Ojo: The "Cholo Word Of The Day" is simply for fun. This is not an academic exercise, therefore I do not spend much time checking for espelling or grammatical errors. Most of the words are not only used by "cholos," but by many people in S. Texas - and their usage can vary. c/s

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Law School & Social Justice

Here's the question I've been asking myself? How can laywers serve their community, but not work for a social justice organization of public interest group. And, is it realistic that lawyers, really want to help people?

Well, the answer to my first question is probably pretty simple. Do pro-bono work. Volunteer and all those other chingaderas. But if you're already working 60+ hours at a firm and loving your work, is it realistic that you have time to volunteer? Should I be interested in providing social justice to "my community" or should I be interested in providing social justice to "MY COMMUNITY" (i.e. my parents, so that they don't have to keep working two jobs)? What's more important?

Well, the remedy, I guess is that large firms and the such should have pro-bono opportunities for their employees. In my short time in law school I've alredy dealt with large firms whose employees are out helping folks. That's a pretty good deal, but not done often enough.

Y luego, how do you convince law students, that no matter what type of job they take, they should help folks? One of my classmates said, "Like if lawyers really want to help people!" My school I think does a pretty decent job at this, even though they're hard core about getting their rankings up. So, that's exactly the issue. How can you push a social justice mission, while having a goal to really become a "high ranking" school. (btw, my school is a jesuit school, w/ a lesbian dean, and a hush hush quasi affirmative action program , w/ a social justice mission- pretty progressive, huh?). The Access to Justice Institute, helps out poor folks, and the university.

Anyway, so, here's the dilema. If you let kids in, who want to do public interest work, you're school doesn't move up in the rankings. Schools are often judged by the amount of kids that go work for firms and make a lot of money.

Also, if you have an affirmative action program (the one I'm reaping the benefits), the rankings are often hurt by default. I mean, shit, the reason I'm at SU, is because my LSAT scores sucked. If I could take standardized tests, not to pat myself on the back, but w/ my undergrad work and professional experience, I'd at least be at UT.

But nonetheless, I'm really glad I'm at a school who stresses social justice, even if they are preparing students for the corporate world. It makes me feel good when my Dean talks about race and gender issues to a room full of corporate lawyers.

Not sure if any of this made sense, I was just thinking.


Blogger DCNats said...

I guess I can understand the school trying to move up in the rankings, but at what cost?
There are plenty of schools out there busy filling the ranks of corporate law firms, so why try and just be another one of those schools?... If a student has low LSAT scores but the desire and commitment to change his or her community, why not give them a shot?
Isn't that role just as important, if not more important than training some anonymous corporate attorney?
I appriciate your dilema DT, my cousin just graduated from UNC Law School a year ago, and I'm pretty sure he went through same issues. Whatever you decide, "your community" or "YOUR COMMUNITY" I hope you can find some middle ground and help both sides.

6:29 AM

Blogger La Bloguerrera said...

yo - does public interest bomb a school's reputation? the highest ranked schools - harvard, colombia, nyu, michigan, etc. - also have *separate* public service offices *in addition* to top rate loan fogiveness programs.

2:48 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

you do what you can, DT. i think the best way to "help your community" (read, latinos) is to do volunteer immigration work. nothing wrong with making some cash so mama y papa pueden descansar un poquito en los anos ancianos. but really, law school is mostly just business school. most of the people at UT chose law school over business simply because it was better paying.


3:03 PM


Post a Comment

<< Home