Rural Practice FAQS

Rural Practice Committee

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What can I expect from a student?

A: Obviously the answer depends on the student’s personality, where the student is in his/her law school education and other factors. The attorneys who've participated in summer clerkship programs reported that their clerks did research, prepared documents, assisted them in preparing for trial, sat in on client meetings, did title opinions, prepared probate inventories and assisted in preparing closing documents.  

Q: How much do I have to pay?

A: The answer is up to each participating attorney. However, it is recommended that the compensation be at least $15 per hour for a 40-hour week. Almost all of the participating attorneys in the summer clerkship programs pay that amount. Many of the attorneys recouped part of that cost by billing some of the clerk’s time.

If hiring a full-time associate, the going salary rate ranges from $45,000 to $60,000 annually. Again, the amount depends on the new attorney’s knowledge and experience. A student who participates in the summer clerkship program should be more versed in the procedures used in a small law firm, as well as having been exposed to client meetings, court appearances, etc.  

Q: What about housing?

A: Students generally have yearlong leases on their apartments back at school. So housing for the summer is a cost above and beyond the rent they pay at school. Some participating attorneys had access to unoccupied homes and were able to set up their clerks in those homes. At least one attorney paid the rent on a home as part of the clerk’s total compensation. One clerk rented a room in a local attorney’s home.  

If you have further questions about the program, contact the following individuals regarding their experiences.  

Ralph Smith, Charles City, (641) 228-4533
John Sorensen, Clear Lake, (641) 357-2139
Earl Hill, Britt, (641) 843-4491
G. Rawson Stevens, Shenandoah, (712) 246-4300
Phil Garland, Garner, (641) 923-3792
Randy Caldwell, Newton, (641) 792-4160
Jennifer Zahradnick, Belle Plaine, (319) 444-3285