 pm

Just chiming in that you're not a loser. PI hiring has been impacted by covid - my org usually hires one to three entry level attorneys a year, but this year we're not hiring anyone.

Saami
Posts: 236
Joined: Thu Feb 01, 2018 10:56 am

Re: Has Covid-19 impacted PI/Gov hiring or am I just a loser?

Post by Saami » Thu Mar 11, 2021 8:54 pm

Would it be wrong to tell an organization that I'm no longer interested in their fellowship after having already scheduled an interview for it? This place to which I've applied is on the very opposite end of the country, and with my wife and I having a baby on the way and my mother-in-law being deeply ill, I'm realizing that we just couldn't realistically accept it if I were offered the position. I'm only nervous because the fellowship is ran somewhat jointly with my law school, and I'm worried that if they find out that I turned down the interview I'll be disqualified from Columbia's Public Interest & Government Fellowship since they'll think that I haven't been seriously searching for paid opportunities. And honestly, at this point since I have an offer from my top-choice organization to be hosted for a year, I really just want to go down the Columbia fellowship route. I'd applied to this other fellowship over a month ago in a time of desperation.

My only other option would be to bomb the interview intentionally, which I don't think is very ethical.

User avatar
BlendedUnicorn
Big Tent Energy
Posts: 14935
Joined: Thu Jan 25, 2018 3:13 pm

Re: Has Covid-19 impacted PI/Gov hiring or am I just a loser?

Post by BlendedUnicorn » Thu Mar 11, 2021 8:56 pm

Saami wrote:
Thu Mar 11, 2021 8:54 pm
Would it be wrong to tell an organization that I'm no longer interested in their fellowship after having already scheduled an interview for it? This place to which I've applied is on the very opposite end of the country, and with my wife and I having a baby on the way and my mother-in-law being deeply ill, I'm realizing that we just couldn't realistically accept it if I were offered the position. I'm only nervous because the fellowship is ran somewhat jointly with my law school, and I'm worried that if they find out that I turned down the interview I'll be disqualified from Columbia's Public Interest & Government Fellowship since they'll think that I haven't been seriously searching for paid opportunities. And honestly, at this point since I have an offer from my top-choice organization to be hosted for a year, I really just want to go down the Columbia fellowship route. I'd applied to this other fellowship over a month ago in a time of desperation.

My only other option would be to bomb the interview intentionally, which I don't think is very ethical.
Put yourself in the shoes of the interviewer and this will be an easy question to answer. If you were a busy lawyer, would you rather spend 30 minutes talking to someone with no interest in coming to your organization and then writing up an evaluation or would you rather delete a block of time from your calendar?

Saami
Posts: 236
Joined: Thu Feb 01, 2018 10:56 am

Re: Has Covid-19 impacted PI/Gov hiring or am I just a loser?

Post by Saami » Thu Mar 11, 2021 8:59 pm

BlendedUnicorn wrote:
Thu Mar 11, 2021 8:56 pm
Put yourself in the shoes of the interviewer and this will be an easy question to answer. If you were a busy lawyer, would you rather spend 30 minutes talking to someone with no interest in coming to your organization and then writing up an evaluation or would you rather delete a block of time from your calendar?
True, but I fear that if my law school finds out that I did this, I'd be barred from their sponsored fellowship, which I need to get to fund the opportunity I've been offered under my top-choice org. We've been told that if we're turning down paid opportunities, we won't be eligible for their fellowship.

User avatar
Hennessy
Posts: 6361
Joined: Thu Jan 25, 2018 3:11 pm

Re: Has Covid-19 impacted PI/Gov hiring or am I just a loser?

Post by Hennessy » Thu Mar 11, 2021 9:00 pm

Excelsior just opened up. Fight u for it, bro.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests