Young lawyers turn to public service

My daughter is in the New York Times today. Well, sort of.

Paid by Big Firms, Young Lawyers Turn to Public Service features young lawyers who were offered jobs by big law firms, then offered a stipend to delay their start date for up to a year. Many have taken public-service jobs. Two of her University of Chicago Law classmates are named in the story. Towards the end:

Tiela Chalmers, the executive director of the Volunteer Legal Services Program of the San Francisco Bar Association, said the seven deferred associates who worked there for a year were invaluable in providing legal services for the indigent.

My daughter is one of the seven deferred associates.  She specialized in family law — divorce, child custody, guardianships — but also did some landlord-tenant negotiations. In a few months, she’s scheduled to start her law firm job.

Her advice to people contemplating law school: Don’t go unless you can get into a top law school and graduate without enormous debt — or unless you have great connections that guarantee you a job. If you plan to be a public-service lawyer, understand that you’ll be competing with volunteers for the same jobs.

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  1. Huh. I remember when my friend was initially applying to law school. She said that she wasn’t going to go if she couldn’t get into a top 5 school. My reaction was along the lines of, “But if you really like the subject then that shouldn’t stop you!!!” But it sounds like she had the right idea, although I don’t know if setting the cutoff point at a top 5 school was reasonable. (It didn’t matter, because she ended up getting into Harvard.)