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5 Pub. Int. L.J. N.Z. 1 (2018)
The Public Interest Flame

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                                   EDITOR'S   NOTE


                         The   Public Interest Flame


                                 JAYDEN  HOUGHTON*


Why   do  you  do  law?  When   you  started  your  legal education,  you  might  have
responded   with some   bright-eyed, idealistic declaration about wanting  to  advance
social justice and make a difference in the world. But after a few years at law school,
your answer  might have changed, perhaps to reflect a more personal and pragmatic desire
to secure  a stable job and  earn a good  salary.' Whilst such goals are no  less valid,
the question  remains: what  is it about law schools that makes students  less idealistic
about using their legal education to serve the public interest?
    Robert V Stover suggests that law students' idealism is affected by changes in two
factors: the values  that shape  students'  future career  preferences; and  students'
expectations  about  what  careers  would  satisfy those  values.2 Law  schools  shape
those values and expectations, such as by signalling (explicitly or implicitly) the importance
of a  career path in commercial   law.3 But law  schools are not  the only influencers.
Recent data confirms that private law firms tend to offer graduates a higher salary than,



*    Rereahu Maniapoto. Lecturer, Faculty of Law, University of Auckland. Jayden has written the
     Editor's Note for this issue on behalf of all members of the editorial team.
1    If you experienced similar attitude changes during your legal education, you are certainly in
     good company and quite possibly the norm rather than the exception. See generally Lawrence
     S Krieger What We're Not Telling Law Students-and Lawyers-that They Really Need to Know:
     Some Thoughts-in-action toward Revitalizing the Profession from Its Roots (1998) 13 JL &
     Health 1; Kennon M Sheldon and Lawrence S Krieger Does Legal Education have Undermining
     Effects on Law Students? Evaluating Changes in Motivation, Values, and Well-Being (2004) 22
     Behav Sci Law 261; and Lawrence S Krieger The Hidden Sources ofLaw School Stress:A voiding
     The Mistakes That Create Unhappy and Unprofessional Lawyers (Krieger, 2006).
2    Robert V Stover Making It and Breaking It: The Fate of Public Interest Commitment During Law
     Schoo/(University of Illinois Press, Urbana (IL), 1989) at 18-35.
3    See, for example, Auckland Law School Handbook 2018 (University of Auckland, Auckland,
     2018). With one exception, the Handbook advertises career opportunities in commercial law
     firms only. The exception is a law firm with a dual focus on commercial law and criminal law.
     Although this is probably because commercial law firms tend to be better placed to afford to
     advertise in such a publication, this is not always the case, and the reader may nonetheless
     get the impression that a career path in commercial law is more prestigious, challenging and
     worthwhile than the many other options available to law students.

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