Tuesday, August 29, 2023

Networking and Career Development Services Opportunities

Before law school, I spoke to several attorneys who told me things like: “don’t go to law school,” “it’s a thankless profession,” and “you won’t enjoy it.” 

Although this is not true, and I found that not to be true in my short time during my 1L, I attended an event in Spring of my 1L that proved to me that this was simply not true for many attorneys. Loyola and the Public Interest Law Foundation (PILF) hosted the first Public Interest Palooza. It was a Saturday afternoon of panels and workshops with Public Interest attorneys in different organizations and fields. It was an incredible celebration of Public Interest law. 

I remember thinking that it was wonderful to hear attorneys doing things similar to what I wanted to do speaking so passionately and excitedly about their work. When it came time to apply to organization boards, my first thought was how amazing it would be to get to plan Palooza, so I applied for that position on the PILF board and I was lucky enough to get it! 

Much of my spring semester has been dedicated to securing speakers, coordinating with the Loyola Events team, and working with both the PILF board and the brand new Loyola Interdisciplinary Journal of Public Interest Law (LIJPIL) board to create marketing materials and buzz about campus. 

We had over 100 registrants for the afternoon of public interest celebration. It was an amazing afternoon, and I recognized a lot of 1Ls who had the same experience as me—in awe of the practitioners who work so hard every day to make our crazy world a little bit better, practitioners who are exhausted but exhilarated, practitioners who are inspiring and inspired. 

I do want to take the time to shout out my incredible co-Chair, Rachel Fox, who helped secure speakers, keep me sane, and plan Palooza’s incredible success! 

To me, events like this feel critical. Too often these days do I feel like there is not enough discussion about how to make the changes we so badly need to make. How do we address the homelessness problem in Los Angeles? How can we understand trauma to best interview clients? How can we work on policy changes to address the critical issues of reproductive justice, immigration, and queer advocacy in this country? Rather than just reading articles about the fact that these are issues, events like Palooza give students and practitioners the opportunity to understand why these are issues, how to address the issues, and how best to serve our beloved communities. Events like these are vivid reminders of why I wanted to come to law school in the first place. 

I can’t wait to attend next year, and I hope whoever plans it has as good of a time as I did. Not only did I get to attend the event again as a 2L, but I got to meet each speaker, tell them just how much I appreciate their time, their work, and their energy to make our country better. While most people in law school would see this as networking, I primarily saw it as an opportunity to be surrounded by people as passionate about Public Interest Law as I am. I hope all of you have the chance to attend this event in the future!