A law clerk is either someone in law school, or a law school graduate who has taken the bar exam and is waiting for bar results. I am aware of two reasons why people hire law clerks: (1) marketing their practice by giving future attorneys a free look inside their practice with a view to getting referrals from those people later, and (2) trying out possible future employees in terms of how good a fit they are at the office. Note that there is nothing in there about what a law clerk could contribute to a law firm. That's because law clerk work ranges from useless to mostly useless. I don't really care what a 23 year-old 1L thinks about the current law of dischargeability in bankruptcy, for example. What I care about is whether that person would be a valuable employee in the future once they pass the bar and are ready to learn how to actually practice law. Looking back to my own experience, I did a series of in-depth memos for the two firms I clerked for, and maybe they were usable. But the firms were definitely trying me out in terms of possible future employment and/or for marketing purposes. Let's just say I failed at one of them by going overboard with the work and not being as agreeable around the office as I could have been. I was definitely not mindful of how important it is to be a good fit in terms of personality in order to get an offer. Lesson learned.
Last updated: July 6, 2018
© 2018 Andrew G. Watters