According to the Washington Post, the fortunate employees who happen to work for the D.C.-based intellectual property firm Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner don’t have to worry about paying back whatever they may have borrowed for their tuition. Students who are selected for the program must work part time as “student associates” while in law school, and in return the firm pays off their law school debts.
So is there any catch? Yes, but it’s not too bad. First, “student associates” seem to be less student, more associate, with the general expectation of 1500 billable hours per year while in school (the firm points out that they bill out their student associates at a lower rate than full-time attorneys). 1500 is a pretty high number, and not one you could achieve just duyring the summer. So, in addition to your law school studies, you’ll be putting in some time at the office. Second, the program is there to attract talent, and with 100% tuition reimbursement, there is plenty of competition (and once they’re in, about 90% of student associates stay with the firm after law school).
Regardless, this program can impart a huge financial benefit if you can nab one of the coveted spots. And, given that the firm gets the ability to see your work-first hand over several years while billing your work out to offset the costs, let’s hope that other law firms around the nation adopt this unique program.