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Figuring Out the Formula for Success in Public Interest: Money Matters

A major drawback to public interest work is the salary. I've interviewed three public interest attorneys at different stages in their careers who live in expensive cities to see how they manage their finances and I share their tips for managing student loans and living off their salaries.Name: Julia Wilson School: Stanford Law School, 11 years out Job: Public Interest Clearinghouse, Dir. City: San FranciscoThe biggest issue is balancing priorities. I graduated law school with an eight-month-old baby and I immediately had to balance my public interest career with childcare. I had someone else I was responsible to, so I…

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Ms. JD

Making the Most of Your Pro Bono Experience

Editor's Note: Ms. JD's annual conference, Avenues to Advancement, was held November 20-21 in Chicago. These are notes from the "Making the Most of Your Pro Bono Experience" panel. Taking a pro bono case can be a great way to give back and learn valuable skills at the same time. Here are some tips from the panelists on finding the right pro bono matter for you and how to balance good pro bono work with an already busy work schedule. How do I find the right pro bono opportunity? First and foremost, follow your heart. Pursue the kind of pro…

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Ms. JD

Avenues to Public Interest

Editor's Note: Ms. JD's annual conference, Avenues to Advancement, was held November 20-21 in Chicago. These are five tips from the Avenues to Public Interest panel. 1. Don’t limit yourself geographically. Public interest offices are often located in areas near the clients they serve. Geographic flexibility can significantly increase your chances of finding an internship, fellowship, or career in your interest area. 2. Show your commitment. Personalize your application package, listing relevant volunteer and course work and explaining your personal link to the agency or interest area. If possible, tailor your writing sample and include any related materials that demonstrate…

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Ms. JD 2009 Summer Scholarship

Ms. JD is awarding two $500 scholarships to female law students entering their second or third year at an accredited U.S. law school and working the summer of 2009 at least 35 hours per week for a minimum of 8 weeks at a government agency or nonprofit organization. Unpaid judicial externs also qualify. Applications are due no later than May 1st. Click here to apply!

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Ms. JD Announces its Public Interest Law Scholarships!

Ms. JD is pleased to be offering two $500 scholarships for law students working in public interest this summer. Unpaid judicial externs also qualify for these scholarships. This year's essay topic asks applicants to discuss myths about being a law student. Did you experience any pleasant surprises upon starting your study of law? Did you learn any law school 'lessons' the hard way? Ms. JD wants to hear about them. Applications are due no later than June 1st. More information is available at (you must be logged in in order to apply).

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Unintended Consequences and Using the All-Mighty Dollar as a Carrot

There has been a lot of buzz in the blawg-o-sphere this week about Harvard Law School's announcement that it will waive 3L tuition for those going to work for the government or public interest for the five years after law school. I think this news is great. And as Professor Volokh points out, because HLS is a trendsetter among law schools, this just may spark a little healthly competition aimed at loan forgiveness policies amoung elite law schools. Feeling the squeeze of law students loans myself, I would be all for that.However, what about the possibility of unintended consequences? Today…

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Social networking for women NGO activists and their clients

PulseWire is in beta testing, open for women who are working in the fields of human trafficking, HIV/AIDS, and water sustainability. Could that be you? [More after the jump]From the website: PulseWire is an interactive website where women worldwide — including those using internet cafés and cell phones in remote villages — can speak for themselves to the world and collaborate to solve global problems. It is also a new space inviting men to support and learn from women's voices.PulseWire is a tool designed by and for diverse users: a Sri Lankan market woman looking for new sources of micro-credit,…

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Why Do Women Dominate Public Interest?

I was poking around the Perspectives magazine articles available online, and I came across An Eye-Opening Tool for Wide-Eyed Law Students, a piece last year about the Equal Justice Works ranking of law schools by their public interest programs. I found two things interesting about the article. First, the approximately 27% of law graduates who enter public interest has remained fairly static since the 1980s. Second, women are presumed to benefit more from pressure on law schools to provide more support for public interest job hunting since women are more likely to take public interest jobs (the article cites a…

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Carol Simpson

Hanging out my own shingle: what being Ms. JD means to me

My summer internship is over. I spent 10 weeks totally immersed in public interest law, and as a result I have completely changed what I had so carefully planned to do after graduation. No longer do I plan to remain an academic, nor do I wish to pursue a job at a large firm. More than likely I will open a solo practice so I can do public interest law. Some of this change may also go back to how I got to attend law school. Just at the time I was preparing to take the LSAT, my younger son, then…

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Carol Simpson

Avoiding burnout on the Death Row defense bar

Each week during our internship, the legal staff has an “Intern CLE,” or some sort of legal lecture. Sometimes we watch a video on some aspect of public interest law, followed by a Q&A with an attorney practicing in that field. It may be someone working in criminal defense, legal aid, a lobbyist, or a legislative aide. We even watched Good Night, and Good Luck. The interns get to learn a little about other areas of public interest law, and can network with attorneys in other non-profits. And it serves as a little break in an otherwise intensive work week.We…

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