2 Summer Job Offers... How to Choose?

I know, I know, everyone should have such problems.

So for those who don’t know I am a first-year law student and I got two job offers today for summer jobs. W00t! I have until monday or tuesday to decide.

Firm A job is a part time job, 20 hrs/week with some weeks being more, but not regularly. A one-person practice. Mostly matrimonial, with some wills, civil cases, and every now and then a criminal appeal (he is on the list of court-appointed defenders).

-Chance to get feet wet in many areas of law.
-Very flexible – can arrange my hours as I like for any reason or no reason at all.
-I could take a “skills” class over the summer (my law school requires 2 credits of classes that stress practical, hands-on lawyering skills).
-I will be co-author on one brief, definitely, more than that, I’m not sure.
-Maybe last chance in a long time to have a low-stress summer.
-Casual office, no need to spend $$ on new work clothes.
-Lots of extra time to work on brief for Journal competition.
-Possibility of working on a Criminal case, which I’m very interested in, but maybe not.

-One person office is possible recipe for stress.
-Large element of necessary paperwork/filing.
-located in the burbs – boring commute, boring location.
-less money at the end of the day (fewer hours worked).
-Opportunity to work on criminal case might not materialize – No way to know if one will come in.
Firm B job is full-time. Its a torts practice doing mostly Medical Malpractice (plaintiff’s attorney), and I would be working specifically on appeals. 2 partners, 2 associates, a couple paralegals, an intern they plan on hiring when she graduates in May, 1-2 other summer interns, and an office manager.

-More co-workers= more networking
-Chance to get lots of experience writing Appeals (almost certainly more than 1), looks nice on resume.
-More researach/writing oriented, less paperwork/filing (but still some).
-Located in Manhattan, which is more fun in and of itself, plus I could have lunch with my SO from time to time.
-More $$ at the end of the day (more hours worked)
-Really liked the woman who would be my boss.

-One partner struck me as a micro-manager, but I’d be working for the other one.
-I’m not that interested in med mal long-term, and its a fairly specialized office.
-Dressy office, not always-wearing-a-suit formal, but dressy. Would need to buy at least some new clothes (I LOATHE shopping).
-Seems like they will work me pretty hard, which is not a bad thing, but definitely not a low-stress summer.

Pay per hour is basically the same at both places. The commute is slightly shorter and less expensive to Firm B, but its not a huge difference. I don’t have any other interviews in the hopper at the moment. My financial picture is good (I’m on academic scholarship) so strictly speaking I don’t NEED the extra money.

Any thoughts?

Go with the firm. Criminal work ain’t that hard to find if you want to do it later. You’ll get more contact with working lawyers, and doing appeals prolly looks better on a resume than grunt work for a solo guy.

Pick door #2. It sounds like a really great opportunity.

If money isn’t the significant factor, I’d go with #1. Experience in multiple areas. Time for personal and professional development.

I know nothing about law school, but I had three internships before I graduated college. All interns do grunt work, but the work you’d be doing for the one-man office seems less, uh, “gruntish” than usual. The point of doing an internship is to get experience, and the more broad the experience you get is the more worthwhile the internship will be. What is the point of interning at a job you’re not interested in?
Bigger companies tend to work the SHIT out of interns; who says you’d even have time to enjoy being in Manhattan anyway? Not only that, but a good recommendation from a professional who you worked closely with and who really knows you will carry more weight than a letter from someone at option #2 that reads “Yeah, So-and-so worked here and did a good job.” That’s what real networking is all about, not about being a minor cog in a big machine. I say option #1 all the way.

I would add that that Option #2 seems like they’re looking for a paper-pusher, which is in keeping with what I’ve seen expected from interns at most other companies. That alone would decide this issue for me.

Just to clarify, Firm B is a tiny firm by any objective measure… “Big” law firms have hundreds and hundreds of lawyers and offices in New York, Paris and Hong Kong.

I would be working closely with one lawyer (AKA Woman Partner) at Firm B.

It kinda depends on what doors he wants to open. Going with the solo guy would prolly teach the OP more about how to practice law. Going with the firm might lead to more lucrative opportunities in the future.

I don’t know enough about the legal profession to argue this, although the further info that Hello Again added does soften my position against Firm B. It had sounded like the OP would be a general office gofer, which is a fate worse than death. If the OP would be working closely with a pro at either job, than I’d say option #2 sounds much better. It’s almost a dead heat, although I think the variability in experience and working fewer hours make Firm A still a narrow winner.

With the caveat that I knowing nothing about law…

I’d be going with the first option. Mostly because I’m a lazy bum. But that’s not such a bad basis for it. You have to work hard while school is in session–why not have at least several laid-back months to recuperate and do the Journal brief? Like you said, the years ahead may involve a lot of working hours, and next summer you may feel more pressure to get a fancy, high-prestige internship that will open more doors after graduation. Take this one-time chance to get valuable, interesting legal experience on a lower-stress basis.

If I had to choose, I would go with Option 1. You can get experience in many different fields, have time for your journal competition brief, and get the ‘skills’ class out of the way. If you can experience many different fields, then next summer after you’re a 2L you can apply to intern at a firm that really piques your interest. Plus, having practical experience in many different fields probably looks better than extreme specialization in one.

From what I have seen at work (law school library), a somewhat laid-back summer sounds like a really good idea after you finish your first year at law school.

What do you want to do for your 2L summer? What do you want to do after graduation? Answers to those questions, I think, will help you decide what you should do this summer.

I think you should pursue the one that sounds more aligned with whatever it is you love about law or are drawn to. I read that as probably A but don’t think it’s perfectly clear - you would know, though.

If it were me, I’d go with Firm A. If you were planning on specializing in medical malpractice suits yourself, Firm B would be really helpful, but since you aren’t, Firm A looks like it would more helpful in the long run.

Thank you for all your input! I decided to go with Firm A. The chance to do substantial work writing Appellate Briefs weighed heavily in its favor. Ultimately I felt I’d have more to show for my work at the end of the summer. Another factor that came into play was that I took the 2 years before law school “off.” By which to say, I lived and worked on a horse farm and almost never did more than 20 hours of work per week. So, though the lure of a laid-back summer definitely beckoned, I am still pretty fresh mentally.

Thanks again guys!

Well, it’s probably too late now, but without knowing nothing else, I would go for the big firm. In the practice of law, when one is just starting out, it’s typically better to go large or don’t go at all!

J/k about the last part. Going to a large law firm creates a prestige about you. Though I didn’t want to admit/acknowledge it, going to what is perceived as the best schools, the best firms, the best pedigree in general, will serve you well. However, take all this advice with a grain of salt as this is just from a purely monetary perspective. In my mind, easiest money is the best money.

Er, duh. I misread my own OP (a new low-water mark for my reading comprehension skills). I chose Firm B, the larger (but still microscopically small by BigLaw standards) fim offering the fulltime job.