1L County Attorney summer internship?

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kazootey
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1L County Attorney summer internship?

Postby kazootey » Fri Feb 18, 2011 4:17 pm

I am pretty far behind in my job search, but I think I would be interested in interning with the local County Attorney for my 1L summer. Is this worthwhile? My grades aren't great, so I don't think I'll be getting any clerkship in a nice firm. But public service is my interest anyway. Should I do the unpaid internship if I can get it, or shoot for something else? Basically I want to do something local that will show future employers that I made valuable use of my summer time. Thanks.

BeautifulSW
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Re: 1L County Attorney summer internship?

Postby BeautifulSW » Fri Feb 18, 2011 4:51 pm

By "County Attorney" do you mean "prosecutor" or the office that manages civil and administrative affairs for the county? Or both?

In general, your 1L summer is a good time to earn some cash even if you do it by being a lifeguard at the local swimming pool. Better, really, to get away from the law for a little while since you will never, ever have another hiatus from the profession until you die or retire to Tahiti. And you'll have a chance to step back from the law school experience and ask yourself, also for the last time, if this is really something that you want to do forever.

At least, that's how I saw it back then but then again, I was never a contender for a BigLaw job so there you go...

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A'nold
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Re: 1L County Attorney summer internship?

Postby A'nold » Fri Feb 18, 2011 5:00 pm

IBbeautifulsouthwesttrashing

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OGR3
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Re: 1L County Attorney summer internship?

Postby OGR3 » Fri Feb 18, 2011 5:06 pm

As long as it's legal employment, that's all that matters. See if you can get internship credit with your law school because you're working unpaid at a government office. I know Pitt allows you to do that for all approved government and public interest employers.

Since you won't have to study, I would also advocate looking for a low stress summer job that would allow you to get some extra cash.

While I feel there is some truth to what BeautifulSW is saying, 1L summer is a great opportunity to get some experience in a legal job. You can explore different fields and it's a long term networking opportunity. Don't worry about getting paid. I know one person in my 1L class who's getting paid this summer, and it's because he's working as a summer associate at the firm he worked at for the last 4 years and he's easily top 5% in our class.

kazootey
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Re: 1L County Attorney summer internship?

Postby kazootey » Fri Feb 18, 2011 5:49 pm

BeautifulSW wrote:By "County Attorney" do you mean "prosecutor" or the office that manages civil and administrative affairs for the county? Or both?

In general, your 1L summer is a good time to earn some cash even if you do it by being a lifeguard at the local swimming pool. Better, really, to get away from the law for a little while since you will never, ever have another hiatus from the profession until you die or retire to Tahiti. And you'll have a chance to step back from the law school experience and ask yourself, also for the last time, if this is really something that you want to do forever.

At least, that's how I saw it back then but then again, I was never a contender for a BigLaw job so there you go...


It's both a prosecutor and civil affairs department. My interest is in criminal law, so that's what I told them I would want to do if they hired me.

BeautifulSW
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Re: 1L County Attorney summer internship?

Postby BeautifulSW » Fri Feb 18, 2011 7:11 pm

Oh, be nice A'nold. The OP has already told us that his 1L grades are not going to get him a firm job anyway. Why shouldn't he enjoy the last real summer vacation he'll ever experience? 1Ls don't actually know enough to be very useful in law offices anyway. He'd spend a lot of time standing around. I ought to know. I've done the work.

To the OP: Yeah, I suppose there's something to be said for seeing how state-level prosecution works but really, it isn't brain surgery. It's probably about the easiest area of law practice there is to learn and one of the easiest to get into right out of law school. But you know, ending the summer with some actual green that you aren't borrowing might be a very comforting thing, too.

Piece of advice you probably DON'T want to hear, though? If you do volunteer at the County Attorney, go to work in Planning and Zoning. That stuff is highly technical and the resulting knowledge is actually saleable. Plus you will make contacts with the law firms that guide land development deals through the administrative process.

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A'nold
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Re: 1L County Attorney summer internship?

Postby A'nold » Fri Feb 18, 2011 9:39 pm

BeautifulSW wrote:Oh, be nice A'nold. The OP has already told us that his 1L grades are not going to get him a firm job anyway. Why shouldn't he enjoy the last real summer vacation he'll ever experience? 1Ls don't actually know enough to be very useful in law offices anyway. He'd spend a lot of time standing around. I ought to know. I've done the work.

To the OP: Yeah, I suppose there's something to be said for seeing how state-level prosecution works but really, it isn't brain surgery. It's probably about the easiest area of law practice there is to learn and one of the easiest to get into right out of law school. But you know, ending the summer with some actual green that you aren't borrowing might be a very comforting thing, too.

Piece of advice you probably DON'T want to hear, though? If you do volunteer at the County Attorney, go to work in Planning and Zoning. That stuff is highly technical and the resulting knowledge is actually saleable. Plus you will make contacts with the law firms that guide land development deals through the administrative process.


No, I was saying this in a mean way. I just know TLS and when anybody disagrees with the status quo it turns into a freakshow in one minute flat.

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California Babe
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Re: 1L County Attorney summer internship?

Postby California Babe » Fri Feb 18, 2011 11:08 pm

BeautifulSW wrote:And you'll have a chance to step back from the law school experience and ask yourself, also for the last time, if this is really something that you want to do forever.


Regardless of whether or not the rest of your advice is good (it's not), this strikes me as odd. I'm not sure law school is a great indication of whether or not you'll be happy being a lawyer for the rest of your life. It seems that spending the summer in a real law environment and observing actual lawyers on a day-to-day basis is a better way to figure out if it's something you really want to do.

To OP: If you can't get anything paid, then why not do this? The no money part sucks, but you can wait tables on nights/weekends if you need cash. A county attorney's office is actually a great way to get into the local legal community, which as you indicate is pretty important for you. Is there a way to only do it part-time, since it's unpaid?

kazootey
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Re: 1L County Attorney summer internship?

Postby kazootey » Sat Feb 19, 2011 1:25 pm

California Babe wrote:
BeautifulSW wrote:And you'll have a chance to step back from the law school experience and ask yourself, also for the last time, if this is really something that you want to do forever.


Regardless of whether or not the rest of your advice is good (it's not), this strikes me as odd. I'm not sure law school is a great indication of whether or not you'll be happy being a lawyer for the rest of your life. It seems that spending the summer in a real law environment and observing actual lawyers on a day-to-day basis is a better way to figure out if it's something you really want to do.

To OP: If you can't get anything paid, then why not do this? The no money part sucks, but you can wait tables on nights/weekends if you need cash. A county attorney's office is actually a great way to get into the local legal community, which as you indicate is pretty important for you. Is there a way to only do it part-time, since it's unpaid?



I just want to make sure that this is a respectable option for 1L summer. If unpaid internships with the county attorney fit the bill for that, then I don't care about not being paid. I know this sounds like a pathetically low standard but that's just how I am handling this. I want to stay local, but not hurt my chances for more serious employment next summer and after I graduate. That is all.

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OGR3
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Re: 1L County Attorney summer internship?

Postby OGR3 » Sat Feb 19, 2011 4:07 pm

kazootey wrote:
California Babe wrote:
BeautifulSW wrote:And you'll have a chance to step back from the law school experience and ask yourself, also for the last time, if this is really something that you want to do forever.


Regardless of whether or not the rest of your advice is good (it's not), this strikes me as odd. I'm not sure law school is a great indication of whether or not you'll be happy being a lawyer for the rest of your life. It seems that spending the summer in a real law environment and observing actual lawyers on a day-to-day basis is a better way to figure out if it's something you really want to do.

To OP: If you can't get anything paid, then why not do this? The no money part sucks, but you can wait tables on nights/weekends if you need cash. A county attorney's office is actually a great way to get into the local legal community, which as you indicate is pretty important for you. Is there a way to only do it part-time, since it's unpaid?



I just want to make sure that this is a respectable option for 1L summer. If unpaid internships with the county attorney fit the bill for that, then I don't care about not being paid. I know this sounds like a pathetically low standard but that's just how I am handling this. I want to stay local, but not hurt my chances for more serious employment next summer and after I graduate. That is all.


You're fine. This shouldn't hurt your 2L employment chances at all.

BeautifulSW
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Re: 1L County Attorney summer internship?

Postby BeautifulSW » Sun Feb 20, 2011 7:51 pm

I simply do not understand the willingness of law students, let alone lawyers, to give away their professional services. Do you all think so little of what you know and can do that it's worth nothing in your own eyes? Then why do you expect ME to think it has value?

I am quite serious about this; if you cannot sell what you are paying so dearly to acquire, find another line of work.

I hire lawyers, folks, into positions very like the OP's proposed office. I am not impressed by seeing an unpaid internship on someone's resume. I have, in the past, REFUSED to accept offers by law students and even new attorneys to work for me and my agency for free for the "experience". In the most recent case, I instead steered the lawyer into a paid position.

My attitude is my own, of course. Perhaps there are others out there who see value in such things. But in general, I question the ethics of any supervising lawyer who allows a new lawyer or law student work for free outside of a properly sponsored law school program. And I am not alone in this. Such "volunteer" work may actually be illegal under federal wage and hour laws.

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vamedic03
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Re: 1L County Attorney summer internship?

Postby vamedic03 » Sun Feb 20, 2011 7:58 pm

BeautifulSW wrote:I simply do not understand the willingness of law students, let alone lawyers, to give away their professional services. Do you all think so little of what you know and can do that it's worth nothing in your own eyes? Then why do you expect ME to think it has value?

I am quite serious about this; if you cannot sell what you are paying so dearly to acquire, find another line of work.

I hire lawyers, folks, into positions very like the OP's proposed office. I am not impressed by seeing an unpaid internship on someone's resume. I have, in the past, REFUSED to accept offers by law students and even new attorneys to work for me and my agency for free for the "experience". In the most recent case, I instead steered the lawyer into a paid position.

My attitude is my own, of course. Perhaps there are others out there who see value in such things. But in general, I question the ethics of any supervising lawyer who allows a new lawyer or law student work for free outside of a properly sponsored law school program. And I am not alone in this. Such "volunteer" work may actually be illegal under federal wage and hour laws.


So you recommend that law students avoid the following unpaid employers 1L summer:

(1) Majority of DA's offices
(2) Majority of PD's offices
(3) DOJ and all other federal agencies
(4) USAO offices
(5) Judicial Internships

Which basically leaves, under your recommendations, that 1L's either work as RA's their 1L summer or, outside of the longshot for big law or the paid public employer, forego any legal experience their 1L summer.

sullidop
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Re: 1L County Attorney summer internship?

Postby sullidop » Sun Feb 20, 2011 8:01 pm

BeautifulSW wrote:I simply do not understand the willingness of law students, let alone lawyers, to give away their professional services. Do you all think so little of what you know and can do that it's worth nothing in your own eyes? Then why do you expect ME to think it has value?

I am quite serious about this; if you cannot sell what you are paying so dearly to acquire, find another line of work.

I hire lawyers, folks, into positions very like the OP's proposed office. I am not impressed by seeing an unpaid internship on someone's resume. I have, in the past, REFUSED to accept offers by law students and even new attorneys to work for me and my agency for free for the "experience". In the most recent case, I instead steered the lawyer into a paid position.

My attitude is my own, of course. Perhaps there are others out there who see value in such things. But in general, I question the ethics of any supervising lawyer who allows a new lawyer or law student work for free outside of a properly sponsored law school program. And I am not alone in this. Such "volunteer" work may actually be illegal under federal wage and hour laws.


Yeah, don't listen to the above. The vast majority of 1Ls do PI or gov work their first summer and usually get some form of stipend. Personally, I worked at a legal services office and had a great experience. At best it will confirm your desires, at worst it will steer you in a different direction. It's simply the market that you take certain positions for the experience...and because there are no paid options in that field.

CanadianWolf
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Re: 1L County Attorney summer internship?

Postby CanadianWolf » Sun Feb 20, 2011 8:04 pm

I know of several instances in which unpaid internships resulted in permanent employment a year or two later. Seems common for some DA & State Attorney offices.

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OGR3
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Re: 1L County Attorney summer internship?

Postby OGR3 » Sun Feb 20, 2011 8:47 pm

CanadianWolf wrote:I know of several instances in which unpaid internships resulted in permanent employment a year or two later. Seems common for some DA & State Attorney offices.


Also, at least for the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Western District of Pennsylvania, they look very favorably on past unpaid interns when making hiring decisions.




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