Babysitting

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Young lawyers are getting a bad rap these days. They’re inexperienced, and no one wants to pay them for their work. That’s why they’re all clambering over each other to get a clerkship after graduation — state, federal, really any clerkship will do. The prestigious résumé line alone is enough to overshadow the fact that they don’t really know how to do anything. But sometimes, after all of that effort, judges would rather use young lawyers as babysitters than as law clerks. After all, isn’t that what they’re best qualified for?

No, it’s not, and one judge just got publicly humiliated after the state Commission on Judicial Conduct found out that she was using all of her staff members, including her law clerks, to do all sorts of personal errands, like babysitting her kid in chambers during business hours…

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I’m getting used to the idea that people think it’s appropriate to try to get law students to babysit their children. At the very least, I’ve gotten used to the fact that law schools don’t find it insulting at all to offer students babysitting gigs as a way to supplement their income.

I suppose if you are a law professor, you are somewhat used to having students take care of your expenses as they desperately try to jump start their careers. Still, it’s a little bit surprising to see a babysitting job coming out of Columbia Law School.

But the pay is right. And heck, these are Columbia students — they should be able to multitask babysitting, studying for torts, and fending off criminals in Morningside Heights all at the same time….

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We’ve done a surprising number of stories about law school career service officers who push babysitting gigs on their unemployed students. I say “surprising” because after our first story, you’d think law schools would figure out that law students don’t like being put up for jobs that they could have secured in high school.

Since that first one, most CSO personnel and other law school staffers have figured out that babysitting jobs are best when the employer is a professor or somebody else connected with the law school. Then it’s less of a “career of last resort” and more of “helping out a member of your community” (who happens to be well-connected).

But it looks like one school has regressed to the point of just insulting its students with a babysitting ad that kind of rubs salt in the unemployment wound….

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'Once upon a time there lived a woman named Mrs. Palsgraf....'

We reacted with horror when a law firm offered University of Texas law students the opportunity to be a “Legal Assistant/Nanny.” That one was crazy. So was the UCLA Law job posting seeking a chauffeur (to drive in Los Angeles traffic, no less).

But these jobs were proffered during tougher times for the economy. Now things are better. Now, students who go to the best law schools — law schools ranked even higher than UT — don’t have to work on their wet-nursing skills in order to secure gainful employment.

Of course, if they want to take care of somebody else’s kids…

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