Philip Longo

I was the Office Manager for the Litigation Group from 2005-2006. Even though I was at Public Citizen a very short time, it had an enormous impact on my life, particularly my professional and political commitments. As a 23 year old and the lone non-lawyer for a group of insanely dedicated, smart, and funny colleagues, I must say that I was very intimidated by them at first. A few weeks after I started, I watched two of the attorneys argue in front of the Supreme Court. In fact, during my brief tenure, I saw Litigation Group lawyers appear in front of the Supreme Court three times. It was so exciting for me to see how focused, strategic, and quality efforts could actually make change at the highest levels of the judicial and political system, and it was inspiring to be around the lawyers who did this day in and day out. Yet, what I think really impressed upon me about the attorneys at the Litigation Group (and the many others in other divisions of Public Citizen) was just how humble and down-to-earth they were. After mornings where attorneys would argue at the Supreme Court, the whole Lit Group would still meet in the small basement break room to eat their brown bag lunches together, talking about the latest political issues of the day, followed by the ritual “post-lunch Google search” about some point of trivia raised in discussion (this was before smartphones!).The attorneys left a powerful impression on me as a recent college graduate-even those who were advocating for change at the highest levels of politics and the law could still be humble, friendly, and generous. It also taught me that powerful, lasting change is not usually the result of flashy political campaigns or movements, but it is the result of everyday people who make the commitment to it day in and day out. I saw that everywhere at Public Citizen-people dedicated to consistent advocacy, not because they wanted the spotlight, but because they knew it was the right thing to do, and because they just couldn’t let injustice pass them by. Even though I did not eventually go to law school to follow in their footsteps, the attorneys at the Lit Group made such a huge impact on me. They taught me that a life dedicated to my ideals may involve some difficult financial sacrifices, but ultimately there’s something so honorable and fulfilling about waking up each day to doggedly work toward a more just society. I’m so grateful to be part of Public Citizen and particularly the Litigation Group.