As the ABA Section of Legal Education considers a proposal to allow law students to complete paid internships while pursuing a JD, the October issue of Student Lawyer magazine noted the lead role 3L Joe Zeidner has played in advocating for the reform.
Serving as a delegate of the Law School Division to the ABA House of Delegates, Zeidner spoke forcefully at the ABA annual meeting in August to eliminate a restriction that keeps law students from being paid for legal work they perform while completing internships.
Zeidner said eliminating the ban on paid internships would expand opportunities for experiential learning while reducing debt burden that many law students bear. Although proponents of the ban contend it ensures that internships are educationally meaningful, Zeidner said paid work can provide rich insights into legal practice. (Zeidner's remarks begin 43 minutes into this video.)
The governing body approved other reforms related to legal education at the annual meeting but handed Zeidner and other student advocates a victory by declining to endorse the rule that prohibits paid internships.
“Law student debt has soared astronomically over the last few years,” Zeidner said. “It is unfair to force students to choose between receiving academic credit and working in a paid externship.”
Zeidner added that reducing debt loads would enable more law students to engage in modestly compensated public-interest work after they graduate.
The House of Delegates vote sent the existing ban on paid internships back to the Section of Legal Education for further study.
Zeidner is one of many several Kline School of Law students who have been elected to leadership posts within the ABA since the school's inception. 2L Nicholas Hubner is currently governor of the 3rd Circuit of the Law Student Division, 3L Anthony DiJiacomo is executive lieutenant governor, and 2Ls Ian Oakley and Ryan Tilley are members of the 3rd Circuit leadership team.