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While the Early Interview Program (EIP) may be a great opportunity for those looking to interview with top firms, it isn’t for everyone and it’s not the only way to start a career or land a meaningful job. Examining whether or not EIP is for you is an important step in your job search. There are other alternatives to participating in EIP, and there is support and community for whatever path you choose. Review other interview programs and job fair opportunities and watch our panels with students who discuss whether they chose EIP or a different path. Make an appointment with OCS advisors and OPIA advisors to discuss your particular circumstances and what path is right for you. Here are examples of what students, faculty, and alumni have to say on paths they chose as an alternative to EIP.

Student Reflections and Quotes

Students share their perspectives on what it’s like to choose a public interest path instead of EIP.

“Biglaw may be the right choice for a lot of people, but it was not the right choice for me. I came to law school so that I could serve my community as a legal advocate, and EIP was not going to get me to that goal. I’m happy to say that I have not regretted that decision once, and neither have any of my friends on the public interest track. The public interest job search may be a longer, slightly more uncertain path, but it’s one that I’m excited about.”

Anonymous 2L

“I came to law school so that I could do work that was impactful, both for me and the community I would serve, and EIP would not get me any closer to that goal. I sought out others – from my section, from SPOs, from wherever – who were also skipping EIP, and we stayed in constant contact. Having that community turned out to be valuable beyond just EIP, and now, some of my closest friends from law school are my public interest peers.

“Now, as a graduating 3L, I am beyond excited to start my public interest career, and so glad I followed my instincts. I spent ten fun, fulfilling, memorable weeks at my dream organization, building relationships with my mentors, doing extremely substantive work, and helping litigate a case that I really cared about.

“My summer confirmed that this is the work I want to do for the rest of my career, and I wouldn’t have traded that opportunity for anything.”

Jessica Zhang, 3L

Faculty Reflections and Quotes

Faculty share their insights on students’ decisions to participate in EIP or not.

“I chose not to do EIP primarily because I was worried that if I had a law firm offer in hand, it would be incredibly difficult to stick to the plan of doing public interest technology law after law school. That was 100% the correct decision for me – I spent time in-house my second summer and worked for a small public interest law firm when I graduated. Both of those positions laid the groundwork for my practice now. All in all, I’m much happier that I stayed the course and held out for public interest opportunities.”

Kendra Albert, Clinical Instructional Fellow, Cyberlaw Clinic, Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society

“I skipped EIP because I knew that I had no interest in working in big law and felt confident that I could gain all the skills and training needed for my intended career (in international human rights) in other ways. I have never regretted this decision or even given it a second thought. I interned one summer at the NGO where I ultimately took a postgraduate fellowship, and the other at an international tribunal, which helped me rule out international criminal law as a career path while also gaining litigation experience.

“I have heard some students voice concern that they should go a firm to receive training that they won’t find in NGOs or in government. My own experience, and the experience of many students who I have advised and mentored, just does not bear this out. I always learned the most by doing the work, and by being given the significant responsibilities and complex projects that lawyers are trusted with very early in their careers at NGOs. There are so many wonderful organizations with talented and generous lawyers, who put a ton of their time and energy into training and supporting law students and new lawyers. It’s just a matter of finding the right place.”

Susan Farbstein, Clinical Professor of Law and Co-Director, International Human Rights Clinic

Alumni Reflections and Quotes

Alumni reflect on their decisions not to participate in EIP.

“While many of my friends participated in EIP, I was enthusiastic about selecting exhilarating summer internships in the nonprofit world. The nonprofit world is rich in its own ways – there are so many great organizations, leaders, advocates, and clients with their own philosophies and passions. It was rewarding and humbling to meet so many practitioners, advocates, and clients from all walks of life during my time at HLS. I continue to build upon those relationships and lessons now years out of law school.”

Juliana Guo ’15

“I secured really wonderful summer experiences in public interest, and continued to use my time productively to (a) figure out what public interest setting I wanted to land in after graduation and (b) build my network of public interest lawyers who could help me find the job I really wanted. Those experiences in turn allowed me to secure a Skadden Fellowship to pursue my dream job after graduation – helping victims of subprime mortgage lending save their homes from foreclosure. Eleven years later, I am still doing what I consider my dream job (which is now a mix of direct representation of low-income homeowners and policy work with a national think tank), and I have never regretted staying true to my real vision for my own career path.”

Sarah Mancini ’07