Editor's note: This letter's author, Stratford attorney Kenneth Beck, had placed an ad on Craigslist inviting young lawyers to observe him at work for a fee. The proposal, since withdrawn, sparked debate in legal circles, as the Law Tribune reported in the Jan. 21 issue. The email to which Beck refers is reprinted below his letter.
To the Editor,
There appears to be some criticism of my concept of "Lawyers in Training." I believe the attached email received within hours of publication of your article online speaks volumes about the need I stumbled upon. To my critics, I ask how my concept differs from, for example a "bar prep" course? In both cases law graduates with huge debt need to fill a gap between their J.D. degree and their first job. Just as law school does not give the graduate enough to pass the bar, they do not teach how to practice law either. This is why admitted attorneys are working retail in the mall.
Perhaps I should have called it a "Shadowing Seminar" rather than "Lawyer in Training," but hindsight is, as they say, 20/20. There was no intention on my part to exploit anyone. Many of the emails I received seem to believe that I was asking law graduates to pay me to work. This is absolutely untrue. I was offering, what I believed to be, a lawful and valuable "shadowing" service to fulfill a clear need. None of the authorities you interviewed could cite any law or rule that would prohibit the concept. To date, it is only a concept, one that has been put on the back burner for now.
Kenneth A. Beck
I am interested in the internship opportunity at your firm. I know that you've received some criticism in the CT Law Tribune, but I would be interested as long as the fee was low. I have been unemployed since graduation and believe that this would be a good addition to my resume and would make me more marketable. Other legal experiences such as CLEs are too costly for me at the moment. Thanks.