Can a TFA-Style Program for Lawyers Succeed?

A lawyer version of something like Teach for America is an interesting idea, but it seems to me to be more about addressing the poor employment prospects for graduating law students than about coming up with a long-term solution to the lack of affordable legal services for low- and moderate income people. If the law profession bounces back somewhat (or if the supply of lawyers starts to decline, which is likely), I wonder if enough law school graduates will still find these programs attractive.

Putting aside whatever else you think of Teach for America, if you are a young person interested in a career in education policy, TFA is increasingly becoming a ticket to the cool kids table. Even if you are heading somewhere else in your career post-TFA, there’s a substantial job market value in having TFA experience on  your resume, and I don’t think it’s unfair to say that this is a prime motivator for many of the high achievers coming out college who apply. For something like Lawyers for America or similar programs to succeed long-term, I wonder if they’ll eventually have to build up a similar level of cachet among elites so that even those not considering careers in public interest law or legal services for the poor will see value in the experience. And for those who are considering public interest law or legal services, whether they will actually be able to make a career of it.

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  1. Pingback: Could Immigration Reform Draw Greater Attention to the Legal Needs of Low-Income Immigrants? | Literacy & Policy | Jeff Carter

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