Unpaid SA 2L?

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Anonymous User
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Unpaid SA 2L?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Nov 07, 2012 11:35 pm

Just got an offer from a firm in my home state. Smallish firm, but big for the state (around 70 attorneys). They have an established summer program, about 2 SAs a year that usually turn into a full time offer. I assumed that it would be paid but I've heard of people working at similar firms in the area that were not paid. The offer email did not indicate either way and it was never mentioned. I emailed the HR person asking and hopefully she'll get back to me soon.
Is this common? Seems sleezy to me. Would it still be worth it to take it? I have some unpaid public interest/gov offers open that I was going to pass up for this, but if I'm going to work for free, I'd rather do it for them, and at least I'd get a stipend from my school that way.

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kalvano
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Re: Unpaid SA 2L?

Postby kalvano » Wed Nov 07, 2012 11:44 pm

It violates labor laws, so yeah, pretty shady.

de5igual
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Re: Unpaid SA 2L?

Postby de5igual » Wed Nov 07, 2012 11:45 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Just got an offer from a firm in my home state. Smallish firm, but big for the state (around 70 attorneys). They have an established summer program, about 2 SAs a year that usually turn into a full time offer. I assumed that it would be paid but I've heard of people working at similar firms in the area that were not paid. The offer email did not indicate either way and it was never mentioned. I emailed the HR person asking and hopefully she'll get back to me soon.
Is this common? Seems sleezy to me. Would it still be worth it to take it? I have some unpaid public interest/gov offers open that I was going to pass up for this, but if I'm going to work for free, I'd rather do it for them, and at least I'd get a stipend from my school that way.


1) it's not common; probably illegal, but small firms sometimes do this
2) you say it leads to full time employment. why would you ever turn it down for something that has no prospects of post-grad employment?

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Whatisthis
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Re: Unpaid SA 2L?

Postby Whatisthis » Thu Nov 08, 2012 12:45 am

I dunno. A 70+ attorney firm that doesn't pay its SAs doesn't sound like a very good firm--either for the summer or for post-grad. This firm sounds too excited to exploit desperate law students, and my guess would be their starting salary will also be very disappointing. Further, 70+ attorneys is not small. The only kind of 70+ attorney firms not paying SAs are high volume insurance defense or personal injury/tort shitlaw firms. Therefore, the name on your resume is likely to hurt more than help. Unless this is firm you know you would be happy working at, I would strongly recommend you take an unpaid federal government job or something of the sort. Something that looks respectable on a resume... and that would hopefully also provide some kind of stipend.

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OneMoreLawHopeful
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Re: Unpaid SA 2L?

Postby OneMoreLawHopeful » Thu Nov 08, 2012 7:38 pm

Just something to think about:

Even if your are not paid this summer, if they do make permanent offers and you get one, then you will be free to say "I summered with a firm and they extended me an offer..." during 3L OCI.

That could be huge for you, depending on what the market looks like next year.

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Rurik
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Re: Unpaid SA 2L?

Postby Rurik » Thu Nov 08, 2012 7:43 pm

OneMoreLawHopeful wrote:Just something to think about:

Even if your are not paid this summer, if they do make permanent offers and you get one, then you will be free to say "I summered with a firm and they extended me an offer..." during 3L OCI.

That could be huge for you, depending on what the market looks like next year.


Or OP could be one of the SAs who has to go into 3L OCI saying, "I summered with a firm, but didn't get an offer."

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OneMoreLawHopeful
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Re: Unpaid SA 2L?

Postby OneMoreLawHopeful » Thu Nov 08, 2012 7:49 pm

Rurik wrote:
OneMoreLawHopeful wrote:Just something to think about:

Even if your are not paid this summer, if they do make permanent offers and you get one, then you will be free to say "I summered with a firm and they extended me an offer..." during 3L OCI.

That could be huge for you, depending on what the market looks like next year.


Or OP could be one of the SAs who has to go into 3L OCI saying, "I summered with a firm, but didn't get an offer."


Definitely true, and that's a risk all SAs take, but what's the alternative? Not working for a firm at all? How could that possibly go over better?

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Rurik
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Re: Unpaid SA 2L?

Postby Rurik » Thu Nov 08, 2012 7:52 pm

OneMoreLawHopeful wrote:
Rurik wrote:
OneMoreLawHopeful wrote:Just something to think about:

Even if your are not paid this summer, if they do make permanent offers and you get one, then you will be free to say "I summered with a firm and they extended me an offer..." during 3L OCI.

That could be huge for you, depending on what the market looks like next year.


Or OP could be one of the SAs who has to go into 3L OCI saying, "I summered with a firm, but didn't get an offer."


Definitely true, and that's a risk all SAs take, but what's the alternative? Not working for a firm at all? How could that possibly go over better?


Probably depends on the government work that OP has lined up. There are a number of government positions for summer interns that would trump working for a smallish firm that gives out limited offers of full-time employment. But then again, if that firm is OP's best private-practice option, I might not hold out a lot of hope for the prestige of OP's government offers. Additionally, a lot of schools offer grants for 2Ls who choose to work in public interest / for the government, which would definitely help pay the rent over the summer.

However, OP has not noted how many SAs this firm typically takes. If it's three or four, then yeah, he has a good fighting chance. But if it's a dozen? Not looking so good.

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Re: Unpaid SA 2L?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Nov 08, 2012 9:28 pm

OP here. I jumped the gun on freaking out a bit. It is paid. Decently for the market/COL there. I think they said they were aiming for 2 summers, and historically SAs get offers. My government options were federal, in DC, but nothing I'd call prestigious- probably even less prestigious than the gov. internship I did 1L. About 99% I'm going to take the job, although I had a CB in NYC recently that I thought went well.
Thanks for the input everyone.




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