Reason Not to Go to Law School #15

1L Summer Jobs.

2L summer jobs are pretty much what all of law school revolves around, but few people pay much attention to the job you have after your first year of school.  Unless you’re very well connected, you’re not going to be working at a law firm.  You can’t rely on phenomenal grades to get these positions, because you won’t have any until February, and at that time law firms have been done with their summer hiring for months.

Most people end up getting jobs in one of three areas, public interest, research assistant for a professor, or not doing law at all.  I’m going to focus on the second, being an RA.

The work of an RA is tedious and dull, and you’ll receive very little guidance or wisdom from your professor.  Your professor is not a practitioner, but an academic, and as such has probably not practiced law in the last 20 years, if ever.  You will gain no useful knowledge or experience to prepare you for your for-profit sector work later on.

But even worse than having a summer job that results in no useful experience is the pay.

According to NYU’s Student Expense Budget for 2009-2010, you will need $20,914 for room and board the 9 months that you are in school, or about $2323 a month.  RA jobs there pay $12.50/hr, and professors can only hire you for no more than 35 hours a week (7 hours a day, 5 days a week).  So, one day of work gets you $87.50, and there are on average about 22 working days in a month, so you’ll be earning on average $1925 a month (before taxes), or about 20% less than what the school thinks you need.  Who the hell did the math on that one?

There is exactly one reason why the school can manage to pay so little and still get a pretty big number of students signing up for the jobs.  1L summer job prospects are just that lousy, even for students at the best schools.  Just imagine how shitty it’ll be if you go anywhere ranked worse.


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