1L Summer: Judicial Internship or Firm?

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1L Summer: Judicial Internship or Firm?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jan 21, 2011 9:03 pm

I've got a number of applications out for federal judicial internships. My grades were quite good so there should be at least some bites from my home state federal judges. However, I recently began applying to some smaller firms in my home state in order to see what options are available. The big law firms are pretty clear that either hiring is finished for the summer, or that they don't take 1L's (though one big firm, after saying they can't hire, offered to have me come in for a lunch and afternoon with some attorneys, which I'm excited for). I know that 1L summer doesn't matter all too much, but what would be the better position? A judicial internship or perhaps a summer with a smaller firm?

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sundevil77
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Re: 1L Summer: Judicial Internship or Firm?

Postby sundevil77 » Fri Jan 21, 2011 9:09 pm

Wanting to know the same thing

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Unitas
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Re: 1L Summer: Judicial Internship or Firm?

Postby Unitas » Fri Jan 21, 2011 9:38 pm

You will hear answers both ways and that is likely because the recruiter’s preference during 2L OCI that is determinative will differ based on their perceptions leading to multiple "correct" answers. Everyone agrees legal work is needed 1L summer. The likely hardest to get is paid firm work which would make it the most exclusive (1Ls aren’t that helpful for firms, so they must see something in the student). However, if you take a small or medium size firm some big law firms may look down on that, whereas they wouldn’t look down on the federal judicial internship. Some others may just see it as a signal that you are worth their time and just trading up from the small firm you worked at previously. However, the benefits and costs of this are very small and likely will balance out over the course of OCI in my opinion. Another benefit of a judicial internship is showing that you are interested in that and also if, depending on the judge, you may be able to try and clerk for that same judge or get a solid recommendation to clerk for another judge near there. Either way you want to be able to have a summer 1L that gives you something to talk about during OCI along with something that furthers your career goals. If you want to do M&A I wouldn’t work for a 1L firm that focuses on criminal defense and so forth. A firm job will help you reduce debt drastically, so that should be taken into consideration too.

You can try and split summers, which I believe most judges allow. They frown on it though, because you won't get to do nearly as much, you'll spend a week learning the ways and only have a few to use it with a whole summer you'll still only have the week learning curve but have much more using it. Say 1 week learning curve and 4 weeks use for a 5 week internship, v. a 1 week learning curve and 9 weeks use for a 10 week, so 4 weeks versus 9 weeks. Double time gives more than double experience.

Also remember if you interview with a federal judge most people I have spoken to say it is very improper to turn them down.

G.T.L. will probably have something else helpful to add to this.

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Re: 1L Summer: Judicial Internship or Firm?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jan 21, 2011 9:53 pm

Unitas wrote:You will hear answers both ways and that is likely because the recruiter’s preference during 2L OCI that is determinative will differ based on their perceptions leading to multiple "correct" answers. Everyone agrees legal work is needed 1L summer. The likely hardest to get is paid firm work which would make it the most exclusive (1Ls aren’t that helpful for firms, so they must see something in the student). However, if you take a small or medium size firm some big law firms may look down on that, whereas they wouldn’t look down on the federal judicial internship. Some others may just see it as a signal that you are worth their time and just trading up from the small firm you worked at previously. However, the benefits and costs of this are very small and likely will balance out over the course of OCI in my opinion. Another benefit of a judicial internship is showing that you are interested in that and also if, depending on the judge, you may be able to try and clerk for that same judge or get a solid recommendation to clerk for another judge near there. Either way you want to be able to have a summer 1L that gives you something to talk about during OCI along with something that furthers your career goals. If you want to do M&A I wouldn’t work for a 1L firm that focuses on criminal defense and so forth. A firm job will help you reduce debt drastically, so that should be taken into consideration too.

You can try and split summers, which I believe most judges allow. They frown on it though, because you won't get to do nearly as much, you'll spend a week learning the ways and only have a few to use it with a whole summer you'll still only have the week learning curve but have much more using it. Say 1 week learning curve and 4 weeks use for a 5 week internship, v. a 1 week learning curve and 9 weeks use for a 10 week, so 4 weeks versus 9 weeks. Double time gives more than double experience.

Also remember if you interview with a federal judge most people I have spoken to say it is very improper to turn them down.

G.T.L. will probably have something else helpful to add to this.


Very helpful. Thank you.

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Re: 1L Summer: Judicial Internship or Firm?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jan 21, 2011 10:08 pm

how about 1L summer

... at the USAO (in a competitive office) v firm offer (at a great big law firm)?

(and it's not possible to split)

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Re: 1L Summer: Judicial Internship or Firm?

Postby Aqualibrium » Fri Jan 21, 2011 10:18 pm

Well respected regional firms are always a plus on the resume, and will always give you a slight advantage at OCI. If the firms you're talking about are NLJ 250 firms, or well known/prestigious firms in a major city, do it.

If it's Grandpa, Daddy, and Son, LLC what Unitas said carries a bit of weight. Large firms do tend to look down on smaller firms like that.

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Re: 1L Summer: Judicial Internship or Firm?

Postby vamedic03 » Sat Jan 22, 2011 10:57 am

Unitas wrote:You will hear answers both ways and that is likely because the recruiter’s preference during 2L OCI that is determinative will differ based on their perceptions leading to multiple "correct" answers. Everyone agrees legal work is needed 1L summer. The likely hardest to get is paid firm work which would make it the most exclusive (1Ls aren’t that helpful for firms, so they must see something in the student). However, if you take a small or medium size firm some big law firms may look down on that, whereas they wouldn’t look down on the federal judicial internship. Some others may just see it as a signal that you are worth their time and just trading up from the small firm you worked at previously. However, the benefits and costs of this are very small and likely will balance out over the course of OCI in my opinion. Another benefit of a judicial internship is showing that you are interested in that and also if, depending on the judge, you may be able to try and clerk for that same judge or get a solid recommendation to clerk for another judge near there. Either way you want to be able to have a summer 1L that gives you something to talk about during OCI along with something that furthers your career goals. If you want to do M&A I wouldn’t work for a 1L firm that focuses on criminal defense and so forth. A firm job will help you reduce debt drastically, so that should be taken into consideration too.

You can try and split summers, which I believe most judges allow. They frown on it though, because you won't get to do nearly as much, you'll spend a week learning the ways and only have a few to use it with a whole summer you'll still only have the week learning curve but have much more using it. Say 1 week learning curve and 4 weeks use for a 5 week internship, v. a 1 week learning curve and 9 weeks use for a 10 week, so 4 weeks versus 9 weeks. Double time gives more than double experience.

Also remember if you interview with a federal judge most people I have spoken to say it is very improper to turn them down.

G.T.L. will probably have something else helpful to add to this
.


What you do your 1L summer doesn't matter.

Aqualibrium
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Re: 1L Summer: Judicial Internship or Firm?

Postby Aqualibrium » Sat Jan 22, 2011 11:10 am

vamedic03 wrote:
Unitas wrote:You will hear answers both ways and that is likely because the recruiter’s preference during 2L OCI that is determinative will differ based on their perceptions leading to multiple "correct" answers. Everyone agrees legal work is needed 1L summer. The likely hardest to get is paid firm work which would make it the most exclusive (1Ls aren’t that helpful for firms, so they must see something in the student). However, if you take a small or medium size firm some big law firms may look down on that, whereas they wouldn’t look down on the federal judicial internship. Some others may just see it as a signal that you are worth their time and just trading up from the small firm you worked at previously. However, the benefits and costs of this are very small and likely will balance out over the course of OCI in my opinion. Another benefit of a judicial internship is showing that you are interested in that and also if, depending on the judge, you may be able to try and clerk for that same judge or get a solid recommendation to clerk for another judge near there. Either way you want to be able to have a summer 1L that gives you something to talk about during OCI along with something that furthers your career goals. If you want to do M&A I wouldn’t work for a 1L firm that focuses on criminal defense and so forth. A firm job will help you reduce debt drastically, so that should be taken into consideration too.

You can try and split summers, which I believe most judges allow. They frown on it though, because you won't get to do nearly as much, you'll spend a week learning the ways and only have a few to use it with a whole summer you'll still only have the week learning curve but have much more using it. Say 1 week learning curve and 4 weeks use for a 5 week internship, v. a 1 week learning curve and 9 weeks use for a 10 week, so 4 weeks versus 9 weeks. Double time gives more than double experience.

Also remember if you interview with a federal judge most people I have spoken to say it is very improper to turn them down.

G.T.L. will probably have something else helpful to add to this
.


What you do your 1L summer doesn't matter because most people don't do anything unique/of consequence.

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Re: 1L Summer: Judicial Internship or Firm?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Jan 22, 2011 11:23 am

How small is small such that a big firm at OCI might actually look down on it? I was looking into firms that had about somewhere between 20-50 people in my hometown area, particularly for the specific practice area I'm interested in. So if nothing else, I could at least say at OCI, I worked in a firm in X practice area, and actually have some relevant experience in it.

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Unitas
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Re: 1L Summer: Judicial Internship or Firm?

Postby Unitas » Sat Jan 22, 2011 12:22 pm

vamedic03 wrote:
Unitas wrote:You will hear answers both ways and that is likely because the recruiter’s preference during 2L OCI that is determinative will differ based on their perceptions leading to multiple "correct" answers. Everyone agrees legal work is needed 1L summer. The likely hardest to get is paid firm work which would make it the most exclusive (1Ls aren’t that helpful for firms, so they must see something in the student). However, if you take a small or medium size firm some big law firms may look down on that, whereas they wouldn’t look down on the federal judicial internship. Some others may just see it as a signal that you are worth their time and just trading up from the small firm you worked at previously. However, the benefits and costs of this are very small and likely will balance out over the course of OCI in my opinion. Another benefit of a judicial internship is showing that you are interested in that and also if, depending on the judge, you may be able to try and clerk for that same judge or get a solid recommendation to clerk for another judge near there. Either way you want to be able to have a summer 1L that gives you something to talk about during OCI along with something that furthers your career goals. If you want to do M&A I wouldn’t work for a 1L firm that focuses on criminal defense and so forth. A firm job will help you reduce debt drastically, so that should be taken into consideration too.

You can try and split summers, which I believe most judges allow. They frown on it though, because you won't get to do nearly as much, you'll spend a week learning the ways and only have a few to use it with a whole summer you'll still only have the week learning curve but have much more using it. Say 1 week learning curve and 4 weeks use for a 5 week internship, v. a 1 week learning curve and 9 weeks use for a 10 week, so 4 weeks versus 9 weeks. Double time gives more than double experience.

Also remember if you interview with a federal judge most people I have spoken to say it is very improper to turn them down.

G.T.L. will probably have something else helpful to add to this
.


What you do your 1L summer doesn't matter.


Based on? Just trying to figure out where that mentality comes from. Is it from OCS, hiring partners, TLS, anecdotal evidence, or somewhere else? I've read that several times on TLS, but from all my interactions with firms and big law lawyers, some are friends, what I said is true and almost word for word what I've been told collectively. It is a buyer's market and as a seller of a product during 2L OCI doing something 1L summer that fits your long-term goals IMO is much better than doing "any" legal work.

Do you think working at a PD your 1L summer and then trying to do bankruptcy law your second summer shows any red flags?

In this case, I said the benefits and costs during interviews of the two are very small and will likely come out even during OCI. So we pretty much agree here, but I want to know where the blanket statement comes from.

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Re: 1L Summer: Judicial Internship or Firm?

Postby legends159 » Sat Jan 22, 2011 1:20 pm

what he's saying is that what you do your 1L summer doesn't matter as long as you can spin it and sell the skills you developed over the summer. Just tell the recruiter you LOVED your 1L summer, learned x,y,z and talk about whatever you did for 20-30 minutes and you're good.

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Re: 1L Summer: Judicial Internship or Firm?

Postby vamedic03 » Sat Jan 22, 2011 2:06 pm

Unitas wrote:
vamedic03 wrote:What you do your 1L summer doesn't matter.


Based on? Just trying to figure out where that mentality comes from. Is it from OCS, hiring partners, TLS, anecdotal evidence, or somewhere else? I've read that several times on TLS, but from all my interactions with firms and big law lawyers, some are friends, what I said is true and almost word for word what I've been told collectively. It is a buyer's market and as a seller of a product during 2L OCI doing something 1L summer that fits your long-term goals IMO is much better than doing "any" legal work.

Do you think working at a PD your 1L summer and then trying to do bankruptcy law your second summer shows any red flags?

In this case, I said the benefits and costs during interviews of the two are very small and will likely come out even during OCI. So we pretty much agree here, but I want to know where the blanket statement comes from.


This is based on a significant amount of anecdotal evidence. Your success at OCI is determined by your grades and then by your interviewing ability.

Does working for a PD or a DA raise flags for a BigLaw firm? - No, it doesn't. You gain valuable legal experience. You get to do a significant amount of writing and, unlike in other positions, your writing probably got submitted to a court without changes.

Does working as an RA raise flags? - No, it doesn't. You gain valuable legal research skills and you become conversant about a particular area of the law.

Does the inability to talk intelligently about your summer hurt? - Yes. You need to be able to explain what you did over the summer in a positive manner. You should be able to discuss how it applies to other fields.

Are people who work as RA's disadvantaged? - No. If you have the grades for a V5 or V10 firm, they don't care what you did, so long as you can talk intelligently about it.

A large number of people I know, as a 2L, who are going to V10 firms worked as an RA their 1L summer. A larger number worked in public interest.

FWIW, I worked both with a local DA's office and as an RA. I never had an interviewer question why I worked where I did and it did not hurt me during OCI.

Finally, the 3L's I know who are going on to some of the best clerkships worked as RA's their 1L summer.

My point about this is as follows - your success at OCI will largely be determined by your grades and, to a much, much smaller extent your interviewing ability, prelaw school work experience, etc. At this point, a 1L should be focusing primarily on school and on doing well spring semester. After that, a 1L, if their journal tryouts occur during the school year, should focus on those. Only after those more important things should a 1L worry about the 'prestige' of their 1L summer position.

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Re: 1L Summer: Judicial Internship or Firm?

Postby sundevil77 » Sat Jan 22, 2011 2:25 pm

vamedic03 wrote:My point about this is as follows - your success at OCI will largely be determined by your grades and, to a much, much smaller extent your interviewing ability, prelaw school work experience, etc. At this point, a 1L should be focusing primarily on school and on doing well spring semester. After that, a 1L, if their journal tryouts occur during the school year, should focus on those. Only after those more important things should a 1L worry about the 'prestige' of their 1L summer position.


I don't think anyone was disputing this, and your advice is appreciated. That said, considering grades are already in, journal write-ons aren't for another month or two, and job applications and OCIs are happening in a couple of weeks, now seems like the appropriate time - if there ever was any - to think about 1L summer positions.

Also, I understand that for 2L OCI what you do doesn't matter, as long as you do something legal. I'm simply wanting to know which positions provide a higher quality experience (e.g. breadth of exposure, improving writing and research skills, networking, etc.), which I think OP might be wanting to know as well.

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Re: 1L Summer: Judicial Internship or Firm?

Postby vamedic03 » Sat Jan 22, 2011 2:34 pm

sundevil77 wrote:
vamedic03 wrote:My point about this is as follows - your success at OCI will largely be determined by your grades and, to a much, much smaller extent your interviewing ability, prelaw school work experience, etc. At this point, a 1L should be focusing primarily on school and on doing well spring semester. After that, a 1L, if their journal tryouts occur during the school year, should focus on those. Only after those more important things should a 1L worry about the 'prestige' of their 1L summer position.


I don't think anyone was disputing this, and your advice is appreciated. That said, considering grades are already in, journal write-ons aren't for another month or two, and job applications and OCIs are happening in a couple of weeks, now seems like the appropriate time - if there ever was any - to think about 1L summer positions.

Also, I understand that for 2L OCI what you do doesn't matter, as long as you do something legal. I'm simply wanting to know which positions provide a higher quality experience (e.g. breadth of exposure, improving writing and research skills, networking, etc.), which I think OP might be wanting to know as well.


The experiences are going to be what you make of them. A local DA's office that let's you write motions and briefs can give you a better experience than a USAO's office that has you writing memo's. Likewise, working with a professor that expects substantive writing may give you a better experience than a PD that expects you to just help with trial prep. The quality of the experience will depend on the specific employer more than the general type of employer.

Further, if you think you might have any interest in public interest or public service in the future (and you didn't come from the public sector before law school) then you should work for a public interest or public service group 1L summer, especially if you work for a firm 2L summer. Having that little bit of street cred can go a long way.

The great thing about 1L summer is that you can do something very random - like, if you have any inkling that you might want to do some form of crim law years from now, you can get a taste of it. Likewise, if there is some random area of the law that really interests you, find a professor to work with as an RA.

What I have an issue with is the claim that big law firms "look down" on certain experiences. They know that the 1L job market sucks. They also know that doing other things can help focus someone on what they want to do.




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