Why Some Devoted Public Servants Start Out In BigLaw Summer Associate Programs

So, you have no plans to be Latham & Watkins’ next big rainmaker?  You (and your Birkenstocks) shun all capitalistic ventures and plan to devote your J.D. to the public good — that’s awesome, because we need more lawyers committed to public service.

So, what I’m going to say next may come as a shocker: If you’re planning a long-term career in public service, you really need to consider doing a BigLaw Summer Associate position during your 2L year.

Yes, you read that correctly — just hear me out.

Although you may never imagine yourself working for a BigLaw firm, the experience, networking opportunities, and (let’s be honest) the money may be something you can’t afford to ignore. BigLaw summer associate programs advance many budding legal careers — even those who are interested in public service. Not only will you encounter work that will challenge and test your advocacy skills, but you’ll also vastly expand your professional network with other high-achievers. As a former BigLaw attorney who moonlights as a volunteer Executive Director for a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, I can attest that having a large network of influential, high-profile attorneys is definitely an asset when trying to advance your agenda (or at least get pro bono legal services!).

In the end, though, I know many students who pursue a BigLaw Summer Associate position because the salary allows them to take on less debt. Earning $3,700/week during a 10-week Summer Associate program allows them to substantially reduce their student debt prior to graduation so that they can choose a public interest job that likely carries a more modest salary.

As one famous Summer-Associate-turned-public-servant recounts, BigLaw life (even for just one summer) can have other perks too.



“Law Preview really helped me to find grounding and my bearings before starting law school. My first semester was far more challenging than anything else I have ever done, so knowing what was coming helped me greatly, and having earned a 4.0 GPA has already set me up with great opportunities and a lot less stress! Thank you, Law Preview!”

— Anonymous, Northwestern University School of Law, Class of 2020.

Learn more about Law Preview summer prep courses today.

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