Why We Should Eliminate Law School Public Interest Career Planning Offices

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I know nothing about Stanford Law School but I did read an ad for an Executive Director for the Levin Center for Public Service and Public Interest and thought I would share my concerns about the position.

In 1984 I took over at Harvard Law School for Doug Phelps who was the first law school public interest adviser in the country. Through NALP some of us formed a Public Interest Committee and saw a dramatic growth in the number of such positions around the country. What evolved was a marginalization of such positions; i.e., the law schools would be able to say to those with dreams of serving the public "go see the public interest adviser" (lowly staff people like me) while massive staff funding went to the large law firm owned on-campus-interview machine, and the law school continued to fail to teach the fundamental skills and values needed to be a lawyer. The end result was the funnel of law students into large law firms.

What I argued for here and at workshops which I presented for faculty at a number of law schools was the need to integrate professional development (much more than career planning) into the entire law school curriculum saying "The urgent need for layers to represent the public should be a primary mission of the law school, not a separate subsidiary 'office'."

It has been over 18 months and I have had no response from Stanford Law School.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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