Yesterday we blogged about laid-off associates who are cut off from some plum public sector internships. Today, we're checking what law schools are doing for students and new graduates who have been luckless in the job market. Here are some recent developments:
Duke Law School's Bridge to Practice Program:
Above the Law reports that Duke Law School is going out its way to hustle up interim jobs for its graduates:
While it didn’t go the SMU route of paying employers to “test drive” its graduates, [Duke] does now provide stipends to some of its unemployed graduates to allow them to work for a couple months at no cost to employers. Using SMU’s car metaphor, the law school pays for the gas while Dukies and prospective employers take a little spin.
Duke's "Bridge to Practice" program started in 2008 with nine graduates; last year it had 15, and this year 30 are expected to participate, says ATL.
It strikes me that Duke is being fairly generous in paying stipends to 30 graduates, considering that the class is just over 200. Of course, that's also an indication of how graduates still need jobs. But it's still nice that a school is giving something back to its graduates in their moment of need. It's certainly better than hitting them up for the alumni contributions right after graduation.
Washington University School of LawOur sister publication The National Law Journal reports that Washington University School of Law has started a summer program called "Associate in Training" for 1Ls and 2Ls who don't have jobs. The six-week program "is loosely modeled on law firm summer associateships, and includes attorney shadowing, networking, instruction on the business of law firms and other skills training." Tomea Mayer Mersmann, associate dean for strategic initiatives, told the NLJ that it's the first of its kind.
Sounds good enough, but here's what bothers me: The program costs $8,520. Though Mersmann told NLJ that tuition remission is available and students earn credits for participation, I still find the price tag astonishing. Do unemployed students really need this additional debt?
Mersmann told the NLJ:
Obviously, we'd rather have our students getting trained at law firms and being paid. Unfortunately, the current employment market has made it much harder to secure a summer associate position. . . . For students who weren't able to go to firms this summer, this program is the best substitution to learn those skills.
Perhaps I'm too skeptical, but I question whether having a law firm simulation class on your resume will really improve your career chances. Do you really need to pay $8,000-plus to follow a lawyer around a law firm like a lost puppy?