Internships

To ask the students to, on top of [paying for law school], do an internship and not get paid for it, I think that’s just ludicrous. The ABA should do better.

– Monalisa Dugué, a student at Valparaiso University Law School, commenting on the fact that the American Bar Association prohibits law students from receiving monetary compensation for academic credit-bearing internships and externships. Dugué, a mother of two, was forced to leave an internship this summer because working for free “became too expensive” — her financial situation eventually became so dire that she “couldn’t even afford to put food in the refrigerator.”

(The ABA had the chance to revise its rule barring pay for academic credit-bearing internships and externships this summer, but law students’ hopes were quickly dashed. Better luck next time, struggling students.)

Ed. note: This is the latest installment in a series of posts from the ATL Career Center’s team of expert contributors. Today, Adam R. Banner explains how the bar exam is a microcosm for legal practice as a whole.

Just took your state’s bar exam? Good Luck.

I remember hearing that same ominous warning from many of the attorneys in my community directly after taking the Oklahoma bar exam. Now, I wasn’t TOO worried about my prospects for future employment. I was already set on hanging my own shingle, and I was full of naivety with a dash of piss and vinegar. I had practiced (with a limited license) through the local public defender’s office, and I had a part-time gig interning for another solo practitioner. I chose this set-up to help pay my way through school, but also to gain any type of experience I could since I only really knew two things in law school: criminal procedure, and the fact that I needed some courtroom experience and some small-business guidance. I was lucky enough to get both.

That isn’t the case for everyone. I distinctly remember one of my buddies (a fellow class mate) walking up to me a few days before graduation and asking me if I knew of any places that were hiring associates. I didn’t, so I asked him if he was interning anywhere.

He wasn’t.

Continue reading at the ATL Career Center…

Duke: national champions when it comes to law school softball.

* According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the legal sector added 2,300 jobs in 2014. Our sincere condolences go out to all those who are still “too overqualified but too under-experienced,” all at the same time, to get hired. [Am Law Daily]

* This lawyer protested jury duty by emailing the judge to say she’d “blame the plaintiff” for making her work nights and weekends for her client, but she can only blame herself for having to spend the night in jail. Oopsie! [Daily Report (reg. req.)]

* “Would it be great if all unpaid internships paid really well? Sure. It would also be great if my dog made breakfast for me every morning, but I am not going to file a lawsuit over it.” Yep. [Los Angeles Times]

* The law school transparency movement has come quite far since its inception, but there’s a lot of room for improvement. Encourage your school to hurry up and “publish what it has at its fingertips.” [Law.com]

* UVA Law held its Softball Invitational this weekend. A Duke Law dude emailed us to say his school sucks at basketball, but it’s awesome at law school softball. Sweet accomplishment, brah. [Newsplex]

I think we all saw this day coming. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito certainly did. Last term, Alito’s holding in Vance v. Ball State essentially announced that it was open season on women you work with as long as you are not their direct superior. Thanks to “Alito time,” you can now sexually harass pretty much any woman at the office so long as she doesn’t directly report to you, without getting your employer in trouble.

And sure, while it might be fun to sexually harass your boss’s secretary, asking female colleagues to “touch it” is not without its dangers. In this crazy world, the female object of your desire might one day become your boss, or something similarly ridiculous. And who really wants to feel up a career-oriented co-worker anyway? Even if she can’t sue the company, she’s probably just going to be bitch about it in some uncool fashion anyway.

No, the gold standard for harassing people at work are the young, nubile, and generally helpless interns. They’re the ones who can’t really even complain about it. They’re the ones who might take your creepy advances as a career opportunity. And now, according to a New York judge, you can do pretty much anything you want to them, so long as they are so desperate as to be working for your company for free….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “‘Tits Or GTFO’ Now A Legitimate Requirement For Unpaid Interns”

If you were hoping to spend a year with no pay helping a premier Internet publication write up a sighting of Amanda Bynes at Shake Shack, you may soon be out of luck.

On the heels of Judge William Pauley ruling in favor of unpaid interns in the entertainment industry, the Internet behemoth that is Gawker Media is the subject of a new class action for its unpaid internships.

Which means this was probably a bad day for them to make jokes about the practice of abusing interns…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “If Unpaid Interns Don’t Like Their Bosses, They’ll Hate Justice Alito”

* With a sharp focus on the Supreme Court and the legal definition of equality, only one thing’s for sure with respect to this week’s anticipated rulings: at least one group of people is probably going to get screwed. [New York Times]

* And lest we forget, thanks to our society’s near slavish obsession with social media and knowledge on demand, we’ll salivate uncontrollably as we wait for those opinions while the justices blissfully ignore new technology. [New York Times]

* The Justice Department charged NSA leaker Edward Snowden with espionage, and now he’s pursuing political asylum in Ecuador with the assistance of legal counsel representing WikiLeaks. [NBC News]

* Biglaw firms are trying to strengthen their pricing power in a post-recession world, with average rate increases of 4.8% in 2012, and hourly rates soaring in New York City. [Wall Street Journal (sub. req.)]

* There were some bright spots in the otherwise dismal NALP job numbers for the class of 2012. Biglaw hiring is up, and so are median starting salaries. Sallie Mae is pleased as punch. [National Law Journal]

* If you’re considering law school, ask yourself these questions before applying. You should also ask yourself if you’re cool with unemployment. [Law Admissions Lowdown / U.S. News & World Report]

* Richard Trenk, author of the “ham-fisted” cease-and-desist letter that’s been read around the world, has been honored as the New Jersey Star-Ledger’s “Knucklehead of the Week.” Congrats! [Star-Ledger]

* There’s no solace for people who have had to pay to have their mug shot “depublished” from the internet. Sorry, the First Amendment allows people to turn a profit off your misery. [Washington Post]

* This lawsuit over unpaid internships filed against Gawker will sting any gossip girl’s heart to the core. But really, isn’t the privilege of working for Gawker enough? This fangirl thinks so. [New York Post]

BP Interns preparing to take over operations at Deepwater Horizon, April 19, 2010.

For the record, that was not the “royal ‘we’” in the title — here at Above the Law, we pay our interns. But a whole lot of folks don’t, because when no one else is hiring, companies can get away with offering to hire folks for the promise of experience and a cup of coffee (disclaimer: “Cup of Coffee” not provided).

Mercifully, law firms haven’t succumbed to the impulse to bring on interns for free. Oops, spoke too soon (fourth item).

But Judge William Pauley of the Southern District of New York delivered some big wins for unpaid interns yesterday…

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Experience doesn’t pay the rent.

The ABA agrees that exploitation of law students and other interns is unacceptable; however, the FLSA uncertainty inhibits law firms from offering students the opportunity to work on pro bono matters in a real-life practice setting. …

Furthermore, in the current economic climate with shrunken employment opportunities for law school graduates, hindering the ability of law students and recent graduates to work side-by-side with experienced lawyers who could provide both strong mentoring and favorable substantive references unnecessarily reduces access for future employment prospects.

Laurel Bellows, president of the American Bar Association, in a letter to the U.S. Department of Labor endorsing the use by private law firms of unpaid law student and graduate labor.

(Absurd and out of touch? I’d say so. Keep reading to see the entire letter.)

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “By All Means, Allow Law Students and Grads to Work for Free”

* Texas law student/international small-arms dealer Cody Wilson got shot down (pun!) days after revealing a fully security-proof 3D printable gun. The State Department pointed out that Wilson seems to be violating all manner of international arms agreements, which was pretty obvious when he went on video boasting about how his weapons were being used in hotbeds of civil strife. [Foreign Policy: Passport]

* The Juice may soon be loose! But probably not. O.J. Simpson has a hearing seeking a new trial in Las Vegas and blaming his former lawyer, Yale Galanter. Best part? Simpson claims Galanter approved the whole “armed, threatening confrontation” plan beforehand. Oops. [FOX News]

* Michael Arrington, a lawyer and “one of the most powerful people on the Internet,” is suing his ex-girlfriend for defamation. The complaint compiles some pretty salacious claims that she made via social media. [Valleywag]

* Just when you thought being an unpaid intern couldn’t be sadder, Judge Baer makes it sadder. [Fashionista]

* The “Thug’s Lawyer” got a reprieve when a judge tossed his indictment for conspiracy, obstruction of justice, theft, and perjury. [The Advocate]

* The EEOC filed suit against a Miami company that required its employees to become Scientologists. In other news, someone actually thought they could get away with making all their employees join the Church of Scientology. [Lowering the Bar]

* The history of the Madison Avenue IPOs alluded to in last week’s Mad Men. [DealBook]

* We know you’re all excited about the new RANKINGS, but tonight is also the LAST NIGHT to vote for Law Revue finalists. [Above the Law]

* “It’s totally reasonable to spend $75 just for a shot at an unpaid internship,” said no one ever. [Craigslist] UPDATE: The crafty employer took it down already. But they didn’t count on me getting a screenshot and transcribing it. Check it out after the jump!

* Kirkland & Ellis (or any Biglaw firm) handing out advice on women and “work/life balance” should elicit exactly this response. [UChiLawGo]

* Reading Above the Law can make you money. Sure, it’s only by boosting your severance package, but… [A Paralegal's Life]

* Several law school professors were recruited from prison. So if you’re hoping to get tenure… [Dallas Blog]

* Pirate Bay is still out there hopping around the Caribbean to avoid prosecution. Just like real-life, well, you know. [IBTimes]

* Running over a bicyclist? Accomplishment unlocked for some real-life GTA players. [Legal Juice]

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