Young Lawyers Turn to Public Service
Diane T. Chin, the director of the John and Terry Levin Center for Public Service and Public Interest Law at Stanford Law School, is quoted in the following article by the New York Times exploring the motivations behind young lawyers considering service careers. Her comments can be found here:
In August 2008, Nathan Richardson committed to following in the footsteps of so many young lawyers before him: a summer position with a big law firm, followed by a job offer before he ever cracked open a third-year textbook. And then everything changed.
With offers of employment made in August 2008 and the full force of the recession hitting in October, many big law firms — like Latham & Watkins, where Mr. Richardson was a summer associate — had to re-evaluate the job offers made to members of the class of 2009. As a way to keep their costs down while holding on to promising associates, many offered the graduates the chance to take up to a year off before starting as associates, complete with a stipend of $60,000 to $75,000. They could travel, do research, or choose — as many did — to work in the public sector.
Educators say more students are holding on to their attraction to public interest law throughout law school.
“For the first time, there is now a public interest lawyer in the Oval Office,” said Diane T. Chin, the director of the John and Terry Levin Center for Public Service and Public Interest Law at Stanford Law School, as one explanation for why more young lawyers are considering service careers.
In 2009, 25 students entering their third year at Stanford Law indicated a commitment to public service. In 2010, that number was 36, according to Ms. Chin. The average class size is 180.