Unpaid 2L summer at a firm?

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lsatextreme
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Unpaid 2L summer at a firm?

Postby lsatextreme » Sat Dec 29, 2012 3:21 am

Have these become much more commonplace in the past few years? Am I lucky to even get an unpaid relevant experience nowadays for my 2L summer?

I'm trying to decide whether I should be holding out on doing interviews with firms that offer only unpaid summer "internships" instead of paid summer associate positions. Obviously the best jobs have come and gone early in the fall, but I'm told that there are still plenty of paid positions that will become available in small-mid size firms in the spring. I know these non-paying firms will likely provide worthwhile experience in my field of interest (IP boutiques) but honestly, I was really expecting to find a paid position this summer and it's really bumming me out that I haven't been able to find one still and the window of opportunity seems to be closing on in. And of course, I would rather be doing an unpaid worthwhile experience if unable to obtain a paid worthwhile experience, so I'm really just not sure what to do. Our CDO is not much help at all since they're not exactly out for my own well-being and would rather encourage me to take any legal position available to protect statistics.

Any helpful input would be much appreciated. TIA!!!

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MBZags
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Re: Unpaid 2L summer at a firm?

Postby MBZags » Sat Dec 29, 2012 4:17 am

I don't know if "plenty" of mid/small jobs is credited; there might be a feasible few out there, but it's not something to bank on.

Also, FYI a firm has to compensate you if you work for them, even as a summer associate. It's illegal otherwise.

lsatextreme
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Re: Unpaid 2L summer at a firm?

Postby lsatextreme » Sat Dec 29, 2012 5:24 am

Well most of the these non-paying firms, at least in our state, seem to skirt the issue by referring to their program as a "summer internship" and calling their workers "summer interns" rather than referring to them as "summer associates." Still illegal I'm sure but it is what it is.

So schools generally in the T50, are the majority of their 2Ls having to do unpaid legal work in the past few years? That would give me the impression that it is indeed quite difficult to land paid summer work and thus the value of an unpaid worthwhile gig is higher. But otherwise, I wanted to keep trying harder to see if I could try to land a paid one. I thought I had a decent chance at one (LR, JI in state's highest ct and fed dist ct, but only median gpa) but seeing how I've yet to land one still, maybe I'm just meant to take an unpaid worthwhile gig...

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Unpaid 2L summer at a firm?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Sat Dec 29, 2012 11:01 am

At my T50 school, yes, there were quite a lot of 2Ls doing unpaid summer work. I don't know numbers, but it was fairly common. Some of it was by choice - e.g. people who wanted gov/PI - but some was simply that there are very few paying jobs. (To be fair, that's partly because of my school's market, which is quite small and has little Biglaw.) Anecdotally, I know 2 people who did judicial internships 2L, parlayed that experience into postgrad clerkships, and are now working for Biglaw, just FWIW.

And yes, firms are not supposed to take unpaid interns (though I realize you gotta do what you gotta do).

lsatextreme
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Re: Unpaid 2L summer at a firm?

Postby lsatextreme » Sat Dec 29, 2012 2:21 pm

Yea the market where our school is located isn't exactly the biggest city (I think there's 3 big law firms? Def 5 or less). There's a decent number of established small to mid size firms throughout the area and the majority go into those areas if not gov't/PI. All of these places seem to have mostly made their hirings in Aug/Sept so I'm not sure how many more smaller firms are still looking to hire summers and paid ones at that, so I'm starting to think that it's actually just normal ITE and esp ITM to accept an unpaid worthwhile gig for the summer.

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LeDique
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Re: Unpaid 2L summer at a firm?

Postby LeDique » Sat Dec 29, 2012 2:35 pm

dat flsa violation

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kalvano
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Re: Unpaid 2L summer at a firm?

Postby kalvano » Sat Dec 29, 2012 4:29 pm

They have to pay you at least minimum wage.

lsatextreme
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Re: Unpaid 2L summer at a firm?

Postby lsatextreme » Sat Dec 29, 2012 4:35 pm

kalvano wrote:They have to pay you at least minimum wage.


tbh if they paid at least min wage, i'd take it for sure

lsatextreme
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Re: Unpaid 2L summer at a firm?

Postby lsatextreme » Sat Dec 29, 2012 6:12 pm

Would it just be too early to consider unpaid opportunities then? Should I try to hold out until like March/April at least?

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jessuf
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Re: Unpaid 2L summer at a firm?

Postby jessuf » Sun Dec 30, 2012 6:38 pm

Why not at least do PI or public service so you can get a stipend from your school?

lsatextreme
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Re: Unpaid 2L summer at a firm?

Postby lsatextreme » Sun Dec 30, 2012 7:37 pm

Jessuf wrote:Why not at least do PI or public service so you can get a stipend from your school?


i wish, i don't think mines one of those schools that give 4K for that stuff

LawIdiot86
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Re: Unpaid 2L summer at a firm?

Postby LawIdiot86 » Sun Dec 30, 2012 8:17 pm

LeDique wrote:dat flsa violation


I'm not versed in labor law, but who is liable for this type of violation? My instinct says the employer is liable for employing someone below minimum wage or without compensation, but that the employee has no liability for gratuitously donating their services to a private employer. Assuming my instinct is correct, shouldn't a student take an unpaid firm summer over non-firm work because the student won't be breaking a law and the student will obtain the name value of a private firm on their resume?

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kalvano
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Re: Unpaid 2L summer at a firm?

Postby kalvano » Sun Dec 30, 2012 8:33 pm

LawIdiot86 wrote:
LeDique wrote:dat flsa violation


I'm not versed in labor law, but who is liable for this type of violation? My instinct says the employer is liable for employing someone below minimum wage or without compensation, but that the employee has no liability for gratuitously donating their services to a private employer. Assuming my instinct is correct, shouldn't a student take an unpaid firm summer over non-firm work because the student won't be breaking a law and the student will obtain the name value of a private firm on their resume?



It's the employer's liability. It's assumed to be an unequal bargaining position.

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cinephile
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Re: Unpaid 2L summer at a firm?

Postby cinephile » Sun Dec 30, 2012 8:45 pm

lsatextreme wrote:
Jessuf wrote:Why not at least do PI or public service so you can get a stipend from your school?


i wish, i don't think mines one of those schools that give 4K for that stuff


Even if they don't, sometimes there are other organizations that give out public interest stipends either for specific areas of law or just public interest work in general. It would be worth looking into.




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