Archive for Legal Education

What Exactly Is a Split Summer?

By: Brittany Swett, J.D.

A new trend known as the “split summer” is gaining popularity among large law firms across the country. Despite the growing popularity of the split summer, a lot of law students and legal professionals have never heard of it. Today at PSJD, we are taking a quick look at what a split summer is and what some of the benefits and drawbacks are.

What a Split Summer Is:

Split summers come in a variety of forms. Most commonly, a split summer allows a law student who has secured a summer associate position for their 2L summer to spend the first half of the summer working at a law firm and the second half of the summer working for a nonprofit organization. Under this basic model, the law firm will then continue to pay the salary of the summer associate during the second half of the summer while they are at a non-profit. Some firms have taken this basic idea and added their own twist. Firms may require that the summer associate remain at the law firm for more than half of the summer and spend less time at the non-profit. Others have specific requirements about the non-profit chosen by the summer associate, while still others will only pay the summer associate for the time spent working at the firm. Each program is unique, but overall there are benefits and drawbacks to consider regarding a summer split.

Benefits to Splitting Your Summer:

Splitting a summer allows for a law student who is torn between the private sector and non-profit world to explore careers in both. The law student still gets to complete a summer associateship and enjoy all the benefits that come along with doing so, such as writing experience, the salary, professional contacts, and a potential offer at the end of the summer. In addition, the student gets to explore the non-profit sector, potentially working more closely with the public and for a cause they feel passionately about. In addition, if the student is someone who likes new experiences, two jobs in a short time span will keep them on their toes. Split summers also allow for a student to make a larger number of professional contacts in both fields. In addition, some split summer programs allow for their summer associates to work in two different cities over the course of the summer.

Drawbacks to Splitting Your Summer:

While eight or ten weeks can sound like a long time, it will fly by. One potential drawback of a split summer could be that the student is spreading themselves too thin. It may be more difficult to gain all the benefits of the experience at a law firm or at a non-profit organization if the student only spends a short time at each. In addition, forming meaningful professional connections with employees at each place may be more difficult due to the shortened length of time. Additionally, some law firms will give summer associates the time off to work at a non-profit, but will not compensate the summer associate for this time. Finally, the non-profit law world is also becoming more competitive in terms of job placement after graduation. If a law student knows that this is the field that they ultimately want to go into, spending a full summer at an organization ultimately may be more beneficial.

The split summer is an interesting new trend definitely worth exploring. To further research specific split summer programs, visit PSJD’s resource guide.

Sources:

https://law.yale.edu/student-life/career-development/students/career-guides-advice/what-are-firm-sponsored-split-public-interest-summers

http://hls.harvard.edu/content/uploads/2008/06/pi-summers.pdf

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Newer Professionals’ Forum Debrief

 

The NALP Newer Professionals’ Forum (NPF), is a two and a half-day conference focused on the development of newer legal recruitment and career services professionals.  It is a mega networking and education event.  I had the opportunity to attend the 2017 NPF in Houston, TX.  I had a wonderful time, learned a lot, and had the opportunity to meet new colleagues and fill my networking spreadsheet.  By the way, if you aren’t using the Networking Contacts Spreadsheet available on PSJD, you’re really missing out.

NPF took place March 2-5 in Houston.

The first night attendees got a brief introduction to NALP and a conference overview.  The plenary was followed by a networking reception, where I had the opportunity to speak with members from across the country, who were both legal recruiting professionals and law school career advisers.  Somehow, I managed to run into almost all of the attending mid-westerners during the networking event.  Since I am a Chicago native, we had a lot to chat about.  After networking, we split up and went to dinner in separate locations where I had the opportunity to connect with several recruiting professionals from law firms with offices in the Washington, D.C. area.

The second day was all about learning.  For breakfast there were faculty leaders at separate tables facilitating open discussions around various legal topics.  Afterward, I attended sessions around management foundations, how career counselors can build relationships with employers and finally a plenary session on recruiting ethics.  By the end of the day Saturday, I only had three of my business cards left.  I’m an introvert, so I was very impressed with myself.

On Sunday, there was a session on the recruiting numbers, which was extremely eye opening.  There have been several calls and initiatives to improve diversity in the legal profession, but the numbers do not show many changes, especially at the partnership and senior associate level.  Even looking around the room at the NPF attendees, they were overwhelmingly women.  Work-life balance was one of the top advantages cited in the Emerging Legal Careers session for why people pursue JD advantage positions.

Attending NPF was a great experience, and I strongly recommend it for all career counselors, law firm recruiters, and subsequent PSJD Fellows.

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Resource Roundup – Practice Area Guides

Image courtesy of The Diamond Gallery

Image courtesy of The Diamond Gallery

The PSJD Resource Center has valuable information for law students, career counselors and lawyers about public service law jobs.

The PSJD Practice Area Guides are designed to give students and job seekers brief overviews of several different legal fields. The guides include practical information regarding the types of employers and practice settings in various fields of law. The guides also include skills that would be useful to gain during law school if a student is seeking to practice in that area after graduation.

 

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*Career Counselor’s Corner*

 

Claudio Melo, JD, Director of the Career Center at University of Minnesota Law School says “I use these consistently with my 1L students. They provide a bite-size overview of common practice areas of interest. Also, if a student has an upcoming informational interview, I encourage them to review the attorney’s practice area of focus prior to the meeting.”

Couldn’t find the practice guide that you were looking for? Send us an email and we’ll do our best to create one and put it on the website.

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Spring Break at the 2016 Criminal Defense Trial Practice Institute

Want to spend your spring break brushing up on your lit skills? The Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia has got you covered:

The Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia is pleased to present the 2016 Spring Break Criminal Defense Trial Practice Institute (Institute).  The Institute seeks to help students cultivate effective trial advocacy skills and explore indigent criminal defense work.  The program consists of a week of workshops on how to conduct opening statements, direct examinations, cross examinations, and closing arguments.  In addition, students will learn how to develop theories of defense, master the rules of evidence, and impeach witnesses at trial.  At the end of the program, students will participate in full-length mock trials presided over by District of Columbia Superior Court judges.

The Institute is designed to support law students from traditionally underrepresented minority groups, students from financially disadvantaged backgrounds, and/or students from law schools that lack criminal defense and trial advocacy training opportunities.

The Institute will be held March 13 March 18, 2016.  Each student is expected to commit to participating in the entire program, which also includes daily evening sessions.  The program is free of charge to students, although students are expected to provide their own transportation and lodging.

For more information on how to apply, click here. (Application Deadline: January 30, 2016).

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SMU Law Opens New Domestic Violence, Sex Trafficking Legal Clinic

From the National Law Journal:

The Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law is launching a center for victims of domestic violence, financed by a $5 million donation from university alumni Ray and Nancy Ann Hunt.

The center will house a clinic through which law students will represent clients in matters including protection orders, divorce, child support and housing. It also will focus on victims of sex trafficking.

“As a result of this program, participating law students will enter the legal profession with a deeper understanding of the victims of exploitation, trafficking and abuse and what they need for their lives to be restored,” Nancy Ann Hunt said. “Their suffering may be hidden from sight and may be uncomfortable to acknowledge publicly. But through the availability of free legal services, we hope they will feel empowered to come forward and obtain help.”

Administrators plan to work with existing community organizations in the Dallas area, including the Genesis Women’s Shelter for domestic violence victims and New Friends New Life, which assists sex trafficking victims.

Congrats, SMU Law! Click here to read more.

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Legal Scholars Join Miami Law in 8-Part Academic Conversation on Marriage Equality

DOMA2

Photo by Catharine Skipp, Miami Law Everitas

The University of Miami School of Law recently launched an 8-part series exploring the legal and practical implications of the 2013 U.S. Supreme Court decision overturning the Defense of Marriage Act.

From Miami Law’s Everitas:

The post-DOMA legal landscape is complex and raises many new and puzzling questions and problems that lawyers will be asked to address and resolve. The discussions are intended to serve as a venue for faculty, practitioners, judges, and students to collaboratively explore the important and rapidly evolving set of social and legal issues.

Each session will be led by a host and co-taught by a panel comprised of academics and practitioners with subject matter expertise.

Participants for upcoming discussions include: Judges Judith Rubenstein, Marc K. Leban, and Scott Berstein from the 11th Judicial Circuit of Florida; and attorneys Theodore H. Uno from Boies, Schiller & Flexner, LLP, and Richard C. Milstein, Akerman Senterfitt & Eidson.

In addition to the University of Miami School of Law and Miami Law’s OUTLaw, the discussions are sponsored by the Miami-Dade Gay and Lesbian Lawyers Association. The conversations have been made available to students for credit or audit and are open to practitioners.

Click here to read more!

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Interested in Foreign Affairs and Diversity Issues? Apply for the Humanity in Action Diplomacy & Diversity Fellowship in D.C. and Paris!

Humanity in Action is now accepting applications for their 4-week Diplomacy and Diversity Fellowship!

The Fellowship, which is open to all master’s, doctorate, MD, JD and MBA students, is an educational program for 24 American and European graduate students about the changing international dynamics of diplomacy and diversity. From the website’s overview:

In Washington, DC and Paris, the Fellows will explore how American and European governments and societies are responding to a wide range of international and national diversity issues. The program’s guiding mission is to increase awareness of the importance of diversity in diplomacy and other international fields and to encourage the careers of professionals from minority backgrounds in foreign affairs.  The four-week program will take place from May 17 to June 14, 2014.

The deadline to apply is January 31, 2014. Click here for application information.

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New ‘Blawg’ on the Block: Albany Law School Launches “Law, Innovation and Entrepreneurship” Blog

From PR.com:

Albany Law School’s Government Law Center has launched the blog Law, Innovation and Entrepreneurship to enrich New York’s entrepreneurial ecosystem with informative, accessible posts on such topics as forming a business, intellectual property and trademarks.

“One of the Government Law Center’s priorities is focusing on economic development and the law to help launch new ventures, bolster existing companies and create new jobs throughout the region and across the state,” said GLC Director Ray Brescia. “Through the Law, Innovation and Entrepreneurship blog, we will provide the business community with a steady stream of useful legal information.”
The blog will be maintained by GLC Staff Attorney Emily Ekland, who also works on the center’s Legal Handbook for Early Stage Business and white paper series on entrepreneurship, alternative energy systems and business startup issues.

Click here to read the full press release.

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A Notice to Public Interest Law Students and Employers: Recent Changes to Law Clerk Hiring Plan Could Affect Your Summer

Besides housing PSJD, the National Association for Law Placement, or NALP for short, is an association of over 2,500 legal career professionals who advise law students, lawyers, law offices, and law schools in North America and beyond. The NALP Judicial Clerkship Section has a special message they would like to share with the PSJD community about recent changes to the federal law clerk hiring plan. These changes will affect summer internship scheduling and could possibly create conflicts of interest and other issues for employers and participating law students.

From the NALP Judicial Clerkship Section:

Last month, the federal judges’ committee overseeing the federal law clerk hiring plan announced a modification to the 2013 hiring schedule. Instead of hiring 3Ls after Labor Day, the new application submission date for federal clerkships is Friday, June 28. Beginning June 28, judges can review applications from rising third-year students, schedule and conduct interviews, and extend offers.  This change also affects state court clerkship hiring, as some states have moved their hiring dates in response to the federal change.

Employers who are currently welcoming second-year students into your summer programs may be confronted with issues not faced since the late 1990s. Some students will be coming to their summer jobs already committed to a judicial clerkship commencing in 2014, or perhaps 2015. Some students will have applications pending with judges or will be submitting applications to judges in June, in accordance with the new hiring plan date. Judges reviewing applications during the summer are likely to schedule interviews in June or July, which may present scheduling challenges for students.

Factors employers may want to consider include:

  1. If an intern receives one or more clerkship interviews, will he/she be able to miss work to travel to interviews?
  2. Does your organization have technology such as videoconferencing or teleconferencing available to students for clerkship interviews?
  3. Who is the best person at the organization for students to talk to about questions or issues that arise surrounding clerkships, including possible conflicts of interest on cases/matters, and when is the best time to have that conversation?

Students, we encourage you to discuss the implications of this timeframe with your career services offices and with your employers, paying special attention to the questions above, where relevant to you, and to due dates for assignments that fall around late June and early July, when judges may be interviewing.

We hope this blog post will offer a starting point to frame the issues and develop responses attuned to your individual programs. Many of your law school colleagues have begun to deal with these issues and would be eager to continue a discussion with you. We encourage you to be in touch with colleagues at schools from which you hire interns, to benefit from their insights and share your perspectives with them as you both seek to provide students the best advice and opportunities.

The NALP Judicial Clerkship Section leaders and members look forward to the opportunity to talk through these issues with public interest employers. This message was brought to you by:

NALP Judicial Clerkship Section Chairs: Melissa Lennon (Temple, 2012-13); Amy Perez (Miami, 2013-14)

NALP Judicial Clerkship Section, OSCAR Work Group: Susan Staab (Chicago), Vice-Chair; Marilyn Drees (Yale); Sheila Driscoll (George Washington); Eric Stern (Berkeley)

NALP Judicial Clerkship Section, Federal Law Clerk Hiring Plan Work Group: Amy Killoran (Georgetown), Vice-Chair

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Want to get a handle on educational debt? Check out these upcoming webinars from Equal Justice Works!

It pays to be smart about student loan debt, especially for public interest advocates! Take a look at this message from our friends at Equal Justice Works:

Welcome to May! Here in DC, winter has finally relented completely and the pollen counts have begun to climb relentlessly.  Despite the latter, we have a full schedule of free webinars that provide a comprehensive overview of the federal debt relief options available for students and graduates. Our May webinars are:

Drowning in Debt? Learn How Government and Nonprofit Workers Can Earn Public Service Loan Forgiveness

Thursday, May 16, 3-4 p.m. EST

Thursday, May 30, 3-4 p.m. EST

A must attend for anyone with educational debt planning to work or currently working for the government or a nonprofit, this webinar explains how you can benefit from income driven repayment plans, including President Obama’s new Pay As You Earn program, and exactly how Public Service Loan Forgiveness works.

Enter to Win a $100 Amazon Gift Card!

As summer approaches, it’s also time to start thinking of escaping to the beach. Which entails, of course, light summer reading. We recommend bringing our new eBook, Take Control of Your Future, which provides the in-depth information on powerful federal relief programs like income-driven repayment plans and Public Service Loan Forgiveness students and graduates need to manage their student debt and pursue the careers of their dreams.

If a comprehensive guide to borrowing and repaying student loans isn’t your preferred beach reading, make sure enter our $100 Amazon Gift Card Sweepstakes.  Just enter the promo code MAY1. And feel free to pass on information about Take Control of Your Future and the promotion to everyone on your summer vacation list.

 While you’re in the office, don’t forget to read our weekly U.S. News blog, the Student Loan Ranger. It will keep you up to date on issues such as fixing legal education, the implications of President Obama’s budget for student loan borrowers and the student debt of Members of Congress.

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