Fellowship vs. Law Clerk Position

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Fellowship vs. Law Clerk Position

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Aug 15, 2013 5:00 pm


Recent grad here who just took the bar. Job searching, and have recently come across two opportunities and am now trying to decide which is better long-term for my career.

Option 1 - Fellowship
- 3 month fellowship rotational program, where I'd work with a mid-sized defense firm, a small boutique plaintiff's firm and a judge. The defense firm looks very solid but is in a geographically undesirable area from where I want to be, and would be a very long commute (Probably 60-90 min+ each day)
- Great networking opportunity/chance to meet a lot of attorneys within a short period of time
- Stipend of $3K, in recent years participants have had about a 50/50 chance of getting an offer from one/both of the firms for associate positions

Option 2 - Post-Bar Law Clerk Position
- With a mid-sized toxic tort plaintiff's firm
- Firm is very, very noncommittal - will re-evaluate its hiring needs upon bar results to see if any attorney positions are open, but there's also a possibility of just staying on as a clerk after bar results come (until I find an actual attorney position). Have a friend who's clerked at the firm in the past, and supposedly if your work is good, the firm is generally willing to keep people on, at least as clerks
- Pay is good for clerk work - 40 hours a week, hourly comes out to around $60K a year

Here's my dilemma - the organization that runs the fellowship is pushing me to do the fellowship, noting that it's a really good learning experience and very good for networking. I also might be able to land an actual attorney position at the end of it. The clerk position is just as uncertain in the long-term - the firm hasn't guaranteed that even the law clerk position (much less an attorney position) would still be around after bar results come out, but again, my friend who works there says he's never seen a clerk get let go for anything other than poor work. I'd be able to make 3-4 times more by working as a clerk in the next 3 months than I would get from the fellowship stipend.

Anyone have any thoughts on what to do?

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