1L Summer: DA internship or small law?

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1L Summer: DA internship or small law?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Mar 22, 2012 1:26 am

I go to a regional T1 and have two offers for summer work.
One is an unpaid internship with the DAs office in the county where the law school is located. It's in a very desirable part of the country and I would like to stick around this summer if possible. It is unpaid, but I can get four credits for it if I pay the law school tuition. I think there is a cap of four credits or maybe six credits that you can get for externships/internships, and honestly If I don't use them this summer I plan on using them later on. The DA posting specifically said that they want candidates to stay with them for longer than a summer, preferably for two years while working 20 hours a week during school! I think I'm sort of "in" with this DAs office, as are the other people selected to be clerks there. There is a pretty decent shot that this 1L summer job could turn into actual full time employment once I pass the bar, at least according to how DAs offices have been hiring in this state.

The other job is a 9 lawyer firm in a small-town not far from the capitol city. They offered to pay me 15 bucks an hour, and say they have lots of research/writing work for me to do this summer. They seemed to really like me and believe I have lots of potential. They said they would like me to stay and extern with them during the school year if my work is good. (this is possible, only about a 25 minute drive). The firm seems pretty profitable and they have a fairly varied practice. Two criminal defense lawyers, two PI lawyers, two work with their "institutional" partners and do a lot of transactional work. The remaining three are newer and they called them backstops: they seem to do whatever is needed. The two partners I spoke with both mentioned that all of their full-time hires start out as law clerks, and that I could potential work myself into having an offer by 3L.

I don't know what to do.

I think I'd like to work at the DAs office after law school, but that might be mostly because I like the idea of being in court. The firm does have a criminal defense side that spends a lot of time in court... Anyway I had a few questions:

Which 1L summer job is more prestigious?
If I don't accept the DAs offer, have I pretty much written off that career path? (they do all their hiring from their intern pool).
Any thoughts on why one career path (small-mid law vs DA) is better than the other?
Any way I can ask how much the first year associates make at the firm? (this sounds horribly presumptive and not in my character at all) ((I do know the firm won a huge PI case a few years ago and that the partners made millions))

Thanks TLS

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