Matthew's Foray into Blogging

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Why I must take a clerk’s position, despite being licensed as an attorney

One of the named partners at a law firm at which I interviewed bluntly informed me that I was at a disadvantage because I lack the experience afforded by a clerkship. I am one, even two years behind other graduates who did hold clerkships during law school. I will have to take a clerk’s position, paying $10 an hour, to gain the experience to make me marketable to a law firm. I would need to develop the basic legal writing skills that one learns through a clerkship. If I gave any credence to what this interviewer said, I might be discouraged.

To win a clerkship with a law firm, I understand, a law student needs be in the top 1/116 of his or her class. My attempts to intern during law school were unsuccessful. I am of the further understanding that one does not learn anything through clerking with one of the firms that pays clerks $2,000 a week. It is just a ridiculous dating game and a matter of prestige for the law firms, which can boast that they pay ridiculous sums to their law school clerks.

There are instances in which clerkships are quite educational, but this is not invariably the case. I know of students who clerked for courts or attorneys who gained worthwhile experience. There are plenty of students who complete law school without having had the experience a clerkship provides. I would believe that holding a clerkship is beneficial, but it is not essential to working as an attorney.

The interviewer who informed me that clerkships should be required of law students is an alumnus of my alma mater. To my knowledge, this law firm does not work with the law school to provide clerkship experience for students. I am hot aware that this alumnus is working with the school to ensure that students gain the experience afforded by serving as legal clerks.

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