Welcome to Blog For the Public Good, a blog about public interest lawyering! My name is Nicole Hallett and I am a public interest lawyer and a clinical professor at the University of Chicago Law School. One of the things I enjoy most about my job is helping other people find rewarding and challenging careers in public interest law. I enjoy it because I believe that public interest law is an extremely fulfilling career path but also because I think public interest lawyering plays an important role in the fight for a just society.
When I applied to law school, I knew I wanted to use my law degree to help people and I assumed law school would give me the skills to do that. But beyond that, I knew very little. I had no idea how I should choose a law school or the challenges I would face in law school and beyond. I muddled through with a lot of mentorship and some luck, and I saw classmates do the same. Now, I speak to lots of young people — aspiring lawyers, law students, and young lawyers — who have many of the same questions I did. When I first started getting these questions, I felt unequipped to answer them. After all, I was only a few years out of law school. But thirteen years into my legal career and eleven years into my career teaching and advising students, I now feel qualified to help. I spend hours every week sharing what I know with people who come to me for advice.
This blog is an attempt to capture some of that advice and make it available to a wider audience. There are professors like me at every law school and nothing takes the place of in-person mentorship. But there is also value in having some of this advice available online to those who need it.
Every week, I will be covering topics related to how to have a successful public interest legal career. Because I represent only one perspective, I will have periodic guest bloggers talk about their experiences too. The blog will also cover news and developments in the public interest legal world that I hope will be of interest to public interest lawyers who are already well-established in their careers, or for mid-career lawyers who want to transition into public interest law after doing something else.