This month’s edition of the Student Lawyer contains an article on the benefits of being a government lawyer. While you won’t make as much working for the government as you would in private practice, this article makes a strong case that the benefits of government service outweigh any monetary gain. Here’s what they had to say.
- You will become a good writer. You’re writing will be scrutinized by everyone, including judges, agencies, and private practicing attorneys. Additionally, you have more time for multiple drafts and close editing by supervisors and colleagues. I’ve previously posted on how my goal this semester is to become a better legal writer. Perhaps a clerkship with a judge over the summer will help achieve that goal.
- The hours are sane. In a government job, there’s no pressure to meet a certain number of billable hours. No working on the weekends! Thus, your quality of life and the balance of work and family are pretty good.
- You get government benefits. Another nice government job perk is the benefits. Dental, health insurance, paid vacations, and retirement. Can’t beat that.
- You’ll know how to work the system. If you decide private practice is what you really want to do, you still might benefit from a couple of years of government service. The experience and inside knowledge you gain about judges and administrative agencies will be a valuable asset to any private firm you work for.
- Debt forgiveness. Many schools have programs that will forgive some of the debt you acquire in law school. Granted, it’s often not that much, but every little bit helps.
- Satisfaction that you’re serving your community and country.
I’m still not sure what I’m going to do when I’m done with law school. Hopefully, I’ll have the opportunity to clerk for both private and government jobs to see what I like. What do you all think? What have been your experiences working for the government as a lawyer? Drop me a line and let me know.