Law School Clinics

You will likely register for spring classes soon, and you may feel unsure about what courses to take. Let me reassure you that for the most part, it doesn’t matter what you take in law school after you get your required classes out of the way. Sure, taking “black letter” courses might be marginally beneficial for the bar, but you’ll need to relearn it anyway. And while many seminars will be interesting, they are rarely essential to your future practice as a lawyer. But there is one type of course that you absolutely must take, the earlier the better. It is likely to be one of the most influential courses you take in law school, and will have a lasting effect on your career. That course is a law school clinic.

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Should Public Interest Students Do Law Review?

Welcome to back-to-school season! Most law schools have either already started or will in the next few weeks. At this point in the semester, most 1Ls are just trying to keep their heads above water, learning how to read cases and survive the Socratic Method. But when you come up for air, you may start to wonder what activities you should participate in outside of classes. Yes, in law school (unlike many graduate programs) there are a plethora of “extra-curriculars.” Some of these activities include law review, moot court, affinity groups, student government, and volunteer opportunities. As a public interest student, you may wonder which activities are worth devoting yourself to and which are just a waste of time.

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Want to Become a Public Interest Lawyer? Focus on the LSAT

By Mikaila Smith

Mikaila is a rising 3L at the University of Chicago Law School. The subject of this post -the LSAT – is an important one for aspiring public interest lawyers. Your LSAT score is one of the most important factors in law school admissions decisions, and where you go to law school is one of the most important factors in determining your options after law school. This post is especially useful for people who cannot afford to spend thousands of dollars on LSAT prep courses and tutoring. If you are in that position, you need to study more, not less. Mikaila explains how she did it.

If you want to work as a public interest lawyer, you should try to get the best LSAT score you possibly can. Pursuing a public interest legal career requires commitment at every turn. The vast majority of your classmates will follow well-tread, lucrative pathways into firm work. If you have a six-figure debt piling up, it will be really difficult to forgo a firm job to follow your passion.

That’s where the LSAT comes in. A high score will not only help you get into a top law school, but also increase your chances of receiving merit aid. The hours you invest in studying for the test could literally save you thousands of dollars in law school debt. The below guide outlines the method that I used to self-study for the LSAT. My test-day score was 12 points higher than my first practice test.

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One Recent Grad’s Reflections on the Public Interest Job Market

By Jacob Hamburger

Jacob graduated from the University of Chicago Law School earlier this month and was able to successfully procure a public interest staff attorney position that will begin after he takes the bar exam. This post details his experience and reflections on his past year on the public interest job market.

I graduated law school earlier this month, and am fortunate enough to have a staff attorney job lined up at a large legal aid office, and in my area of interest. As I sit down to write this post, I’m in between sessions of studying for the bar—which can be annoying, but is ultimately manageable, and leaves me time to enjoy the sunshine. The covid-19 pandemic is receding in my area, and it’s looking like something resembling a normal professional and social life is around the corner.

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What to Get Out of Your Public Interest Summer Internship

It is the second week of June, which means many law students are a few weeks into their summer internships. You may be wondering what you should be trying to get out of your summer if you plan to go into public interest.

First, you should think about your internal goals. Ideally, your summer experiences should help you narrow down what you want to do after you graduate. I always say that my 20s were just an exercise in crossing careers off a list until I found something that I wanted to do. First, I narrowed it down to law, then in law school, I whittled down the list of potential jobs further until I was pretty sure of what I wanted to do. Especially, if you think you know what you want to do, you should try to do that for at least one summer to see if you actually like it. I’ve spoken to many law students who came into law school with their heart set on a particular job only to realize they actually disliked it once they tried it out. If you try something and hate it, well, that might save you years of working at the wrong job after law school.

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