Law Student Interns

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.)

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It’s the last day of December, so it’s a good time to look back on the year that was. We’ll do what we’ve done for the past three years (wrap-up posts from 2009, 2010, and 2011 can be found here, here, and here) and identify the ten biggest stories of the past year as decided by you, our readers. With the help of Google Analytics, we’ve compiled a list of our top ten posts for 2012, based on traffic (as represented by pageviews).

By the way, for the third year in a row, the most popular category page on Above the Law was Law Schools. People have now been intensely focused on the declining value proposition of going to law school for as long as it takes to earn a Juris Doctor degree. Isn’t it time that we graduate from the current educational model?

The second and third most-popular categories on ATL in 2012 were Biglaw and Bonuses. Although this year brought us the largest law firm failure ever, nearly all other firms indiscriminately doled out offers to summer associates, and bonus season looked better for the first time in years. While the legal profession is still in transition, things are certainly looking up, and through the highs and the lows, we’ve been there to cover it all.

So what were the ten most popular individual posts at Above the Law in 2012? Let’s find out….

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Lawyers aren’t known for their attractiveness, nor are they supposed to have sex lives. Because really, how are they supposed to fit in time for getting it in when they’re supposed to be working 100 hours a week?

Law students, however, are a completely different story. Law students have plenty of time to get down and dirty, and when they do, you can be sure that their sexual partners are at least moderately good-looking in the real world. Let’s face it: as a law student, it’s almost like you’re wearing beer goggles to gauge the overall attractiveness of your classmates. A law school “10″ is most assuredly a real world “7″ or “8″ — still hot, but not quite as appealing outside of hallowed halls of your law school.

But you know what will bump up the attractiveness quotient of any law student? Putting your sex life online, in graphic detail, where everyone can read about all of the hot lesbian action that you’ve been getting as a summer associate at a law firm.

This isn’t the first Sapphic summer story to grace our pages, and hopefully it won’t be the last. Avert your eyes if need be; reader discretion is advised….

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But, oh... those sum-mer... totally appropriate work-related NIIIIIIGHTS!

Beware the employer who doesn’t want you to post on Above the Law.

More to the point: beware the employer who advertises on Craigslist and asks to see a picture of you, and also doesn’t want you to post on Above the Law.

Last June, we did a story about Philadelphia attorney who was looking for a sharp dresser to join his law practice. This June we’ve got a California guy looking for a summer intern who isn’t “uptight.” Both of them want to see a picture along with your other “credentials.”

And he doesn’t even want you to be licensed….

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Last week a student worked through the night on a document for a big international arbitration. She willingly stayed and worked with a female colleague and did a great job, but she was ­actually asked to do so and that shouldn’t have ­happened.

In future we’ll stick to our policy so this doesn’t happen again.

Nicola Bridge, graduate recruitment partner at the U.K. law firm SJ Berwin, admitting fault on behalf of the firm after a summer associate was asked to work until five o’clock in the morning.