WUStL Students Pay 8k for "Virtual" Firm Experience?

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miamiman
Posts: 1486
Joined: Mon Mar 02, 2009 8:55 pm

WUStL Students Pay 8k for "Virtual" Firm Experience?

Postby miamiman » Mon Jun 14, 2010 2:25 pm

Not to start a string of debbie-downer stories but this one was especially troubling...

http://thecareerist.typepad.com/thecare ... hools.html

Duke Law to Give Stipends to Jobless Graduates; Washington U. Law Offers Jobless a Virtual Firm Summer
Vivia Chen

June 11, 2010


Washington University School of Law

Our sister publication The National Law Journal reports that Washington University School of Law has started a summer program called "Associate in Training" for 1Ls and 2Ls who don't have jobs. The six-week program "is loosely modeled on law firm summer associateships, and includes attorney shadowing, networking, instruction on the business of law firms and other skills training." Tomea Mayer Mersmann, associate dean for strategic initiatives, told the NLJ that it's the first of its kind.


Sounds good enough, but here's what bothers me: The program costs $8,520. Though Mersmann told NLJ that tuition remission is available and students earn credits for participation, I still find the price tag astonishing. Do unemployed students really need this additional debt?

Mersmann told the NLJ:


Obviously, we'd rather have our students getting trained at law firms and being paid. Unfortunately, the current employment market has made it much harder to secure a summer associate position. . . . For students who weren't able to go to firms this summer, this program is the best substitution to learn those skills.

Perhaps I'm too skeptical, but I question whether having a law firm simulation class on your resume will really improve your career chances. Do you really need to pay $8,000-plus to follow a lawyer around a law firm like a lost puppy?

keg411
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Joined: Tue Apr 21, 2009 9:10 pm

Re: WUStL Students Pay 8k for "Virtual" Firm Experience?

Postby keg411 » Mon Jun 14, 2010 3:35 pm

That sounds like an atrocious idea by WUSTL. Who in their right mind would take something like that? Better to do an upaid "shitlaw" internship or RA position... even 2L summer.

miamiman
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Joined: Mon Mar 02, 2009 8:55 pm

Re: WUStL Students Pay 8k for "Virtual" Firm Experience?

Postby miamiman » Mon Jun 14, 2010 3:44 pm

Beyond the obvious lunacity of paying 8k to shadow an atty and "network", what good could possibly come out of this?

After 1L: To enhance your profile for the coming OCI? I strongly doubt firms would look at this as an ehancement; much more likely to look like an act of desperation.

After 2L: You've already struck out at OCI. The BigLaw potential is gone. You're paying 8.5k to enhance your marketability .... for small law or mid law? Wouldn't it be much better to simply pound the pavement at local bar events, peel through your contacts, and use your alumni database?

nol607
Posts: 182
Joined: Thu Feb 25, 2010 5:45 pm

Re: WUStL Students Pay 8k for "Virtual" Firm Experience?

Postby nol607 » Mon Jun 14, 2010 4:07 pm

+1 for desperation. About as impressive as space camp is for prospective astronauts.

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Matthies
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Re: WUStL Students Pay 8k for "Virtual" Firm Experience?

Postby Matthies » Mon Jun 14, 2010 5:23 pm

Sounds good enough, but here's what bothers me: The program costs $8,520. Though Mersmann told NLJ that tuition remission is available and students earn credits for participation, I still find the price tag astonishing. Do unemployed students really need this additional debt?


Umm I'm not sure the author is interpreting it correctly. If the students get "credits" for it, its a class. I don't know how much it is per credit at WUSTL or how many credits you get for doing this, but that's typically how everything works for credit in law school. My 1L summer I clerked for a PI organization for free, but did it so I got three credits for it, cost me 6k for the credits, but I got experience and three credits towards graduation (we had an online class component and had to keep a journal and write about our expectations and what we learned in a final paper for the "class"). Pretty much if you want credits for graduation you're going to have to pay for them. I don't see this as any different, and quite honestly for most of these kids I would say that this is their only option and may force them to actually learn the skills they need to find a job if the school does not hand them one, ironically, by handing them one.




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