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Author Topic: Two RA positions, which would you pick?  (Read 1013 times)

Meek

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Two RA positions, which would you pick?
« on: March 28, 2008, 03:39:17 PM »
Ok so I got two RA position offers during the academic year and I am trying to decide between them. One of them is with a professor in the law school (research area I like) and another is at the law library. I think the law library position would be less demanding and also pays better (minimum wage with prof versus 2X at law library) and the position with law professor is tedious and hard but could give me a good recommendation. The thing is, I hate bluebooking and cite checking and so if I have to do that all year I might go crazy. I can only pick one and I have to pick one. Just wondering what you guys would pick in this situation. Any feedback would be most appreciated.

Edit: I am out of state right now and if I do an RA I will get in state tuition AND keep my scholarship. I did some calculations, and the pay is actually worth more than minimum wage. The prof RA job averages out to roughly 56 dollars an hour and the law library job averages out to roughly 64 dollars an hour.

drbuff123

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Re: Two RA positions, which would you pick?
« Reply #1 on: March 28, 2008, 04:13:54 PM »
I personally would go with what pays more, but I'm poor

thorc954

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Re: Two RA positions, which would you pick?
« Reply #2 on: March 28, 2008, 04:36:13 PM »
I wouldnt do either of them.  I would just focus on getting good grades.  That said, i am a slacker.

any plans on clerking?  if so, the professor, despite the terrible pay, might be the way to go so you can sure up a reference.  If you are solely doing it for money, I would do the library one unless you can find something outside of school that pays better.

Veil

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Re: Two RA positions, which would you pick?
« Reply #3 on: March 28, 2008, 08:54:19 PM »
Considering you're interested in the subject, I recommend choosing the RA position with the professor, but only if you like/respect him or her. I am currently RA'ing for a professor, and the fact that I think she's an amazing professor makes all the difference in the world. Furthermore, as another poster mentioned, getting to know a professor on a more personal level is always a handy connection to have. Unless you're incredibly strapped for cash, I don't know if the slight difference in pay justifies choosing the library position.

thorc954

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Re: Two RA positions, which would you pick?
« Reply #4 on: March 28, 2008, 10:00:05 PM »
okay, the edit makes sense.  Crazy that it works like that.  This may be more then you care to disclose, but do you mind telling me the state?  I find it interesting that the small move like that would allow you to have instate tuition. 

Realistically, your calculations put the one job at only 8 dollars an hour more which is negligible when you consider how much student loans are and everything.  I mean, even at instate tuition, 8 dollars extra an hour wouldnt put a dent in your student loan amounts.

So, I think there are three important things:
1) as i said earlier, the professor would make a great LOR writer for you if you decide to clerk.  If you are going the OCI route, you do not need letter writers and at the most need references which they probably dont check.  So, having a good LOR writer would be of little impact.  You may be going some other career path where you will need one as well, so sorry if I overlooked another path.
2) which would you enjoy doing more?  It seems like you would enjoy the thing with the professor most according to your post, so that is a strong indicator of the direction you should go.
3) you seemed to suggest the professor RA would be significantly more work, but how much more so?  Grades, as you know, matter a lot, so, depending on how much more work it will be, that could play a factor.

So, if I were in your position, I would be equally confused, money and free time lean in one direction, but references and enjoyment lean in the other.  I think your planned career path will tip the scale one direction or the other.

Meek

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Re: Two RA positions, which would you pick?
« Reply #5 on: March 28, 2008, 10:10:57 PM »
Hey, thorc954 how much do you charge an hour for counsel? I might need you next year. :)

To be honest, I am kinda of a slacker myself. I really don't see myself clerking. I am likely going public defender (1st choice) in the most crime ridden city I can get into or biglaw. (Strange, I know.) I do know that the professor is VERY research intensive with the work he dishes out. With that in mind thorc954 you think LORs (from a crime law prof whose quite well know in his field) would help for public defender positions? (I really don't care where, so long as there is LOTS of crime. Preferrably lots of felonies with drugs.)

juliemccoy

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Re: Two RA positions, which would you pick?
« Reply #6 on: March 29, 2008, 12:01:30 AM »
RA for the professor if you are going to pursue either of these choices. The experience and skill you will gain researching and cite checking, as well as the potential future recommendation and career contact in the professor, are worth far more to you in the future than a few extra bucks in each paycheck now at the library.
Vanderbilt 2010

thorc954

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Re: Two RA positions, which would you pick?
« Reply #7 on: March 29, 2008, 12:22:05 AM »
Hey, thorc954 how much do you charge an hour for counsel? I might need you next year. :)

To be honest, I am kinda of a slacker myself. I really don't see myself clerking. I am likely going public defender (1st choice) in the most crime ridden city I can get into or biglaw. (Strange, I know.) I do know that the professor is VERY research intensive with the work he dishes out. With that in mind thorc954 you think LORs (from a crime law prof whose quite well know in his field) would help for public defender positions? (I really don't care where, so long as there is LOTS of crime. Preferrably lots of felonies with drugs.)


hahah, i counsel for free, it gets me out of doing work :)

I have to be honest, I cannot speak much on the way of public defenders.  Its a very difficult position to get, and I am not sure when people begin the interview process for it (I guess maybe they do it the second summer then try to make it something full time?  There is a good chance I am wrong).

I think a LOR for a crim law professor would definitely help.  You are going to have to look into the time line for applying for public defender's jobs to see if you even have the opportunity to get to know the professor before the applications are due.  I know that the big law stuff typically starts in august, so you will not have even worked for him at that point.  In addition, LORs arent necessary for that.  I do not see them really making any distinction between the RA positions with respect to that.  If you do get a SA position, your grades for your second year are no longer as important from everything I have read (you cannot bomb your classes obviously), but yeah.

I hate saying that you should chose one or the other, because it is truly a personal choice.  If you have in the back of your head that you would like to be a public defender, I think it might be best if you went ahead and RA for the professor though.  It sounds like a great opportunity to work with an expert in the criminal field.  If you decide to do the SA thing at a big firm, then the extra time commitment of the job will no longer be a factor (plus, the difference in pay will be a joke at that point). 

I think you have two great options.  It seems like the professor would provide a better opportunity to learn despite being intense in work.  Plus, he has got to understand that you have a life outside of his job and a full course load on top of everything, so I dont see why he wouldnt cut back the work if he is giving you too much.
 

thorc954

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Re: Two RA positions, which would you pick?
« Reply #8 on: March 29, 2008, 12:23:29 AM »
oh, and ill make you a deal.  I can try my best to counsel you next year, if you can ever defend me when if I ever commit drug felonies :)