Small Firm v. Federal Judge (2L summer)

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Small Firm v. Federal Judge (2L summer)

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Apr 23, 2012 8:36 am

Hello all,

I am torn between accepting a federal judge offer for the summer versus going with a offer from a small firm. I know the small firm would give me a paid option but I still think the federal judge might benefit me in the long-run as well. Ultimately, I would like to work in a medium size law firm so I don't know what option I should take. I have about a week to decide. What should I do?

Norwood
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Re: Small Firm v. Federal Judge (2L summer)

Postby Norwood » Mon Apr 23, 2012 2:04 pm

by working for a federal judge, do you mean a judicial intern/externship? if so, i would probably pass on that opportunity and go with the small firm. Interning for a judge is a great experience that will give you tremendous experience in writing and research, but you should have taken advantage of during your 1L summer or a semester during 2L. Personally, i think you should go with the small firm and get some practical experience. There are a lot of things to learn from actually representing a party and taking their case through litigation. you also can always ask the federal judge if he'll allow you to extern for him during a semester for course credit.

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Re: Small Firm v. Federal Judge (2L summer)

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Apr 24, 2012 1:39 am

Do you know anything about the firm and do you have any ability to verify what exactly you'll be doing? Working for small firms is risky because you never really know what you'll end up doing and/or if it will be useful. Friends have had such wide-ranging experience--from having enormous responsibility to essentially being a file clerk. I would make sure you know exactly what the experience would entail before doing it.

FWIW, I was in your position last summer and I opted for working for a judge, and I am extremely glad I did. It was very translatable experience and his recommendation was a critical part of me getting a clerkship.

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Re: Small Firm v. Federal Judge (2L summer)

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Apr 25, 2012 9:33 am

Everyone on here will tell you to take the paid job in a heartbeat but I'd still take the externship with the judge. I was in the same position last summer. I chose to extern for a district judge, and now I'll be clerking for that judge. That's probably fairly rare, but as the person above me noted, recommendation letters from federal judges can be a big help.

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Re: Small Firm v. Federal Judge (2L summer)

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Apr 26, 2012 1:52 am

Anonymous User wrote:Everyone on here will tell you to take the paid job in a heartbeat but I'd still take the externship with the judge. I was in the same position last summer. I chose to extern for a district judge, and now I'll be clerking for that judge. That's probably fairly rare, but as the person above me noted, recommendation letters from federal judges can be a big help.


Poster above you.

I'm glad to hear this, and congrats on your clerkship. The way I look at it, small firm jobs will almost never turn into anything post-grad, and the experience and networking you gain from them may be absolutely zero to fantastic. But from all my friends' experiences, it seems to not only vary and be entirely indeterminable from the get-go, but most small firm positions have been on the not-so-valuable side of things.

And more importantly, if you don't get a SA or another position with post-grad employment prospects as a 2L, it's time to networking like crazy. I've worked with 4 judges throughout law school and they've all been tremendously helpful and supportive, and have opened up many doors for me.

tl;dr IMO the few thousand bucks you might make at a small firm for a summer does not outweigh what you'll gain from working with a judge.

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Re: Small Firm v. Federal Judge (2L summer)

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Apr 26, 2012 10:05 am

OP here:

I decided to go with the firm and postpone the judge until the Fall. I have already worked for a judge and a firm (split 1L year) so I think at this point it is more important for me to gain more practical experience. Also, although this is a small firm, they have hired their law clerks the past two years so I think I have a decent shot for post grad employment.




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