SA Duties/Work Product

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Ahhhnold
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SA Duties/Work Product

Postby Ahhhnold » Tue Oct 12, 2010 12:24 pm

I got the offer at a V100, what (generally) will I be doing next summer?

Scope of projects, interaction with partners/clients, etc. Anyone with experience or thoughts?

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nealric
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Re: SA Duties/Work Product

Postby nealric » Tue Oct 12, 2010 12:26 pm

Probably lots of pro bono- this can really run the gambit.

You will probably write a bunch of short memos- perhaps a first draft of a short motion. There should be a decent bit of partner interaction, but probably not as much client interaction. If you do interact with a client, it's unlikely it will be any more than a handshake.

ToTransferOrNot
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Re: SA Duties/Work Product

Postby ToTransferOrNot » Tue Oct 12, 2010 4:15 pm

This really varies firm to firm. I wrote 12 pages of a motion to dismiss that made it in to the court filing basically unchanged - it was an entire substantive argument on federal pre-emption, not piddly-dink stuff. I had a call or two with one of the firm's leading pre-emption people in a different office, so that was a great experience. It went through 4-5 partners editing it without making many changes - probably got me my offer. Great experience, but stressful and what led me away from litigation practice.

Drafted a lot of memos. One of them, a 20-pager on a pro-bono assignment, was sent to the client (and the e-mail said X summer associate prepared the memo you requested, so I got credit for it) with some minor changes. Don't know whether the client specifically requested it be done by a SA (for lower costs).

Did a thorough memo on a petition for certiorari that resulted in two new arguments being added to the petition. Not major points or anything, but still.

Attended a lot of negotiation sessions/depositions/etc.

Did two closings.

A few other things here and there. Did some business development work with one of the partners (i.e., researching an up-and-coming area where new litigation is expected, figuring out how to prsent the information and pitch for the inevitable business that will come out of the issue).

In the end, I was there for 9 weeks, tuned in 16 written projects, and clocked an average of 60 hours a week (not counting the SA wine-and-dine type of stuff).

rando
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Re: SA Duties/Work Product

Postby rando » Tue Oct 12, 2010 4:19 pm

ToTransferOrNot wrote:This really varies firm to firm. I wrote 12 pages of a motion to dismiss that made it in to the court filing basically unchanged - it was an entire substantive argument on federal pre-emption, not piddly-dink stuff. I had a call or two with one of the firm's leading pre-emption people in a different office, so that was a great experience. It went through 4-5 partners editing it without making many changes - probably got me my offer. Great experience, but stressful and what led me away from litigation practice.

Drafted a lot of memos. One of them, a 20-pager on a pro-bono assignment, was sent to the client (and the e-mail said X summer associate prepared the memo you requested, so I got credit for it) with some minor changes. Don't know whether the client specifically requested it be done by a SA (for lower costs).

Did a thorough memo on a petition for certiorari that resulted in two new arguments being added to the petition. Not major points or anything, but still.

Attended a lot of negotiation sessions/depositions/etc.

Did two closings.

A few other things here and there. Did some business development work with one of the partners (i.e., researching an up-and-coming area where new litigation is expected, figuring out how to prsent the information and pitch for the inevitable business that will come out of the issue).

In the end, I was there for 9 weeks, tuned in 16 written projects, and clocked an average of 60 hours a week (not counting the SA wine-and-dine type of stuff).


Sounds a lot like my experience though I didn't work that hard and can't say my work was used as substantively. Though I was involved in some pretty cool stuff and a couple memos went out to clients. Ranged from trial practice to M&A.
14 projects over 10 weeks - probably 50 hours a week not including social activities.

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Ahhhnold
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Re: SA Duties/Work Product

Postby Ahhhnold » Tue Oct 12, 2010 4:37 pm

rando wrote:
ToTransferOrNot wrote:This really varies firm to firm. I wrote 12 pages of a motion to dismiss that made it in to the court filing basically unchanged - it was an entire substantive argument on federal pre-emption, not piddly-dink stuff. I had a call or two with one of the firm's leading pre-emption people in a different office, so that was a great experience. It went through 4-5 partners editing it without making many changes - probably got me my offer. Great experience, but stressful and what led me away from litigation practice.

Drafted a lot of memos. One of them, a 20-pager on a pro-bono assignment, was sent to the client (and the e-mail said X summer associate prepared the memo you requested, so I got credit for it) with some minor changes. Don't know whether the client specifically requested it be done by a SA (for lower costs).

Did a thorough memo on a petition for certiorari that resulted in two new arguments being added to the petition. Not major points or anything, but still.

Attended a lot of negotiation sessions/depositions/etc.

Did two closings.

A few other things here and there. Did some business development work with one of the partners (i.e., researching an up-and-coming area where new litigation is expected, figuring out how to prsent the information and pitch for the inevitable business that will come out of the issue).

In the end, I was there for 9 weeks, tuned in 16 written projects, and clocked an average of 60 hours a week (not counting the SA wine-and-dine type of stuff).


Sounds a lot like my experience though I didn't work that hard and can't say my work was used as substantively. Though I was involved in some pretty cool stuff and a couple memos went out to clients. Ranged from trial practice to M&A.
14 projects over 10 weeks - probably 50 hours a week not including social activities.



I really appreciate all of the feedback. How many practice areas did you get involved in? How many projects did you do until you somewhat decided on a practice area?

rando
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Re: SA Duties/Work Product

Postby rando » Tue Oct 12, 2010 4:42 pm

Ahhhnold wrote:
I really appreciate all of the feedback. How many practice areas did you get involved in? How many projects did you do until you somewhat decided on a practice area?


I did 5 or 6 practice areas. This will really depend on the firm though. You should look into your firm's program specifically and how rotations, if any, and work assignments are distributed.

How you choose a practice area is also highly firm-specific. Though my experience really changed my idea of what I wanted to do. As it did for a lot of people I know. So I would seek out as many different practice areas you can so you can get a feel for different types of work.

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Ahhhnold
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Re: SA Duties/Work Product

Postby Ahhhnold » Tue Oct 12, 2010 4:47 pm

rando wrote:
Ahhhnold wrote:
I really appreciate all of the feedback. How many practice areas did you get involved in? How many projects did you do until you somewhat decided on a practice area?


I did 5 or 6 practice areas. This will really depend on the firm though. You should look into your firm's program specifically and how rotations, if any, and work assignments are distributed.

How you choose a practice area is also highly firm-specific. Though my experience really changed my idea of what I wanted to do. As it did for a lot of people I know. So I would seek out as many different practice areas you can so you can get a feel for different types of work.


I know my firm does a free-market type approach, so my understanding is that I will have a lot of freedom to choose. But, I've heard that if you don't start to narrow your projects and show interest in a specific practice area by the end of the summer, a group may not extend you an offer. Any validity to that?

rando
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Re: SA Duties/Work Product

Postby rando » Tue Oct 12, 2010 4:54 pm

Ahhhnold wrote:
rando wrote:
Ahhhnold wrote:
I really appreciate all of the feedback. How many practice areas did you get involved in? How many projects did you do until you somewhat decided on a practice area?


I did 5 or 6 practice areas. This will really depend on the firm though. You should look into your firm's program specifically and how rotations, if any, and work assignments are distributed.

How you choose a practice area is also highly firm-specific. Though my experience really changed my idea of what I wanted to do. As it did for a lot of people I know. So I would seek out as many different practice areas you can so you can get a feel for different types of work.


I know my firm does a free-market type approach, so my understanding is that I will have a lot of freedom to choose. But, I've heard that if you don't start to narrow your projects and show interest in a specific practice area by the end of the summer, a group may not extend you an offer. Any validity to that?


Again - it depends on the firm because some make offers by group and some make firm-wide offers. If it were me, and specific groups were giving out offers then I would start broad and narrow in on a few groups, make the requisite relationships and do good work. If specific groups are not giving offers then it is likely up to a hiring committee made up of a broad array of associates/partners who take into consideration your interactions and the feedback you have gotten on your assignments.

This varies a lot. But I wouldn't worry about it too much. Especially now. I had absolutely no idea what I wanted to do but I figured it out by the end. It ends up being a mix of how you get along with the people in the group and how you like the work. Neither of those you know much about at this point.

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Ahhhnold
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Re: SA Duties/Work Product

Postby Ahhhnold » Tue Oct 12, 2010 5:30 pm

Any thoughts on litigation vs. transactional work?

legends159
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Re: SA Duties/Work Product

Postby legends159 » Tue Oct 12, 2010 6:02 pm

do both if possible

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nealric
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Re: SA Duties/Work Product

Postby nealric » Tue Oct 12, 2010 6:33 pm

Any thoughts on litigation vs. transactional work?


You should do both to the extent possible. It's a good idea to make sure you do some lit, as it tends to provide more writing opportunities. You are also more likely to know how to write a litigation document from law school.

rando
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Re: SA Duties/Work Product

Postby rando » Tue Oct 12, 2010 6:50 pm

nealric wrote:
Any thoughts on litigation vs. transactional work?


You should do both to the extent possible. It's a good idea to make sure you do some lit, as it tends to provide more writing opportunities. You are also more likely to know how to write a litigation document from law school.


Definitely agree. I absolutely despite transactional work after doing it a bit this summer but I would have never known otherwise. The same rings true for some other people about lit. And a few attorneys I worked with told me they were absolutely dead set on one or the other but ended up making a 180.

One thing to note, and Nealric hints at it... if you are doing transactional summer work there is not a lot of substantive work to do, IME. A lot of conference calls, digging up short research questions (a few hours worth of work) etc. While you will have written work if you do lit or in between groups (L&E, emp benefits, tax etc.). At the end of the summer you want something substantive to evaluate you on.

ToTransferOrNot
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Re: SA Duties/Work Product

Postby ToTransferOrNot » Tue Oct 12, 2010 7:28 pm

Yeah, make sure you work at least a few projects that give you good written work for them to evaluate. Don't let your only sample be from whatever workshop they do.

Anonymous User
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Re: SA Duties/Work Product

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Oct 12, 2010 8:14 pm

I don't think ToTransferOrNot's experience is universal. For example, at my firm, I worked in litigation, but I didn't produce that much in terms of formal writing. Most of my assignments were answers either written in casual emails or verbally delivered over a five minute meeting/phone conversation. I still ended up with an offer.

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Ahhhnold
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Re: SA Duties/Work Product

Postby Ahhhnold » Tue Oct 12, 2010 8:21 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I don't think ToTransferOrNot's experience is universal. For example, at my firm, I worked in litigation, but I didn't produce that much in terms of formal writing. Most of my assignments were answers either written in casual emails or verbally delivered over a five minute meeting/phone conversation. I still ended up with an offer.


Did your department decide on your offer or was there a hiring committee that made the decision?

Also, did you only work on litigation projects or were you able to pick and choose?

Why litigation over one of the other practice areas?

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Re: SA Duties/Work Product

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Oct 12, 2010 8:41 pm

I could pick and choose, but I did only litigation. My offer was given to me before the summer program ended.

I'm not trying to say that it's this casual at every firm. I think the moral of the story is: Do what is asked of you and do it well. If you want more substantive work like writing a memorandum or doing a motion to dismiss, by all means take it. But don't feel like you have to do one just to get an offer, unless you're at a firm that–from your educated estimations–makes a big deal about that sort of thing.

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Bosque
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Re: SA Duties/Work Product

Postby Bosque » Tue Oct 12, 2010 9:52 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I could pick and choose, but I did only litigation. My offer was given to me before the summer program ended.

I'm not trying to say that it's this casual at every firm. I think the moral of the story is: Do what is asked of you and do it well. If you want more substantive work like writing a memorandum or doing a motion to dismiss, by all means take it. But don't feel like you have to do one just to get an offer, unless you're at a firm that–from your educated estimations–makes a big deal about that sort of thing.


Yah, it just really depends on the firm. The experience will definitely vary.

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Ahhhnold
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Re: SA Duties/Work Product

Postby Ahhhnold » Wed Oct 13, 2010 8:17 pm

Is it standard to get your own office as a SA, or do you just work in a sweatshop in the basement, huddled together with the rest of the SA class??

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Re: SA Duties/Work Product

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Oct 13, 2010 8:19 pm

In NYC, the standard is sharing an office (and many share offices even as junior associates, up to years 3-4 at Davis Polk).

For other markets, the standard, I believe, is that you get your own office. It depends on the firm, though.

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Ahhhnold
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Re: SA Duties/Work Product

Postby Ahhhnold » Wed Oct 13, 2010 8:24 pm

Anonymous User wrote:In NYC, the standard is sharing an office (and many share offices even as junior associates, up to years 3-4 at Davis Polk).

For other markets, the standard, I believe, is that you get your own office. It depends on the firm, though.


Anyone know about the standard in Chi?

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Bosque
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Re: SA Duties/Work Product

Postby Bosque » Wed Oct 13, 2010 9:35 pm

Ahhhnold wrote:Is it standard to get your own office as a SA, or do you just work in a sweatshop in the basement, huddled together with the rest of the SA class??


Sometimes you have your own office, sometimes you share it with another summer, sometimes you work in the library, sometimes there is a cubicle farm in the basement, and sometimes you fight to the death in the arena, spilling the other SA's blood for the mirth of the partners and the gods. Depends on the firm.

Renzo
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Re: SA Duties/Work Product

Postby Renzo » Wed Oct 13, 2010 9:57 pm

Bosque wrote:
Ahhhnold wrote:Is it standard to get your own office as a SA, or do you just work in a sweatshop in the basement, huddled together with the rest of the SA class??


Sometimes you have your own office, sometimes you share it with another summer, sometimes you work in the library, sometimes there is a cubicle farm in the basement, and sometimes you fight to the death in the arena, spilling the other SA's blood for the mirth of the partners and the gods. Depends on the firm.

I saw steel cages suspended from the ceiling :shock:

Anonymous User
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Re: SA Duties/Work Product

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Oct 13, 2010 10:12 pm

I saw a split in DC, but I would say that it much more common to have your own office in DC than NY. I would say that the overall odds are in favor of a summer having their own office.




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