Full-time law clerk job

(On Campus Interviews, Summer Associate positions, Firm Reviews, Tips, ...)
Forum rules
Anonymous Posting

Anonymous posting is only appropriate when you are revealing sensitive employment related information about a firm, job, etc. You may anonymously respond on topic to these threads. Unacceptable uses include: harassing another user, joking around, testing the feature, or other things that are more appropriate in the lounge.

Failure to follow these rules will get you outed, warned, or banned.
Anonymous User
Posts: 273188
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Full-time law clerk job

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Oct 05, 2013 11:08 am

2L part-time student at a T30 school. Got offered a full-time law clerk job in a particular field of law at a mid-sized firm. Pay is generous - $54k + benefits, which combined with my scholarship would cover nearly all costs of law school. My only concern about it is that I'm not sure if I'm 100% interested in that field of law for the long-term, as it is generally a field that only has small to mid sized firms on the plaintiff's side.

I've heard that your first real legal job determines what kind of law you'll be doing. How much should I be concerned about being pigeon-holed into this field if I take the job (which I probably will be doing)?

Edit: I don't know if I'd be able to leave during next summer to pursue another job/internship, and then return in the fall - let's assume I can't. Also, I'm doing OCI next fall.

User avatar
mr. wednesday
Posts: 406
Joined: Sun Sep 01, 2013 1:15 am

Re: Full-time law clerk job

Postby mr. wednesday » Sat Oct 05, 2013 11:26 am

If your options are this job, which is a good deal and your only concern is that you may not be 100% interested in the field of law, and no job, take this one and do OCI next fall if you don't like it. Everyone is pigeonholed to some extent by their first job out of law school, because that's the area you start to gain experience in and be valuable. If you aren't passionate about something else and are just generally unsure about the area of law, take the job. You'll never be 100% sure and any job you take will close some other door, so it's unavoidable.

If you are passionate about something else that this job won't help you get, that's a different story.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273188
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Full-time law clerk job

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Oct 05, 2013 11:36 am

OP here. I figure I might as well say what field it is. It's in employment law. Civil rights and employment law is definitely high up in my list of interests, though maybe not the top one. Top interest if I had my druthers may be corporate or business law dealing with foreign commerce, which I have a tie to, but which is likely only done in Biglaw.

I've applied to some internships in that field also, and also interviewed for a part-time labor/employment position at a union last week.

So how transferable are the skills in employment law to other fields? The clerks there do everything from complaints to motion practice to trial prep.

Would keeping this job through the next summer be better than, say, doing a judicial internship next summer?

Anonymous User
Posts: 273188
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Full-time law clerk job

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Oct 05, 2013 11:42 am

I'm a PT student too and work as a paralegal/law clerk for a boutique firm. No, it's not the type of law I want to do long-term, but it didn't preclude me from doing well at OCI this fall. In fact, I got to discuss my experience working in a law office, had a realistic expectation for the importance of the detail work (e.g. doc review or diligence), and showed my work ethic by working full time and managing top grades. I'll be summering at a V20 next year and may or may not go back to my current job as a 4th year student.

Also I didn't do a legal internship this summer (though I did one between 1E and 2E).

Basically, I'm not sure a law clerk position counts as your first "real legal job" so I wouldn't worry about being pigeon-holed. If you want to do the big-firm route, do OCI and see what happens. You're still 20 months or so from when you'll be a summer associate, so even if you have plans to leave the employment firm, that's a respectable amount of time.

User avatar
mr. wednesday
Posts: 406
Joined: Sun Sep 01, 2013 1:15 am

Re: Full-time law clerk job

Postby mr. wednesday » Sat Oct 05, 2013 11:45 am

The nice thing about employment law is that some big firms do it, there are big boutiques that pay close to market that do it, and the skills are pretty transferrable to general litigation. HOWEVER, labor law is going to pigeonhole you quite a bit more, no matter whether you start in union or management side.

I would definitely take a job doing that over a judicial internship, which isn't going to pay and also won't be transferrable to a corporate practice. Though I'm an employment lawyer so I'm biased.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273188
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Full-time law clerk job

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Oct 05, 2013 11:50 am

mr. wednesday wrote:I would definitely take a job doing that over a judicial internship, which isn't going to pay and also won't be transferrable to a corporate practice. Though I'm an employment lawyer so I'm biased.


OP again. Thanks for the advice - I've also heard that a firm job is better than a judicial internship.

Since you're an employment lawyer, can you tell me about the range of starting salaries for associate jobs, in, say, Boston/NYC/DC? How competitive are they? Does defense side pay more than plaintiff's side?

User avatar
mr. wednesday
Posts: 406
Joined: Sun Sep 01, 2013 1:15 am

Re: Full-time law clerk job

Postby mr. wednesday » Sat Oct 05, 2013 11:55 am

Anonymous User wrote:Since you're an employment lawyer, can you tell me about the range of starting salaries for associate jobs, in, say, Boston/NYC/DC? How competitive are they? Does defense side pay more than plaintiff's side?


Well I work in gov't, so you know my salary range. But I have friends that work at biglaw firms and only do employment litigation, and they make $160k like everyone else. I know Littler Mendelson and Ogletree Deakins pay a little under market but not much, between $110k and $145k depending on location. I think Seyfarth Shaw is a little under those but who knows what is happening with their program right now. Those are all management side.

Plaintiff's side is like anything else plaintiff's side, you might be making $40k, you might hit some huge class action and make a million. I'd prefer management side to begin with because you have more established firms, and after you have the experience if you want to strike out on your own or at a smaller plaintiff side firm, you'll be better able to do that.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273188
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Full-time law clerk job

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Oct 05, 2013 12:28 pm

OP. This firm is plaintiff's side. The reason why I'm more interested in plaintiff's side salaries is because I'm not sure I have the grades to get into Biglaw, unless they specifically are interested in me because of the litigation experience I will have by next fall.

I assume that this firm pays its associates like $70k or $80k+, given that they are already paying a law clerk $50k+.

Certainly I'm happy with taking the job overall. Won't have to worry about loans anymore.

User avatar
Lasers
Posts: 1576
Joined: Sat Jul 10, 2010 6:46 pm

Re: Full-time law clerk job

Postby Lasers » Sat Oct 05, 2013 6:05 pm

mr. wednesday wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Since you're an employment lawyer, can you tell me about the range of starting salaries for associate jobs, in, say, Boston/NYC/DC? How competitive are they? Does defense side pay more than plaintiff's side?


Well I work in gov't, so you know my salary range. But I have friends that work at biglaw firms and only do employment litigation, and they make $160k like everyone else. I know Littler Mendelson and Ogletree Deakins pay a little under market but not much, between $110k and $145k depending on location. I think Seyfarth Shaw is a little under those but who knows what is happening with their program right now. Those are all management side.

Plaintiff's side is like anything else plaintiff's side, you might be making $40k, you might hit some huge class action and make a million. I'd prefer management side to begin with because you have more established firms, and after you have the experience if you want to strike out on your own or at a smaller plaintiff side firm, you'll be better able to do that.

in most major markets believe it's seyfarth: 145k; littler: 135k; not sure about ogletree. seyfarth is actually 160k in NYC.




Return to “Legal Employment”

Who is online

The online users are hidden on this forum.