Thursday, May 26, 2011

Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas Judicial Fellowship Program for Recent Law School Graduates

The Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, in conjunction with the Earle Mack School of Law at Drexel University, Temple University Beasley School of Law, the University of Pennsylvania Law School, Villanova University School of Law, Rutgers University School of Law-Camden, Penn State Dickinson School of Law and Widener University School of Law ("participating law schools") is pleased to announce an exciting opportunity for recent law school graduates interested in gaining professional experience to work directly with judges within Philadelphia's court system.

Recognizing that there are many exceptional graduates from Philadelphia area law schools seeking professional development opportunities in our current difficult legal economy, and that many judges could benefit from additional legal talent due to the Court's commitment to prompt and fair resolution of cases notwithstanding the Court's high volume caseload, the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas is initiating a Fellowship Program for their mutual benefit. 

The Judicial Fellowship Program aims to provide talented law graduates with substantive experience in the law, and to support the Court in carrying out key functions.  Fellows will volunteer their time, have the same responsibilities as regular paid judicial law clerks, and gain the benefit of training by judges in the Philadelphia courts.  Judges will help new lawyers by mentoring, providing legal experience and enhancing their ability to acquire paid employment.  The fellows will help our high volume Court system maintain its superior quality of service to the Philadelphia community.  The Court hopes that this program will have a positive impact on both the graduates and the chambers in which they are placed. 

For more information, Rutgers-Camden law graduates can login to the Rutgers-Camden law job bank in Symplicity and view the job listing for the the judicial fellowship program, which includes the program application and a list of judges accepting judicial fellow applications.

To qualify for this program, graduates must apply within the first two years of graduation.

Big Law Not For You? Tips For Landing A Job at A Small Firm.

There has never been a predictable path from law school to small law firm work.  They don’t come to interview on campus, they don’t uniformly care about good grades, journal or other traditional indicia of academic performance, and they don’t hire regularly.  Even though it’s gotten harder over the last few years, getting a job at a big firm at least has a predicable route.  So what are small firms looking for in candidates?
A recent post on Above the Law, written by Jay Shepherd, offers some advice, but it might be somewhat surprising.  In his list of ten traits that the best candidates for small firm jobs share, not one legal skill appears.  The traits that Shepherd lists have much more to do with the kind of person you are than about the kind of student you are.  And while all small firms may not use the same criteria, many do rely on the kids of things Shepherd lists.  Many Public Interest employers look for similar traits, in addition to a passion and dedication to serving the disenfranchised. 
To close the piece, Shepard writes “I’m glad you got decent grades, went to an OK law school, and work hard. But what I really care about is your personality, and whether I’d be comfortable having you interact with my clients. And whether I could stand to work with you every day. These ten traits would show me that I could.”

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

“Permanent Associate” Positions at Large Law Firms: Part of the New Normal

The New York Times reports on the growing use of “permanent associates” at large law firms as one method for controlling costs, which allows savings be passed on to clients in reduced ( or at least not increased) fees.  Large firms are not willing to completely eliminate the high salaries paid to top recruits from top law schools, but the model of constant growth at that level has proven unsustainable.  The result is a growing two-tiered system of compensation, and corresponding responsibility. 
While the kind of work a “permanent associate” may do can be quite interesting and high-level, the amount of work will be much less, allowing for much greater control over scheduling.  Though the salary is dramatically lower than that of an associate on the partnership track, the trade-off may be worth it in order to have some sort of work-life balance, which may be attractive to young lawyers beginning a family.  Another trade-off may be location, since firms tend to locate their “permanent associates” in smaller cities with lower costs.
 Firms using this model point out that it keeps jobs in the United States as opposed to outsourcing legal work to other countries where it can be done cheaply.   But lower salaries make it difficult for the attorneys to pay off the large amount of debt many students have accumulated to earn their law degree.  And once you are labeled a “permanent associate” it may not be possible to move onto the partnership track. 
More developments to keep an eye on in the changing legal economy.  Stay tuned to this blog for more news about the legal market. 

St. Thomas More Society of the Diocese of Wilmington's Fourth Annual Open House, Thursday, June 9th

The St. Thomas More Society of the Diocese of Wilmington invites prospective members, current member and friends to their Fourth Annual Open House, Thursday, June 9th.

Learn more about the St. Thomas More Society, meet current members, and enjoy complimentary hors d'oeuvres and generous drink specials on the back patio while listening to live music.

Date/Time/Location:  Thursday, June 9th, 5:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m., Kelly's Logan House, 1701 Delaware Avenue, Wilmington, Delaware

RSVP to Gina Murphy at by Friday June 3.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Hoping to land a position at a big firm next year? Be prepared for changes in the interviewing process.

A recent article in USA Today describes some of the recent changes in law firm interviewing.  Large law firms and other employers that participate in fall on-campus recruiters have used the same interviewing methods for the past 20 years or so.  But change is in the air as firms look for ways to find students with skills and talents that meet the firm needs. 
At firms where there have been changes, the initial on-campus screening interview remains much the same.  But for those students who make the first cut and get called back for a second or third interview, depending on the firm, there will be little similarity to the interviews where talking about favorite law school classes, study abroad and working at a soup kitchen were the norm.  At Pepper Hamilton, for example the new model consists of “a three-pronged interview ……..that offers students an almost instantaneous opportunity to showcase their analytical abilities and legal prowess. After an initial 20-minute session, which is largely still based on the traditional model, students move through interactive interviews discussing their writing samples and arguing a fact pattern with firm attorneys. Though arriving at the "right" answer is not crucial, the firm's unique, hands-on scenario gives attorneys a chance to evaluate a student's analytical and communication skills, as well as their abilities to listen and work as part of a team. “
Other developments in interviewing, such as behavioral interviewing, are being used by legal employers in their hiring processes.  Behavioral interview questions ask candidates to describe how they performed in a particular kind of situation, thus giving the employer some sense of how the candidate might perform in the future. 
These new interview models should give students the opportunity to demonstrate their skills and competencies in ways that the old model did not.  Be prepared for the new law firm interview!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Terrific Summer Opportunities for 1L's and 2L's Still Available!

 Did you wait until the last minute to start your search for a summer legal position?  No worries!  There are still positions available.  Several Public Interest organizations are looking for help this summer on a variety of projects.  Working for a Public Interest organization is great experience, for both 1L's and 2L's, even if you don't plan on a public interest career after graduation.  The financial crisis affecting public interest organizations means that there is lots of substantive work waiting to be done.  And when resources are scarce, law students are a significant source of help for public interest lawyers and their clients.  Take advantage of one of these opportunities to use your skills to make a real impact this summer.

Positions still available include:

1.  The joint Civil Consequences Project of the Defender Association of Philadelphia and Rutgers Camden Center for Public Interest Training, Rutgers School of Law, Camden, is looking to fill internship/externship and volunteer positions for the summer of 2011. Law students with an interest in indigent criminal defense, social benefits and continuing legal education are invited to apply. Applicants must be able to work independently and with groups, have advanced research and writing skills, display flexible independent thought and analysis skills, be able to confer with third party experts, and have basic computer competency.  If you would like to be considered for a position, please forward a letter of interest and resume to the attention of Peter J. Thompson.

2.  The American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania seeks rising 2L and 3L law students for an important and interesting pro bono project this summer. Volunteers will receive initial training and ongoing support. This is a great opportunity to learn about constitutional litigation while engaging in valuable volunteer work. Students must commit to at least 5 hours of work each week and all work is to be done in the office.  Interested students please email Sarah Maguire.

3.  The Philadelphia Chapter of the National Lawyer’s Guild seeks an unpaid summer intern to work on the Know Your Rights Committee. The intern will conduct research, writing and editing of various materials used in the Know Your Rights trainings. Intern will be responsible for updating and localizing legal information contained in training literature. The intern will also help prepare KYR’s presentations for various local community groups, schools and churches. Many areas of law are included in the trainings, and thus this is an opportunity for a student to gain exposure to a wide variety of legal issues. The Intern will work under the supervision of an attorney. Applicants should have a strong interest in public interest law and a background in volunteerism.  Additionally, we seek applicants with strong research and organizational skills.  Please apply with a cover letter, resume, transcript, writing sample and a brief paragraph articulating why you believe you would be a good fit for this project.  Send all application materials to Sarah Maguire.

For complete information and application instructions for these opportunities and more, visit the job postings section of your Symplicity account.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

VIP’s Summer Pro Bono Program for Law Students

VIP’s SummerPro Bono Program is geared specifically to law students at the inception of their careers to educate them about issues of poverty in Philadelphia and to promote an ethic of service to address those issues through pro bono work.

Participants in the Summer Pro Bono Program will:

  • Attend a training on VIP's work with the City of Philadelphia's Residential Mortgage Foreclosure Diversion Program, an innovative program that provides thousands of homeowners an opportunity to negotiate face to face with lenders’ representatives to save their homes from foreclosure
  • Discuss the importance of pro bono with judges from the First Judicial District of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia Bar Association leaders and VIP Board Members during a complimentary luncheon
  • Shadow a volunteer attorney or housing counselor as they assist clients at a conciliation conference during the summer months
Friday, June 17, 2011
Pennsylvania Bar Institute
Wanamaker Building, 100 Penn Square East, 10th Floor

There is a $50 charge to attend the event which covers all the costs of the day (breakfast, lunch and training materials).  This cost is usually contributed by the students’ employer. Alternate pricing available is the employer is unable to cover the cost.  Click here for registration materials.  Registration ends Wednesday, June 8. Questions can be directed to Bailey Andersen, at or (215) 523-9567.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Take Philadelphia VIP's "30 for 30" Pledge!

Join Philadelphia VIP as we celebrate 30 years of providing access to justice for those most in need in our community and recognize the dedicated volunteers and friends who have supported VIP throughout the years. 

Philadelphia VIP, the hub of pro bono in Philadelphia, promotes justice for the poor by providing civil legal services not otherwise available, collaborating with other legal services organizations and promoting a culture of volunteerism by educating and exposing attorneys and law students to issues of poverty.  Our own Assistant Dean Eve Biskind Klothen was the founding Executive Director of Philadelphia VIP, and was honored at a gala anniversary event, along with former Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell.

In honor of Philadelphia VIP’s 30th Anniversary, all attorneys and graduating law students are invited to take the “30 for 30” pledge.  By signing the pledge, you agree to perform thirty hours of pro bono service during VIP’s anniversary year (2011).  Pro bono work provides excellent training for new lawyers, and builds connections to the finest role models in the legal profession.

VIP will recognize signers of the pledge on our website and at a 30th Anniversary ceremony during National Pro Bono Week (October 24-28).  

Thank you for saying yes to access to justice for all!  To sign up for the pledge, click here for law students and here for lawyers.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Loan Forgiveness Webinars

Don't miss out on some great free resources online this summer on loan forgiveness and loan repayment programs.  

Heather Jarvis, a national expert on student debt, will host a webinar on May 25th.  Her website has lots of other resources on student loans and student debt.  Follow her on twitter and read her blog for the most up-to-date information on student debt relief programs.
Equal Justice Works also offers webinars on student debt relief.  Don't miss the webinar on May 18th on How to Pay Your Bills AND Your Student Loans: Utilizing Income-Based Repayment. 

2011 Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg “Pursuit of Justice” Legal Writing Competition

Entries are now being accepted for the Philadelphia Bar Association’s 2011 Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Pursuit of Justice Legal Writing Competition.  The Bar Association recognizes the importance of excellence in legal analysis and writing skills, and seeks to award a student enrolled in an American Bar Association-approved or provisionally approved Philadelphia-area law school for authoring a top-quality competition submission.

This competition is open to full- and part-time law students who are in their second or third year of study during the 2010-11 academic year at one of the following six institutions: Drexel University Earle Mack School of Law, University of Pennsylvania Law School, Rutgers University School of Law – Camden, Temple University Beasley School of Law, Villanova University School of Law and Widener University School of Law (Delaware Campus). Part-time law students in their third or later year of study are also eligible. Students must be in good standing at their institutions. The submission may not have been published previously, although it may have been prepared in connection with a law school course or for a law journal. The submission also may not have been submitted for any other competition during the time when it is under consideration for this competition, until after the time when awards are announced. The submission must be the work of one author alone (joint submissions will not be considered), and the author must certify that the submission has been prepared without substantial editing from others.

Candidates may submit a law review quality submission on any topic relating to rights, privileges and responsibilities under federal law. Entries must be received by Friday, May 13 at 4 p.m. (deadline extended).  To enter this competition click here.  To view the rules click here.

The author of the winning submission will receive a cash award of $2,500, the publication of the winning submission in The Philadelphia Lawyer, on the Bar Association's website and/or in an appropriate Bar Association publication. The winner will be invited to a Quarterly Meeting of the Bar Association, at which time the award will be presented.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Philadelphia Bar Association's Public Interest Brown Bag Lunch Series

The Law School Outreach Committee of the Philadelphia Bar Association announces it’s Public Interest Brown Bag Lunch Series for 2011.  Every Thursday at noon during the summer, the Philadelphia Bar Association will host a panel discussion featuring practitioners from area public interest legal organizations.  This is a great opportunity to learn about the variety and depth of public interest lawyering in the area, and to meet and network with public interest lawyers and like-minded students from other area law schools.

If you would like to be added to the email distribution list for this series of events over the summer, please send your name and email address to Rebecca Baehr as soon as possible.  The first panel will be held on June 2nd, with subsequent panels every Thursday through August 4th.  The schedule is as follows:

1101 Market Street, 11th Floor, Thursdays 12pm to 1:30pm

6/2/11  Fellowships  

6/9/11   Complex Litigation/Appeals/Tech Support

  • ACLU of PA
  • Pennsylvania Innocence Project
  • Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia
  • National Clearinghouse on the Defense of Battered Women  
6/16/11  Systems Advocacy
  • Education Law Center
  • Disability Rights Network of Pennsylvania
  • Juvenile Law Center
  • PA Institutional Law Project  
6/23/11   Lawyering in the Community
  • Face to Face Legal Center
  • Community Legal Services
  • Good Shepherd Mediation Program
  • Legal Clinic for the Disabled
  • The Legal Services Department of the Mazzoni Center  
6/30/11   Change through Policy Work
  • Women’s Law Project
  • Pennsylvanians for Modern Courts
  • Regional Housing Legal Services
  • Pennsylvania Health Law Project  
7/7/11   Hot Topics in Direct Service
  • SeniorLAW Center
  • Philadelphia Legal Assistance
  • AIDS Law Project of PA
  • Support Center for Child Advocates
  • Women Against Abuse Legal Center  
7/14/11   Government and Criminal Practice Panel  

7/21/11   No Panel – Reception 5-7pm Location TBA  

7/28/11  Making Pro Bono Part of your Career
  • Philadelphia VIP
  • Philadelphia Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts
  • Consumer Bankruptcy Assistance Project
  • Homeless Advocacy Project  
8/4/11   Hot Topics in Immigrant Rights
  • Nationalities Service Center
  • Friends of Farmworkers
  • Pennsylvania Immigration Resource Center
  • HIAS  

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The Horace Wu (’75) and Kate King Wu Public Interest Summer Fellowship

Through a generous donation from Horace Wu ('75) and Kate King Wu, the Rutgers School of Law Clinical and Pro Bono Programs are hiring a summer fellow to engage in client representation, community outreach, and research.  The ideal candidate will be a rising 2L or 3L with a demonstrated commitment to public service and excellent communication skills.  Spanish language ability and experience with immigration/poverty law are "pluses."  The fellow will receive a stipend of $2,000 and will be expected to work full-time for 8 weeks, or part-time for up to 12 weeks. 

Interested students should e-mail a cover letter, resume,  3-5 page writing sample, and the names and contact information of two references to Professors Jill Friedman and Joanne Gottesman by  May 16th, 2011.

Philadelphia’s Nationally Recognized Mortgage Foreclosure Diversion Program Needs Pro Bono Attorneys

Pro bono attorneys are needed to say YES to low-income homeowners facing foreclosure.

The Residential Mortgage Foreclosure Diversion Program, instituted in April 2008 by the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, has provided hundreds of homeowners an opportunity to negotiate face to face with lenders’ representatives to save their homes from foreclosure.

The Honorable Annette M. Rizzo and Philadelphia VIP are asking attorneys to volunteer for the Philadelphia Foreclosure Rescue Effort (Philly FReE). Philadelphia VIP administers the pro bono legal assistance component of Philly FReE, providing training and ongoing support to attorneys who wish to contribute their time to this important effort. Since the inception of the program in June 2008, over 475 attorneys have been trained. Those attorneys have helped over 1,400 homeowners save their homes.

The mortgage foreclosure diversion program needs the investment of many pro bono attorneys to help clients negotiate an affordable loan modification, payment arrangement, or other workout option.

Here’s how you can get involved:

Date: Wednesday, May11, 2011
Time: 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Location: Pepper Hamilton LLP, 18th and Arch Sts (Two Logan Sq), 30th floor

Volunteers will receive one free CLE credit for each hour of course work attended (a total of three (3) free substantive CLE credits are available) in exchange for representing two different clients at one or more mortgage foreclosure conciliation conferences on a continuing basis until the attempted negotiation is resolved, or in exchange for volunteering as an on-call attorney at three different conciliation conference half-day sessions. Volunteer work must be completed within six months of the training program.

If you wish to register for this training, please email and provide your name, address, telephone number, and firm (if applicable).

Monday, May 2, 2011

Per Diem Law Clerk/Attorney Program

The Per Diem Law Clerk/Attorney Program matches employers with Rutgers-Camden Law School students, recent graduates or licensed attorneys, who are available for temporary work at the rate of $15/hour for students, $20/hour for recent graduates and $25/hour for admitted attorneys.  Firms may either sign-up to receive a booklet of resumes and pick the per diem attorney, law graduate or student best suited to their project, or firms may request the next available student or law graduate.  Since the nature of per diem work varies based on the employer’s needs, some will have a small project that needs to be completed immediately; others might have more long-term needs.  

Rutgers School of Law-Camden grads and current students can register for the program by submitting a resume to either the "Per Diem Attorney Program" or the "Per Diem Law Clerk Program" listing in the Symplicity job bank (login, go to job listings: Rutgers-Camden Law job bank: then search keywords “per diem”). 

Per Diem Program applicants will be contacted directly by employers as needs arise.  Submitting your resume is not a guarantee that you will be contacted for a per diem position.

Employers can register for the program on the Career Planning website. 

New Associates Find Experiential Learning in Law School Valuable

Karen Sloan reports in the National Law Journal about a National Association of Law Placement (NALP) survey on experiential learning opportunities in law schools.  NALP surveyed law firm associates about their participation in experiential learning - including clinics, externships or other placements, skills courses and pro bono work - during law school. 

The survey report indicates that the popularity of clinics, externships and skills courses has increased over the last several years, but skills courses were the most popular.  In terms of value for preparing students for the actual practice of law, despite being most popular, skills courses only received the "very useful" rating by thirty-eight percent of respondents who had taken a skills course.   Over sixty percent of respondents who participated in a clinic or externship rated clinics and externships as "very useful".

This survey supports the trend toward more opportunities for hands-on experiences in law school, and should make students consider taking advantage of clinics, externships and other opportunities for real world legal work experience during law school.