Small firm jobs?

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Small firm jobs?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Oct 20, 2011 4:54 pm

For people with experience working with small firms during the school year, what is it like? Do they give substantive work or is it just filing and mailing shit? When is the best time to apply? Do they pay you anything usually?

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Re: Small firm jobs?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Oct 20, 2011 7:26 pm

Anonymous User wrote:For people with experience working with small firms during the school year, what is it like? Do they give substantive work or is it just filing and mailing shit? When is the best time to apply? Do they pay you anything usually?


I know this isn't what you're looking for exactly, but I worked at a small firm this summer and I thought I'd throw my two cents in. Depending on the how small the firm is you might get both extremes as far as type of work. For example, this summer I did everything from mailing and setting up a new filing system to sitting second chair at a felony criminal trial. It's just the nature of the small firm. They didn't have anyone to file, so I did, but they also needed a lot of legal support, so I was doing real substantive stuff. This is anecdotal obviously, but I imagine the experience might be similar elsewhere.

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Re: Small firm jobs?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Oct 20, 2011 7:41 pm

I worked at a small firm (20+ attorneys) this summer and they asked me stay on throughout the year. I get a lot of substantive work; drafting pleadings and briefs, writing memos on narrow issues... But there is more grunt work than there was this summer.

I think it pays well, but it doesn't compare to what the big firms pay their SAs. I was able to save a little money this summer, with that, I now get paid enough to cover my living expenses.

My class work is much lighter now than it was 1L.... so working 15-20 hours a week has been completely managable.

All in all, it's been cool.

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Re: Small firm jobs?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Oct 20, 2011 8:37 pm

I agree with the above. You have to be willing to do some shit work-filing, answering the phones, doc review, but mixed in with that you will likely get to take a crack at drafting motions, contacting some of the more easy going clients and on occasion actually getting to throw your .02 in on actual substantive issues. I don't know about other people's experience but the biggest drawback for me is that the hours could be unpredictable. When things are busy you may be there for 10-12 hours, and when its a slow day you may be in and out in 3 or 4 hours. Just tough to predict. Regardless, if you're getting paid it's definitely worth it.

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Re: Small firm jobs?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Oct 20, 2011 10:04 pm

I worked at a small firm (a dozen lawyers) last summer, and my experience was like some of those mentioned above in some ways and different in others. I never was asked to do administrative work such as filing, billing, making copies, etc., but I did do some doc review. A couple lawyers did criminal defense, so there were a lot of short-notice briefs on really narrow issues (e.g. "can you let me know by tomorrow whether X injury is 'serious injury' to sustain a 'C' Felony conviction in an assault and battery case") plus a handful of longer-term memos on broader areas. Drafted some motions, some letters to opposing counsel and clients, and negotiated a couple deals on criminal charges w/the DA (one in person and one via letter).

The rule with small firms is that there really are no rules. They can vary a lot. The only halfway reliable way to get an idea of the work you'd do is by looking at the work the attorneys there do.

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Re: Small firm jobs?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Oct 25, 2011 4:35 pm

Are they worth doing? In terms of getting employment after graduation? Or is it better to just do a shit load of federal internships from now till graduation (I'm a first-semester 2L)?

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Re: Small firm jobs?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Oct 25, 2011 4:47 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Are they worth doing? In terms of getting employment after graduation? Or is it better to just do a shit load of federal internships from now till graduation (I'm a first-semester 2L)?


I was the Anon who posted directly above you. My 1L firm offered me a permanent job after graduation, and my 2L firm has clearly stated they are looking for a long-term placement if next summer goes well. However, both of these small firms did OCI. If you're approaching them, it kind of changes the circumstances. So that's one man's perspective. I think the question you ask is a very difficult one to answer, and it definitely requires assessing the chances of a permanent job with the small firm. You can always ask them, but you're going to have to analyze the answer critically for truth.

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Re: Small firm jobs?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Oct 25, 2011 7:07 pm

I worked in a boutique firm doing commercial transactions. Nothing but substantive work - none of that legal secretary work.




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