I'm an attorney exploring more self-satisfying career routes. One field attracting my interest at present is planning. I discovered Cyburbia forums for the first time today and spent some time scanning the threads. After a somewhat cursory examination, I am confident even as a newbie that the professionals and pseudo-professionals who post here have ample knowledge and wisdom to reply to my thread in a thoughtful fashion. I have a certificate of concentration in Envt'l Law and have accumulated some experience doing legal consulting for school districts challenging CEQA actions and interagency levy assessments and also private plaintiffs challenging redevelopment agency actions. My career experience is mainly in H.R./administration but I have gathered a number of interesting other career experiences such as webmaster, copy-editor, compliance officer, etc. My B.A. is in political science with a healthy science/math component.
I take a strong interest in politics and the rules governing municipal, county, special district, and state decision-making. I understand that the best route to an entry-level planning position is a B.A. in Geography/Architecture/Civil engineering followed by a masters in planning and passing an examination. I have a few questions:
(1) what route to further academic credentials might I pursue that would make me more competitive in the marketplace and that would occupy a short time-frame (a year or less) without having to go all the way back and earn another B.A.?
(2) Assuming that it takes between 2-5 years of experience in public entity work (e.g. planner, surveyor, recorder, clerk, consulting, project management, etc.) to get a job with a mid- to large-sized law firm specializing in public entity work (e.g. legislative consulting, legal representation, etc.), what do you think a good "raw experience-gathering" job would be for a J.D. who specializes in environmental law and interpreting the Gov't Code? Reading lots of attorney bios on law firm websites, I have learned that a large percentage of them were hired not on the basis of their legal experience but on the basis of their practical experience in fields such as preparing EIRs and mangaging surveying projects. I think I would really enjoy working with teams of professionals in one of these areas while I accumulating a sufficiently relevant and sustained work experience that would attract the interest of some of the more reputable (and more salary-generous) firms out there.
Thanks for your interest. I look forward to some thoughtful replies. One of my faults has been underappreciating the desire of people to help others succeed. I'm posting this thread as part of renewed effort to appreciate and incorporate the wisdom of the collective (excluding "the Borg").