Legal Aid provides good job security and good benefits, but little opportunity for advancement.
Associate Appellate Counsel (Former Employee) – New York, NY – March 7, 2018
It would be difficult to provide an account of a typical day at Legal Aid because the different practice areas involve very different life styles. What can be said is that the job culture is mostly collegial, but it is also highly politicized, mostly leftward leaning and highly cliquish. If you want legal input into a case you are working on, people are not selfish about information and will give you whatever you need. If you want to have a social life, best look elsewhere. Younger Legal Aid attorneys are not especially friendly unless you inhabit their social sphere and older attorneys are family oriented and simply have no time for socializing. Medical benefits are great. The pension plan is not. Whether you have reasonable hours depends entirely on which practice area you are in. Because of the politicized nature of Legal Aid, it is best to avoid the political fray, especially if you are not on the far left of the political spectrum, because you will surely be burned. Memories are long and, for a purportedly humanitarian institution, both forgiveness and, dare I say, caring for one's colleagues, are virtues that are in short supply. Management will never protect you from your colleagues and you can never protect yourself from management if you do not have the support of your colleagues.