"Volunteer" Clerkships?

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adonai
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Re: "Volunteer" Clerkships?

Postby adonai » Sun Mar 25, 2012 3:46 pm

I've seen things like these being advertised. I've also seen temporary volunteer clerkships (albeit at fed. magistrate level) that also advertise the fact they can turn into full-term clerkships. From looking at various linkedin profiles, it also seems that this also happens from time to time at the district court level as well.

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Re: "Volunteer" Clerkships?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Mar 25, 2012 3:51 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
IAFG wrote: You sound like a tool. If the judge says it's okay, it's obviously okay.

Agreed.

It sounds like this thread has riled up some insecure clerks who hate the idea of people they view as beneath them being "mistaken" for having the same status as them.


Yeah, and why the hate on senior judges? I don't see clerking for a senior judge as less prestigious at all...

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Re: "Volunteer" Clerkships?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Mar 25, 2012 8:05 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
IAFG wrote: You sound like a tool. If the judge says it's okay, it's obviously okay.

Agreed.

It sounds like this thread has riled up some insecure clerks who hate the idea of people they view as beneath them being "mistaken" for having the same status as them.


Yeah, and why the hate on senior judges? I don't see clerking for a senior judge as less prestigious at all...


Especially considering that many senior district judges carry full loads. Plus, I don't think anyone will sneeze at a clerkship with Senior Judge Williams or Senior Judge Ginsburg. And, probably most your top 10 most prestigious district court judge lists would contain 3-4 district court judges.

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Re: "Volunteer" Clerkships?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Mar 26, 2012 10:12 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
newyorker88 wrote:Does anyone do a "volunteer clerkship" unless: (a) they couldn't get a paying job or real clerkship, or (b) they are independently wealthy?


No judge would allow a deferred clerk to get PAID by a firm AND clerk at the same time.


THIS IS NOT CORRECT. A DEFERRED ASSOSCIATE DID THAT AT MY FIRM.

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Borhas
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Re: "Volunteer" Clerkships?

Postby Borhas » Mon Mar 26, 2012 10:54 pm

lol at the clerkship gunners getting scared about the dilution of their brand

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Re: "Volunteer" Clerkships?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Mar 26, 2012 11:39 pm

Borhas wrote:lol at the clerkship gunners getting scared about the dilution of their brand

Volunteer clerkships aren't numerous enough to dilute anyone's brand.

LawIdiot86
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Re: "Volunteer" Clerkships?

Postby LawIdiot86 » Tue Mar 27, 2012 8:59 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Borhas wrote:lol at the clerkship gunners getting scared about the dilution of their brand

Volunteer clerkships aren't numerous enough to dilute anyone's brand.

Yet. "Volunteer" jobs are legal (at least under most agencies' interpretation of the VSA) for the government sector. In an era of budget cutbacks and a huge oversupply of law grads, it's delusional to think that positions like SAUSAs, volunteer clerks, and post-grad interns (like at CFTC and SEC) will not become a huge portion of the workforce. It wouldn't be a rational choice from a judge's perspective to not hire volunteer clerks given the zero cost to him and the ability to easily fire anyone who turns out to be incompetent.

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IAFG
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Re: "Volunteer" Clerkships?

Postby IAFG » Tue Mar 27, 2012 2:04 pm

LawIdiot86 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Borhas wrote:lol at the clerkship gunners getting scared about the dilution of their brand

Volunteer clerkships aren't numerous enough to dilute anyone's brand.

Yet. "Volunteer" jobs are legal (at least under most agencies' interpretation of the VSA) for the government sector. In an era of budget cutbacks and a huge oversupply of law grads, it's delusional to think that positions like SAUSAs, volunteer clerks, and post-grad interns (like at CFTC and SEC) will not become a huge portion of the workforce. It wouldn't be a rational choice from a judge's perspective to not hire volunteer clerks given the zero cost to him and the ability to easily fire anyone who turns out to be incompetent.

It's not like judges are paying out of pocket. I really doubt they would start taking volunteers and let their budget for clerks collect dust. Besides, many judges I know won't even take free externs. They don't seem to value volunteer labor all that highly.

I would only worry about this becoming a "huge portion of the workforce" if the economy gets much, much worse. Which doesn't appear to be happening.

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Re: "Volunteer" Clerkships?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Mar 27, 2012 2:17 pm

the problem - in my opinion only - seems to be that most of these 'clerks' tend to be below average people at my T30. It is not like they would otherwise be qualified to be law clerks (good grades, good credentials but did not make the cut because of the competitiveness of the positions)

this is because the better qualified people could find temporary jobs with firms that might or might not turn into long-term positions.

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Re: "Volunteer" Clerkships?

Postby Citizen Genet » Tue Mar 27, 2012 2:19 pm

I love that people think that future employers will be totally unable to parse relevant pieces of information from each other.

"He says he clerked for a federal judge.... but his grades and school are so unprestigious... I can't handle this conflicting information!"

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Re: "Volunteer" Clerkships?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Mar 27, 2012 2:21 pm

the problem is that many of these people are 'clerking' for state court judges. however, even state clerkships are fairly competitive in this economy. At my T30, law review people get RI supreme court and superior court clerkships.

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Borhas
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Re: "Volunteer" Clerkships?

Postby Borhas » Tue Mar 27, 2012 4:28 pm

Anonymous User wrote:the problem is that many of these people are 'clerking' for state court judges. however, even state clerkships are fairly competitive in this economy. At my T30, law review people get RI supreme court and superior court clerkships.


interesting to see "clerking" in quotes

I think I may have found THE most prestige whoring job out there

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Re: "Volunteer" Clerkships?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Mar 27, 2012 4:30 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Recently heard of one of these. Is it basically the same as a regular clerkship, with all the duties of a regular clerk, just unpaid?

And do you get to call yourself a "Law Clerk," or do you forever have to put it on your resume as "Volunteer Law Clerk"? (with people reading that automatically thinking, "oh, he couldn't get a REAL clerkship")

[I've heard of these at both the state and federal levels, though i'm primarily interested in federal district court...]


Ethically, you should put volunteer law clerk. In practice I'd imagine that few do.

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Re: "Volunteer" Clerkships?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Mar 27, 2012 6:11 pm

can't blame them.

but I also see an ethical problem here. It's not really to do with the inherent prestige of hte job. how should I put it?
If you do not put voluntary, you will mislead people into thinking that you are in a somewhat prestigious program. when you apply for new jobs, you've put yourself on (somewhat) the same level as those who are "real" law clerks. This would not be fair to those who are good enough to be volunteer law clerks but because of financial reasons could not work for free.

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IAFG
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Re: "Volunteer" Clerkships?

Postby IAFG » Tue Mar 27, 2012 6:20 pm

Anonymous User wrote:can't blame them.

but I also see an ethical problem here. It's not really to do with the inherent prestige of hte job. how should I put it?
If you do not put voluntary, you will mislead people into thinking that you are in a somewhat prestigious program. when you apply for new jobs, you've put yourself on (somewhat) the same level as those who are "real" law clerks. This would not be fair to those who are good enough to be volunteer law clerks but because of financial reasons could not work for free.

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R86
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Re: "Volunteer" Clerkships?

Postby R86 » Tue Mar 27, 2012 6:45 pm

:D
Last edited by R86 on Wed Apr 04, 2012 4:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: "Volunteer" Clerkships?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Mar 27, 2012 8:09 pm

what about this?
I know a firm cannot possibly take someone for free, but I've heard people interning for free over the summer. It definitely helps!

suppose someone below average from a T25 served as volunteer associate at a vault20. She/He put associate on his or her resume. After a year or two s/he tried to 'lateral' to a real attorney position.

don't you think this will be fair to other struggling graduates?

LawIdiot86
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Re: "Volunteer" Clerkships?

Postby LawIdiot86 » Tue Mar 27, 2012 8:14 pm

Anonymous User wrote:what about this?
I know a firm cannot possibly take someone for free, but I've heard people interning for free over the summer. It definitely helps!

suppose someone below average from a T25 served as volunteer associate at a vault20. She/He put associate on his or her resume. After a year or two s/he tried to 'lateral' to a real attorney position.

don't you think this will be fair to other struggling graduates?

This is why we have minimum wage laws. If we didn't, when there was a surplus of workers, they would all agree to work for free for the promise of a better chance at paid work later. No one could demand a wage, because someone else would always be willing to do the same work for free.

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IAFG
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Re: "Volunteer" Clerkships?

Postby IAFG » Tue Mar 27, 2012 8:16 pm

I see a lot of people in here are pretty concerned about their prestige getting diluted, or stolen by others. Listen. If you just convert your prestige into solid gold bars, then place them in your bank's vault in a safety deposit box, so you won't have to worry about it anymore.

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Detrox
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Re: "Volunteer" Clerkships?

Postby Detrox » Tue Mar 27, 2012 8:17 pm

LawIdiot86 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:what about this?
I know a firm cannot possibly take someone for free, but I've heard people interning for free over the summer. It definitely helps!

suppose someone below average from a T25 served as volunteer associate at a vault20. She/He put associate on his or her resume. After a year or two s/he tried to 'lateral' to a real attorney position.

don't you think this will be fair to other struggling graduates?

This is why we have minimum wage laws. If we didn't, when there was a surplus of workers, they would all agree to work for free for the promise of a better chance at paid work later. No one could demand a wage, because someone else would always be willing to do the same work for free.


No, it really isn't.

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Re: "Volunteer" Clerkships?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Mar 27, 2012 8:18 pm

I was/am not even a law clerk and I am not considering this route.
Just trying to be objective. I can see why people are concerned. It's not purely a prestige thing. Or, if prestige is what many employers care about, wouldn't you as employee also care about it?

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IAFG
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Re: "Volunteer" Clerkships?

Postby IAFG » Tue Mar 27, 2012 8:20 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I was/am not even a law clerk and I am not considering this route.
Just trying to be objective. I can see why people are concerned. It's not purely a prestige thing. Or, if prestige is what many employers care about, wouldn't you as employee also care about it?

Except the only person who should feel like their prestige is threatened is someone who didn't really have the credentials for their clerkship but pulled out a hail mary. Assuming "prestige dilution" is a real concern, which honestly sounds like bullshit to me.

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Re: "Volunteer" Clerkships?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Mar 27, 2012 8:23 pm

Did. Got jerb offer.

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Re: "Volunteer" Clerkships?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Mar 27, 2012 8:38 pm

Where you attend law school, your grades, journal membership, clerkships, law firm - all these are "proxies" for reducing the cost of assessing a job candidate. If we just had a jungle-type scenario where we had no law schools, LSATs, law classes, clerkships, journals, etc., then law firms and all other employers would have to conduct their own assessments of every single candidate. So i think the dilution argument is that you're basically reducing the signaling effect of a clerkship if you just "give it away for nothin'."

I can assure you that volunteer federal clerkships, SAUSAs, etc., are not going to folks who are less qualified than those who get these jobs. There are WAY too many well-qualfiied district court candidates (think t10% t10) who strike out; this would be the case even if every district judge in the country hired 2 volunteer clerks in addition to their term clerks. Plus, there's no office space to hire too many volunteers anyway.
Last edited by Anonymous User on Tue Mar 27, 2012 8:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: "Volunteer" Clerkships?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Mar 27, 2012 8:41 pm

but the top 10% at T10 will not serve as volunteer law clerks. They will get paid jobs.




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