Welcome to our second edition of what is now my favorite advice column ever -- #DearFindLaw. A colleague of mine has a sister that is now a summer associate at BigLaw, and she passed on a sibling's question.
The summer associate knew that she wanted to clerk after law school, so she didn't know how to deal with an offer from her law firm, in the event that she got one. She thought she might want to return to the firm after the clerkship, but wasn't sure. What should she do? How should she decline an offer?
Declining an Offer
Dear Summer Associate, never decline an offer from a law firm -- especially not in this job market. That is not to say that you must work there, but even if you have no intention of actually joining the firm once you graduate, it's always good to have a Plan B -- especially when there is no other Plan A set in place. Also, it's much easier to find a job when you have one. If you decline the offer, other firms you interview with may think that you were not extended an offer at the firm where you were a summer associate.
What If I Want to Clerk After Graduation?
You may plan on clerking, but unless you have a clerkship lined up, finding a clerkship is also not the easiest task. If you are hired on as a clerk, that's wonderful news. Most law firms will hold your offer open, and take you on as a second year associate after your clerkship concludes, so there's no reason to decline an offer just because you want to clerk.
What If I Want to Switch Firms?
Just because you accepted an offer with one law firm you are not precluded from shopping around. Maybe you think you'll be a better fit elsewhere -- fine, apply. But don't decline the offer until you have another offer lined up with another firm. You simply can't foresee what may happen in one years' time, and like we said earlier, always have a Plan B.
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