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When: 2/3/2016

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Rochester, New York

The Rochester Legal Diversity Clerkship Program is co-sponsored by the MCBA (through its Diversity Committee), the Rochester Black Bar Association (RBBA), and the Greater Rochester Association for Women Attorneys (GRAWA). This program seeks to increase diversity in the legal profession in the Rochester area by attracting qualified first-year law students from under-represented groups within the legal profession, to work in paid positions with Rochester area law firms and other legal employers.

The sponsoring bars and participating employers believe that a diverse work force provides better service to clients and a better work environment for attorneys and staff. These organizations are committed to recruiting, retaining and promoting attorneys who contribute to the overall diversity of the legal community in Rochester. The purpose of the Rochester Legal Diversity Clerkship Program is to provide Rochester-based work experience to law students of diverse backgrounds, with the long-term goal of increasing the diversity of the legal community.

The clerkship typically lasts eight to ten weeks and the participating organizations pay their standard 1L rate.

Over 100 students have gained valuable experience and many have returned as 2Ls as well as upon graduation.

Program Specifics (subject to change):

  1. Application: Eligible first year law students are required to submit a formal application, current resume, undergraduate and law school transcripts, a personal statement and the designated writing sample on or before the deadline for submissions.

  2. Interview: Based on the application materials submitted, qualified candidates are invited to Rochester on a Saturday for an interview conducted by members of the Diversity Committee. In the past, most applicants have been invited to interview.

    Students must secure their own transportation to Rochester for the interviews, however, students with challenges in getting to Rochester should contact Louise Spinelli for potential assistance or alternatives.

  3. Selection Process: After the interviews and based on the criteria described above, employers thenselect the student to join their office as a summer associate.

  4. Offers: Selected students receive an offer of placement with a particular organization and are given three days to accept the initial offer* (there is no discussion of monetary terms at this point). If an offer is declined, the position will be extended to an alternate until all positions are filled. Consideration for placement is given for students expressing a preference for a public interest/sector position (instead of a private firm) will be accommodated to the extent possible.

    * The participating employer may have additional requirements in connection with the offer.

2015 Summer Participating Law Firms/Organizations (Rochester NY Offices)*:

  • Harris Beach PLLC
  • Barclay Damon LLP
  • Civil Legal Service Provider**: Empire Justice Center, LawNY, VLSP or Legal Aid Society (Alternate summers)
  • Monroe County District Attorney’s Office (Funded by USDC, WDNY)
  • Nixon Peabody LLP
  • PathStone Corporation
  • Rochester City Law Dept. (Funded by USDC, WDNY)
  • Underberg & Kessler LLP
  • Ward Greenberg Heller & Reidy LLP

* Students must submit their applications directly to the MCBA to be considered through this program. 2016 employers are being confirmed.

** Funding provided by the Foundation of the Monroe County Bar.

Events and Educational Programs

Efforts are made to provide students an opportunity to network with attorneys and summer associates at other firms and legal organizations as well as to expose students to the Rochester community. Previous events have included, among others:

  • Welcome reception sponsored by the MCBA along with the RBBA and GRAWA;
  • Writing program with a national speaker, sponsored by Harter Secrest & Emery;
  • Jazz Festival – dinner in Xerox’s corporate hospitality suite followed by the Diana Krall (2012) and Pink Martini concert (2013); Jennifer Hudson (2015)
  • Orientation & Mentoring Breakfast;
  • Lunch program with Wegmans Vice Chairman and General Counsel, Paul Speranza hosted at Nixon Peabody;
  • Lunch with City of Rochester Mayor;
  • Meet the Judges Lunch hosted by The Wolford Law Firm;
  • RBBA Picnic;
  • Rochester Red Wings Baseball Game, hosted in the Nixon Peabody suite;
  • Dinner with members of the Association of Corporate Counsel;
  • A day on the Keuka Lake (Finger Lakes);
  • Interview skills workshop;
  • Dinner at the Susan B. Anthony House;
  • Job Fair for 2L and other positions.

For more information visit
Program Manager:
Louise Spinelli ~ ~ 585.402.7189