Sept. 5, 2012 – How do potential employers attract UW Law School graduates to areas outside the Milwaukee and Madison metropolitan areas? How do potential associates overcome their concerns about what to expect in these less-urban areas? In an effort to respond in a practical way to these questions, the Lawyering Skills Program created the Summer Clerkship Program. Since 2007, this summer program, directed by professors Gretchen Viney and Ralph Cagle, has placed law students between their second and third years of study into firms in small- and mid-sized Wisconsin communities.
The summer clerkship depends upon a cooperative effort by the UW Law School, the Lawyering Skills Program, the participating law firms, and the students; all share responsibility for the success of the students’ experiences. The Lawyering Skills Program screens and selects the participating law firms or government offices, selects the students though a competitive application process, and guarantees each student’s enrollment in the Lawyering Skills Course (formerly General Practice) in the spring semester immediately preceding the summer clerkship.
Through direct support of the law school, each student receives up to $1,000 to defray summer living expenses. Each participating law firm agrees to accept the selected summer clerk and to employ and appropriately supervise that clerk full-time for at least 10 weeks at the rate of $15/hour. Finally, each summer clerk agrees to accept the appointment to the selected law firm, to take the Lawyering Skills Course, to live in or reasonably near the community where the law firm is located, and to work full time at the rate of $15/hour. To date, the program has placed summer clerks in Appleton, Baraboo, Eau Claire, Edgerton, La Crosse, Medford, New Richmond, Oshkosh, Reedsburg, Sun Prairie, and Tomah.
“This program has been enormously successful in introducing our students to small and mid-sized communities and to the lawyers who practice there,” reports Prof. Viney. “We have had nothing but positive feedback from students and employers, and many of our former clerks are now practicing law in small or mid-sized communities. We would be thrilled to welcome additional firms into the program so that we could accommodate more of our qualified students.”
If your firm is interested in participating in the program, or in learning more about the program, please email Viney or call her at (608) 262-8048). Participation is limited by available funds to provide stipends to the participating students. For information about making a contribution toward the program, email org eric.salisbury supportuw Eric Salisbury, development director or call him at (608) 263-6669.