BigLaw unpaid summer internship

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Unpaid Big Law or Paid small/gvt that is respectable?

Unpaid Big Law
13
36%
Paid small law/gvt
23
64%
 
Total votes: 36

Anonymous User
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BigLaw unpaid summer internship

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jan 29, 2010 4:33 pm

My situation has not happened to me yet, but I think there is a good possibility ( 50%+) of me having to make this decision within the next 2-3 weeks.

I am interested in a niche field of law. Big firms have begun to include this practice, but their practice departments are quite small ( we are talking like 4-6 attorneys). Most small and mid-size firms handle this type of law.

I am a slightly above the median student at a T20, with my strongest selling points being that I got an A ( highest grade awarded) in my legal writing class, and that I have some former paralegal experience in this niche field of law ( summer internship during college as a paralegal at one of the leading mid-firms that handle this type of law).

I met a partner at a Biglaw firm and I believe he might offer me an unpaid position at the bigfirm for the summer.

I am looking for advice if I am offered such a position, should take it, that way essentially having "backdoored" my way into a bigfirm and be able to put that on my resume in case I decide that this niche law market is not for me and thus I become more attractive to other big law firms at OCI for having biglaw experience on my resume or should I take a small firm or government job that still is respectable and is paid? Splitting would not be an option.

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thesealocust
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Re: BigLaw unpaid summer internship

Postby thesealocust » Fri Jan 29, 2010 4:57 pm

edit: never mind
Last edited by thesealocust on Wed Jun 30, 2010 11:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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vamedic03
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Re: BigLaw unpaid summer internship

Postby vamedic03 » Fri Jan 29, 2010 5:00 pm

The only way this would be worthwhile is if you can work exclusively on pro bono matters. Then, you get to have done 'public interest' work while also working with a big law firm and getting an 'in' with that firm. Otherwise, it's a bad idea - for profit companies should be paying you for the work!

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chadwick218
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Re: BigLaw unpaid summer internship

Postby chadwick218 » Fri Jan 29, 2010 5:04 pm

This may be all hearsay, but is there a policy amongst NALP that they cannot offer an unpaid biglaw summer internship? I have heard this echoed by a couple of firms before in prior dealings. Thoughts?

Though I have heard of situations where students received a "paralegal" salary over the summer ...

legends159
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Re: BigLaw unpaid summer internship

Postby legends159 » Fri Jan 29, 2010 5:06 pm

well seeing as how your work product probably won't earn them anything and even if it does, would be offset by the fact that you're taking up a seat this could be a decent deal from a moralistic perspective (you trade your time for learning experience and a line on your resume).

However, since it probably won't really matter come OCI what firm you worked for if you did work for a firm, take the money from the smaller firm.

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chadwick218
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Re: BigLaw unpaid summer internship

Postby chadwick218 » Fri Jan 29, 2010 5:06 pm

Also, I tend to think that this is a bad idea (unless, of course, the firm is willing all but provide you with a full-time offer afterwards and guarantee you an spot in next years class ... all of which is highly unlikely).

Renzo
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Re: BigLaw unpaid summer internship

Postby Renzo » Sun Jan 31, 2010 2:43 am

I'm calling hijinks on this. No biglaw office is going to let someone work for free as a summer associate.

ToTransferOrNot
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Re: BigLaw unpaid summer internship

Postby ToTransferOrNot » Sun Jan 31, 2010 2:56 am

I'm not even sure a biglaw office can legally have a free SA. I offered to work for Mayer for free while I was on the waitlist--the response I got back had something in there about employment laws and so on.

Of course, I got off the waitlist a week later, so 8) But yeah, I don't think it's legal to do what you want to do.

Renzo
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Re: BigLaw unpaid summer internship

Postby Renzo » Sun Jan 31, 2010 3:00 am

ToTransferOrNot wrote:I'm not even sure a biglaw office can legally have a free SA. I offered to work for Mayer for free while I was on the waitlist--the response I got back had something in there about employment laws and so on.

Of course, I got off the waitlist a week later, so 8) But yeah, I don't think it's legal to do what you want to do.

You can't. It's slavery. A private company can only have unpaid interns if the interns do not contribute any value to the company, but are there solely for their own benefit.

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OperaSoprano
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Re: BigLaw unpaid summer internship

Postby OperaSoprano » Sun Jan 31, 2010 3:05 am

Renzo wrote:
ToTransferOrNot wrote:I'm not even sure a biglaw office can legally have a free SA. I offered to work for Mayer for free while I was on the waitlist--the response I got back had something in there about employment laws and so on.

Of course, I got off the waitlist a week later, so 8) But yeah, I don't think it's legal to do what you want to do.

You can't. It's slavery. A private company can only have unpaid interns if the interns do not contribute any value to the company, but are there solely for their own benefit.


In that case, several of my prior employers broke the law quite flagrantly.

Renzo
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Re: BigLaw unpaid summer internship

Postby Renzo » Sun Jan 31, 2010 3:06 am

OperaSoprano wrote:
Renzo wrote:
ToTransferOrNot wrote:I'm not even sure a biglaw office can legally have a free SA. I offered to work for Mayer for free while I was on the waitlist--the response I got back had something in there about employment laws and so on.

Of course, I got off the waitlist a week later, so 8) But yeah, I don't think it's legal to do what you want to do.

You can't. It's slavery. A private company can only have unpaid interns if the interns do not contribute any value to the company, but are there solely for their own benefit.


In that case, several of my prior employers broke the law quite flagrantly.

Yeah, it's plenty common, but you'd think (hope?) biglaw firms with labor/employment practice groups would know better.

Anonymous User
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Re: BigLaw unpaid summer internship

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jan 31, 2010 4:37 am

...
Last edited by Anonymous User on Tue Jun 29, 2010 8:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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nealric
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Re: BigLaw unpaid summer internship

Postby nealric » Sun Jan 31, 2010 1:55 pm

This may be all hearsay, but is there a policy amongst NALP that they cannot offer an unpaid biglaw summer internship? I have heard this echoed by a couple of firms before in prior dealings. Thoughts?


There is no NALP police. Firms can basically do what they want.



In general, I would have a hard time doing it as a matter of principle. They can afford to pay you, but they aren't going to. Think about that.

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Ipsa Dixit
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Re: BigLaw unpaid summer internship

Postby Ipsa Dixit » Sun Jan 31, 2010 3:51 pm

chadwick218 wrote:This may be all hearsay, but is there a policy amongst NALP that they cannot offer an unpaid biglaw summer internship? I have heard this echoed by a couple of firms before in prior dealings. Thoughts?

Though I have heard of situations where students received a "paralegal" salary over the summer ...


NALP policies are "more what you'd call 'guidelines' than actual rules."

Renzo
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Re: BigLaw unpaid summer internship

Postby Renzo » Sun Jan 31, 2010 4:47 pm

Ipsa Dixit wrote:
chadwick218 wrote:This may be all hearsay, but is there a policy amongst NALP that they cannot offer an unpaid biglaw summer internship? I have heard this echoed by a couple of firms before in prior dealings. Thoughts?

Though I have heard of situations where students received a "paralegal" salary over the summer ...


NALP policies are "more what you'd call 'guidelines' than actual rules."

But this misses the point. A 1L is all but useless to a complex practice like that of a biglaw firm. The only reason they would hire one would be to woo them for after graduation, and how much wooing can you achieve through indentured servitude?

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Bosque
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Re: BigLaw unpaid summer internship

Postby Bosque » Thu Feb 04, 2010 12:40 am

Anonymous User wrote:Um BigLaw without the BigPaycheck? DOES NOT COMPUTE!


I concur. It kind of ruins the point. BigLaw sucks in every respect BUT the paycheck... the paycheck is the only reason to do it. Unless you specifically want to work for THIS firm when you graduate, go work for the government this summer. It is still unpaid, but the hours are more reasonable and it looks better on your resume. Plus you are more likely to work on something interesting you can talk about in future interviews.




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