Anonymous User wrote:I go to a school ranked 40 - 60 in a major metropolitan area.
Many of my peers and upperclassmen say I should expect to work for free my first summer . . . is this normal? Do I really have to take it un-lubed and work for free? I have a masters, and think putting in 60 hours a week for a bullet point on a resume is bullshit.
Also, it appears most individuals at my school work as clerks for no-name judges their first summer. Again, for a school ranked similarly to mine, is this fairly normal? I have as much interest in a vasectomy as I do in working in public interest. If I must work for free I'd rather be a coffee boy at JonesDay than be a clerk for some over worked district judge.
Also, most of my peers say our CDO is one of the best in our part of the country. Thus far into my law school career, it appears like all they do is push PI PI PI all the time. All the events thus far have been PI related. Same with other schools or am I alone on this one?
Thanks for your responses!
It's not too late to quit law school and pursue a Ph.D. in whatever you got the master's in. Unless you get incredibly lucky, you're never going to get the kind of job you seem to want regardless of whether it's this summer, next summer, or any time after that. That's the harsh reality of going to a school in the 40-60--especially if it's in a major metropolitan area. At least the Ph.D. won't leave you with the kind of debt law school will (if it leaves you with any at all).
If the OP is in New York, Chicago, etc, yes, he is probably being rather unrealistic. The sheer amount of hustling, hardworking students from higher-ranked schools will outdo him unless he also does well and hustles and gets a little lucky. It happens, but I don't think many people should bother 'expecting' to get paid. I know students at a T2 who have gotten paid decently doing this and that (substantive legal work), but none who landed actual summer associate positions or other high paid positions. If you end up top of your class, if your master's is in something that someone happens to really like, who knows? The answer is to get out there and find every possibility that even looks decent, and apply to many of them. Don't pick three; pick thirty. Then pick some more and go for it. You have to keep an open mind.
If OP is in a smaller market without tons of T20 students flooding in to fight for positions, he might have a shot. But OP, you're looking at this the wrong way. Getting paid? Who cares? This is 1L summer. Get experience. Go ahead and apply for the paid positions you want, but apply to something you'll enjoy or benefit from in case things don't work out. Use this either as a stepping stone to something for 2L or as a chance to broaden your experience/specialty.
I'll add this from a personal angle: Since day one, I have been pouncing on interesting people at events at my school and giving them a quick rundown on A) what I want to do and B) what I've done and sometimes that's led to further networking opportunities. It's far too early to tell if any of the networking will actually lead to a 1L summer gig (unpaid, 99% probability) but I've had some promising leads and learned some things about the market around here. More contacts are always good.