Biglaw, Job Searches

Should Associates Pay Their Law Firms for the Privilege of Working There?

apprentice apprenticeship lawyer baker.jpg

We recently heard a rumor about an associates’ meeting at a top firm, presided over by a partner. Some of the associates complained that they were being overworked. The partner was unsympathetic. His response was more diplomatically worded, but the gist of it was: “In this economy, be grateful you have a job.”
This partner might like the proposal floated last week by Dan Hull over at What About Clients:

If associates get all the benefits of training at my law firm in the first three years, and can’t really add much value anyway, why don’t they pay us?

…. Initially, say, in the first 2 or 3 years, under [this proposal], an associate would be paid in the form of experience of being immersed in learning how to be a lawyer as he or she worked with more senior lawyers. A “trainee” would: (1) be paid either very minimal or at most paralegal-level salaries–don’t laugh, a good paralegal is often markedly more valuable and cost-efficient than a “brilliant” first-year associate–and perhaps some other benefits; or (2) actually pay the law firm a nominal stipend–a “tuition”, in effect, to cover some costs (and risks) of “training”–in a flexible apprenticeship arrangement which could be revisited.

More details about the proposal, which Hull refers to as a new “Value Movement,” are available in the full post.
Readers, what do you think? A brilliant innovation, sheer lunacy, or something in between?
Should associates pay their law firms in the first 2 to 3 years? [What About Clients?]

(hidden for your protection)

comments sponsored by

Show all comments