1L SA- what do I do to not look like an idiot?

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1L SA- what do I do to not look like an idiot?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed May 04, 2011 8:18 pm

just got an offer to spend the summer at a big law firm as a 1L (rising 2L as I prefer to be called). WTF do I do to not look like an idiot? I am guessing that they wont expect too much of me since I'm a 1L, but I would still like to make a good impression. Any thoughts?

also, what do summers do? Just research and write memos?

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Jarndyce
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Re: 1L SA- what do I do to not look like an idiot?

Postby Jarndyce » Thu May 05, 2011 11:24 am

Anonymous User wrote:I am guessing that they wont expect too much of me since I'm a 1L


Wrong. You got picked and, in this economy, most people didn't. That is a bad attitude to have.

But you are right in the sense that it won't be overwhelming, at least not at first. I had a 10 week internship last summer (as a 1L in a 150-250 lawyer firm). On the first day of actual work (after two training days), I got two assignments. The first assignment was a simple update of a partner's seminar that he was presenting in the middle of the summer, and I had about a week and a half to do it. Although the update really just involved shepherdizing the cases and getting the seminar up to par, I wrote a memorandum to go with it explaining each change I made and how the law could potentially change due to a pending House bill. Overkill you might say? Maybe- but the same partner became a mentor to me, virtually guaranteeing me a job in his practice group and funneling work to me throughout the summer.

The second task I got assigned was some memorandum that I don't really remember. And that is the bulk of your work- write a memo on this weird, nuanced question of law (that likely doesn't have an answer) and get it to me in a week. The key to this is always come up with an answer, even if it involves piecing together cases and making "stretches." The reason you are assigned this is because the lawyer has never come across the issue, which means there is a good chance that there is no definite answer. But if you can provide insight and go beyond the "the law is unclear" answer to "the law is unclear, but based on case law, it is probably X," you are making yourself valuable.

Another tip that I have is always turn stuff in early if you can -- develop that reputation of being super-punctual. It is just a good reputation to have. Plus, you will every now and then get a partner who says they want an answer Thursday, then asks you where you are at on Tuesday- if you can have something to show, it is brownie points.

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Re: 1L SA- what do I do to not look like an idiot?

Postby DoubleChecks » Thu May 05, 2011 11:30 am

Jarndyce wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I am guessing that they wont expect too much of me since I'm a 1L


Wrong. You got picked and, in this economy, most people didn't. That is a bad attitude to have.

But you are right in the sense that it won't be overwhelming, at least not at first. I had a 10 week internship last summer (as a 1L in a 150-250 lawyer firm). On the first day of actual work (after two training days), I got two assignments. The first assignment was a simple update of a partner's seminar that he was presenting in the middle of the summer, and I had about a week and a half to do it. Although the update really just involved shepherdizing the cases and getting the seminar up to par, I wrote a memorandum to go with it explaining each change I made and how the law could potentially change due to a pending House bill. Overkill you might say? Maybe- but the same partner became a mentor to me, virtually guaranteeing me a job in his practice group and funneling work to me throughout the summer.

The second task I got assigned was some memorandum that I don't really remember. And that is the bulk of your work- write a memo on this weird, nuanced question of law (that likely doesn't have an answer) and get it to me in a week. The key to this is always come up with an answer, even if it involves piecing together cases and making "stretches." The reason you are assigned this is because the lawyer has never come across the issue, which means there is a good chance that there is no definite answer. But if you can provide insight and go beyond the "the law is unclear" answer to "the law is unclear, but based on case law, it is probably X," you are making yourself valuable.

Another tip that I have is always turn stuff in early if you can -- develop that reputation of being super-punctual. It is just a good reputation to have. Plus, you will every now and then get a partner who says they want an answer Thursday, then asks you where you are at on Tuesday- if you can have something to show, it is brownie points.


Wow helpful answer, thanks. I'm curious about this question as well :P

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Re: 1L SA- what do I do to not look like an idiot?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu May 05, 2011 11:34 am

Jarndyce wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I am guessing that they wont expect too much of me since I'm a 1L


Wrong. You got picked and, in this economy, most people didn't. That is a bad attitude to have.

But you are right in the sense that it won't be overwhelming, at least not at first. I had a 10 week internship last summer (as a 1L in a 150-250 lawyer firm). On the first day of actual work (after two training days), I got two assignments. The first assignment was a simple update of a partner's seminar that he was presenting in the middle of the summer, and I had about a week and a half to do it. Although the update really just involved shepherdizing the cases and getting the seminar up to par, I wrote a memorandum to go with it explaining each change I made and how the law could potentially change due to a pending House bill. Overkill you might say? Maybe- but the same partner became a mentor to me, virtually guaranteeing me a job in his practice group and funneling work to me throughout the summer.

The second task I got assigned was some memorandum that I don't really remember. And that is the bulk of your work- write a memo on this weird, nuanced question of law (that likely doesn't have an answer) and get it to me in a week. The key to this is always come up with an answer, even if it involves piecing together cases and making "stretches." The reason you are assigned this is because the lawyer has never come across the issue, which means there is a good chance that there is no definite answer. But if you can provide insight and go beyond the "the law is unclear" answer to "the law is unclear, but based on case law, it is probably X," you are making yourself valuable.

Another tip that I have is always turn stuff in early if you can -- develop that reputation of being super-punctual. It is just a good reputation to have. Plus, you will every now and then get a partner who says they want an answer Thursday, then asks you where you are at on Tuesday- if you can have something to show, it is brownie points.


Op Here-

Thanks a lot! this seems very helpful. It also sounds just like our legal writing class :) except that we dont have ten weeks to write one little memo. Also the not expecting much was just a self-deprecating 1L joke, not a description of how I plan to perform.

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Re: 1L SA- what do I do to not look like an idiot?

Postby swc65 » Thu May 05, 2011 12:25 pm

Is that really what working in a biglaw firm is like for the summer and first few years? Just being given a topic to research and write about?

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Re: 1L SA- what do I do to not look like an idiot?

Postby Jarndyce » Thu May 05, 2011 6:03 pm

I worked last summer and part-time throughout the school year, and my experiences were considerably different. Over summer, 90% of the stuff was research memorandums and stuff like that. I did one summary judgment motion, drafted some other minor stuff, set in on a few depositions, and did a couple of long-term projects that, in retrospect, was probably just busy work. Most of the projects took about a week.

During the actual school year, things ramped up a lot more quickly. The same memos that I had a week to work on over summer were now due in a day or two. I also got treated a lot more like an associate, getting involved in higher level stuff and actually contributing. Overall, though, I think that the first few years is a lot of research and low-level drafting, based on what I saw.

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Re: 1L SA- what do I do to not look like an idiot?

Postby Jarndyce » Thu May 05, 2011 6:04 pm

I just misread my initial post and realized that it was not entirely clear. I got many more projects throughout the summer -- in total, about 40 or 50. Usually, I had 3 or 4 ongoing at any given time. What I intended to say was that most of them were research memos and stuff like that. It kind of gets overwhelming at times, and that is another reason to be punctual -- if you get stuff turned in early, that is one less thing to worry about.

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Re: 1L SA- what do I do to not look like an idiot?

Postby RVP11 » Thu May 05, 2011 7:25 pm

Jarndyce wrote:I got many more projects throughout the summer -- in total, about 40 or 50. Usually, I had 3 or 4 ongoing at any given time.

:shock: :!:

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Re: 1L SA- what do I do to not look like an idiot?

Postby RVP11 » Thu May 05, 2011 7:25 pm

swc65 wrote:Is that really what working in a biglaw firm is like for the summer and first few years? Just being given a topic to research and write about?


No you also get to do doc review.

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Re: 1L SA- what do I do to not look like an idiot?

Postby DoubleChecks » Thu May 05, 2011 7:35 pm

RVP11 wrote:
Jarndyce wrote:I got many more projects throughout the summer -- in total, about 40 or 50. Usually, I had 3 or 4 ongoing at any given time.

:shock: :!:


yeah, wait are you saying you had essentially 3-4 memos to write (~1 week due date) at a time the whole SA?

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Re: 1L SA- what do I do to not look like an idiot?

Postby Georgiana » Thu May 05, 2011 7:36 pm

RVP11 wrote:
Jarndyce wrote:I got many more projects throughout the summer -- in total, about 40 or 50. Usually, I had 3 or 4 ongoing at any given time.

:shock: :!:

Yeaaaa... we had more like 10-15 for the 10 week summer, pretty low key, more about getting to know your future coworkers and making sure we were competent than getting that much work product.

My advice: Do a variety of things with a bunch of different people to figure out what you like best. Ask questions if you aren't sure what someone is looking for or what the actual question is. And be social!

Good luck!

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Re: 1L SA- what do I do to not look like an idiot?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu May 05, 2011 9:30 pm

Georgiana wrote:
RVP11 wrote:
Jarndyce wrote:I got many more projects throughout the summer -- in total, about 40 or 50. Usually, I had 3 or 4 ongoing at any given time.

:shock: :!:

Yeaaaa... we had more like 10-15 for the 10 week summer, pretty low key, more about getting to know your future coworkers and making sure we were competent than getting that much work product.

My advice: Do a variety of things with a bunch of different people to figure out what you like best. Ask questions if you aren't sure what someone is looking for or what the actual question is. And be social!

Good luck!



yeah 40-50 had me pretty freaked out :) Maybe some firms do fewer big assignments and others do more small assignments?

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Re: 1L SA- what do I do to not look like an idiot?

Postby Jarndyce » Thu May 05, 2011 10:43 pm

I probably did about 40 substantive projects, but many were small projects or follow up projects that didn't really involve a lot of stuff. But I made it a goal to take on all the work I could handle over summer, and I think it paid off in a big way.

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Re: 1L SA- what do I do to not look like an idiot?

Postby 2010Candidate » Fri May 06, 2011 12:15 am

There are still biglaw firms still hiring 1L's at this point?

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Re: 1L SA- what do I do to not look like an idiot?

Postby Kohinoor » Fri May 06, 2011 12:27 am

Georgiana wrote:
RVP11 wrote:
Jarndyce wrote:I got many more projects throughout the summer -- in total, about 40 or 50. Usually, I had 3 or 4 ongoing at any given time.

:shock: :!:

Yeaaaa... we had more like 10-15 for the 10 week summer, pretty low key, more about getting to know your future coworkers and making sure we were competent than getting that much work product.

My advice: Do a variety of things with a bunch of different people to figure out what you like best. Ask questions if you aren't sure what someone is looking for or what the actual question is. And be social!

Good luck!

40-50 certainly sounds unusual. My friend summered at a V10 and found that completing 2 assignments a week made him the gunner of the pack.

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Re: 1L SA- what do I do to not look like an idiot?

Postby swc65 » Fri May 06, 2011 11:10 am

2010Candidate wrote:There are still biglaw firms still hiring 1L's at this point?



right? next question: where can I find these mystical firms?

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Re: 1L SA- what do I do to not look like an idiot?

Postby MBeezy11 » Fri May 06, 2011 11:36 am

I worked at a V30 my 1L summer so for what its worth here are a few things I learned:

Don’t tell people you’re a 1L unless they ask. They tend to take 1Ls less seriously by default.

Also, ask questions when you are getting an assignment. Obviously ask about turn around time and whether they want a memo or oral response but also try to learn more about either the case or why they have given you the assignment. Often times partners/senior associates just assume you know things that you couldn’t possibly know about a case. Make sure you repeat back to them what they are asking you to do.

Its seems obvious but make sure you go to the assignment meeting with a pen and paper to write things down. When you are meeting about the final product bring three copies, so you can write things down on your copy in case edits are required or because a junior has been brought in for some reason.

If they ask for an oral presentation email and bring a written version anyway (its shouldn't be long but should summarize what you are going to say).

Don’t be intimated by the 2Ls and use them as a resource. By about the second week most of the summers will know you’re a 1L and will not view you as competition. So they will be much more willing to help you then another 2L especially if the class is small.

You have to build a strong relationship with the people in recruiting. They can get you in front of the right people to hopefully make sure you get an offer to come back and more importantly they can protect you if they like you. They can try to make sure you don’t get assignments from the weird/angry/crazy associate in a practice group. Plus, they will be able to get you on partner lunches and events that they just can’t do for 2Ls because it might smack of favoritism.

Get 1 drink at events to show you fit in but babysit it the entire night. You don’t want to be the drunken immature 1L.

Don't use your Lexis and Westlaw free passwords at the same time.

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Re: 1L SA- what do I do to not look like an idiot?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri May 06, 2011 12:39 pm

MBeezy11 wrote:I worked at a V30 my 1L summer so for what its worth here are a few things I learned:

Don’t tell people you’re a 1L unless they ask. They tend to take 1Ls less seriously by default.

Also, ask questions when you are getting an assignment. Obviously ask about turn around time and whether they want a memo or oral response but also try to learn more about either the case or why they have given you the assignment. Often times partners/senior associates just assume you know things that you couldn’t possibly know about a case. Make sure you repeat back to them what they are asking you to do.

Its seems obvious but make sure you go to the assignment meeting with a pen and paper to write things down. When you are meeting about the final product bring three copies, so you can write things down on your copy in case edits are required or because a junior has been brought in for some reason.

If they ask for an oral presentation email and bring a written version anyway (its shouldn't be long but should summarize what you are going to say).

Don’t be intimated by the 2Ls and use them as a resource. By about the second week most of the summers will know you’re a 1L and will not view you as competition. So they will be much more willing to help you then another 2L especially if the class is small.

You have to build a strong relationship with the people in recruiting. They can get you in front of the right people to hopefully make sure you get an offer to come back and more importantly they can protect you if they like you. They can try to make sure you don’t get assignments from the weird/angry/crazy associate in a practice group. Plus, they will be able to get you on partner lunches and events that they just can’t do for 2Ls because it might smack of favoritism.

Get 1 drink at events to show you fit in but babysit it the entire night. You don’t want to be the drunken immature 1L.

Don't use your Lexis and Westlaw free passwords at the same time.


sounds like great advice. But, I have no idea what the bolded means.

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Re: 1L SA- what do I do to not look like an idiot?

Postby DoubleChecks » Fri May 06, 2011 1:15 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
MBeezy11 wrote:I worked at a V30 my 1L summer so for what its worth here are a few things I learned:

Don’t tell people you’re a 1L unless they ask. They tend to take 1Ls less seriously by default.

Also, ask questions when you are getting an assignment. Obviously ask about turn around time and whether they want a memo or oral response but also try to learn more about either the case or why they have given you the assignment. Often times partners/senior associates just assume you know things that you couldn’t possibly know about a case. Make sure you repeat back to them what they are asking you to do.

Its seems obvious but make sure you go to the assignment meeting with a pen and paper to write things down. When you are meeting about the final product bring three copies, so you can write things down on your copy in case edits are required or because a junior has been brought in for some reason.

If they ask for an oral presentation email and bring a written version anyway (its shouldn't be long but should summarize what you are going to say).

Don’t be intimated by the 2Ls and use them as a resource. By about the second week most of the summers will know you’re a 1L and will not view you as competition. So they will be much more willing to help you then another 2L especially if the class is small.

You have to build a strong relationship with the people in recruiting. They can get you in front of the right people to hopefully make sure you get an offer to come back and more importantly they can protect you if they like you. They can try to make sure you don’t get assignments from the weird/angry/crazy associate in a practice group. Plus, they will be able to get you on partner lunches and events that they just can’t do for 2Ls because it might smack of favoritism.

Get 1 drink at events to show you fit in but babysit it the entire night. You don’t want to be the drunken immature 1L.

Don't use your Lexis and Westlaw free passwords at the same time.


sounds like great advice. But, I have no idea what the bolded means.


whew so i wasnt the only one lol

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Re: 1L SA- what do I do to not look like an idiot?

Postby FantasticMrFox » Fri May 06, 2011 1:34 pm

DoubleChecks wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
MBeezy11 wrote:I worked at a V30 my 1L summer so for what its worth here are a few things I learned:

Don’t tell people you’re a 1L unless they ask. They tend to take 1Ls less seriously by default.

Also, ask questions when you are getting an assignment. Obviously ask about turn around time and whether they want a memo or oral response but also try to learn more about either the case or why they have given you the assignment. Often times partners/senior associates just assume you know things that you couldn’t possibly know about a case. Make sure you repeat back to them what they are asking you to do.

Its seems obvious but make sure you go to the assignment meeting with a pen and paper to write things down. When you are meeting about the final product bring three copies, so you can write things down on your copy in case edits are required or because a junior has been brought in for some reason.

If they ask for an oral presentation email and bring a written version anyway (its shouldn't be long but should summarize what you are going to say).

Don’t be intimated by the 2Ls and use them as a resource. By about the second week most of the summers will know you’re a 1L and will not view you as competition. So they will be much more willing to help you then another 2L especially if the class is small.

You have to build a strong relationship with the people in recruiting. They can get you in front of the right people to hopefully make sure you get an offer to come back and more importantly they can protect you if they like you. They can try to make sure you don’t get assignments from the weird/angry/crazy associate in a practice group. Plus, they will be able to get you on partner lunches and events that they just can’t do for 2Ls because it might smack of favoritism.

Get 1 drink at events to show you fit in but babysit it the entire night. You don’t want to be the drunken immature 1L.

Don't use your Lexis and Westlaw free passwords at the same time.


sounds like great advice. But, I have no idea what the bolded means.


whew so i wasnt the only one lol

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Re: 1L SA- what do I do to not look like an idiot?

Postby Lawlcat » Fri May 06, 2011 6:35 pm

MBeezy11 wrote:I worked at a V30 my 1L summer so for what its worth here are a few things I learned:

Don’t tell people you’re a 1L unless they ask. They tend to take 1Ls less seriously by default.

Also, ask questions when you are getting an assignment. Obviously ask about turn around time and whether they want a memo or oral response but also try to learn more about either the case or why they have given you the assignment. Often times partners/senior associates just assume you know things that you couldn’t possibly know about a case. Make sure you repeat back to them what they are asking you to do.

Its seems obvious but make sure you go to the assignment meeting with a pen and paper to write things down. When you are meeting about the final product bring three copies, so you can write things down on your copy in case edits are required or because a junior has been brought in for some reason.

If they ask for an oral presentation email and bring a written version anyway (its shouldn't be long but should summarize what you are going to say).

Don’t be intimated by the 2Ls and use them as a resource. By about the second week most of the summers will know you’re a 1L and will not view you as competition. So they will be much more willing to help you then another 2L especially if the class is small.

You have to build a strong relationship with the people in recruiting. They can get you in front of the right people to hopefully make sure you get an offer to come back and more importantly they can protect you if they like you. They can try to make sure you don’t get assignments from the weird/angry/crazy associate in a practice group. Plus, they will be able to get you on partner lunches and events that they just can’t do for 2Ls because it might smack of favoritism.

Get 1 drink at events to show you fit in but babysit it the entire night. You don’t want to be the drunken immature 1L.

Don't use your Lexis and Westlaw free passwords at the same time.




Ugghh. I am not looking forward to the cutthroat/backstabbing/other-knife-metaphor part of the summer.

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Re: 1L SA- what do I do to not look like an idiot?

Postby RVP11 » Sat May 07, 2011 6:25 am

Lawlcat wrote:Ugghh. I am not looking forward to the cutthroat/backstabbing/other-knife-metaphor part of the summer.


This really shouldn't and won't be part of your summer unless you're going to a firm whose offer rate was nowhere close to 100%. These days it is generally not a zero sum game and the vast majority of firms probably could (and would like to) hire all of their SAs permanently, so you have nothing to gain by hurting your fellow SAs.

Also, you're only going to look better if you are helpful to fellow SAs. Big law firm practice is a team sport.

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Re: 1L SA- what do I do to not look like an idiot?

Postby MBeezy11 » Sun May 08, 2011 2:31 pm

RVP11 wrote:
Lawlcat wrote:Ugghh. I am not looking forward to the cutthroat/backstabbing/other-knife-metaphor part of the summer.


This really shouldn't and won't be part of your summer unless you're going to a firm whose offer rate was nowhere close to 100%. These days it is generally not a zero sum game and the vast majority of firms probably could (and would like to) hire all of their SAs permanently, so you have nothing to gain by hurting your fellow SAs.

Also, you're only going to look better if you are helpful to fellow SAs. Big law firm practice is a team sport.


I didn't mean to suggest that SAs are somehow ultra competitive but I did summer during the Great Slaughter when getting no offered was a real possibility. No one did anything that could even be categorized as backstabbing but you did have people taking on too many assignments because assignments were in high demand. But stuff like that happens every summer at every firm. Don't let the lunches and social events distract you from the fact that you are on a 10-13 week job interview.

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Re: 1L SA- what do I do to not look like an idiot?

Postby RVP11 » Sun May 08, 2011 7:13 pm

MBeezy11 wrote:distract you from the fact that you are on a 10-13 week job interview.


All the more reason to be a team player and not look like a competitive douche.

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dood
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Re: 1L SA- what do I do to not look like an idiot?

Postby dood » Sun May 08, 2011 7:29 pm

Anonymous User wrote:WTF do I do to not look like an idiot?


do this:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WWlHxkMZ ... re=related

and always wear a suit, duh
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TT_vf5ioXXk

and more LOLs:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gbAgmD3M ... re=related




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