Back in March, we brought you a story about a law student gunner who questioned his way out of a summer job with a law firm. It was awesome and awful, all at the same time.
Today, we’ve got yet another law student employment train wreck. When you’re searching for a summer job in this economy — or really, any job at all, even after graduation — you don’t have very much bargaining power as to your starting salary. Apparently some law students aren’t familiar with this fact.
Pay close attention, 1Ls, because this is a teachable moment. If you want to negotiate for a higher salary, please don’t tell a law firm managing partner that you consider his firm’s summer wages to be on par with those of a “McDonald’s hourly worker”…
Last week, a small law firm in Philadelphia was conducting interviews for full-time summer law clerk positions. The firm typically hires three law clerks each summer, and the pay is $10 per hour. According to our tipster, that salary was non-negotiable. One law student — a 1L evening student described as “driven” and “aggressive” (read: a gunner) — received an offer from the firm, but he wanted more cash.
This is how our darling 1L gunner responded when he found out his monetary demands wouldn’t be met:
I very much appreciate the offer, and I definitely would like to work for [firm name redacted]. However, making $10/hour would put me on the same level as a McDonald’s hourly worker and relegate me to a bad neighborhood in the city. I don’t see how anybody could get by on that amount of money. The bump in pay I was looking for seems modest: $15/hour. If Mr. [redacted] can’t do that, then I need to stay at [local personal-injury mill].
Thankfully this law student already had a full-time job at another firm, because this obviously isn’t a very good way to make an impression in the legal space where you’re trying to get a new position. Said our tipster, “I’m tempted to email his law school employment office and complain… but I’m not really vindictive, nor do I really care what happens to him.” Don’t worry, we think you’ve already sealed his fate.
These days, law students come dime a dozen, and they’re lucky to be getting paid at all. Don’t be so cocky as to your salary requirements — or else you’ll just be another McDouche without a summer job.