Author: Alison Monahan
Are you in law school because you want to make the world a better place? It is possible!
Today, I’m delighted to interview Lara Pearson, a certified do-gooder who’s using her legal training for good.
And, interestingly enough, we met on a ski lift (just proving that you really don’t have to play golf to get ahead in life).
Check it out!
I went to law school to make the world better, but all I do is read for class and take exams. Do you have suggestions for connecting with “the real world” that I want to help?
You should have gone to Northeastern! I’m kidding, kinda.
While Northeastern has a public interest focus, most other law schools do offer some kind of public interest program, whether it’s volunteering with legal aid or taking a criminal practice clinical and working with indigent clients.
I also suggest volunteering with local non-profits that need legal assistance. I helped out with legal research for litigation briefs and by monitoring litigation dockets in cases related to the one on which I was working on for the the non-profit.
I also volunteered with my local law library helping connect folks with the legal services they needed. Many family law courts also need volunteers.
I’m considering applying to law school, but I’m concerned I’ll have to give up all my values to get a job. What are the three most important things I should think about before applying?
- A. Why are you going to law school — what’s your personal mission? (Hint — write this down)
- B. Do the schools to which you have applied have programs that support your mission? Law Schools, like undergrad, have different focuses and strengths. For example, my Alma Matter, Northeastern, has a great public interest program, while the University of Vermont is well known for environmental law and University of Pennsylvania is known for fashion law.
- C. You don’t have to become an attorney. Lots of people use their law degrees for other things — just look at Alison Monahan or my friend Marc Ross who runs the non-profit Rock The Earth.
- D. Ok, so technically this is 4, but remember, I’m an attorney, not a mathematician. Not all law firms are evil; some are even soulful! Do your homework to find those that share your values. If you value the triple bottom line — people, planet & profit — you can find like-minded firms that are involved with the Law Firm Sustainability Network, Social Venture Network, 1% for the Planet or that are Certified B Corporations.