Celebrating 10 years! 2007-2017

Advice needed on leave of absence for summer associate position

No one I know is facing this situation so I wanted to ask th michelledoster02/07/17
I am constantly astounded by the lack of judgment some of th tcpaul02/08/17
Ohh save the moralizing or some vague threat of a character triplesix02/08/17
Simple advice: Tell the truth and hope for the best. Pra sjlawyer02/08/17
Have you told the firm your situation or kept both places in karlfarbman02/08/17
ask for a sabbatical - for unpaid time off for the duration. dingbat02/08/17
I knew a guy in a similar situation back in 2008 and he was thepoporcoming02/08/17
Don't lie to your current boss. That's stupid. I'm not telli isthisit02/08/17
Here's a really simple question that you didn't address and pauperesq02/08/17
Let's be real here, OP wants to do the internship to see if triplesix02/08/17
Didn't even read the op as I trust Counselor 666. Only this mtobeinf02/08/17
I addressed it and so did others. OP is not responding afte karlfarbman02/08/17
A summer associate is not really an intern. A real summer as onehell02/08/17
Except for top level big law, the world of practically all s sjlawyer02/08/17
If this firm is off the type where most summers are offered, superttthero02/08/17
She's going to night school in Chicago, which I assume means inho2solo02/08/17
Tell the truth, and that truth should be as follows: I have becksquire02/08/17
This is the credited white way to handle it but you might ha triplesix02/08/17
If your current job is even vaguely law related (and it soun flharfh02/08/17
michelledoster (Feb 7, 2017 - 11:52 pm)

No one I know is facing this situation so I wanted to ask the forum. I have a very good job during the day for an insurance company, in a capacity unrelated to law. I attend law school at night in Chicago.

I was fortunately able to secure a summer associate position at a large firm starting in June in another state. I need to ask for time off from my job during the summer (9 weeks) so I can intern at this firm during the summer. There is no way my company would let me leave if I told them it was to intern at another company

I could always make something up (personal leave, etc.) but worry that somehow my current company may find out. There is no real conflict of interest given the law firm does no legal work for my current company. However, I am wondering if

(1) an employer can find out if an employee is employed elsewhere (it's an internship, not sure if that counts as employment at a firm).

(2) what excuse would you use to take time off

I would return to my current company after the internship ends in August and decide, assuming there is an offer, whether I would return to the firm the following year.

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tcpaul (Feb 8, 2017 - 7:43 am)

I am constantly astounded by the lack of judgment some of the posters have shown on jdu.

Do you really think lying to your current employer is a good idea? Have you heard of character and fitness? Do you have a brain?

If you want to do the internship, do it. But don't try to bull$hit your employer and think they won't figure it out, that you won't get canned (which you would deserve), and that you wouldn't have to disclose it on your bar app or that the bar wouldn't contact your employer.

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triplesix (Feb 8, 2017 - 8:11 am)

Ohh save the moralizing or some vague threat of a character and fitness issues. OP is merely being a special snowflake.

This is business and employers lie all the time straight to your face without blinking an eye.

That said, OP wants to trick and there is high degree that tricking is will back fire. Employers want "loyalty" haha hence OP is luckily to lose his current job if they get a smell of what he is doing. If OP was wants to try the law firm gig, OP should do so with understanding the consequences. Being honest is unlikely to help. Taking leave without explaining is suspecious. Lying is not worth ot IMO but people do it all the time as it is business.

OP, I wouldn't do it unless there is some sort of promise of full job after and at least 3 years of employment, which there is very unlikely to be. Dropping what seems like a sure thing for a lottery ticket is a foolish thing to do unless you ain't got loans and willing to ride in whatever circumstances you might face.

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sjlawyer (Feb 8, 2017 - 8:23 am)

Simple advice: Tell the truth and hope for the best.

Practical advice: Tough to say. You could fudge it and say it's part of your education (it is). Still, your ultimate goal here is to take time off at your current job to build a relationship/experience with a new place to ultimately leave your old job. I wouldn't be down w/ that. If you boss is cool, maybe he'll help you out.

Alternative simple advice: Don't take the internship and try to do some legal work at your current job. Most post-law school jobs do appreciate you doing night school and working full time. Your best bet might be to continue down that path, get your JD* and clerk for a year before getting a law gig.

*Getting a JD when you already have a full time job is a suspect proposition which is discussed ad nauseum on JDU.

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karlfarbman (Feb 8, 2017 - 8:57 am)

Have you told the firm your situation or kept both places in the dark? I could see you ending up with nothing if you lie to both. Ostensibly you went to law school to be a lawyer. If this is a biglaw summer associate position, what % of summer associates get offers? While obviously there's no guarantees last I heard firms are pretty cautious about offering too many and almost everyone that gets a summer position gets a permanent offer. I'm sure you might need the money while in school but if you're planning on leaving at some point anyways to be a lawyer just suck it up and tell your current employer. They'll probably let you go but the idea of what you're trying to do reeks of dishonesty anyways, beyond that which would balance out the often crappy behavior of employers. Tcpaul's response is credited.

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dingbat (Feb 8, 2017 - 9:14 am)

ask for a sabbatical - for unpaid time off for the duration.
Don't tell them why, and if asked demure. DO NOT LIE.*

If that doesn't work, then you're just gonna have to make a choice. My guess is that if it's a biglaw firm you'll make more money in those 2 months than you would in 4 months at your current job, maybe more. it may be worth taking the leap.

*if you have a very good relationship with your boss, you could tell him/her that you've been asked to help out on a temp job out-of-state that pays very well, that it'll only last for X weeks, and you'll be returning thereafter. It's honest and it's not giving out too much information. Some people will understand (though, most bosses won't accept it). Of course, there's a chance you'll end up having to spill the beans anyway

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thepoporcoming (Feb 8, 2017 - 9:17 am)

I knew a guy in a similar situation back in 2008 and he was simply honest with the firm he was currently working for. He told them his situation (in his case it wasn't big law, but medium sized firm).
He told them that he interviewed for this position, and would like to spend the summer working for the other firm.
In return, they were honest with him. Told him that they will offer up his position in the summer, and if the person that takes the position in the summer won't continue into the fall, then he can have it back.

Unfortunately, his story didn't end well. Firm he interned for during the summer didn't offer him a position (because of the financial crisis) and the person the other firm hired stayed on.

Like many people are saying here, be honest. Don't lie, it will catch up with you, and while i dont think it will affect your C&F, i do think you'll feel better in the long run.

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isthisit (Feb 8, 2017 - 10:28 am)

Don't lie to your current boss. That's stupid. I'm not telling you this out of an outdated sense of loyalty to your employer, since I always recommend against that. Instead, I want you to avoid losing both job and internship incase both your worlds collide at some point. Sometimes, sh!t just happens.

Tell him you want to intern for the Summer at a fantastic and wonderful law firm but most definitely want to return once your time is up.

Maybe they'll hire a temp until you get back, if you're really that valuable but I doubt that it.

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pauperesq (Feb 8, 2017 - 11:29 am)

Here's a really simple question that you didn't address and no one has asked yet: what do you want to do after you graduate?

If you want to have a legal career, then take the internship, do a good job, and enjoy what should be an inevitable employment offer. Tell your current employer you're taking an internship and expect them to ask you to resign. Who cares, you're working toward what you want to do.

If you want to stay with your current employer, why are you even entertaining an internship at a firm?

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triplesix (Feb 8, 2017 - 11:33 am)

Let's be real here, OP wants to do the internship to see if he can get a higher paying job while still be able to fall back on his current employer if that internship doesn't lead to an offer. His logic is that it is no big deal but I think everyone here has confirmed that there are likely to be negative consequences for such tricking.

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mtobeinf (Feb 8, 2017 - 11:56 am)

Didn't even read the op as I trust Counselor 666. Only this. Nevertheless, beware to those who try to game the system. Can't be done successfully. Especially, as a child in a grown man or woman's game. Woe to thee indeed.

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karlfarbman (Feb 8, 2017 - 12:50 pm)

I addressed it and so did others. OP is not responding after all the negative responses is all.

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onehell (Feb 8, 2017 - 2:12 pm)

A summer associate is not really an intern. A real summer associate gets a near-guaranteed offer and there's no reason not to just quit your current job.

If, OTOH, there is no expectation of an offer, then you are not a real summer associate and you need to think long and hard about whether it's worth moving to another state for a mere internship when you already have an actual job.

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sjlawyer (Feb 8, 2017 - 2:48 pm)

Except for top level big law, the world of practically all summ assoc jobs getting offers is gone IMHO.

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superttthero (Feb 8, 2017 - 3:38 pm)

If this firm is off the type where most summers are offered, try to get the time off but be ready to get the door. However, you are going to law school, presumably to practice law, so if you are a shoe-in with true biglaw, you can't let that chance get away.

If this is really an intern/summer position at a smaller firm where you 'may' get an 'associate' job making 40-70k out of law school, well, the choice is a little tougher, but I still wouldn't lie about it. The most I would do is make a vague request for extended leave on personal grounds.

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inho2solo (Feb 8, 2017 - 4:00 pm)

She's going to night school in Chicago, which I assume means kent or marshall, so probably unlikely to be a shoo-in at a white shoe firm.

To the OP:

Doesn't your management already know you're attending law school? If so, why not just be honest with them and ask for an unpaid leave of absence? Or some combination of using your vacation combined with an unpaid leave? That's the way I approached it for my 2L summer.

Something about your post makes me think you're a 1L? If so, and assuming you need your day job for another 2 years to get through school, you really don't want to screw around, telling lies, and likely losing that job.

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becksquire (Feb 8, 2017 - 5:43 pm)

Tell the truth, and that truth should be as follows: I have an externship in another state. I get credit for it in my law program, thus I would appreciate a leave of absence to attend to this educational opportunity.

Now, just get your extern office to give you credit, pay the tuition fee, and go from there.

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triplesix (Feb 8, 2017 - 5:49 pm)

This is the credited white way to handle it but you might have hard getting the prefftigious law shop to go along with this.

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flharfh (Feb 8, 2017 - 6:02 pm)

If your current job is even vaguely law related (and it sounds like it is, being in insurance) you are better off staying put, unless you have a summer associate at a biglaw firm and you want to work in biglaw.

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