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What is a Community Organizer? – Alternative Jobs for Lawyers

Community organizer jobs are explored in today’s career video interview with Robert Hoo, a community organizer with an affiliate of the Industrial Areas Foundation network.

When I first asked Robert, “what is a community organizer,” I knew that President Obama had been one before entering politics, but knew nothing beyond that and the smear campaigns from Obama’s political and media adversaries.

I learned from Robert that if you’re interested in social change as well as navigating and engaging in the political process, community organizing is one of the great alternative careers for lawyers worth exploring.
  Join JD Careers Out There for access to this video plus more day-in-the-life career path interview videos & transcripts.
 
 
WATCH A SNEAK PEEK

Today’s Guest

Community Organizer Robert HooCommunity Organizer Robert Hoo
Title: Community Organizer
City: Las Vegas, NV
Law School: Yale Law School in New Haven, CT
College: Yale University in New Haven, CT
Videos: What is a Community Organizer & Robert’s Career Advice

Community Organizer Jobs

Community organizers work to organize leaders in a community who then organize other people so that everyone can come together and, through strength in numbers, have the power they’ll need to engage in the political process and act on things that affect them and their communities.

For example, a local church might pay dues to a community organizing network. One of the network’s community organizers might meet with the church’s leaders to discuss a specific community problem: maybe it’s safety or immigration issues. The organizer works with those leaders to help them organize the rest of their church community and teaches how to organize to help connect to other churches, congregations, and institutions so they have a larger voice when tackling that community problem.

To learn more about community organizer jobs and discover why they make for good law graduate jobs, check out my interview with Robert.

 

TRANSCRIPT PREVIEW

This is a transcript of the preview video on community organizing work.

Join JD Careers Out There for access to the full version of this transcript plus the career guidance video library & transcripts.

Luber: Hey everyone, welcome to JD CareersOutThere – where we get you career advice from fellow lawyers and non-practicing lawyers, to help you find and land fulfilling careers whether in law or non-legal jobs for lawyers.

Today we’re exploring the alternative legal career path of Community Organizing. We’re talking to Community Organizer Robert Hoo of OneLA, which is the Los Angeles affiliate of the Industrial Areas Foundation organizing network.

I’m your host Marc Luber, the founder of JDCOT. I’ve always used my law degree to work in alternative careers for lawyers – first in the music industry and then as a legal recruiter. I’ve been helping lawyers with their careers since 2003 and I’m excited for the opportunity to help you.

So, what is a community organizer? Take a look at our talk where Robert explains what Community Organizing is:

Robert Hoo: I work for an organization that is made up of different community institutions: mostly congregations, churches and synagogues but other community institutions as well: schools, nonprofits, different civic institutions.

And ultimately what I do is I help those community institutions come together to build one bigger, what we call a broad-based organization that enables those institutions and their members to engage in the political process and to be able to have power, to be able to act on things that affect them and their communities.

Luber: So, it’s strength in numbers?

Robert Hoo: It’s strength in numbers. In a very simple sense, it’s strength in numbers.

Luber: Now, you went to Yale Law School, right?

Robert Hoo: That’s right.

Luber: Fancy law school, smarty pants law school, you could go do anything. What led you to say, “this is what I want to do”?

Robert Hoo: Well, I actually had organizing experience before law school. I worked for a different network in New York and I really liked organizing and I liked politics and organizing is ultimately about politics.

So, it was something that I was interested in getting involved with out of law school as well, and ultimately once I found OneLA and once I found Industrial Areas Foundation, I really felt like – I really felt at home.

I felt like this was a great place and this is, you know, I love doing this work. It felt like I had a passion for this work.

Luber: Right. Right. And what is it that drives you every day? The desire to help people who need help, to find the change in their communities?

Robert Hoo: I think what drives me every day is the sort of universal desire as human beings to have a voice in things that affect us, in feeling like we have agency over our lives, and ultimately being part of an organization that’s all about that. That’s about that for the people in the communities I work but also for myself.

That’s ultimately what drives me every day.

Luber: That’s awesome. I love the passion. I want our audience to connect with their passions – and watching these video interviews as well as other stuff we do on JDCOT helps with that.

So Robert, give us a typical example of something that you’ll be trying to accomplish on behalf of a group. Strength in numbers for what?

Robert Hoo: Strength in numbers, for example, right now we are working on the access to healthcare. So, it could be strength in numbers in terms of how the L.A. County delivers healthcare services to people who don’t have insurance. It could be strength in numbers in terms of how healthcare reform is enacted.

We’re also doing some work on foreclosures, strength in numbers in terms of dealing with banks and how banks deal with people who are under water on their mortgages.

Luber: Wow.

Robert Hoo: Yeah.

Luber: And so then, what exactly are you doing? You’re gathering people together and then empowering them? Or you’re speaking on their behalf? How does this work?

Robert Hoo: Definitely not speaking on their behalf. It’s really about how those citizens, those everyday people, can speak on their own behalf.

Luber: Interesting! I want to dig much deeper into this. We’ll do that in the Full Interview. You guys should watch the full video where Robert and I go more in-depth into Community Organizing careers and you’ll learn more about what he does, how YOU can do it, how YOU can break in – and how your JD applies to this path.

You’ll want to join the JDCOT membership for access to the full, in-depth career interviews & transcripts that will help you find and land a career that fits you. Check out what people are saying about JDCOT by clicking here.

Thanks again for watching everybody. I’m Marc Luber and I’ll see ya soon.

[theme song]

©2019 Careers Out There

 
What do you think of community organizer jobs? Are these the type of alternative legal careers that interest you? Let us know in the Comments below.

Related Advice

More From This Guest

 

GET MY FREE SELF-ASSESSMENT!

Thinking of leaving the law? The best first step you can take is a good look in the mirror. START HERE:

it's free!
You’ll also get periodic updates, reminders & access to career guidance programs sent to your inbox. We respect your privacy. You can unsubscribe via a click at any time.