Asking for Pro Bono as SA

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Anonymous User
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Asking for Pro Bono as SA

Postby Anonymous User » Thu May 14, 2015 10:10 pm

TLS seems to think even mentioning Pro Bono before having a FT offer is like making a homophobic racial slur that also disparages the mentally handicapped.

But in case people or firms don't know, New York now has a 50 hour pro bono requirement to sit for the bar. Do most firms know about this? I figured it would be reasonable to mention it and ask pro bono when there's downtime as a summer when what we're doing is generally meaningless anyways.

Should I stay clear, or could I bring it up with the associate who does staffing?

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2014
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Re: Asking for Pro Bono as SA

Postby 2014 » Thu May 14, 2015 10:14 pm

Completely fair game to bring it up to the staffing associate. If you are worried about the stigma just mention that you need 50 hours for the bar and it would be great to do a project over the summer if they have one instead of making it seem like your personal ambition is to save the poors.

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Re: Asking for Pro Bono as SA

Postby Anonymous User » Thu May 14, 2015 10:17 pm

Ok thanks, that is the only reason I would bring it up anyways. I'd have to do it to work for them regardless.

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pancakes3
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Re: Asking for Pro Bono as SA

Postby pancakes3 » Thu May 14, 2015 10:31 pm

Why can't you just do it during school instead of while on the clock?

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Lacepiece23
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Re: Asking for Pro Bono as SA

Postby Lacepiece23 » Thu May 14, 2015 10:59 pm

Idk, I worked in a secondary market last summer. But I did mad pro bono at my firm. I even brought it up that I wanted to do it. For litigation especially, there is no better way to gain substantive experience. I even found an associate who was willing to let me write the first draft of her brief. She ended up not using very much of my work, but some of it did make the final product--and a lot of my ideas. So, I don't think its a bad thing to ask. Idk why anyone would care because its not like you are going to be getting work that they can bill to the client anyway.

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Re: Asking for Pro Bono as SA

Postby Anonymous User » Fri May 15, 2015 6:23 am

I'm an associate at a V50 California firm. It's routine for summers to request some pro bono assignments. It's definitely not taken as an indication that they are not serious about being at a firm or a basis to stigmatize them. (I suppose that if someone came in and tried to do pro bono only, that might make a different impression, but I've never seen anyone come close to doing that.)

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mephistopheles
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Re: Asking for Pro Bono as SA

Postby mephistopheles » Fri May 15, 2015 6:29 pm

as long as you're not ~v20-v30 then you should be fine

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Re: Asking for Pro Bono as SA

Postby Anonymous User » Fri May 15, 2015 7:23 pm

mephistopheles wrote:as long as you're not ~v20-v30 then you should be fine


Your Confucian truisms aren't really giving any good answers. What does this mean?

dixiecupdrinking
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Re: Asking for Pro Bono as SA

Postby dixiecupdrinking » Sat May 16, 2015 11:42 am

It's fine - but it should probably be more like, telling them what kind of pro bono you'd be interested in, because they'll probably put you on pro bono matters anyway. They're often some of the easiest matters to staff summers on.

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DFTHREAD

Postby Desert Fox » Sat May 16, 2015 12:17 pm

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Capitol_Idea
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Re: Asking for Pro Bono as SA

Postby Capitol_Idea » Sat May 16, 2015 1:00 pm

Desert Fox wrote:You just want to avoid being "that guy" who thinks they are going to wash away the sins defending corporate America with copious amounts of pro bono work.

I'd wait a week, like dixie said you'll get a lot of it anyway. I make summers do all my pb work for me.

Are they still expected to tip you if you're passing them pb work?

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Re: Asking for Pro Bono as SA

Postby KidStuddi » Sat May 16, 2015 2:25 pm

Lacepiece23 wrote:Idk, I worked in a secondary market last summer. But I did mad pro bono at my firm. I even brought it up that I wanted to do it. For litigation especially, there is no better way to gain substantive experience. I even found an associate who was willing to let me write the first draft of her brief. She ended up not using very much of my work, but some of it did make the final product--and a lot of my ideas. So, I don't think its a bad thing to ask. Idk why anyone would care because its not like you are going to be getting work that they can bill to the client anyway.


This is such a bad myth. Or at least really dependent on the firm. Our summers' time makes it on to bills in most instances. There's very little substantively different between a SA and a first-year associate who hasn't been admitted to the bar yet (and we bill them at the same rate). We bill our paralegal's time across the board, why would we write off anything approaching 100% of our summer's time just because they don't have a JD yet? Really the only thing that at my firm that routinely comes off bills is the time summers spend sitting in on calls where you're really just there to see how shit is done and won't be doing anything for the client based on the content of the call.

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Lacepiece23
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Re: Asking for Pro Bono as SA

Postby Lacepiece23 » Sat May 16, 2015 4:43 pm

KidStuddi wrote:
Lacepiece23 wrote:Idk, I worked in a secondary market last summer. But I did mad pro bono at my firm. I even brought it up that I wanted to do it. For litigation especially, there is no better way to gain substantive experience. I even found an associate who was willing to let me write the first draft of her brief. She ended up not using very much of my work, but some of it did make the final product--and a lot of my ideas. So, I don't think its a bad thing to ask. Idk why anyone would care because its not like you are going to be getting work that they can bill to the client anyway.


This is such a bad myth. Or at least really dependent on the firm. Our summers' time makes it on to bills in most instances. There's very little substantively different between a SA and a first-year associate who hasn't been admitted to the bar yet (and we bill them at the same rate). We bill our paralegal's time across the board, why would we write off anything approaching 100% of our summer's time just because they don't have a JD yet? Really the only thing that at my firm that routinely comes off bills is the time summers spend sitting in on calls where you're really just there to see how shit is done and won't be doing anything for the client based on the content of the call.


I guess it was just my experience then. Most the assignments attorney's gave to me was billed under professional development. I had very few assingments--maybe 20 percent-- that had actual billable numbers. Thus, I believe that most time last summer wasn't billed to clients. I assumed that the time where I did have client numbers was written off, but maybe it wasn't.

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Re: Asking for Pro Bono as SA

Postby Anonymous User » Sun May 17, 2015 2:54 am

I understand not wanting to look like you're too interested in pro bono.

The real question is that New York never actually required students to have 50 hours before this years bar exam, so does that change the perceptions so it's more of a business obligation and not a personal interest choice?

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Holly Golightly
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Re: Asking for Pro Bono as SA

Postby Holly Golightly » Sun May 17, 2015 6:07 am

I requested a ton of pro bono work as a summer and got to know several partners because of it. Junior associates also talked up to us how pro bono work is a good way to get experience. Just follow the advice of others ITT and you should be fine.




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