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Author Topic: State judge internship v. Small firm job  (Read 2201 times)

everybodyelse

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State judge internship v. Small firm job
« on: March 28, 2007, 03:56:49 PM »
I'm trying to decide between an internship with a state judge (the major criminal division, so it should be interesting/intense) and a small, specialized law firm that would give me extensive, hands-on, actual-lawyer work. Any opinions?

I'm not planning on pursuing a career in the court (DA or PD), but the experience and exposure to the system would still be a great opportunity; the summer interns help write the opinions. Then again, the law firm training would be very valuable too, and pretty unique compared to what I'd do next summer at a big firm (but also potentially much more stressful).

If you're good at giving advice, please throw in your 2 cents. Thanks! :)

jacy85

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Re: State judge internship v. Small firm job
« Reply #1 on: March 28, 2007, 04:32:46 PM »
This time last year during 1L, I would probably have taken the firm.  I didn't know what I wanted to do, and was hoping to get an SA gig.  The experience in the firm will be helpful for OCI next year and you won't have to deal with questions like, "Oh, I see you worked in the criminal law division...do you want to be a DA/PD?"  No matter how you answer these questions, all the partner interviewing you thinks is "Hmm.  They just want to work for me to pay down their debt and then bail."

I ended up working for a D.A. however, and really loved it.  It was something unexpected for me, and I had never really thought that criminal law would be something I would enjoy.  Because you'll get good experience with the court, see trials and litigation, and assist writing opinions, that's all still great experience you can spin with a firm.  Plus, if you're not really familiar with a D.A. or PD's job, then it's a good opportunity to observe some of that, and really know that that sort of career isn't for you.

As for me, when I took the D.A. job, I did it mostly because I didn't find any firm positions.  I'm glad it worked out that way, but that's not for everyone.

Jumboshrimps

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Re: State judge internship v. Small firm job
« Reply #2 on: March 28, 2007, 07:08:53 PM »
What else you got going on this summer? Maybe you can do both. Judges don't always need a full time clerk, and small firms don't either. The mix might be nice.

Felsen

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Re: State judge internship v. Small firm job
« Reply #3 on: April 13, 2007, 12:20:36 AM »
I'd go with the small firm job.

First, you can typically only do a firm job over the summer, but (at least at my school) you can work for a judge during the school year.  This presumes that the judge works in the same city as you are going to school.  You do miss out on the experience of working at it like a full-time job, though.

Second, if you plan on doing a judicial clerkship after school, you'll get a year's worth of the experience at that time.  You'd get more use out of the judicial clerkship if you've also had a bit of experience over the summer at a firm.  That gives you a broader look at the full process when you are ready to get a job after your clerkship.

Third, small firm job is most likely more money.  Nothing like earning some actual money to lower the costs of law school.

wakaranai

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Re: State judge internship v. Small firm job
« Reply #4 on: April 13, 2007, 07:54:03 AM »
What else you got going on this summer? Maybe you can do both. Judges don't always need a full time clerk, and small firms don't either. The mix might be nice.

I'd give this option a whirl. I think it will be helpful to work for a judge if you're interested in doing a clerkship, since you'll get to see if it's really for you and get a good reference in the process. In addition, you'll get to make some money and experience life at a small firm.

themanwithnoname

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Re: State judge internship v. Small firm job
« Reply #5 on: April 13, 2007, 09:52:38 AM »
  The experience in the firm will be helpful for OCI next year and you won't have to deal with questions like, "Oh, I see you worked in the criminal law division...do you want to be a DA/PD?"  No matter how you answer these questions, all the partner interviewing you thinks is "Hmm.  They just want to work for me to pay down their debt and then bail."

Disagreed. A firm is a known quantity to firm lawyers, not as interesting as a judicial internship. Anyway, people know you take summer jobs for a variety of reasons. They won't assume you want to be a DA/PD then leave. Heck, they will probably ask you if you have any interest in white collar.

jacy85

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Re: State judge internship v. Small firm job
« Reply #6 on: April 13, 2007, 10:59:26 AM »
You can disagree all you want.  I'm just giving my personal experience.  I was asked that question more times than I can count, and was never asked about any interest in white collar litigation.

onedashL

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Re: State judge internship v. Small firm job
« Reply #7 on: April 18, 2007, 12:06:16 PM »
if there was a choice between:

a) judicial internship for 6 credits OR
b) small firm (not really in an area of interest to you)

what amount of money would the small firm have to pay you to make it worth giving up the experience of interning for a state judge? 

roygbiv

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Re: State judge internship v. Small firm job
« Reply #8 on: April 18, 2007, 12:46:50 PM »
FWIW, I was an extern for a Judge during my 1L summer as well in the general counsel's office of a big company. While both were interesting work the judge's office has helped me much more than the GC's job. I got many questions about my work with the judge and the judge gave me many reccomendations when potential employers called him. No one seemed to care about the GC job which I imagine would be the case at a small firm as well.

if there was a choice between:

a) judicial internship for 6 credits OR
b) small firm (not really in an area of interest to you)

what amount of money would the small firm have to pay you to make it worth giving up the experience of interning for a state judge?