January 19, 2021 Practice Points

Four Reasons Your Small Firm Should Hire a Law Clerk

A few benefits to hiring and mentoring a law student.

By Andrew Mcelmeel

In today’s chaotic world, attorneys, especially solo practitioners and those in small firms, may have limited time and energy to mentor and train a law clerk. However, given the opportunity, hiring a law student for a paid or unpaid clerkship can be an asset. Below are four prime benefits for a smaller practice to hiring a law clerk.

  1. They are eager! What a law student lacks in experience and practical knowledge, they make up through their dedication to the practice of law. As much as law students may “love” law school, it is typically a means to an end, with that end being a career as a practicing attorney. For most, the best educator is practical experience and law clerks will thrive in an environment where they can prove their basic legal abilities and learn from experience.
  2. They bring perspective! As the phrase goes, “two heads are better than one.” As every attorney knows, law school teaches the simple concepts underlying typically complex legal issues. Thus, law clerks bring with them somewhat simple solutions to difficult and intricate issues. A law clerk may bring an attorney a solution they need by offering a fresh take on basic legal concepts.
  3. They have resources! Law clerks bring a host of resources and individual connections with them. Through schooling, law students are taught the best and most modern practices in research and writing, and how to navigate at the intersection of case law, statutes, and technology. Furthermore, over the course of a law student’s career, they have established long-lasting relationships with their classmates, have created professional relationships with professors and experts of law, and have networked with local attorneys through events, seminars, clubs, and/or work. In total, a law clerk will bring the most recent and best resources and individuals to your attention.
  4. They are receptive! A law clerk will learn and grow in the shadow of their mentor. Molding a law student early in their career could prove beneficial to the long-term growth and health of your practice. You will not only have the moral satisfaction that you helped shape the future of the legal profession, but your practice may gain a valuable asset whether as a future associate, a referral source, or simply a trusted colleague.

Hiring a law clerk is an investment in a young future, but also in your own practice. Establishing trust and creating a relationship with a young professional may lead to future opportunities for growth.

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Andrew Mcelmeel is with Goosmann Law Firm in Omaha, Nebraska.


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