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Tell HN: I'll work for you for free this summer
33 points by jwb119 on Jan 30, 2010 | hide | past | favorite | 21 comments
I'm an honors law student w/ a background in finance looking for some interesting (read: not corporate drone) work this summer. I love startups and I've taught myself some very basic coding over the past year or so. Looking to dive into any legal or business areas that you might not have the time or energy to explore. Send me a link and I can shoot you a full resume.

My basic qualifications: 4 years at a major i-bank (2 in banking and 2 in bond sales). 1 year of law school (good grades). passionate about startups.

Contact: My HN username at gmail

Want to learn software security? We'll pay you to do interesting work over the summer. We're weird like that.

I just finished reading "Gray Hat Python". It was pretty interesting talking about fuzzers, and injection stuff. Is that what you guys do?

Very yes. (We're working on "Grey Hat Ruby", though I don't know if we're going to publish it on dead trees).

So dumb question. How do you make money doing that? Is it that software companies want their security tested so they hire you? (I wouldn't think most companies would be so proactive.)

Every fiscal quarter, tens of products ship (often after millions invested) for every one practitioner that can competantly write a fuzzer. That estimate may actually be conservative by an order of magnitude.

We work for vendors and enterprises (ie, normal companies). Vendors bring us in to beat stuff up before they ship it. Enterprises bring us in to reverse things and beat them up before they get deployed.

Yes, many companies aren't that proactive. But the industry is slowly getting dragged into security; key verticals like financial services and health care are starting to require documentation of penetration testing for anything that gets deployed, and Microsoft, Google, Mozilla, Apple, and IBM all have religion about software security process.

tptacek, I wrote you an email a few days ago about a similar topic. Did you receive it?

I can't find it, but I just had a really bad hardware crash and I'm still limping. Send again? Sorry to make you do that.

Just resent to the email address you have listed on your HN profile. Thanks!

>>interesting work over

I can most definitely vouch for that.

maybe a general internship thread is called for in addition to the traditional HN "who's hiring?" with summer around the corner?

I'd like this, as I've begun searching for a 6 month internship to start in July for my third co-op.

Why would you work for free?

Money, although a very objective method of quantifying value, is not the only measure.

In a literal example, why attend university and pay to do work? The answer is, there is value in learning something. Presumably, that is what this individual wants to do.

My guess is that he is hoping that the job is really that interesting.

If you have the financial wherewithal, I'd imagine taking an unpaid internship opens up a lot of great options that wouldn't exist otherwise.


Before the crash I-Banking bonuses for first year Analysts at Big 4 firms were on the order of $80-100K each year. Assume you bank all of that each year and to be conservative, that it was 80K each year, you now have 320K. This will pay for all three years of Yale Law ($142.5K) and leave you enough to live on all through Law School. Presumably less selective schools cost less, so that's an upper limit.

As a 1L your internship oportunities are pretty limited, and I'm guessing that interning at a lower market firm doesn't really help that much for the internships you really want in 2L and mid-market firms won't trust you if you lie and say you're really enthusiastic about working for them because of blah.

Interns aren't all that productive because they have no experience with the law as it's practiced. First year associates aren't that hot, so internships are basically a hiring expense and it doesn't really pay until they're productive in second or third year.

An interesting internship, like with a startup could really help if you want to get into a firm in that space like Wilson Sonsini. Outside of that it could be positively harmful as a sign of outside interests and a life, not conducive to running up 2,000 billable hours a year. Most firms probably can't afford to be that selective though because most lawyers quit corporate law and go in-house counsel or something less soul crushing when they pay off their Law School loans and maybe build up a nest egg.

jwb119 probably isn't going to Law School for the money afterwards so much of that probably doesn't apply, but the how he can afford to make this offer does.

thats pretty much dead on, including the fact that i'm not in law school for the money.

the only thing you are overestimating is how much of that bonus is take home. NYC taxes and even a modest % into your 401k means you are looking at somewhere around 40% of your bonus number actually winding up in your bank account.

what i'm really looking to get out of this whole thing is an interesting project to throw myself into.

There is an interesting project you can take on and make a difference: non-evil assignment of inventions agreement.

Typical AoI assigns all rights to the company, so a developer can not even take a script not related to the core business with him when he moves. The company itself ends up not using the script but not letting the developer use it either - it's a huge waste.

A better arrangement would be to give equal ownership rights to both employee and employer for all work except work that is company's competitive advantage. Determining the latter is super tricky, but if you can come up with workable definition you will make a huge impact to both concept of employment and the software industry (not unlike the open-source idea).


His twitter account says Pittsburgh, PA.

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