Deferred Employment being Weighed by Law Firms
Download PDF
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (No Ratings Yet)

Mary Gay Scanlon is the pro bono counsel for the law firm of Ballard Spahr. Scanlon talked about deferring law students’ first years at firms.

“Withdraw[ing] offers to [young lawyers] who we had an investment in. We didn’t want to leave them in a lurch. It’s hard to get the right mix of situations where it’s worthwhile. The tension is that the law firm doesn’t want to give up a highly compensated associate for long periods of time,” she said. “We quickly said: ‘Wait a minute, maybe we can salvage something for everyone here. We can make sure that these young lawyers — some of the best and the brightest — have good work to do for this year.'”


The law firm offered stipends of cash to first-year lawyers if they were to develop their litigation skills elsewhere. Not all of Ballard Spahr’s deferred associates practiced law in the interim. Instead, some of them were placed in government agencies, public interest firms, corporations and one went to graduate school.

“In-house experts and in-house advocates for a variety of different pro bono opportunities,” said Scanlon. “Which helps with bringing strength in new areas to the firm. Poverty law is not a part of our daily practice and it’s highly beneficial to have someone who’s an expert in U visas or a whiz with asylum or SSI disability cases in-house.”

Lisa Swaminathan, a deferred associate of Ballard Spahr, spent her time at Community Legal Services while on her deferral. She spent her time working on family law, which Ballard Spahr does not practice. Swaminathan took care of cases from start to finish, with the majority of them dealing with child welfare cases.

Get JD Journal in Your Mail

Subscribe to our FREE daily news alerts and get the latest updates on the most happening events in the legal, business, and celebrity world. You also get your daily dose of humor and entertainment!!

“This was a chance to get our feet wet doing something really positive, so I was really excited,” Swaminathan said. “That was the experience that I was looking for … [to get] to court … to know the people who I was representing, to learn how to work for a client.”

Swaminathan decided it would be in her best interest to remain at CLS for an extra year after her deferral ended. It was a temporary position that was paid for by money funded through stimulus money. Swaminathan joined Ballard Spahr in September of 2011 after two years of public interest work, helping her gain valuable experience prior to being hired full-time at the law firm.

“I learned … that [my clients were] the driving force behind everything I was doing, and it can be harder to learn that when you’re just starting out,” Swaminathan said. “It’s a hard thing to take someone out of law school and get them to a point where they can walk into a courtroom and represent a client, and I felt like I really got that at CLS.”


Interesting Legal Sites You May Like




Search Now

Senior Land Use Attorney with experience

USA-CA-San Francisco

San Francisco office of our client seeks senior land use attorney with 7+ years of experience. The c...

Apply Now

Immigration Attorney with portable business


McLean office is seeking an immigration attorney with $500,000+ in portable business.

Apply Now

Employment Attorney with 3+ years of wage and hour litigation experience

USA-CA-Los Angeles

Los Angeles office of our client seeks employment attorney with 3+ years of experience in wage and h...

Apply Now

Commercial Litigation Attorney with some experience


Marlton office of our client seeks commercial litigation attorney with experience. A prior judicial ...

Apply Now


Associate Attorney

USA-TX-Fort Worth

Associate litigation attorney sought by AV-rated downtown Fort Worth law firm. Candidates must have ...

Apply now

Litigation Attorney

USA-TX-Fort Worth

Associate litigation attorney sought by AV-rated downtown Fort Worth law firm. Candidates must have ...

Apply now

Staff Attorney

USA-NY-New York City

The Staff Attorney, who will be based in New York City (Downtown Manhattan and/or Bronx office), wil...

Apply now

Staff Attorney IOI


Will carry a caseload of at least 50 active cases, consisting of complex immigration and removal def...

Apply now

Most Popular


To Top