Thursday, February 7, 2013

“Pay-For-Experience” Ad Criticized by Connecticut Legal Community

Would (or should) newly admitted attorneys and law school graduates pay an experienced attorney for experience? This is the question Stratford trial lawyer, Kenneth Beck, recently attempted to answer by placing a “Help Wanted”ad on Craigslist. Beck told the Connecticut Law Tribune that he “wasn't looking to charge five people $300 an hour to go to court with me…I was just looking to basically not lose money that's involved in explaining things. It would be learning by doing. I thought it was a creative way to fill a gap. I thought I was offering a service.” 

The “service” however, is already offered for free as a mentorship program through the bar association. His idea has raised controversy over whether it is wrong for a law firm to charge law school graduates for on-the-job training. Lou Pepe, co-chair of the Connecticut Bar Association's Professionalism and CLE section, told the Law Tribune that he thinks it “quite unfortunate that anyone would try to exploit the plight of recent law school grads in such a manner. I hope it's not a portent of things to come in our profession.” Students, lawyers, professors, bloggers and the like have reacted negatively to the ad, questioning the motivation behind such a posting. Beck ultimately pulled the ad after receiving nasty emails and responses from people who believed the pay-for-experience ad was wrong.