Starting next month, graduates of the University of Miami's School of Law who have been struggling to find work will be able to participate in the school's Legal Corps Postgraduate Fellowship Program -- which will offer grads who take pro-bono positions in government or nonprofit organizations a monthly payment of $2,500.
The school is employing a tricky strategy for navigating the pallid legal job market -- essentially, programs that hire Miami graduates won't have to pay them, as the university will cover those costs. The graduates will be working under a pro bono umbrella, but getting paid for it. The program will attempt to remedy the discrepancy between public demand for lawyers and lack of funding. The university's law dean Patricia D. White told the Chronicle of Higher Education that "the need [for legal services] is huge, and the ability to pay lawyers in public services is very low. This is a national phenomenon and in no way unique to the University of Miami."
The school will offer an unlimited amount of stipends to qualified post-grads for up to six months, the Chronicle reports.
While other schools, like Southern Methodist University, have championed similar programs, Above the Law notes that Miami's law school has distinguished itself in its effort to help students cope with the difficult job market. Not only is the six-month timeframe for work uncharacteristically long but, according to the blog, university officials took pains to encourage first-year law students to defer admission in 2009 and have worked to keep tuition costs down.
Employment statistics for the 430 May 2010 graduates are not yet available.
What do you think of this program? Is it a cheap shot at work? Or is it fair game? Weigh in below.