Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Law clerks for Massachusetts courts, continued

In MA, the Proposal to let law-firm hires help state courts is dropped.

"The state judiciary has abandoned a controversial proposal to fill coveted law clerk jobs at no cost to the government with newly hired private lawyers whose firms have pushed back their start dates because of the recession."
"Mulligan had proposed the arrangement in the spring because of two related employment trends. Tight finances had forced the state to rescind job offers it had made in December to at least 24 recent law school graduates who wanted to work as law clerks. And the bad economy had prompted some law firms to defer bringing on first-year associates at full salaries.
Many firms around the country are paying such “deferred associates’’ stipends of about $60,000, less than half their regular starting salaries of about $150,000, to hold onto them until the economy improves.
Some firms have recommended that the fledgling lawyers volunteer at nonprofit groups or engage in public service. And several local firms asked Mulligan whether their associates in waiting could perform their public service as law clerks.
Some legal specialists had said an arrangement that involves a law firm paying a judicial employee raised thorny ethical questions; firms that donate lawyers to the courts might appear to be currying favor or expect preferential treatment.
"But Mulligan won the approval of the Committee on Judicial Ethics of the Supreme Judicial Court after he proposed a special “double blind’’ arrangement.
The Flaschner Judicial Institute, which provides continuing education to state judges, would have dealt with the law firms that supplied the clerks. Judges and court officials would have had no contact with the donating firms, and the firms would have been instructed not to identify the clerks on their websites. The clerks would have been barred from disclosing which firms were paying their stipends."

Here is my earlier post on the proposal: Law clerks for Massachusetts courts

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"The clerks would have been barred from disclosing which firms were paying their stipends."

Until they actually start practicing with the firm a while later, thus passively revealing the firm's identity.