Where to go with my undergrad summer legal experience.

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Kafkaesquire
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Where to go with my undergrad summer legal experience.

Postby Kafkaesquire » Mon Aug 12, 2013 2:03 am

As an undergrad with absolutely zero connections, I somehow squeezed into a volunteer internship at a small litigation firm this summer. All the secretaries and assistants love me, and so I want to exploit them as connections to move into a bigger law firm.

I also have the oldest partner in my favor, because he let me write a settlement brochure that he was actually quite pleased with, and he used the same copy to send to the insurance company. I approached this partner about leveraging another position in a law firm when I go back to my college town in one week to continue school. He said he had a few firms in mind, but he would need to give it some thought.

Another partner says his brother-in-law is a recent grad who is just starting his own practice in my college town. This partner is partnering in with his brother-in-law to help him with resources and finances. This partner said he could try to squeeze me in with his brother-in-law.

If I get the options to both work with his brother-in-law, who is only like 25 years old, basically in a solo firm, and get a spot in a larger firm, which would be most beneficial for me at this stage? I don’t graduate until 2015, and I’m just trying to learn/network as best as possible.

Getting connections in a bigger firm seems ideal. What perks could there be working with a brand new attorney at his start-up firm? Should I worry about being under someone so inexperienced?

RodneyRuxin
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Re: Where to go with my undergrad summer legal experience.

Postby RodneyRuxin » Mon Aug 12, 2013 2:56 am

Gunners gunna gun.

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Kafkaesquire
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Re: Where to go with my undergrad summer legal experience.

Postby Kafkaesquire » Mon Aug 12, 2013 7:36 pm

Must have asked the wrong crowd the wrong question.

Thanks, anyway.

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cinephile
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Re: Where to go with my undergrad summer legal experience.

Postby cinephile » Mon Aug 12, 2013 8:38 pm

I know lots of people who were paralegals for years at prestigious firms, but their connections meant absolutely nothing for finding a job for their 2L summer. All that mattered was what law school you attended and your 1L grades.

Basically, what you're doing is fine, but probably not a good strategy for getting a job out of law school. But at least you're gaining experience and discovering if you could do this for the rest of your career. So it's pretty legit.

Gorki
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Re: Where to go with my undergrad summer legal experience.

Postby Gorki » Thu Aug 15, 2013 6:59 pm

Kafkaesquire wrote:As an undergrad with absolutely zero connections, I somehow squeezed into a volunteer internship at a small litigation firm this summer. All the secretaries and assistants love me, and so I want to exploit them as connections to move into a bigger law firm.

I also have the oldest partner in my favor, because he let me write a settlement brochure that he was actually quite pleased with, and he used the same copy to send to the insurance company. I approached this partner about leveraging another position in a law firm when I go back to my college town in one week to continue school. He said he had a few firms in mind, but he would need to give it some thought.

Another partner says his brother-in-law is a recent grad who is just starting his own practice in my college town. This partner is partnering in with his brother-in-law to help him with resources and finances. This partner said he could try to squeeze me in with his brother-in-law.

If I get the options to both work with his brother-in-law, who is only like 25 years old, basically in a solo firm, and get a spot in a larger firm, which would be most beneficial for me at this stage? I don’t graduate until 2015, and I’m just trying to learn/network as best as possible.

Getting connections in a bigger firm seems ideal. What perks could there be working with a brand new attorney at his start-up firm? Should I worry about being under someone so inexperienced?


This seems authentic, and you are a young and unjaded individual based on info provided, so here it goes:

I would def do this cause it seems interesting, assuming it will NOT impact your ability to ace classes. If it will, keep in mind that Law school admissions are purely academic (these are professors of law, not practical business leaders) so if your GPA suffers they rarely take in your relevant experience to make up for it.

If you end up hating what this dude does, then its a great lesson as to why you should avoid LS. Solo work is distinct from firm work, but ultimately you want to be in a position similar to that solo... taking your own clients, delegating the work, ultimately being accountable for the work product, etc. If it seems terrible to you, you will be all the wiser to back out and do something else.

In terms of how it will help your future, this is SUPER market dependent. Working for this solo will help if you go to school in his town/region and apply in that area. It will lose a lot of its power if you move out of the area, because quite honestly something like 50% of attorneys work solo, and thus its hard for any legal employer to really judge them based on their work versus a regional midlaw or small-firm powerhouse.

In my tertiary market, the people who did best at OCI were either top of the top of the class, or they had SOME firm experience like working with the solo as you describe here. The issue is, will this dude ever let you be his law clerk, or will you always just be an administrator and clerical person? What matters the most in OCI hiring is grades, then its probably work experience or law review / moot court.

Enjoy UG in any case. Those were the best years of my life, and they ain't comin' back. All the best.

utlaw2007
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Re: Where to go with my undergrad summer legal experience.

Postby utlaw2007 » Thu Aug 15, 2013 7:13 pm

Hello OP.

When you inboxed me, I thought you were already in law school. Since you are not, I would suggest that you work in the solo firm if only to get introduced to issues of running a business. There is no amount of schooling, outside of an mba program maybe, that will prepare you for those issues. More importantly, issues with running a law firm are generally different in terms of your marketing and really can't be learned in an MBA program. Solo law firm marketing is entirely different and exclusive to solo law firms IN YOUR REGION OF PRACTICE. As an undergrad, you would be completely wasting your time working in a big firm.
Last edited by utlaw2007 on Thu Aug 15, 2013 7:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.

utlaw2007
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Re: Where to go with my undergrad summer legal experience.

Postby utlaw2007 » Thu Aug 15, 2013 7:18 pm

I know that you have participated on my business aspects and tips concerning a solo firm thread. There is absolutely no way any kind of exposure to a big firm as an undergrad would expose you to the business issues that I have discussed in my thread. And in order to really benefit from big firm experience while in school, you would need to be in law school performing as a clerk.

I think this is a no brainer. Work with the solo firm since you are still an undergrad.

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Re: Where to go with my undergrad summer legal experience.

Postby utlaw2007 » Thu Aug 15, 2013 7:37 pm

Please bear in mind though that I don't think you should base any decision off of whether to pursue law or not on any exposure to either choice. Law practice is much too varied. Big firm practice is more similar to each other than solo practice is. For one, most big firms employ hourly fee structures. Solos employ all types of fee structures. That is important because fee structure directly relates to your field of practice, marketing strategy, and clientele. Because of this, there is all sorts of room for variation in solo practice. I'd hate to see you base a decision on what you saw while working at one solo firm. That being said, I think it would be good for you to see some of what kind of issues are encountered in solo practice and what not to do or what to do based on that guy's success or lack thereof.

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dr123
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Re: Where to go with my undergrad summer legal experience.

Postby dr123 » Thu Aug 15, 2013 7:54 pm

Make these scammers pay you. That is a TTT move for a for-profit entity to have "volunteers".

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Kafkaesquire
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Re: Where to go with my undergrad summer legal experience.

Postby Kafkaesquire » Thu Aug 15, 2013 11:04 pm

This is all great advice.

Yes, UT Law, I am in undergrad.

Cinephile,

I find it surprising that the connections I am building now could likely not come back to help me in the future. But I can accept that. At the very least, I am learning whether I want be a lawyer or not.

I understand how naive and ignorant I am, so I don't see the need to really profess much, here. But I do have some serious doubts, such as how it is seemingly impossible to network valuable connections at such a young age, and how that reputation could not help you greatly upon graduation. I don't plan on leaving the state. I've been praised by the attorneys at this small firm and asked to come back next summer for a "real job," meaning paid and, I suppose, more responsibilities.

My state is a secondary market. I'm starting small. But I plan to work my way around. I have the convenience of having to live between two cities in my state, so I get to sort of bounce connections off of one another between those two points. People like me, and I come off as a real easy-to-be-around guy. I really thought that I was doing something significant, here, like getting ahead of the post-law-school hiring curve. I mean, the town I live in is not prestigious, and it's a real "good ol' boy" type of environment, really shady, honestly, and grungy, and there is a lot of crime. What I am saying here is that reputation goes a long way, in general.

Much of what I said is probably incoherent and/or completely unrelated to what needs to be discussed, but I'm just trying my best to gain some real insight on my situation. Sift through the above and find what's pertinent and guide me based off that, I suppose.
Last edited by Kafkaesquire on Thu Aug 15, 2013 11:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Kafkaesquire
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Re: Where to go with my undergrad summer legal experience.

Postby Kafkaesquire » Thu Aug 15, 2013 11:08 pm

dr123 wrote:Make these scammers pay you. That is a TTT move for a for-profit entity to have "volunteers".


Don't degrade what I am doing here to the scam of others. I chose to volunteer. It has been a fulfilling summer. You seem to jump to conclusions easily and be quite biased toward scenarios based off your own personal experiences.

I've heard it all before. I'm educated, and I'm cognizant, to an extent. Regurgitating the same ol' scam crap that is all over the Internet isn't going to help me in any way.

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Kafkaesquire
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Re: Where to go with my undergrad summer legal experience.

Postby Kafkaesquire » Thu Aug 15, 2013 11:10 pm

utlaw2007 wrote:Please bear in mind though that I don't think you should base any decision off of whether to pursue law or not on any exposure to either choice. Law practice is much too varied. Big firm practice is more similar to each other than solo practice is. For one, most big firms employ hourly fee structures. Solos employ all types of fee structures. That is important because fee structure directly relates to your field of practice, marketing strategy, and clientele. Because of this, there is all sorts of room for variation in solo practice. I'd hate to see you base a decision on what you saw while working at one solo firm. That being said, I think it would be good for you to see some of what kind of issues are encountered in solo practice and what not to do or what to do based on that guy's success or lack thereof.


I would never base my intent to practice law on such trivial matters. I keep the big picture in mind. Thank you, anyway, though.
Last edited by Kafkaesquire on Thu Aug 15, 2013 11:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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dr123
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Re: Where to go with my undergrad summer legal experience.

Postby dr123 » Thu Aug 15, 2013 11:11 pm

Kafkaesquire wrote:
dr123 wrote:Make these scammers pay you. That is a TTT move for a for-profit entity to have "volunteers".


Don't degrade what I am doing here to the scam of others. I chose to volunteer. It has been a fulfilling summer. You seem to jump to conclusions easily and be quite biased toward scenarios based off your own personal experiences.

I've heard it all before. I'm educated, and I'm cognizant, to an extent. Regurgitating the same ol' scam crap that is all over the Internet isn't going to help me in any way.


Well, it's kind of illegal bro.

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Kafkaesquire
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Re: Where to go with my undergrad summer legal experience.

Postby Kafkaesquire » Thu Aug 15, 2013 11:16 pm

dr123 wrote:
Kafkaesquire wrote:
dr123 wrote:Make these scammers pay you. That is a TTT move for a for-profit entity to have "volunteers".


Don't degrade what I am doing here to the scam of others. I chose to volunteer. It has been a fulfilling summer. You seem to jump to conclusions easily and be quite biased toward scenarios based off your own personal experiences.

I've heard it all before. I'm educated, and I'm cognizant, to an extent. Regurgitating the same ol' scam crap that is all over the Internet isn't going to help me in any way.


Well, it's kind of illegal bro.


In all seriousness, do this for me, since you seem to be so educated on the subject. Tell me what exactly is illegal about showing up at a place of business and offering aid free of charge for 35 hours per week.

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dr123
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Re: Where to go with my undergrad summer legal experience.

Postby dr123 » Thu Aug 15, 2013 11:19 pm

Kafkaesquire wrote:
dr123 wrote:
Kafkaesquire wrote:
dr123 wrote:Make these scammers pay you. That is a TTT move for a for-profit entity to have "volunteers".


Don't degrade what I am doing here to the scam of others. I chose to volunteer. It has been a fulfilling summer. You seem to jump to conclusions easily and be quite biased toward scenarios based off your own personal experiences.

I've heard it all before. I'm educated, and I'm cognizant, to an extent. Regurgitating the same ol' scam crap that is all over the Internet isn't going to help me in any way.


Well, it's kind of illegal bro.


In all seriousness, do this for me, since you seem to be so educated on the subject. Tell me what exactly is illegal about showing up at a place of business and offering aid free of charge for 35 hours per week.

http://www.dol.gov/elaws/esa/flsa/docs/volunteers.asp

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Kafkaesquire
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Re: Where to go with my undergrad summer legal experience.

Postby Kafkaesquire » Thu Aug 15, 2013 11:26 pm

Kafkaesquire wrote:
dr123 wrote:
Kafkaesquire wrote:
dr123 wrote:
Don't degrade what I am doing here to the scam of others. I chose to volunteer. It has been a fulfilling summer. You seem to jump to conclusions easily and be quite biased toward scenarios based off your own personal experiences.

I've heard it all before. I'm educated, and I'm cognizant, to an extent. Regurgitating the same ol' scam crap that is all over the Internet isn't going to help me in any way.


Well, it's kind of illegal bro.


In all seriousness, do this for me, since you seem to be so educated on the subject. Tell me what exactly is illegal about showing up at a place of business and offering aid free of charge for 35 hours per week.

http://www.dol.gov/elaws/esa/flsa/docs/volunteers.asp


I sincerely hope you find some sort of hole in my logic, here, but....

Let's see.

(1) The Supreme Court has made it clear that the FLSA was not intended "to stamp all persons as employees who without any express or implied compensation agreement might work for their own advantage on the premises of another."

(2) Under the FLSA, employees may not volunteer services to for-profit private sector employers.

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Kafkaesquire
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Re: Where to go with my undergrad summer legal experience.

Postby Kafkaesquire » Thu Aug 15, 2013 11:28 pm

It's obvious to me that the FLSA was intended to prevent employees from being scammed. It does not, in my opinion, say it is illegal for someone to offer their services to a place of business (a for-profit, I guess, is the correct term) free of charge.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Where to go with my undergrad summer legal experience.

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Thu Aug 15, 2013 11:29 pm

Kafkaesquire wrote:It's obvious to me that the FLSA was intended to prevent employeed from being scammed. It does not, in my opinion, say it is illegal for someone to offer their services to a place of business (a for-profit, I guess, is the correct term) free of charge.

No, it does. See this: http://www.dol.gov/whd/regs/compliance/whdfs71.htm

(Internships with for-profits usually fail on this requirement: "The employer that provides the training derives no immediate advantage from the activities of the intern; and on occasion its operations may actually be impeded." Also that the training would be similar to that found in an educational institution.)

Gorki
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Re: Where to go with my undergrad summer legal experience.

Postby Gorki » Thu Aug 15, 2013 11:30 pm

Keep in mind too that what you are doing may seem cool now, but licensed attorneys fresh out of law school are also working, unpaid. Plz bro, consider this before taking out loans to enter this light/day pisspoor/biglaw profession.

09042014
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Re: Where to go with my undergrad summer legal experience.

Postby 09042014 » Thu Aug 15, 2013 11:33 pm

Kafkaesquire wrote:It's obvious to me that the FLSA was intended to prevent employees from being scammed. It does not, in my opinion, say it is illegal for someone to offer their services to a place of business (a for-profit, I guess, is the correct term) free of charge.


Minimum wage laws cover this. You cannot pay an employee zero dollars an hour.

For example http://www.labor.ny.gov/formsdocs/facts ... s/p725.pdf

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dr123
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Re: Where to go with my undergrad summer legal experience.

Postby dr123 » Thu Aug 15, 2013 11:39 pm

Why are you so adamantly defending an unpaid job? It's a slime ball move for a private, for profit business to make money off of free labor.

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Kafkaesquire
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Re: Where to go with my undergrad summer legal experience.

Postby Kafkaesquire » Thu Aug 15, 2013 11:39 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:
Kafkaesquire wrote:It's obvious to me that the FLSA was intended to prevent employeed from being scammed. It does not, in my opinion, say it is illegal for someone to offer their services to a place of business (a for-profit, I guess, is the correct term) free of charge.

No, it does. See this: http://www.dol.gov/whd/regs/compliance/whdfs71.htm

(Internships with for-profits usually fail on this requirement: "The employer that provides the training derives no immediate advantage from the activities of the intern; and on occasion its operations may actually be impeded." Also that the training would be similar to that found in an educational institution.)


In a completely unbiased way, I can say that arguably my time at this firm could meet all six requirements. I wrote that settlement brochure in like two weeks, dude. The main partner asked me to hand it to him for like six consecutive days. I was slowing that process down a lot. He expected me to hand it over in like two days (a joke, IMO).

And another attorney taught me how to write the brochure, taught me valuable writing skills, gave me her personal writing guide, etc. I am also, on a daily basis, asking questions and receiving answers about the definition of legal words and proceedings. I am visiting real trials, and learning what goes on there, even if to a minuscule extent. This isn't a case of Stockholm's syndrome. I'm not being scammed. This isn't a bad scenario.

And to the clueless poster below (Desert Fox), what you said is true, but I'm not an employee. That has already been established.
Last edited by Kafkaesquire on Thu Aug 15, 2013 11:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Kafkaesquire
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Re: Where to go with my undergrad summer legal experience.

Postby Kafkaesquire » Thu Aug 15, 2013 11:41 pm

dr123 wrote:Why are you so adamantly defending an unpaid job? It's a slime ball move for a private, for profit business to make money off of free labor.


First, I'm defending the legality of my situation.You said it was illegal. You have offered points to prove this argument, and they have all fallen to the wayside. That is all that is going on, here.

Second, thanks for your opinion. I'll write it down and put it in a pretty envelope and keep it in my back pocket forever and ever.

RodneyRuxin
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Re: Where to go with my undergrad summer legal experience.

Postby RodneyRuxin » Thu Aug 15, 2013 11:45 pm

Kafkaesquire wrote:
A. Nony Mouse wrote:
Kafkaesquire wrote:It's obvious to me that the FLSA was intended to prevent employeed from being scammed. It does not, in my opinion, say it is illegal for someone to offer their services to a place of business (a for-profit, I guess, is the correct term) free of charge.

No, it does. See this: http://www.dol.gov/whd/regs/compliance/whdfs71.htm

(Internships with for-profits usually fail on this requirement: "The employer that provides the training derives no immediate advantage from the activities of the intern; and on occasion its operations may actually be impeded." Also that the training would be similar to that found in an educational institution.)


In a completely unbiased way, I can say that arguably my time at this firm could meet all six requirements. I wrote that settlement brochure in like two weeks, dude. The main partner asked me to hand it to him for like six consecutive days. I was slowing that process down a lot. He expected me to hand it over in like two days (a joke, IMO).

And another attorney taught me how to write the brochure, taught me valuable writing skills, gave me her personal writing guide, etc. I am also, on a daily basis, asking questions and receiving answers about the definition of legal words and proceedings. I am visiting real trials, and learning what goes on there, even if to a minuscule extent. This isn't a case of Stockholm's syndrome. I'm not being scammed. This isn't a bad scenario.

And to the clueless poster below (Desert Fox), what you said is true, but I'm not an employee. That has already been established.



OP you seem like a dick and I get that you want your summer job to sound cool and your connections to pay off but this forum generally deals with an entirely different league of firms and attorneys and an unpaid UG job doesn't make you a special snowflake.

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hephaestus
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Re: Where to go with my undergrad summer legal experience.

Postby hephaestus » Thu Aug 15, 2013 11:46 pm

cinephile wrote:I know lots of people who were paralegals for years at prestigious firms, but their connections meant absolutely nothing for finding a job for their 2L summer. All that mattered was what law school you attended and your 1L grades.

Basically, what you're doing is fine, but probably not a good strategy for getting a job out of law school. But at least you're gaining experience and discovering if you could do this for the rest of your career. So it's pretty legit.

Yeah this. I was a legal assistant for a year at a big firm and they didn't even call me back (they didnt come to our OCI but I reached out to someone I knew personally). However, its been a good experience to sell in a lot of other interviews.




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