[insert frowny face here]
Elle Woods, Harvard Law Grad. :p
So I recently heard that Harvard Law is no longer going to cover the tuition of aspiring public interest lawyers. If you’ve been a reader of this blog, you know that I graduated from law school. If you’re a close reader, you know that I spent my time in law school focused on public interest law, aka the kind of law that helps people who cannot access the legal system in a proportionate, just and affordable manner. The other side of Big Law and six-figure salaries. Apparently, the recession strikes again. Harvard had been offering scholarships to law students that committed to work in public interest for 5 years after graduation. The program, in existence for less than two years, is kaput. Not only has Harvard succumbed to the economy, but I guess way too many students were taking advantage of it. It’s sad to see a program like this go. My legal education was financed by a similar program.
Temple Law has the Rubin-Presser Scholarship which covers 2 out of the 3 years of tuition for students willing to commit to working in the public interest after graduation. Temple is still offering the scholarship and, as far as I know, they plan to continue. You don’t have to be Alan Greenspan to know that Harvard has a much larger endowment than Temple, but the reason TULaw can offer this scholarship year after year is probably because they only give it to three select students each year. You’d think before cutting the program altogether, Haaaavaaaad would have implemented alternative strategies (offer half tuition, limit the recipients per year, you know… get like Temple).
It’s a shame but I can’t really get TOO boo-hoo for anyone that graduates from Harvard. It sounds mean, even a bit salty, but still. While the work is rewarding, many public interest lawyers are “sacrificing” in one way or another to do the work they believe in. After receiving the same training, spending the same money and taking the same licensing exams as any other attorney, you’ve got to call it a sacrifice to willingly accept a third of the pay and half of the prestige than your peers. Ivy League law grads, however, can afford to work in the public interest, knowing that the institution on their degree gives back some of that prestige (to a certain extent) and may even garner a better salary in some places. They’ll be alright, for sure, but I hate that there’s yet another obstacle inhibiting those who want to be “do-gooders” from going out and saving the world (without going broke in the process).
After commencing her duties on August 8th, 2009 as the 111th Supreme Court Justice and the first Latina to hold such office, Justice Sonia Sotomayor took her first seat on the bench Wednesday at a specially convened session of the Court. Yep, now that the hubub is over and she’s really in there (whoo!) Sotomayor is down to business hearing her first SC case involving campaign finance and Hillary Clinton. Interesting.
I know this isn’t the most progressive or feminist thing to be pointing out but as I was reading up on Sotomayor’s first days on the job, I couldn’t help but sigh at this photograph of Justice Sotomayor.
When you don’t have a job, you tend to spend hours online looking for work and after that you spend more hours Googling random crap or wasting away on social networking sites. One of my fave finds from those late night internet binges are blogs written by law grads who have either taken and failed the bar or have never elected to take it in the first place. Some of the blogs focus on gearing back up to take the bar while others talk about the gift and the curse of possessing a juris doctorate. As I am one of those law grads without a license to practice, I am amused to no end by the stories. More than anything, I think I like the fact that others out there have gone through similar things. It’s something how when life’s got you in a tight spot you think this has only ever happened to you. How selfish and small huh? In a way, these blogs are like my support group, except instead of standing up and saying Hi, My name is Kia and I have a JD (Hi, Kia!), I can click and read from the comfort of my own home aunt’s apartment.
One of my recent finds is Waitress, JD. Unfortunately for me many of these blogs haven’t been updated in quite some time. Hmm, wait. Maybe I should look at that as a good thing for me. They’re not updating because they finally passed the bar or they finally got that job they were looking for. They spilled all their dissatisfaction, dissapointment, confusion, angst, and pride onto blogger or wordpress then they moved on. Maybe I’m on to something here? Ok, back to Waitress, JD. Apparently she failed the Colorado bar then spent some 7 months looking for work while returning to waiting tables. Eventually she did some paralegal stuff while preparing to tackle the bar again, which she passed. :) I used to wait tables and I’ve only been riding the unemployment train for two months but I feel like I can identify with Mrs. Waitress. Peep this entry after the jump in which she took the words right out of my mouth. Continue reading