My heart is probably in public interest law, but I'm also interested in litigation generally and wouldn't mind building up a bit of a nest egg -- which is obviously harder to do if you pursue public interest work immediately following graduation.
I'd rather not say where I go to school, since that would make me easy to identify, and while I don't think I'll say anything too controversial, I'd like to keep this somewhat anonymous. I will say that I go to what is generally considered to be a "top" law school, or a T14, if you're into that sort of thing. If you're considering that range of schools and want any advice, feel free to PM me.
I was about 1.5 years out of undergrad.
No and Yes. AFAIK your GPA and LSAT are by far the two most important parts of your application, so don't expect to ride your PC service through the application process. That said, I do think it gave me a bit of a boost. It was the centerpiece of my resume, it made for a good personal statement, and it gave credence to my claims that I wanted to pursue public interest work. Not to mention, I believe law schools are starting to place greater value on prior work experience. At the margins, it's certainly useful.
I'm only a 1L, so I really don't know. I've interviewed with a few PI-minded organizations, and of course in those situations it has come up, but I'm not sure whether firms (especially large firms) view PC as a virtue, stain, or something in between. Hopefully /u/pclawyer can share his thoughts.
I'm not sure how to answer this question. The legal system is so fundamental to society that I wanted to know more about how it functions, perhaps in the same way that an engineer has a natural curiosity for the inner workings of this or that object. It's been nice to gain a better understanding of what was for the most part a big mystery to me.
Again, I'm not so sure how to answer this. It can be frustrating to see imperfections in the legal system, especially at the highest levels. I think a lot of us, at least for part of our lives, viewed the Supreme Court as this perfect and awesome institution, so it's sobering to learn that its decisions are sometimes influenced by politics or the Justices' personal prejudices.
I like how talented everyone is here. Going through first semester, I couldn't point to one person in my section and say that I was smarter than him or her. If nothing else it makes for high-quality class discussion.
I can't think of anything particular to my school. The Socratic Method, tuition rates . . . these are things that affect law students across the board.