Summer associate vs. law clerk

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Anonymous User
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Summer associate vs. law clerk

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Feb 08, 2015 1:11 am

Some firms have both summer associates and law clerks doing very similar things: Law students helping attorneys get stuff done. What is the difference between the two? I know 2L summer associates are virtually guaranteed a full-time job offers; are law clerks, too?

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Summer associate vs. law clerk

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Sun Feb 08, 2015 2:10 am

I think generally a summer associate is definitely being considered for a permanent position after graduation, while a law clerk isn't, necessarily. Some places do hire their law clerks as associates, ultimately, it's just that those firms are (usually) smaller and don't know whether they're going to have the need for another person a year out from when the person would start working.

But I'm sure there are firms that don't necessarily use these terms in that way, too.

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Dafaq
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Re: Summer associate vs. law clerk

Postby Dafaq » Sun Feb 08, 2015 3:59 am

The firm I am with actually encourages people to take a year to clerk and then start at the firm the following year. I say encourage, but it’s more as if they “make the option available.” From best I can tell about half accept the option to clerk first.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Summer associate vs. law clerk

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Sun Feb 08, 2015 4:06 am

Sure, but that's clerking for a judge, not working at the firm as a law clerk.

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Desert Fox
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Re: Summer associate vs. law clerk

Postby Desert Fox » Sun Feb 08, 2015 4:12 am

A. Nony Mouse wrote:I think generally a summer associate is definitely being considered for a permanent position after graduation, while a law clerk isn't, necessarily. Some places do hire their law clerks as associates, ultimately, it's just that those firms are (usually) smaller and don't know whether they're going to have the need for another person a year out from when the person would start working.

But I'm sure there are firms that don't necessarily use these terms in that way, too.


I think if a firm has both law clerks and summer associates, then your comment holds.

But some firms will just call their interns either law clerks or summer associates. If there is only one title, you can't really tell much.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Summer associate vs. law clerk

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Sun Feb 08, 2015 4:18 am

Desert Fox wrote:
A. Nony Mouse wrote:I think generally a summer associate is definitely being considered for a permanent position after graduation, while a law clerk isn't, necessarily. Some places do hire their law clerks as associates, ultimately, it's just that those firms are (usually) smaller and don't know whether they're going to have the need for another person a year out from when the person would start working.

But I'm sure there are firms that don't necessarily use these terms in that way, too.


I think if a firm has both law clerks and summer associates, then your comment holds.

But some firms will just call their interns either law clerks or summer associates. If there is only one title, you can't really tell much.

Yeah, that's probably true. My experience has been that summer associate is more likely to mean permanent offer track while law clerk could mean either, but that could just be my random sample.

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Re: Summer associate vs. law clerk

Postby BearLaw » Sun Feb 08, 2015 10:32 am

Desert Fox wrote:
A. Nony Mouse wrote:I think generally a summer associate is definitely being considered for a permanent position after graduation, while a law clerk isn't, necessarily. Some places do hire their law clerks as associates, ultimately, it's just that those firms are (usually) smaller and don't know whether they're going to have the need for another person a year out from when the person would start working.

But I'm sure there are firms that don't necessarily use these terms in that way, too.


I think if a firm has both law clerks and summer associates, then your comment holds.

But some firms will just call their interns either law clerks or summer associates. If there is only one title, you can't really tell much.


This is my experience as well. In general, it seems that older attorneys call the summers "clerks", at least in my experience. I doubt there is any difference.

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Re: Summer associate vs. law clerk

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Feb 25, 2015 3:18 am

Also some firms let their sa's do some work part time or help out during 3l year after being offered, and they would be called law clerks then.

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pancakes3
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Re: Summer associate vs. law clerk

Postby pancakes3 » Wed Feb 25, 2015 5:32 am

Anonymous User wrote:Also some firms let their sa's do some work part time or help out during 3l year after being offered, and they would be called law clerks then.


Weird use of anon

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Re: Summer associate vs. law clerk

Postby kcdc1 » Wed Feb 25, 2015 10:19 am

My understanding is that "summer associate" has a very specific meaning. It's a 10-12 week recruiting program over the summer. The firm takes you out to dinners and shows, you're paid like a first-year associate, and the firm hopes to bring you back as a first-year associate after graduation.

A "law clerk" is more like a lawyer-intern. Firms employ clerks year round, clerks are paid less than first-year associates, and for the firm, having clerks is not exclusively a recruitment tool. Firms are looking to get work out of their clerks, and they may have some notions about offering their clerks training as well. Because it's not solely a recruitment tool, and because smaller firms tend to hire clerks, clerking probably won't translate into an automatic offer the way a SA position would. But if you do good work, are well-liked, and the firm is in a position to add staff, you're likely to get a full-time offer.

I know of at least one firm that has both clerks and summer associates, and the difference is just that the clerks work part-time year round, whereas the summer associates work full-time over the summer. During the summer, the clerks are converted to "summer associate" status, such that they work full-time and get paid more for 10-12 weeks.

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Re: Summer associate vs. law clerk

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Feb 25, 2015 11:58 am

pancakes3 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Also some firms let their sa's do some work part time or help out during 3l year after being offered, and they would be called law clerks then.


Weird use of anon


Sorry I wasnt sure how common this was or if my firm was relatively unique in doing this. Like the subsequent comment only knew of 1 firm that does this.

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Re: Summer associate vs. law clerk

Postby FSK » Wed Feb 25, 2015 12:00 pm

kcdc1 wrote:My understanding is that "summer associate" has a very specific meaning. It's a 10-12 week recruiting program over the summer. The firm takes you out to dinners and shows, you're paid like a first-year associate, and the firm hopes to bring you back as a first-year associate after graduation.

A "law clerk" is more like a lawyer-intern. Firms employ clerks year round, clerks are paid less than first-year associates, and for the firm, having clerks is not exclusively a recruitment tool. Firms are looking to get work out of their clerks, and they may have some notions about offering their clerks training as well. Because it's not solely a recruitment tool, and because smaller firms tend to hire clerks, clerking probably won't translate into an automatic offer the way a SA position would. But if you do good work, are well-liked, and the firm is in a position to add staff, you're likely to get a full-time offer.

I know of at least one firm that has both clerks and summer associates, and the difference is just that the clerks work part-time year round, whereas the summer associates work full-time over the summer. During the summer, the clerks are converted to "summer associate" status, such that they work full-time and get paid more for 10-12 weeks.


Some firms also have Student Associates (Finnegan comes to mind), further adding to the resume tango.

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Re: Summer associate vs. law clerk

Postby Desert Fox » Wed Feb 25, 2015 2:03 pm

kcdc1 wrote:My understanding is that "summer associate" has a very specific meaning. It's a 10-12 week recruiting program over the summer. The firm takes you out to dinners and shows, you're paid like a first-year associate, and the firm hopes to bring you back as a first-year associate after graduation.

A "law clerk" is more like a lawyer-intern. Firms employ clerks year round, clerks are paid less than first-year associates, and for the firm, having clerks is not exclusively a recruitment tool. Firms are looking to get work out of their clerks, and they may have some notions about offering their clerks training as well. Because it's not solely a recruitment tool, and because smaller firms tend to hire clerks, clerking probably won't translate into an automatic offer the way a SA position would. But if you do good work, are well-liked, and the firm is in a position to add staff, you're likely to get a full-time offer.

I know of at least one firm that has both clerks and summer associates, and the difference is just that the clerks work part-time year round, whereas the summer associates work full-time over the summer. During the summer, the clerks are converted to "summer associate" status, such that they work full-time and get paid more for 10-12 weeks.


It's not that standardized.

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BlueLotus
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Re: Summer associate vs. law clerk

Postby BlueLotus » Wed Feb 25, 2015 2:06 pm

Is it appropriate to call yourself a "Summer Associate" if you worked for a public interest employer?

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XxSpyKEx
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Re: Summer associate vs. law clerk

Postby XxSpyKEx » Wed Feb 25, 2015 3:10 pm

BlueLotus wrote:Is it appropriate to call yourself a "Summer Associate" if you worked for a public interest employer?


Maybe if the "public interest employer" is a PI law firm, and your job title is "summer associate." Otherwise, it doesn't make much sense, seeing as how most PI/Govt attorneys are not "associates."

KidStuddi
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Re: Summer associate vs. law clerk

Postby KidStuddi » Wed Feb 25, 2015 3:26 pm

It really just depends on what your firm wants to call you. I was a summer associate as over my 2L summer and then when I came back as a graduated 3L working full time, I was a "law clerk" until I was sworn in. There was no change in pay, benefits, or the work I was assigned between being an associate and a law clerk.

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Re: Summer associate vs. law clerk

Postby romothesavior » Wed Feb 25, 2015 3:50 pm

Dafaq wrote:The firm I am with actually encourages people to take a year to clerk and then start at the firm the following year. I say encourage, but it’s more as if they “make the option available.” From best I can tell about half accept the option to clerk first.

Did you even read the OP?

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Re: Summer associate vs. law clerk

Postby DildaMan » Wed Feb 25, 2015 4:57 pm

KidStuddi wrote:It really just depends on what your firm wants to call you. I was a summer associate as over my 2L summer and then when I came back as a graduated 3L working full time, I was a "law clerk" until I was sworn in. There was no change in pay, benefits, or the work I was assigned between being an associate and a law clerk.


My firm has the same policy; your title is law clerk until you're sworn in.

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Re: Summer associate vs. law clerk

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Feb 25, 2015 6:38 pm

An international firm where I had a summer offer just calls them "law clerks," even though from what I could tell it's just an SA position.

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transferror
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Re: Summer associate vs. law clerk

Postby transferror » Wed Feb 25, 2015 7:01 pm

It depends, like pretty much everyone has said.

I think it's best to look at the pay instead of the title. In general, weekly salary (especially if pro-rated 1st year pay) means a firm is hiring summers or at least giving them a serious look, but hourly pay is usually reflective of interns who are much less likely to receive offers. If and when offers are given in the hourly-pay scenario, it seems like the student usually stays on part-time during 3L and then receives the offer after bar admission.

And again, all of this varies based on size of the firm, hiring needs, etc.

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BlueLotus
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Re: Summer associate vs. law clerk

Postby BlueLotus » Wed Feb 25, 2015 11:46 pm

XxSpyKEx wrote:
BlueLotus wrote:Is it appropriate to call yourself a "Summer Associate" if you worked for a public interest employer?


Maybe if the "public interest employer" is a PI law firm, and your job title is "summer associate." Otherwise, it doesn't make much sense, seeing as how most PI/Govt attorneys are not "associates."


Ok. What's better for such positions--law clerk or legal intern?

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Re: Summer associate vs. law clerk

Postby XxSpyKEx » Thu Feb 26, 2015 12:30 am

BlueLotus wrote:
XxSpyKEx wrote:
BlueLotus wrote:Is it appropriate to call yourself a "Summer Associate" if you worked for a public interest employer?


Maybe if the "public interest employer" is a PI law firm, and your job title is "summer associate." Otherwise, it doesn't make much sense, seeing as how most PI/Govt attorneys are not "associates."


Ok. What's better for such positions--law clerk or legal intern?


List the title the employer gives you (or was on the job posting). It'll probably be legal intern, student attorney, or something like that.

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BlueLotus
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Re: Summer associate vs. law clerk

Postby BlueLotus » Sun Mar 01, 2015 9:08 am

In a legal setting, what is the difference between an "Intern" and an "Extern"? Is Intern appropriate for the summer and Extern for the school year?

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Re: Summer associate vs. law clerk

Postby transferror » Sun Mar 01, 2015 9:21 am

BlueLotus wrote:In a legal setting, what is the difference between an "Intern" and an "Extern"? Is Intern appropriate for the summer and Extern for the school year?


At my school "extern" just means you're getting class credit. So yes, usually an internship would be during the summer and externships take place during the year for credit, although it's still an internship if during the year but w/o credit.




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