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$10 an Hour for a J.D.

We’ve done a lot of posts about terrible jobs. Here’s another one.

We don’t know which law school is pushing this job, but we know that the National Environmental Policy Act Campaign is looking for the cheapest legal services it can find. A tipster was so very sad about his situation, he emailed us:

As a jobless 3L from a TTT, I have been keeping up on you employment, alternative careers, and general law school news for, well, about 3.5 years now. I have never commented and I have never contacted you until now.

The reason for writing is the disgust and despair I felt when I went to quickly check my email less than an hour before I donned my cap and gown for my graduation ceremony. This email was sent from one of the 3 employees at our Career Services office, specifically noting an open position. I like that he took the time to send it out as a separate email rather than post it on Simplicity or the intranet vacancy board.

We occasionally get emails from “first time caller, long time listener.” Those emails are always interesting.

It’s not that the job sounds horrible. It’s the attempt to get legal services on the cheap aspect that pissed our tipster off:

I know people are getting ready for the big day tomorrow, but I wanted to pass this along…

NEPA Campaign Intern

[Redacted] is seeking to hire a full time temporary (4-months) National Environmental Policy Act Campaign Intern. The Intern will assist in a variety of tasks including: the tracking of legislative and administrative actions affecting NEPA; preparation of information materials on issues related to NEPA; and coordination within the environmental community on NEPA issues. The ideal applicant should have prior knowledge of NEPA. A JD degree will be highly regarded. The position is located in Washington, D.C. and is from July – November 2010. Compensation is non-negotiable and is $10/hour.

Usually, when people “highly regard” something, they are willing to pay for it. Not so with the NEPA I guess. Ten bucks an hour sounds like exactly the kind of job people could get before they spend $100,000 on a legal education.

I’ve got a lot of negative things to say about this job offer, but I can’t put it any more eloquently then our tipster:

This is the saddest ’employment’ opportunity I may have ever seen. I can make more money playing my guitar on the street. I can make more money juggling oranges on the national mall. I can make more money working a part time bareback job. I can make more money working at a goddamn Wendy’s than I can at a temporary NEPA job that begins a month before the bar exam. The emphasis on the pay being “non-negotiable” is the nail in the coffin.


Memo to law school Career Service Offices: your students want jobs that they couldn’t get right out of high school. Trying to sell failure as an opportunity isn’t going to work.

Earlier: Did You Go to Law School to Earn $12 an Hour?

(hidden for your protection)

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