Deferring a 1L summer internship for fall?

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Anonymous User
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Deferring a 1L summer internship for fall?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Apr 22, 2012 2:13 am

Hey everybody...

Please excuse my long and somewhat convoluted explanation. I just want to make sure I lay all of my considerations on the table:

A couple months ago, I applied for a coveted summer internship at an amazing policy nonprofit (I am a PI kid). I got to the final round of interviews but ended up just barely not getting it, as they only took two law students this year. After this--about a month and a half ago--I got offered an amazing PI litigation internship and accepted.

Then, very recently, I went to a conference a bunch of employees from the policy job attended and ended up networking the shit out of it, hanging out and having a blast with these people into the wee hours of the morning. This culminated with an offer to essentially create another summer position for me because we all got along so well and I seemed like such a great fit for their organization.

So here is my dilemma. The policy job was my #1 choice for sure. I love the organization. The people are amazing. It is the absolute only organization I have found thus far that I could really see myself working at long-term. They also tend to hire from within and really take good care of their interns. It is in the city I hope to end up practicing in. Another difference is obviously that they mostly do policy work rather than straight litigation, which is what I find myself strongly leaning toward. This job would also provide a lot of one-on-one mentoring and guidance, which I feel like I really need right now.

However, the litigation job is (at least?) as prestigious. The attorney I would be working with is extremely respected and connected in my current city, which I have a lot of ties to, but ultimately don't want to end up staying in. I am interested in the substantive work he does, but litigation itself is unappealing to me. Also, I would be one of fifteen interns, with very little guidance or direct interaction with the attorney. I am also a little bit worried about not performing that well (or at least not standing out) because he mostly hires 2Ls.

So, I am thinking/vainly hoping that I can perhaps approach the litigation job and, rather than actually renege, ask if it would be possible to defer the position to the fall? I would still like to work for them at some point, and absolutely do not want to burn any bridges, but is deferral in this situation a possibility? I know they take fall interns, but it is obviously late in the game to be trying to negotiate this, as I accepted in early March.

If I were to talk to them about this, I would try to approach it as a question rather than a demand (since, if I can't defer, I am not willing to renege), and I feel like I have some good points on my side. For one, there is the fact that the policy position is in another city, meaning that I can't defer it to the fall. Also, I am thinking I can pitch it to them as a way for me to get some experience before working for them so I can be a more effective intern, since a lot of the other interns are 2Ls. I realize that one job is policy and the other is litigation, but the substantive areas are similar and there are litigation elements to the policy job. How likely is it that my even broaching the subject will piss them off or burn a bridge?

Thanks for reading and any advice you may have! I am trying to act quickly.

Anonymous User
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Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Deferring a 1L summer internship for fall?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Apr 22, 2012 4:42 am

Please write more concisely.

Don't put other peoples' interests ahead of yours. Pursue this opportunity. I understand your "instinct" to "frame" this as a question - but that is highly insulting to your recipient when you're obviously indicating your preference. Tell your well-respected litigation boss the following:

"I had an aspiration. [add one line maximum here]. Now it has become an opportunity. [add one line about how you got rejected first, but now you got accepted, and you'd rather work there]. I know this will cause inconvenience. For that I apologize. I hope you understand. Warmest Regards, Bernice."

Also, don't go work in the fall term out of guilt. Just end it. Re-apply in the summer for the fall-term if you're still interested.

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angrybird
Posts: 201
Joined: Mon Mar 26, 2012 2:15 am

Re: Deferring a 1L summer internship for fall?

Postby angrybird » Sun Apr 22, 2012 4:58 am

Anonymous User wrote:Please write more concisely.

Don't put other peoples' interests ahead of yours. Pursue this opportunity. I understand your "instinct" to "frame" this as a question - but that is highly insulting to your recipient when you're obviously indicating your preference. Tell your well-respected litigation boss the following:

"I had an aspiration. [add one line maximum here]. Now it has become an opportunity. [add one line about how you got rejected first, but now you got accepted, and you'd rather work there]. I know this will cause inconvenience. For that I apologize. I hope you understand. Warmest Regards, Bernice."

Also, don't go work in the fall term out of guilt. Just end it. Re-apply in the summer for the fall-term if you're still interested.

maybe he should reneg anonymously to avoid backlash

LawIdiot86
Posts: 1159
Joined: Tue Nov 15, 2011 5:21 pm

Re: Deferring a 1L summer internship for fall?

Postby LawIdiot86 » Sun Apr 22, 2012 10:11 am

Several things.

1. Write more concisely.

2. This PI job is not the only place you could enjoy working longterm. This is an absurd belief law students have that group or firm X is the perfect fit. There are literally dozens of places you could enjoy working. The sooner you learn this, the sooner you will be able to handle life outside law school.

3. Ask the policy place if you can do them in the fall. Assuming your law school and both jobs are in the same city, this is the best option because the policy place made you the offer after you had accepted the litigation job. It is totally normal (I've done it three times without complaint) to ask a summer internship to move to the fall because of a better offer elsewhere.

4. If you can't do policy in the fall (geography, preference, etc), ask if you can split them with the litigation job and then ask the litigation job if you can split. This is the second best because you aren't reneging on anyone.

5. If they won't split, then ask the litigation job to move to the fall. This is undesirable because it is so late in the season, so you are shorting them a summer. They may be upset. Frame it as "I really want to work for you, but this other experience that could turn longterm can only host me in the summer came up without my seeking it out." Make it clear you were not still shopping yourself on the market to try and better them and they should understand.

6. Worst case, renege on the litigation job. It's bad because you'll already have enemies starting out and your school will be blacklisted, but if this policy job can really turn longterm, it is probably worth it. Please don't do it just because it seems like a better fit though. It must be better in terms of employment prospects or signaling to other employers to hire you to be worth reneging on the litigation job.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273184
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Deferring a 1L summer internship for fall?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Apr 22, 2012 2:39 pm

As someone who reneged, let me say this: employers have too much crap on their plate to care more than 20 minutes about a defecting partner. A reneging 1L intern wont register.




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