Judge vs. Firm

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Judge vs. Firm

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Feb 06, 2011 7:12 pm

I know this is a frequently asked topic, but I would love input; especially because I have specifics for the situation.

I am a 1L and I am trying to decide between working for a federal judge in a half-summer position and working for a firm.

I've been offered a position with a judge on the federal court of appeals and I have been offered a summer associate position with a mid-sized firm. Given that the firm is one that I very much enjoy and the judge is well connected in my community, it is a tough call.

General issues:
- The firm job is (well) paid
- Working for the judge is only a half summer obligation, leaving me free to pursue other paid job opportunities (for which I have a few options that would all pay, but nowhere near as well as the firm).
- I eventually would like to work for a firm, but am not 100% committed to that, so a broadly applicable position with the judge might be beneficial
- I really enjoyed the firm, a whole lot. There would definitely be a chance to return during my 2L year.
- I know I would really enjoy working for the judge as well.
- A split summer between the two is probably not available

Advice?

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Re: Judge vs. Firm

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Feb 06, 2011 7:19 pm

.
Last edited by Anonymous User on Sun Feb 06, 2011 7:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Judge vs. Firm

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Feb 06, 2011 7:19 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I know this is a frequently asked topic, but I would love input; especially because I have specifics for the situation.

I am a 1L and I am trying to decide between working for a federal judge in a half-summer position and working for a firm.

I've been offered a position with a judge on the federal court of appeals and I have been offered a summer associate position with a mid-sized firm. Given that the firm is one that I very much enjoy and the judge is well connected in my community, it is a tough call.

General issues:
- The firm job is (well) paid
- Working for the judge is only a half summer obligation, leaving me free to pursue other paid job opportunities (for which I have a few options that would all pay, but nowhere near as well as the firm).
- I eventually would like to work for a firm, but am not 100% committed to that, so a broadly applicable position with the judge might be beneficial
- I really enjoyed the firm, a whole lot. There would definitely be a chance to return during my 2L year.
- I know I would really enjoy working for the judge as well.
- A split summer between the two is probably not available


Advice?


I know 2 people who interned for CoA judges and they said it was absolute gold come OCI time, and that recruiters from the biggest firms saw it as very very prestigious. If you had a 1L SA with one of the very big name firms, then I'd say just take that. But in this case, I think you would be crazy to turn down CoA given how few people end up interning for them, and how it will help you so much at OCI

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Re: Judge vs. Firm

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Feb 06, 2011 7:28 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I know this is a frequently asked topic, but I would love input; especially because I have specifics for the situation.

I am a 1L and I am trying to decide between working for a federal judge in a half-summer position and working for a firm.

I've been offered a position with a judge on the federal court of appeals and I have been offered a summer associate position with a mid-sized firm. Given that the firm is one that I very much enjoy and the judge is well connected in my community, it is a tough call.

General issues:
- The firm job is (well) paid
- Working for the judge is only a half summer obligation, leaving me free to pursue other paid job opportunities (for which I have a few options that would all pay, but nowhere near as well as the firm).
- I eventually would like to work for a firm, but am not 100% committed to that, so a broadly applicable position with the judge might be beneficial
- I really enjoyed the firm, a whole lot. There would definitely be a chance to return during my 2L year.
- I know I would really enjoy working for the judge as well.
- A split summer between the two is probably not available


Advice?


I know 2 people who interned for CoA judges and they said it was absolute gold come OCI time, and that recruiters from the biggest firms saw it as very very prestigious. If you had a 1L SA with one of the very big name firms, then I'd say just take that. But in this case, I think you would be crazy to turn down CoA given how few people end up interning for them, and how it will help you so much at OCI



OP here,
I agree with that sentiment a lot, which is why I am considering turning down mad bank this year (at the hopes of making it next year/having my druthers as to where I make it).

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Re: Judge vs. Firm

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Feb 06, 2011 7:30 pm

Has the judge told you it's OK to say "no" or given you a set amount of time to decide? If you get a cool vibe from the judge, perhaps explain that you have the option to get paid over the summer at the firm and ask if you could do a semester-long or year-long externship (for which you could probably get credit at your school)--I assume this is an option because you say the judge is in your community. If the judge says no without rescinding your offer, you could still go with the judge... and perhaps the judge will think even better of you for "giving up" the money to work for him/her.

What are your grades like for first semester? If pretty high, then personally I would go with the COA judge. It could be the icing on the cake for getting a federal clerkship later on.

FWIW, I'm a former USCOA intern and current state appellate law clerk. Having the USCOA on my resume helped me get the interview with my judge--she told me this. Plus, my UCSOA judge knew several of the state judges who I interviewed with.

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Re: Judge vs. Firm

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Feb 06, 2011 7:34 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Has the judge told you it's OK to say "no" or given you a set amount of time to decide? If you get a cool vibe from the judge, perhaps explain that you have the option to get paid over the summer at the firm and ask if you could do a semester-long or year-long externship (for which you could probably get credit at your school)--I assume this is an option because you say the judge is in your community. If the judge says no without rescinding your offer, you could still go with the judge... and perhaps the judge will think even better of you for "giving up" the money to work for him/her.

What are your grades like for first semester? If pretty high, then personally I would go with the COA judge. It could be the icing on the cake for getting a federal clerkship later on.

FWIW, I'm a former USCOA intern and current state appellate law clerk. Having the USCOA on my resume helped me get the interview with my judge--she told me this. Plus, my UCSOA judge knew several of the state judges who I interviewed with.


OP Again,
I have the option to turn down the judge if I'd like. My grades are very strong so far. That makes me feel much better, as I was definitely leaning toward the judge, but felt like maybe I'd regret missing out on the firm experience.

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Lawquacious
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Re: Judge vs. Firm

Postby Lawquacious » Sun Feb 06, 2011 7:46 pm

If the internship with the judge is Federal Court of Appeals (Circuit Court) I don't see anyway that taking the firm position can be TCR. I think if it was only a District-level internship it may be a close call. However, since it is only for half the summer (which strikes me as unusual, but I will take it at face value) it seems like maybe you could work out some sort of a split-commitment between the judicial internship and firm position (or a different firm position if this one won't work with you but somewhere else will). Best of luck and 'gratz on the offers!

Edit: I did temper this view with second page post upon consideration of others' opinions.
Last edited by Lawquacious on Mon Feb 07, 2011 4:38 am, edited 1 time in total.

cattail
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Re: Judge vs. Firm

Postby cattail » Sun Feb 06, 2011 8:13 pm

I had to make the same decision last week. I took the CoA intern. It was a hard one, considering the $$$.

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Re: Judge vs. Firm

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Feb 06, 2011 8:21 pm

cattail wrote:I had to make the same decision last week. I took the CoA intern. It was a hard one, considering the $$$.


I'm really glad I'm not the only one. Although I guess it's a nice situation to be stuck in, choosing between the two is difficult.

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Re: Judge vs. Firm

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Feb 06, 2011 8:23 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Has the judge told you it's OK to say "no" or given you a set amount of time to decide? If you get a cool vibe from the judge, perhaps explain that you have the option to get paid over the summer at the firm and ask if you could do a semester-long or year-long externship (for which you could probably get credit at your school)--I assume this is an option because you say the judge is in your community. If the judge says no without rescinding your offer, you could still go with the judge... and perhaps the judge will think even better of you for "giving up" the money to work for him/her.

What are your grades like for first semester? If pretty high, then personally I would go with the COA judge. It could be the icing on the cake for getting a federal clerkship later on.

FWIW, I'm a former USCOA intern and current state appellate law clerk. Having the USCOA on my resume helped me get the interview with my judge--she told me this. Plus, my UCSOA judge knew several of the state judges who I interviewed with.


OP Again,
I have the option to turn down the judge if I'd like. My grades are very strong so far. That makes me feel much better, as I was definitely leaning toward the judge, but felt like maybe I'd regret missing out on the firm experience.

To clarify my other post, I would only take the USCOA internship if you think you would like to clerk. If you have no interest in clerking, take the paid firm job, which could lead to full time employment.

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Re: Judge vs. Firm

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Feb 06, 2011 8:24 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Has the judge told you it's OK to say "no" or given you a set amount of time to decide? If you get a cool vibe from the judge, perhaps explain that you have the option to get paid over the summer at the firm and ask if you could do a semester-long or year-long externship (for which you could probably get credit at your school)--I assume this is an option because you say the judge is in your community. If the judge says no without rescinding your offer, you could still go with the judge... and perhaps the judge will think even better of you for "giving up" the money to work for him/her.

What are your grades like for first semester? If pretty high, then personally I would go with the COA judge. It could be the icing on the cake for getting a federal clerkship later on.

FWIW, I'm a former USCOA intern and current state appellate law clerk. Having the USCOA on my resume helped me get the interview with my judge--she told me this. Plus, my UCSOA judge knew several of the state judges who I interviewed with.


OP Again,
I have the option to turn down the judge if I'd like. My grades are very strong so far. That makes me feel much better, as I was definitely leaning toward the judge, but felt like maybe I'd regret missing out on the firm experience.

To clarify my other post, I would only take the USCOA internship if you think you would like to clerk. If you have no interest in clerking, take the paid firm job, which could lead to full time employment.


OP here,
If I had my choice I would clerk and then go to work for a firm.

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Re: Judge vs. Firm

Postby Lawquacious » Sun Feb 06, 2011 8:28 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Has the judge told you it's OK to say "no" or given you a set amount of time to decide? If you get a cool vibe from the judge, perhaps explain that you have the option to get paid over the summer at the firm and ask if you could do a semester-long or year-long externship (for which you could probably get credit at your school)--I assume this is an option because you say the judge is in your community. If the judge says no without rescinding your offer, you could still go with the judge... and perhaps the judge will think even better of you for "giving up" the money to work for him/her.

What are your grades like for first semester? If pretty high, then personally I would go with the COA judge. It could be the icing on the cake for getting a federal clerkship later on.

FWIW, I'm a former USCOA intern and current state appellate law clerk. Having the USCOA on my resume helped me get the interview with my judge--she told me this. Plus, my UCSOA judge knew several of the state judges who I interviewed with.


OP Again,
I have the option to turn down the judge if I'd like. My grades are very strong so far. That makes me feel much better, as I was definitely leaning toward the judge, but felt like maybe I'd regret missing out on the firm experience.

To clarify my other post, I would only take the USCOA internship if you think you would like to clerk. If you have no interest in clerking, take the paid firm job, which could lead to full time employment.



Hmmm.. I don't know that this is good advice. I've heard that firms look very highly on judicial internship experience for future hiring (regardless of whether you plan to do a clerkship eventually), and I also think the COA judicial internship would be the superior option if you have any interest in going into academia. Then again, if you truly aren't interested in doing the judicial internship and get the sense that the firm job could turn into a full-time offer eventually (i.e. it has been hinted that is the case etc..), then perhaps the firm job is the way to go for you. If you were a 2L I might answer somewhat differently (since I think 2L firm internship is more likely to turn into offer, which could be ideal if high-paying firm job was your primary goal).

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Re: Judge vs. Firm

Postby romothesavior » Sun Feb 06, 2011 8:32 pm

Firm job by a landslide.

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Re: Judge vs. Firm

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Feb 06, 2011 8:35 pm

romothesavior wrote:Firm job by a landslide.


OP here,
Given that I began this to get some perspective and advice, would you care to elaborate?

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Re: Judge vs. Firm

Postby Grizz » Sun Feb 06, 2011 8:35 pm

romothesavior wrote:Firm job by a landslide.


This. ITE, take the thing most likely to lead to a guaranteed job.

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Re: Judge vs. Firm

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Feb 06, 2011 8:43 pm

Lawquacious wrote:Hmmm.. I don't know that this is good advice. I've heard that firms look very highly on judicial internship experience for future hiring (regardless of whether you plan to do a clerkship eventually),

Yes, most employers will likely be more impressed by USCOA internship than a mid-sized firm SA. But it's not worth the money and potential for full-time employment, IMHO. OP already said he/she has good grades. USCOA internship probably won't matter much (at all) in getting a 2L firm gig.
Lawquacious wrote:and I also think the COA judicial internship would be the superior option if you have any interest in going into academia.

Yes, but a clerkship would be the first step for academia. I don't think a 1L USCOA internship will make any (much) difference in academia hiring. TBF, though, I have no experience in academia hiring.

I agree with romo and rad unless OP has a strong desire to clerk.

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Re: Judge vs. Firm

Postby Lawquacious » Sun Feb 06, 2011 8:44 pm

...
Last edited by Lawquacious on Mon Feb 07, 2011 4:39 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Judge vs. Firm

Postby romothesavior » Sun Feb 06, 2011 8:45 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
romothesavior wrote:Firm job by a landslide.


OP here,
Given that I began this to get some perspective and advice, would you care to elaborate?

Every private attorney I have asked or heard weigh in on this issue has said or implied that:

Firm job >>> judicial internship = decent unpaid job (such as a job with the AG or a federal agency) >> crappy unpaid job (like legal services) = RA >>>>>>>>>>>>> waiting tables

I don't think there is much difference between summer jobs, unless it is 1) something non-legal (that would hurt you a lot) or 2) a mid-biglaw associateship. Maybe the fact that your judicial internship is pretty prestigious would change this ranking a little, but I can't imagine it outweighs all the positive benefits of a paid summer associate job. I'd take the paid job because:

1) You have a chance at a well-paid permanent job offer. Imagine being able to go into 2L OCI without the stresses of having to find another job. That would be incredible.
2) It looks better on the resume, at least from what I've heard
3) You get PAID, and thus graduate with less debt
4) You can possibly try to turn this judicial thing into an externship during the school year

Different strokes for different folks, but I think a firm job is a far better thing (especially ITE) than a judicial internship.
Last edited by romothesavior on Sun Feb 06, 2011 8:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Judge vs. Firm

Postby Lawquacious » Sun Feb 06, 2011 8:46 pm

rad law wrote:
romothesavior wrote:Firm job by a landslide.


This. ITE, take the thing most likely to lead to a guaranteed job.


I question whether a 1L firm internship is likely to lead to guaranteed anything..

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Re: Judge vs. Firm

Postby Lawquacious » Sun Feb 06, 2011 8:47 pm

romothesavior wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
romothesavior wrote:Firm job by a landslide.


OP here,
Given that I began this to get some perspective and advice, would you care to elaborate?

Every private attorney I have asked or heard weigh in on this issue has said or implied that:

Firm job >>> judicial internship = decent unpaid job (such as a job with the AG or a federal agency) >> crappy unpaid job (like legal services) = RA >>>>>>>>>>>>> waiting tables

I don't think there is much difference between summer jobs, unless it is 1) something non-legal (that would hurt you a lot) or 2) a mid-biglaw associateship. Maybe the fact that your judicial internship sounds semi-prestigious would change things a little, but I can't imagine it outweighs all the positive benefits of a paid summer associate job. I'd take the paid job because:

1) You have a chance at a well-paid permanent job offer. Imagine being able to go into 2L OCI without the stresses of having to find another job. That would be incredible.
2) It looks better on the resume, at least what I've heard
3) You get PAID, and thus graduate with less debt
4) You can possibly try to turn this judicial thing into an externship during the school year



I see no way a mid-size firm looks better than Federal COA internship on a resume. Federal COA internships are about the most pretigious internship you can get while in law school as far as I know. Then again, there may be variations in quality of these, and the fact that OP's offer was only for half of the summer kind of makes me wonder what exactly this internship entails. I think some of it does come down to OP interests though. If OP is primarily concerned with getting firm work and making good money then maybe firm is TCR (but OP already stated that he/she is interested in doing clerkship after law school, so I think this weighs in favor of judicial internship).

Further Edit: Modified and also posted pg. 2 re: tempered view of this topic.
Last edited by Lawquacious on Mon Feb 07, 2011 4:42 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Judge vs. Firm

Postby romothesavior » Sun Feb 06, 2011 8:48 pm

Lawquacious wrote:
rad law wrote:
romothesavior wrote:Firm job by a landslide.


This. ITE, take the thing most likely to lead to a guaranteed job.


I question whether a 1L firm internship is likely to lead to guaranteed anything..

Depends on the market and type of firm, to a large degree. If this was a biglaw firm, I'd say the odds would be lower, but a lot of smaller NLJ 250 firms in smaller markets hire their 1Ls with the intention of keeping them around as associates (and ideally to become partners).

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Re: Judge vs. Firm

Postby romothesavior » Sun Feb 06, 2011 8:49 pm

Lawquacious wrote:No way mid-size firm looks better than Federal COA clerkship on resume.

Even if not, the difference is not that large to outweigh the money and the potential for full time employment.

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Re: Judge vs. Firm

Postby Grizz » Sun Feb 06, 2011 8:49 pm

romothesavior wrote:
Lawquacious wrote:
rad law wrote:
romothesavior wrote:Firm job by a landslide.


This. ITE, take the thing most likely to lead to a guaranteed job.


I question whether a 1L firm internship is likely to lead to guaranteed anything..

Depends on the market and type of firm, to a large degree. If this was a biglaw firm, I'd say the odds would be lower, but a lot of smaller NLJ 250 firms in smaller markets hire their 1Ls with the intention of keeping them around as associates (and ideally to become partners).


This.

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Re: Judge vs. Firm

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Feb 06, 2011 9:01 pm

rad law wrote:
romothesavior wrote:
Lawquacious wrote:
rad law wrote:This. ITE, take the thing most likely to lead to a guaranteed job.


I question whether a 1L firm internship is likely to lead to guaranteed anything..

Depends on the market and type of firm, to a large degree. If this was a biglaw firm, I'd say the odds would be lower, but a lot of smaller NLJ 250 firms in smaller markets hire their 1Ls with the intention of keeping them around as associates (and ideally to become partners).


This.


op here,
From what I gather, of the 1Ls the firm has taken in the past, many of them have gone on to be hired (and many have taken their 1L summer experience and parlayed it into BigLaw)

To counterbalance that, I am fairly sure that in the legal community I am in, the judge for whom I would be working is well connected enough that a rec from her would be strong anywhere in town.

I feel like I am writing a law school exam test hypo where each side is as closely balanced factually as possible. Unfortunately this is real life though.

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Re: Judge vs. Firm

Postby Lawquacious » Sun Feb 06, 2011 9:08 pm

Kind of curious what you mean about the judge being well connected (or reputed) in the legal community you are in and being able to give you a good local rec. If he/she is a Federal Circuit Judge then I have a hard time imagining that a rec wouldn't hold weight pretty much anywhere (not just in your local legal community). Not trying to convince you one way or another. At this point I suppose I am just trying to get a better picture of what kind of judicial internship you are actually looking at.




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