homestyle28 wrote:Were there unexpected upsides or down in your experience? If so, can you explain?
I had to take the evening to think about this.Unexpected downside:
Perhaps the one thing that made me really inefficient was just worrying. I rarely received criticism for my work, and I never knew where I stood with the powers that be. If I handed in an assignment to a partner, I rarely received feedback. If I did receive feedback, nothing was ever negative. I know that sounds like I should be patting myself on the back, but I really shouldn't. I was a summer, my work product is guaranteed not perfect, and I wasn't (and am not) even close to being the smartest guy in my summer class. At best, I'm a grinder (which is awfully surprising given how ADD I am).
And I hope this changes when I become a regular associate. I want to know when I screw up, so I know when to start looking for another job. But even aside from that, having good constructive feedback is useful just for honing my skills as a lawyer. I know I make mistakes. I want to know what they are and how to fix them.Unexpected upside:
A few of my close friends and relatives are partners at other big firms, and their single biggest advice was to go to a boutique. I went against the grain because I wanted a good firm name on my resume (at the very least) and to make it as a partner at a big firm (at the very most). I was beginning to regret my decision as the summer came closer, as I heard the nightmares of non-stop doc review.
But I was pleasantly surprised at how much responsibility I was given. And as a junior associate, I'm sure that while I will inevitably be doing doc review, it will be for the minority of my time, and that I am expected to "graduate" from that level by proving myself at other tasks. Really, if you're doing doc review at least 70% of the time and you're beyond your first year, it's probably a sign that the firm is pushing you out (and yes, I know of many stories where firms will hammer associates they want out by inundating them with menial tasks; my firm hasn't done it, as far as I know, but I know a particular V20 that engaged in this practice).
In sum: Completely happy with my decision. I think I'll only get more responsibility as a junior and later, as a mid-level, if I continue to do good work and build my reputation as that guy who is always available and ready, willing, and able to do work.
If there's one thing I want to emphasize the most, it's that you have to focus on building and maintaining a good reputation.