A new fellowship program has been initiated at the Beasley School of Law, as well as other Philadelphia area law schools such as Drexel University’s Earle Mack School of Law, Rutgers School of Law-Camden, Widener University School of Law, Penn Law and Villanova University School of Law.
The program, created by the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas Judge Lisa M. Rau, gives graduates the opportunity to work as unpaid law clerks under different judges in the court. It allows graduates the opportunity to gain experience.
Melissa Lennon, the assistant dean for career planning at the Beasley School of Law, said there is no amending date, so law graduates can keep working as a fellow for as long as they would like.
“With any unpaid position, there’s hope that it will generate a paying job,” Lennon said. “The law clerk fellowship is a prestigious position where they can work under a judge and gain experience.”
Created this year, the program already has 12 fellows working within the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas.
“I think the fellowship helps you meet the right people,” said Chris McMullin, a second year law student at Temple. “I interned at the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, and it was a great experience. I think it’s a great opportunity for graduates who don’t have a shot at paid employment.”
A law clerk researches and writes for the judge, helps run the courtroom when needed and helps the judge with his or her day-to-day work.
“It is really difficult to get a job after law school,” said Greg Mallon, a third year Temple law student. “We’re the second class to be going through this rough patch. I think the program is well-intentioned, but it’s a product of what we’re going through.”
Lennon mentioned that as many as 30 judges are expected to host fellows.
“I don’t think I would take it. I’m getting married and have a mortgage to pay for,” Mallon said. “Taking an unpaid internship after paying so much money for school isn’t ideal, but it’s the way the market is.”