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Is Public Interest Law Right for You?

Is Public Interest Law Right for You?

By Jennifer Wimberly, program associate at the Florida Bar Foundation in Orlando, Florida.

"If you went to law school because you wanted to ā€œhelp peopleā€? when you graduated, thereā€™s a good chance that public interest law is the right career choice for you. However, there are several important points to consider before you accept a public interest job.

How comfortable are you with regular client contact? More importantly, how comfortable are you with having regular contact with low-income clients? Most public interest law clients have incomes at or below the Federal Poverty Level. For 2007 that meant a single mother with two children had a total monthly income of $1430.

If you are interested in legislative or policy work and you are not interested in hands-on client work and litigation, you need to find out exactly what your duties will be before you accept a public interest law job. Look for a job where you will be regularly conducting research and writing memos on public policy issues. Otherwise you may find yourself miserable in a job where you must regularly meet with indigent clients and maintain an active litigation caseload." The entire article is located at http://www.abanet.org/yld/tyl/sept08/wimberly.html