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January 18, 2008

Urging students (and law schools?) to do something innovative with summer $$$$

At a time when all the media talk is about an economy in trouble, law students will surely be happy to see this new article from The Recorder headlined "Summer Associate Forecast Brighter in '08."  The article reports that  the majority of large law firms interviewed for the story "said their summer programs will be slightly bigger than last year."  But what really caught my eye was the article's report that the standard weekly salary for a BIGLAW summer associate in 2008 is going to be over $3000.

Given my own (now dated) experience that a BIGLAW summer involved a lot of benefits in addition to the weekly salary (e.g., free food, tickets to events), I wonder if any students or law schools have thought about innovate ways to capitalize on BIGLAW largess.  Imagine if, for example, a student group (or a Dean) encouraged BIGLAW summers to pledge, say, five percent of their summer salary to a public interest lawyering fund? 

If we run the numbers on the assumption that, say, 100 students will donate this (tax-deductible?) five percent amount after working 10 weeks during their 2L summer, we end up with $150,000 plowed back into public interest lawyering thanks to the increasing salary scale for BIGLAW summer associate fun work.

Of course, such "found" BIGLAW $$$ could be used by student groups (or a Dean) for purposes other than for public interest lawyering: this fund could be used to help students deal with law school debt or to hire counsel to sue troublesome alums or to create a retirement program for poor underpaid federal judges or to try to convince people not to go to law school or to help needy former prosecutors or for any number of other possible noble pursuits.

Posted by DAB

January 18, 2008 in Money. money, money | Permalink

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