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Law Firm Now Offering Sub-Minimum Wage Paycheck!

Yesterday, Alex Rich brought us the story of a job in South Carolina offering a mere 6 bits over the minimum wage.

How can any employer possibly top that? I mean, short of the government or federal judges trying to use unpaid interns, that is. Well, maybe if someone offered a super low-paying job and that job was in New York City. Not to besmirch the good, sweet-tea-loving population of South Carolina, but it’s not quite the same. The $8/hour in South Carolina has about the same buying power as roughly $38,000/year in Manhattan. That’s… bad.

Well, one New York firm is offering $6.25/hour….

Considering this posting is for a summer associate rather than a fully licensed (and therefore fully indebted) attorney like the South Carolina posting, perhaps that job still holds the crown as the worst job going, but this is certainly in the running since it’s in much more expensive New York. It’s close at least.

So, if you’re still looking for a summer gig and have no self-respect, there’s a job for you.

“Emplyment matters,” eh? Perhaps this indentured servant could take on some copy editing work too.

My 1L summer I worked as a research assistant for a professor. That paid twice what this firm plans to pay and it came with housing. But assuming a 40/hour week — which is a bold assumption for someone on a trial team — this generous stipend works out to $6.25/hour. So take that, Alex! My bad job beat your bad job by at least a $1.25/hour. Your move.

This isn’t the first time a law firm has tried to get away with paying someone less than the minimum wage to toil in its practice. A couple years back, we detailed a Boston firm who tried to pull this stunt with the full cooperation of a prominent law school. At that time, the firm and school tried to defend the insulting wage the same way this firm does: by playing up the “experience” and “learning” available from the position. When you work for free, a unicorn humps a double rainbow of experience. Trust us.

Double f**king newsflash: legal work provides the same “experience” and “learning” when it’s paid. Why do people indulge the idea that unpaid jobs are magically more educational? It’s like being able to pay rent is what keeps people from taking anything away from their jobs. This is how the whole unpaid internship operates: one side spews nonsense, and the other side convinces themselves that shoddy treatment is what they deserve because LEARNING!!! Well, it’s not actually true, and taking advantage of (a) desperation and (b) a closed candidate pool of law students wealthy enough to survive on paltry pay to score cheap labor on the strength of some platitudes to the nobility of the suffered learning experience is just sanctimonious bulls**t. Stop it. No matter how terrified you are, you’re better than giving it away for free.

In fairness, the ad suggests that the unlucky summer might get a full-time job offer. Nice try. Why buy the cow and all that rot. I’ll go one further: even with a guaranteed offer, this wouldn’t excuse the firm. You don’t get to exploit people just because you promise the mere shot at something valuable down the road.

That’s what all those law schools with high tuition and less than 50 percent employment stats are for.

Sorry, “emplyment” stats.

Earlier: This New Low For Document Review Will Surprise You
Would You Work as a Federal Prosecutor — for Free?
Federal Judge Generously Offering No Pay For Clerkship
Law School Writes in Defense of Jobs With Salaries Below Minimum Wage
Uh-Oh! Federal Judge Says We Might Have to Start Paying Interns

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