Graduate Research Assistanship positions?

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adil91
Posts: 501
Joined: Sun Jan 03, 2010 6:54 pm

Graduate Research Assistanship positions?

Postby adil91 » Fri Feb 13, 2015 5:00 pm

I got offered a scholarship with a Graduate Research Assistantship position(which I will get a stipend for) How prestigious are these positions? How highly to employers value this type of experience? Is on par with clinic experience?

Patent2014
Posts: 44
Joined: Mon Dec 29, 2014 3:11 pm

Re: Graduate Research Assistanship positions?

Postby Patent2014 » Fri Feb 13, 2015 5:08 pm

adil91 wrote:I got offered a scholarship with a Graduate Research Assistantship position(which I will get a stipend for) How prestigious are these positions? How highly to employers value this type of experience? Is on par with clinic experience?


I wouldn't call them "prestigious" (unless it's with a really really well known scholar). I'd probably consider them just below clinic experience since with clinic you're actually getting real-world experience whereas RA positions is mostly just doing research and writing about a niche topic. Nonetheless, it's a great position and you'll get great experience, especially if it's in a topic area that you want to practice. Is this for a 1L summer position? 2L summer? During a semester? Employers will value it, but i would think it's of limited value to them.

EDIT: I think a lot of the "value" would depend on what you're researching. For example, if you were interested in going into tax law and worked with a professor researching in-depth the hot areas of tax law, that would probably be very valuable to an employer looking to hire someone for their tax law group. Again, this depends on the experience you get from it. If you were researching some area of law unrelated to what an employer is looking for, it would be of very little value to them.
Last edited by Patent2014 on Fri Feb 13, 2015 5:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.

adil91
Posts: 501
Joined: Sun Jan 03, 2010 6:54 pm

Re: Graduate Research Assistanship positions?

Postby adil91 » Fri Feb 13, 2015 5:15 pm

Patent2014 wrote:
adil91 wrote:I got offered a scholarship with a Graduate Research Assistantship position(which I will get a stipend for) How prestigious are these positions? How highly to employers value this type of experience? Is on par with clinic experience?


I wouldn't call them "prestigious" (unless it's with a really really well known scholar). I'd probably consider them just below clinic experience since with clinic you're actually getting real-world experience whereas RA positions is mostly just doing research and writing about a niche topic. Nonetheless, it's a great position and you'll get great experience, especially if it's in a topic area that you want to practice. Is this for a 1L summer position? 2L summer? During a semester? Employers will value it, but i would think it's of limited value to them.

The letter I received makes it seem like it's for all 3 years

Patent2014
Posts: 44
Joined: Mon Dec 29, 2014 3:11 pm

Re: Graduate Research Assistanship positions?

Postby Patent2014 » Fri Feb 13, 2015 5:17 pm

adil91 wrote:
Patent2014 wrote:
adil91 wrote:I got offered a scholarship with a Graduate Research Assistantship position(which I will get a stipend for) How prestigious are these positions? How highly to employers value this type of experience? Is on par with clinic experience?


I wouldn't call them "prestigious" (unless it's with a really really well known scholar). I'd probably consider them just below clinic experience since with clinic you're actually getting real-world experience whereas RA positions is mostly just doing research and writing about a niche topic. Nonetheless, it's a great position and you'll get great experience, especially if it's in a topic area that you want to practice. Is this for a 1L summer position? 2L summer? During a semester? Employers will value it, but i would think it's of limited value to them.

The letter I received makes it seem like it's for all 3 years


I see. It probably would be of value, again depending on whether an employer finds value in the knowledge you acquired from it. Try not to work too much your first year, though. 1L grades matter MUCH more to employers and you don't want to sacrifice your grades for an RA position.

NEdelton1987
Posts: 33
Joined: Sat Mar 22, 2014 6:57 am

Re: Graduate Research Assistanship positions?

Postby NEdelton1987 » Sat Feb 14, 2015 9:01 am

Patent2014 wrote:
adil91 wrote:
Patent2014 wrote:
adil91 wrote:I got offered a scholarship with a Graduate Research Assistantship position(which I will get a stipend for) How prestigious are these positions? How highly to employers value this type of experience? Is on par with clinic experience?


I wouldn't call them "prestigious" (unless it's with a really really well known scholar). I'd probably consider them just below clinic experience since with clinic you're actually getting real-world experience whereas RA positions is mostly just doing research and writing about a niche topic. Nonetheless, it's a great position and you'll get great experience, especially if it's in a topic area that you want to practice. Is this for a 1L summer position? 2L summer? During a semester? Employers will value it, but i would think it's of limited value to them.

The letter I received makes it seem like it's for all 3 years


I see. It probably would be of value, again depending on whether an employer finds value in the knowledge you acquired from it. Try not to work too much your first year, though. 1L grades matter MUCH more to employers and you don't want to sacrifice your grades for an RA position.


When you're working for a law professor, how worthwhile it will be really depends on the nature of the position. There are two general types of research assistant positions. The first type involves helping professors with academic research, teaching, etc. These Research Assistant positions are a dime a dozen (especially at schools with big faculties (HYSCCN, etc.)) and pays between $10-$15/hour. Spending time on one of this type of Research Assistant positions is a better use of time than participating in extracurricular activities (with the exception of your school's flagship law journal). Clinics would give you more practical experiences though.

A lot fewer people know about the second type. The second type of research assistant positions involves helping professors with their private practices. Professors are experts in their fields, so some of them have robust private practices. Very few students get this type of positions (around 10% at one of HYS from what I've seen); the ones who manage to get one of this type of positions get paid private practice rates (many times the pay of a regular RA). This would blow clinics out of the water since this type of positions offer you practical experiences (the type of cases that parties hire law school professors from leading schools for), opportunities to work closely with a leading academic and practitioner (since you're probably going to be among 1-3 students working for the professor's practice), and good compensation (some can be comparable to hourly rates of BigLaw associates). Since your offer for the research assistant position is for 3 years, try to see if your professor has a private practice. If so, do a great job during the first year or two and try to get private practice work.




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