Of the professors on the blogroll here, I’m still one of the newer ones. So I’m looking to those who have been doing this for a longer time for some advice. A regular part of our job is counseling students on all things related to law, and as part of that, I frequently talk with students who want to practice feminist law. They went to law school so they could be the next Ruth Bader Ginsburg. They’ve survived the harrowing three years with their ideals intact. Now they want to join a movement non-profit to litigate sex discrimination cases and change the law and world to make it better for women.
The problem is that even in good economic times legal jobs at women’s rights non-profits are incredibly hard to come by. By a quick guess, I’d say there are 100 full-time women’s rights lawyers in the country at these non-profits. That’s not a lot of job openings. Of course, you can expand the field and talk about plaintiff-side employment discrimination boutiques. And small family law firms may interest some of these students. But as you expand, you move further away from what a lot of feminist students are looking for — work for a cause rather than for a profit.
So what do you tell students who come to you looking for this kind of work? Any and all advice would be appreciated (for me advising or for students reading this blog).
- David S. Cohen