About two weeks ago, I attended the Public Interest Law Center (PILC) Career Fair at NYU Law, a two-day event attended by hundreds of public service employers and thousands of students from New York area law schools, resumes in hand, zealously foraging for coveted summer jobs. Sounds like a pretty low-key affair, right?

My first stop was Table Talk, two rooms filled with employers at small tables, inviting job-seekers to come and talk. Given the multitude of employers, I laid out a game plan beforehand – a spreadsheet, color-coded, of which employers I wanted to visit.

Spreadsheet Comic

Courtesy: toothpastefordinner.com

I quickly realized that this was overambitious; certain tables had lengthy waiting lines (naturally, several of the ones in which I was interested), while others had a complete dearth of visitors – apparently, not many students want to work in Alaska. And alas, life carries on outside the PILC Fair, so I had classes to attend as well.

Dedicating my precious lunch hour to Table Talk, I dashed to Greenberg Lounge, a spacious room in NYU Law’s Vanderbilt Hall, for more tables, more talking. Much to my dismay, several employers either weren’t hiring for the summer or weren’t hiring lowly 1Ls like myself. Audacity is key to Table Talk mastery; one must not neglect any available chairs at tables of interest – thus, that afternoon, I had about 7 conversations, some of which were fruitful, others not so much.

Ashley photo

Ready to PILC, looking every bit the consummate professional.

After this exhausting day of the usual classes and reading punctuated by fervently selling oneself (so to speak), I woke up bright and early to do it all over again. In a freshly dry-cleaned suit, toting several resumes, cover letters, and writing samples, I headed to NYU’s Kimmel Center for 5 scheduled interviews. Other interviewees and I waited in single file lines outside our respective interview rooms like actors waiting in the wings for our cue, which came from the meticulously precise timekeepers on duty.

I preferred this format to Table Talk – there was no cacophony of voices to contend with, nor as much of a time crunch. One interviewer asked me what I would do if a client told me he intended to skip a hearing, another conversed with me in Spanish, and I discussed Jersey Shore with another. It was an interesting but exhausting day, and I shamelessly spent the evening in pajamas, watching TV (yes Virginia, occasionally you can do such things in law school).

Cat on sofa photo

Me post-PILC Fair, basically.

The verdict: PILC Fair = absolutely worthwhile. After all, a few days later, I got a job offer! Stay tuned for more on that…

This entry was written by and posted on March 04, 2010.
The entry was filed under these categories: Campus Events, Internships/Jobs, Public Interest

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6 comments on “The Public Interest Legal Career Fair: A Student’s View
  1. Did you hear that Dade County , Florida has decided interference with free speech by pulling ads about Islam. This is outrageous and a huge waste of tax payer money will be pent paying legal costs to defend this practice.

  2. Scheduled interviews are always the best, when you can get them. Congratulations on the job offer.

  3. business law says:

    In the midst of scouring law reviews for a pleading and came across your site. Always delighted to find useful articles at an establishment of higher learner (I sound bourgie right now). Best!

  4. Hi Ashley,

    I like your articles and your sense of humor. If you have an interest in domestic violence and spending time in NJ for the summer check out the Partners for Women and Justice website. Consider whether you would like to interview with us at the 2011 NYU PILC.
    Best regards,

  5. Cute kitty picture! Good choice of beer too.

  6. Leslie says:

    Hi Ashley,
    How are you? I am writing to you because I am interested in applying to law school and came across your blog while doing research on the schools. I liked your article on the public interest legal career fair from a students perspective. I wanted to get your opinion since you have a background in Psychology. I have a MS in Psychology and so many people are expressing that a background in business is important and that law school is intimidating. Just wanted to know what advice you give to those considering law school and in prepping. Is it possible to get a job at a law firm as a paralegal to see how the work of a lawyer is?
    Best Regards,

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