How to become a civil liberties crusader
August 9, 2012 4:58 PM Subscribe
Public interest law transition-filter: I am a lawyer in a private-sector transactional practice. I would like to be a public interest lawyer doing litigation or policy in national security, civil liberties, surveillance or drug liberalization.
My orientation on all these issues is civil-libertarian, pro-transparency and disclosure, etc. Groups whose work I tend to admire include the ACLU, EFF, EPIC, Government Accountability Project, CCR, etc.
I'm a few years out of law school and I have decent credentials: I graduated from a top school with good grades, and I work for one of the most distinguished "BigLaw" firms. The group I practice in is routinely recognized as the best, or among the best, in the business.
My big weakness is that I have no litigation experience and little public interest history. I haven't clerked. I haven't worked on any of the causes I'm interested in. I have been a member of a civil liberties group, but not a terribly active one. I have done some public interest pro bono projects as a practicing lawyer, but nothing really relevant to what I want to get into.
I understand that this is "bad" -- the question is, what do I do about it? What is the quickest and most efficient way I can get out of what I'm doing and into one of the things I'm interested in? Part-time, volunteer, unpaid internship and similar possibilities are all possible if I need to do them. Should I try to clerk? Who to talk to about this?
(I am of course prepared to accept a vastly diminished wage rate in exchange for work that I will find meaningful.)
All advice is welcome. Thanks.
If there is important information missing let me know in the thread and I will try to follow up.