Thursday, September 20, 2007

Whatever happened to the do gooders?

My friend Erlignition posted about the rise and fall of the public interest folks at our law school here.

My response: one of the people who spent last year trying to get a better LRAP (and found that the school just really doesn't give a damn in any meaningful way), I felt fear in my heart when I realized that I was going to be very very poor upon graduation and that all my classmates were not. I felt bummed that the definition of success around this school (and to many family and friends) is a big firm job that sounds prestigious and pays a lot of cash. Despite that, I still couldn't swing applying to one. I did, however, apply to a handful of small plaintiff's firms that actually PAY MONEY to summer help. Working for free is great, but it sure doesn't pay the bills! I also did the unthinkable to many of my classmates: I got a part time job!

I think that many in our class have persuaded themselves that they are taking these high paying summer associate positions so that they can "afford to work in public interest after graduation." For some reason, I just don't think that's true. I think they are kidding themselves. The same way that I was by not admitting that I wanted the recognition from my peers and others that would come if I tried for and got a prestigious firm job. For some reason, getting paid a ton of money a year for what amounts to having 2 full time jobs after graduation makes people think that you are really smart, while working in public interest makes people...well, I don't know what people think about that. In the end, I have decided to follow my gut. My gut led me here to law school, and it has been more reliable than the public service pronouncements of my classmates. :)

I don't know, because we don't see it very often. Usually for law students like for the rest of the country, greed and consumerism rule and doing the right thing is relegated to rhetoric.


Sarah said...

It's not the hours of those jobs I object to-- it's the exceedingly-boring-and-a-meaningless-life part. C suggested some of the folks who jumped off the social utility bandwagon did it because the got better grades than they anticipated and felt like they didn't want to "waste them." If that's true, it's disgusting-- and good riddance. Meanwhile, we need an "I'm Okay, You're Ok-- no wait, BETTER than Ok" group.

Sarah said...

Also to quote the venerable G. Gomez, quoting Mark Twain, "it's easier to stay out than to get out." Suckers....