Law in Contemporary Society
I was going to respond to a post by Barb Pitman which raised several issues regarding financial realities of a law school education, but I figured I would start a new topic

Except for the lucky few, most of us are relying in some way on loans to pay for our law education. Many of us are relying on loans to cover Ugrad and Law school. Some of us are in debt for additional reasons. The bottom line is, and I would love for eben to address this, is where do loans come into play in our discussions about changing the world and pursuing permanent employment.

As far as changing the world, I find it somewhat elusive to discuss how anyone can institute change as long as he or she knows how and where to start. Creative thinking and a legal degree which you do not pawn off when you become a "plumber" sound great. That is, they sound great until CitiBank comes a'knockin. It would be great to be able to come out of law school and focus your life on making change and helping others, with whatever motivation you might have for doing so (this is developed more fully in another threat I believe).

This last summer I interned with the Make-A-Wish foundation in an administrative capacity. I loved the work and I, for whatever motivations I might have had for doing so, hope I made some sort of meaningful difference. However, I know that if I checked my law license at the door and became a plumber, I could make an even greater positive difference. To finance a "wish" it usually costs between 1500-3000K. I know that even if I am working 300 hours per week at a big law position and I never see the sun, I will make more of a difference for one little girl who wants to become a disney princess for a day or a little boy who wants to be a power ranger and save the day. Change, as eben said, starts with the people who know how to implement it. I know where to start. It starts with money.

Now on to employment. So, what of my options. I would like to hear some thoughts on what one does, if you want to avoid working for one of "those" firms or working in the public interest coming out of CLS?

I'd love to hear thoughts

-- AdamGold - 31 Jan 2008

I definitely understand where you're coming from. Starting from junior high, I spent countless hours volunteering at Make-A-Wish type organizations, fundraising for various causes, working at soup kitchens, etc. But it was while writing my $15 check for the WWF (from the first paycheck I ever received) and wishing I could donate more that I realized I needed to make money to make a difference. Non-profit organizations need money to operate. While there seems to be a pretty good stream of people willing to volunteer their hours to speak about injustices and hardships and the need to raise money for their causes, there aren’t nearly enough people actually giving money to support these causes. A large portion of the time spent volunteering consists of soliciting donations anyway, so I figure I could be that difference by making the donations.

Sure, there are those who say this is a sell-out’s way of making it easier to sleep at night, but I actually have put in those hours volunteering and trying to make a difference at the grassroots level. From my personal experience, I find that making and donating money is a more efficient way of contributing to society. I agree with Adam that if this means working incessantly for a few years at Biglaw, then it would be worth it. At least until I have the funds and connections to open up women’s clinics, I wouldn’t mind pawning myself to Biglaw and paying some bills along the way.

[Christina Youn wrote the above; when you have to edit to tack on your own entry, the previous person's name is deleted -- dont' know why.]

And keep this in mind: because you are positioned to make Biglaw money, you have the opportunity that so many others out there don't: the chance to position yourself so that you have the discretionary money to help keep these not-for-profit organizations afloat and to impact them in other ways. Just donate wisely and (dare I say) anonymously.

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r11 - 07 Jan 2010 - 22:14:52 - IanSullivan
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