1L Summer: In-House vs. Small Firm vs. Judicial Intern

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1LSummer
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Joined: Wed Mar 11, 2015 1:35 pm

1L Summer: In-House vs. Small Firm vs. Judicial Intern

Postby 1LSummer » Wed Mar 11, 2015 5:09 pm

I am a 1L at a T25 school. My 1st semester grades were good, and I am currently ranked in the top 5% of my class. My goal is to land a 2L SA position at a big firm next year. Older students at my school with similar grades have been successful getting big law SA positions after their second year. Since the overwhelming majority of firms in the area do not hire 1L SA's (the few that do generally only hire diverse candidates), I am trying to figure out what the next best option for this summer would be.

Presently, my options are...

1) Accept a full-summer, paid internship with the legal department of a Fortune 100 company.
2) Go back and work as a law clerk for the firm that I worked for prior to law school. (26 attorney firm in a small market)
3) Volunteer part-time for a local federal judge while working as a research assistant for a professor to pay the bills.

The in-house job pays the best (by far), so I'm leaning that way. However, the corporate headquarters is located in a market where I have no interest in ultimately working. The obvious benefit of working for the judge would be the possibility of a post-graduation federal clerkship. I could also work for the judge during the school year, so doing something else this summer would not foreclose the possibility of working for him later on down the road.

The consensus among attorneys, professors, and older students I've spoken with is that anything law-related is acceptable for the first summer. But I wanted to get the advice of TLS before making a decision. Thanks!

lawschoolftw
Posts: 338
Joined: Wed Oct 21, 2009 2:34 pm

Re: 1L Summer: In-House vs. Small Firm vs. Judicial Intern

Postby lawschoolftw » Wed Mar 11, 2015 5:56 pm

1LSummer wrote:I am a 1L at a T25 school. My 1st semester grades were good, and I am currently ranked in the top 5% of my class. My goal is to land a 2L SA position at a big firm next year. Older students at my school with similar grades have been successful getting big law SA positions after their second year. Since the overwhelming majority of firms in the area do not hire 1L SA's (the few that do generally only hire diverse candidates), I am trying to figure out what the next best option for this summer would be.

Presently, my options are...

1) Accept a full-summer, paid internship with the legal department of a Fortune 100 company.
2) Go back and work as a law clerk for the firm that I worked for prior to law school. (26 attorney firm in a small market)
3) Volunteer part-time for a local federal judge while working as a research assistant for a professor to pay the bills.

The in-house job pays the best (by far), so I'm leaning that way. However, the corporate headquarters is located in a market where I have no interest in ultimately working. The obvious benefit of working for the judge would be the possibility of a post-graduation federal clerkship. I could also work for the judge during the school year, so doing something else this summer would not foreclose the possibility of working for him later on down the road.

The consensus among attorneys, professors, and older students I've spoken with is that anything law-related is acceptable for the first summer. But I wanted to get the advice of TLS before making a decision. Thanks!


All good options; take the one you want the most. If it were me, I'd go with the in-house gig because it pays well.

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

Re: 1L Summer: In-House vs. Small Firm vs. Judicial Intern

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Mar 11, 2015 5:58 pm

I'm a second year attorney practicing in-house, so just my two cents:

If I were in your shoes, my goal would be to provide myself with (1) the best chance at a post-law school option (obviously) and (2) allow me to develop my legal skillset as much as possible, (3) all while getting paid. With that in mind, it would be: in house>firm>judge.

Why In-House #1: outside of the pay, the upside here is that if they like you, they could offer you a job after law school. So if you missed the biglaw boat for any reason, it would be nice to have this as an option. Also, if they don't offer you a job, having in-house experience, even for 3 months as a clerk, is valuable substantive experience to put on your resume - it will expose you to a particular industry, or you might be gaining more exposure to a certain skillset (contracts?). Oh, and it pays the best.

Why your old firm #2: you've been here already. The name of the game is to have a backup option in case you are not landing at a big firm post-law school. Working for this firm would be comfortable, and also increase your odds of having a safety with them, as it seems like you already have left a good impression on the firm for them to want you back for the summer. Put in good work product, get to know some of your old co-workers better, and you likely will have a good job waiting for you when you graduate [edit: IF THERE IS A JUNIOR LEVEL OPENING]. And, it pays.

Why the Judicial internship as #3: you would be working for free, though you could expand your networking opportunities while developing substantive skills. You might meet firms/attorneys through your judge, and a recommendation from the judge helps (a lot or a little, depending on what rep your judge has). Obviously, not as good in pay as either gig, and not as good in terms of networking and substantive skills. Less likely to lead you to a paid gig after law school.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273091
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: 1L Summer: In-House vs. Small Firm vs. Judicial Intern

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Mar 11, 2015 6:30 pm

During law school, I a) worked in-house for a summer, b) worked for a federal judge for a summer, and c) worked for a mid-sized firm during the school year. The in-house job translated directly into multiple offers from firms, although I assume this to be atypical. It also resulted in the company sending me work at the firms that I ultimately landed with. The in-house job paid well, but not as well as the mid-sized firm (per hour). The federal judge was a killer experience, and I enjoyed it a lot. It actually helped me get the in-house position, but again this is atypical.

Were I in your shoes, I would probably rank the options the same as the above anon. In-house>firm>judge. None of these are bad options.

As an additional note, I hope you aren't keeping a federal judge waiting right now.




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