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