Law clerk v. Summer Associate?

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Anonymous User
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Law clerk v. Summer Associate?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Feb 27, 2011 2:16 am

Are the terms interchangeable for students doing a summer at a firm?

I'm a 1L who recently got a summer job at a firm that typically only hires 2Ls for their summer position (I used to work at the firm pre-LS). The firm officially uses the title "Law Clerk" for this position. However, since the title of "summer associate" seems to imply greater prestige/responsibility, my question is: a) is my job basically the same as a summer associate, and b) can I call myself a "summer associate" on my resume without lying? Are summer associates exclusively 2L positions?

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CG614
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Re: Law clerk v. Summer Associate?

Postby CG614 » Sun Feb 27, 2011 2:31 am

Anonymous User wrote:Are the terms interchangeable for students doing a summer at a firm?

I'm a 1L who recently got a summer job at a firm that typically only hires 2Ls for their summer position (I used to work at the firm pre-LS). The firm officially uses the title "Law Clerk" for this position. However, since the title of "summer associate" seems to imply greater prestige/responsibility, my question is: a) is my job basically the same as a summer associate, and b) can I call myself a "summer associate" on my resume without lying? Are summer associates exclusively 2L positions?

My belief is someone that is bright enough to secure a position like this should be bright enough to answer this question.

Anonymous User
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Re: Law clerk v. Summer Associate?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Feb 27, 2011 2:35 am

CG614 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Are the terms interchangeable for students doing a summer at a firm?

I'm a 1L who recently got a summer job at a firm that typically only hires 2Ls for their summer position (I used to work at the firm pre-LS). The firm officially uses the title "Law Clerk" for this position. However, since the title of "summer associate" seems to imply greater prestige/responsibility, my question is: a) is my job basically the same as a summer associate, and b) can I call myself a "summer associate" on my resume without lying? Are summer associates exclusively 2L positions?

My belief is someone that is bright enough to secure a position like this should be bright enough to answer this question.


Thank you for your completely uninformative post.

dakatz
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Re: Law clerk v. Summer Associate?

Postby dakatz » Sun Feb 27, 2011 2:45 am

If the firm specifically assigns different titles based on whether you are there for 1L summer or 2L summer, then it would be a complete lie to use the title for a job you didn't hold. Or are all summers called law clerks in this firm? Either way, just use the title you are assigned.

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fatduck
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Re: Law clerk v. Summer Associate?

Postby fatduck » Sun Feb 27, 2011 2:50 am

dakatz wrote:If the firm specifically assigns different titles based on whether you are there for 1L summer or 2L summer, then it would be a complete lie to use the title for a job you didn't hold. Or are all summers called law clerks in this firm? Either way, just use the title you are assigned.

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. Pretend it's a judicial clerkship. My fee will be 10% of your signing bonus.

Anonymous User
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Re: Law clerk v. Summer Associate?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Feb 27, 2011 3:43 am

OP here: The firm doesn't distinguish between 1L and 2L--they do the same work, with the same title.

So is there any perceived difference between the two titles? Or does everyone know that they refer to the same thing (if indeed they do)?

Master Tofu
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Re: Law clerk v. Summer Associate?

Postby Master Tofu » Sun Feb 27, 2011 3:57 am

Nobody cares. Incoming first year associates who haven't been admitted to the bar yet are referred to as law clerks. Does that make you feel better?

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Re: Law clerk v. Summer Associate?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Feb 27, 2011 4:04 am

It actually does, thank you.

phillaw
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Re: Law clerk v. Summer Associate?

Postby phillaw » Sun Feb 27, 2011 4:09 am

As I understand it, they are not interchangeable:

Summer Associate = summer law student working for firm that is considering him/her for eventual post-grad employment
Law Clerk = summer law student working for firm with no post-grad employment implications (necessarily)

Hence, the perceived prestige difference based on this formal distinction.

I've heard of a few law clerks who are actually hired for post-grad jobs, but that does not change the formal distinction made by the titles. So substantively it's not a huge deal, but think of it like this...Guess what happens when a future employer calls your old firm and asks how you were as a "summer associate"? Yeah, the old firm says, "Uh, no, he/she was a law clerk. But, yeah, his/her work was okay, I guess." If you would have just put law clerk on your resume, the response would be "Yeah, he/she was a great law clerk. Hire him/her!"

JusticeJackson
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Re: Law clerk v. Summer Associate?

Postby JusticeJackson » Sun Feb 27, 2011 4:15 am

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Last edited by JusticeJackson on Sun Jun 05, 2011 1:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.

BobSacamano
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Re: Law clerk v. Summer Associate?

Postby BobSacamano » Sun Feb 27, 2011 10:26 am

Every firm has different terminology for their various positions, even at the attorney level. Don't worry about the title, but certainly don't lie about it either.

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NewHere
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Re: Law clerk v. Summer Associate?

Postby NewHere » Sun Feb 27, 2011 11:55 am

What Tofu said is true at my firm.

It has to do with "associate" giving the impression of having been admitted to the bar. In NY the rule is that you can't call yourself "associate" without a bar admission, because it would be tantamount to holding yourself out as a lawyer, but that "summer associate" does not carry those implications -- in other words, the NY ethics people (or whoever rules on those things) have taken the position that clients are likely to take "associate" to mean "lawyer," but will understand that a "summer associate" is a student who is not a lawyer yet. Therefore, many firms do call their summers "summer associate," but call their first-year associates "law clerk" on their external website and correspondence (even though they might still be referred to as "associates" internally.)

Other states have other rules for this -- there may be states where even "summer associate" is not OK for non-admitted employees. Or it could be that OP's firm is simply choosing to play it safe and uses "law clerk" for all people doing legal work who have not yet been admitted.

In any case, people who interview you for 2L summer positions will likely see no difference at all between having "summer associate at Firm X" on your resume and "law clerk at Firm X." But no, you cannot lie -- if your firm calls you law clerk, than that's what you are. You might tell an interviewer something like "I was a law clerk -- that's what Firm X calls its summer associates," but that's (IMHO) as far as you can go.

NotMyRealName09
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Re: Law clerk v. Summer Associate?

Postby NotMyRealName09 » Sun Feb 27, 2011 9:37 pm

Law Clerk = generally a law student (sometimes paralegals) working in a firm, or a law graduate working at a firm while waiting for admittance to the bar.

Summer Associate = Law Clerk in a traditional Summer Associate position, typically 10-12 weeks during the summer, followed by either an offer of full time employment following graduation, or a denial.

Unless the firm actually refers to you as a Summer Associate, it would be misleading to put the title on your resume.

Don't fluff it up. Its sort of amazing that your question really was asking if you could lie about your job title without getting caught.

Black-Blue
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Re: Law clerk v. Summer Associate?

Postby Black-Blue » Mon Feb 28, 2011 1:29 pm

"Law Clerk" refers to any law student who is working at the firm that does legal work.

"Summer Associate" is a subcategory of law clerk. The distinction is that: (1) this title is mostly used by big firms; (2) it signifies greater prestige or selectivity; (3) for law clerks that are specifically in the summer (whereas Law Clerk can be a semester-term worker); (4) Summer Associate is a full time position, whereas Law Clerk can be part time or full time.

In short, if you're a SA, you can call yourself a law clerk (though you wouldn't ever want to, because of difference in prestige), but not vice versa.

The post above pointed out that Summer Associate is for the summer. There is also another type of title, "Student Associate" which is the Summer Associate analog for the semester term. However, this title is rare, as it is usually used only for part-time law students who are working at a major law firm. The only industry that somewhat conventionally uses this position is Patent Prosecution.

TheFriendlyBarber
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Re: Law clerk v. Summer Associate?

Postby TheFriendlyBarber » Mon Feb 28, 2011 1:39 pm

Black-Blue wrote:In short, if you're a SA, you can call yourself a law clerk (though you wouldn't ever want to, because of difference in prestige), but not vice versa.


omfg

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BrianGriffintheDog
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Re: Law clerk v. Summer Associate?

Postby BrianGriffintheDog » Mon Feb 28, 2011 1:57 pm

summer associate

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Lawl Shcool
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Re: Law clerk v. Summer Associate?

Postby Lawl Shcool » Mon Feb 28, 2011 9:33 pm

If your at a small firm you will likely be picking your title as your boss will see you as an "intern." For example, I told my summer boss (small firm) that I wanted to be a "summer associate" because it looked better for 2L recruiting, his response "good idea."

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blackacre
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Re: Law clerk v. Summer Associate?

Postby blackacre » Thu Mar 03, 2011 3:13 am

also, as a SA, you would likely receive what entry level associates make for the time you are there (10-12 weeks). Law clerks are likely based on hours.

Katerina1090
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Re: Law clerk v. Summer Associate?

Postby Katerina1090 » Tue Nov 03, 2015 3:09 pm

Seriously? are 1/2 of you serious, 1Ls are lost enough. There was only one helpful answer on here. Summer Associate, no F****** bar passage necessary, law clerk is different. For the top 100 firms, almost all summer associates - who are 2Ls going into their 3L year have secured a job position for post-grad. Many of the top firms are ranked on hiring all associates, if there is ever not 10/10 summer associates (example) hired the following year it's either something drastically changed for the student and they had to leave or they messed up so bad that the firm was left no choice but to risk looking bad and not hiring this individual. Basically, if you are a 2L and have secured a summer associate position at Sidley, Davis Polk or skadden, then you have a 160K job secured upon graduation. Good luck! - O. Katie Robinson Hofstra Law 2016

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pancakes3
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Re: Law clerk v. Summer Associate?

Postby pancakes3 » Tue Nov 03, 2015 3:55 pm

Katerina1090 wrote:Seriously? are 1/2 of you serious, 1Ls are lost enough. There was only one helpful answer on here. Summer Associate, no F****** bar passage necessary, law clerk is different. For the top 100 firms, almost all summer associates - who are 2Ls going into their 3L year have secured a job position for post-grad. Many of the top firms are ranked on hiring all associates, if there is ever not 10/10 summer associates (example) hired the following year it's either something drastically changed for the student and they had to leave or they messed up so bad that the firm was left no choice but to risk looking bad and not hiring this individual. Basically, if you are a 2L and have secured a summer associate position at Sidley, Davis Polk or skadden, then you have a 160K job secured upon graduation. Good luck! - O. Katie Robinson Hofstra Law 2016


Good to know.

Winter is Coming
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Re: Law clerk v. Summer Associate?

Postby Winter is Coming » Tue Nov 03, 2015 4:17 pm

One of the weirdest/greatest necros of all time.




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