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So who are the chosen ones who made the cut into law school — and are intrepid enough to risk the uncertainties of today’s legal world? Many, like 27-year-old Ethan Nasr, are older than the traditional student and are on their second career. Nasr, an incoming first-year at the University of California, Hastings College of the Law, decided to return to the San Francisco Bay Area for law school after a stint as a press photographer for The Daily Starin Beirut, Lebanon. Just prior to his job at the Lebanese paper, Nasr worked as a photography teacher in Spain. After enrolling in a Ph.D. program in social science at the University of Chicago, Nasr decided an academic career would be limiting and left after receiving his master’s degree. “I didn’t see the social advocacy of [a career in social science]. Law is the last resort to address injustice,” he said. Nasr then narrowed his interests down to public interest law, which he said would let him work directly on issues affecting prisoners, immigrants and the homeless. After graduation, he hopes to work at either the American Civil Liberties Union, where he worked briefly after college on juvenile justice issues, or the National Lawyers Guild. And while Nasr hopes he can continue to pursue a public interest career, debt is certainly a concern, he said. Matt Richards, 27, felt the time was right for career advancement. After working as a library assistant, Richards got a job as a paralegal at the now-defunct Tatro Coffino Zeavin Bloomgarden. But he felt his work as a paralegal was a dead-end, and is now a second-year student at Hastings. Richards eventually wants to practice international law with a human rights emphasis, but he realizes this won’t happen immediately after graduation. “First,” said Richards, who is married, “I need to go to a firm and make enough money to repay my [student] loans.” Tanya Funches, 22, a first-year student at Santa Clara University School of Law, chose law school as a last resort, after spending the summer searching for a job in her area of expertise in Atlanta. “I looked for work in engineering and chemistry, my major at Atlanta University, and had no luck.” Funches had applied earlier for law school, and the dearth of jobs in Atlanta propelled her to California and the study of intellectual property law. Magdalena Zadrnowska, 23, of Golden Gate University School of Law, recently quit her job as a legal assistant at Simmons & Ungar, a firm that specializes in immigration and nationality law. She quit because she felt the time was right to attend law school full time without a job on the side. Zadrnowska, who attended UC-Santa Cruz, switched to a full-time schedule for her third year. While she’s mindful of the slow job market, she’s trying to stay optimistic. “I’m hopeful that by the time I’m done [with school] the economy will have gotten a little bit better,” Zadrnowska said. Related charts: Bay Area Law School Admissions 2001-2002 Where’s the Class of 2001 Working?

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