Intern

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Anonymous User
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Intern

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Mar 16, 2012 4:57 pm

I am in the top 34% of my class as a 1st semester 2L in a second tier school clerking for a small firm in an unpaid position. I was told by one of the partners that they were going to make me an offer to stay on this summer but have yet to make one. No other responses from any of the places I sent my resumes out to...starting to get a bit worried. What should I do??

I thought I would wait until I went to some interviews before and received offers from other places before I said anything but I feel like it's getting late in the game.

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2LsAPlenty
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Re: Intern

Postby 2LsAPlenty » Fri Mar 16, 2012 5:02 pm

That does not sound good. You have been working for free all this time and they are still stringing you out!

unkachabull
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Re: Intern

Postby unkachabull » Fri Mar 16, 2012 5:06 pm

Well, not really. I only started there about a month ago and the conversation that I mentioned occurred about 2 weeks ago. I didn't mean to make it sound like I've been there for a long time, sorry.

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NoleinNY
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Re: Intern

Postby NoleinNY » Fri Mar 16, 2012 5:09 pm

Politely / graciously ask while you quietly solicit other options.

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ggocat
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Re: Intern

Postby ggocat » Fri Mar 16, 2012 5:32 pm

Try to do something else. A law firm that wants you to work for free = not worth your time. If they're generating a profit, they should pay you.

merc280
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Re: Intern

Postby merc280 » Fri Mar 16, 2012 5:40 pm

ggocat wrote:Try to do something else. A law firm that wants you to work for free = not worth your time. If they're generating a profit, they should pay you.



Should the same mindset apply for 1L Summer jobs that are unpaid at small firms? I think I might be making a mistake working for free, but at the same time need the experience.

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drdolittle
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Re: Intern

Postby drdolittle » Fri Mar 16, 2012 5:55 pm

merc280 wrote:
ggocat wrote:Try to do something else. A law firm that wants you to work for free = not worth your time. If they're generating a profit, they should pay you.

Should the same mindset apply for 1L Summer jobs that are unpaid at small firms? I think I might be making a mistake working for free, but at the same time need the experience.

No, and this mindset arguably shouldn't apply to OP's situation either. Small firms don't have the luxury to blow cash on training law students, and then have them bolt for better opportunities asap. Since law school doesn't teach many practical skills, having the opportunity to do meaningful work for a firm and through this develop real marketable skills should be worth something to a law student beyond $. Obviously, use your gut to tell whether you're being taken advantage of, and make sure you're doing meaningful legal work even in unpaid positions, but for initial training/real experience that might extend to several weeks (particularly for 1L summers) I certainly don't see anything wrong with interning for free. Especially in this legal economy, unless you're willing to do this and do a great job at it despite the lack of pay, you might be SOL.

unkachabull
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Re: Intern

Postby unkachabull » Fri Mar 16, 2012 6:07 pm

Does your evaluation change when considering I'm currently 1st semester 2L? Next summer will be my last summer before graduation. Since my first summer was only after a half a year of law school I feel like I have a bit of a safety net as far as time is concerned. Also, is it too late to apply for summer associate positions at big firms for this summer?

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drdolittle
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Re: Intern

Postby drdolittle » Fri Mar 16, 2012 6:26 pm

unkachabull wrote:Does your evaluation change when considering I'm currently 1st semester 2L? Next summer will be my last summer before graduation. Since my first summer was only after a half a year of law school I feel like I have a bit of a safety net as far as time is concerned. Also, is it too late to apply for summer associate positions at big firms for this summer?

You mean 2nd semester 2L, right? But no, it doesn't change because what are your options now? I think what you'd want at this stage is to acquire practical skills that you can then hopefully parlay into a paid position once you pass the bar, or hopefully before. Whether or not you're paid while in school, as long as you're doing real legal work in a professional setting (these are key), it's better than just sitting around looking for a paid position. Of course if you do a great job when unpaid, you might even get an offer from where you're interning. But if not, at least you'll be able to put the experience on your resume and talk about it in real terms once you pass the bar and start looking for paid positions more seriously.

unkachabull
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Re: Intern

Postby unkachabull » Fri Mar 16, 2012 7:49 pm

No, 1st semester 2L (this is my third semester). I'm attending one of the few schools in the country that take on an entering spring class. Regardless, seems like sound advice. Thanks, Doc.

Anonymous User
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Re: Intern

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Mar 16, 2012 9:21 pm

ggocat wrote:Try to do something else. A law firm that wants you to work for free = not worth your time. If they're generating a profit, they should pay you.


Not only should they, the Department of Labor says they have to:

http://www.citytowninfo.com/career-and- ... s-10042201

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kalvano
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Re: Intern

Postby kalvano » Fri Mar 16, 2012 9:22 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
ggocat wrote:Try to do something else. A law firm that wants you to work for free = not worth your time. If they're generating a profit, they should pay you.


Not only should they, the Department of Labor says they have to:

http://www.citytowninfo.com/career-and- ... s-10042201


That was me, sorry. On my phone, didn't mean to go anon.

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drdolittle
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Re: Intern

Postby drdolittle » Sat Mar 17, 2012 2:24 am

kalvano wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
ggocat wrote:Try to do something else. A law firm that wants you to work for free = not worth your time. If they're generating a profit, they should pay you.

Not only should they, the Department of Labor says they have to:

http://www.citytowninfo.com/career-and- ... s-10042201

That was me, sorry. On my phone, didn't mean to go anon.

Will DoL teach OP tangible legal skillz that will translate into a paying JD-required jerb? Will DoL cover nondischargeable law school debt?

It's certainly an inequitable situation to have to work ( :wink: intern) for free while attending a quasi-professional school, but what are OP and so many other law students in a similar situation to do? If we're talking about the way things "should" be, we could bring up many different issues re: the nature of legal education today; like its funding through DoEd nondischargeable loans, quirky firm hiring and school ranking practices, wildly escalating cost of a JD that's now utterly disconnected from average earning potential, high law prof salaries, large class sizes being churned out each year, etc.

The point is, OP has to deal with a dysfunctional system given his or her situation at hand and the best course of action while in school is to find ways to become more valuable to firms or to anyone in need of a lawyer, especially when one's trying to eventually find a real (paying) job outside the OCI process. If this must be through non-paid internships that are in fact more like real jobs, so be it. As long as, as I mentioned above, the situation clearly benefits OP; i.e., intern work is directly law-related and done in a professional setting to the point where the value of the experience is evident beyond simply serving as a line on the resume. In other words, the experience should more or less meet DoL's unpaid internship test anyway. See: http://www.dol.gov/whd/regs/compliance/whdfs71.htm.

But note, the problem with DoL's unpaid intern criteria is that many of the places worth interning at for law students would arguably fail to meet at least one of the criteria. In law, I'd say only judicial and select non-profit internships might have a chance to honestly meet all the criteria.




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