What are the top 5 tips you would give an incoming SA?

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swfangirl
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What are the top 5 tips you would give an incoming SA?

Postby swfangirl » Thu May 12, 2011 11:23 pm

I found this thread to be useful: viewtopic.php?f=3&t=155099, so I wanted to make one for incoming summer associates of all levels: 0L, 1L, and 2L. This thread will also help answer the questions posted in multiple threads such as viewtopic.php?f=23&t=155418, and viewtopic.php?f=23&t=155178.

So what are the top 5 tips you would give an incoming summer associate?

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Verity
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Re: What are the top 5 tips you would give an incoming SA?

Postby Verity » Thu May 12, 2011 11:24 pm

Also interested. Tag.

BlueDiamond
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Re: What are the top 5 tips you would give an incoming SA?

Postby BlueDiamond » Thu May 12, 2011 11:35 pm

1. work hard and show effort
2. ask questions
3. free lunches go to the people who will have a say in hiring you
4. 1 beer
5. PROFITTT

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holdencaulfield
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Re: What are the top 5 tips you would give an incoming SA?

Postby holdencaulfield » Fri May 13, 2011 12:35 am

If any lawyer gives you criticism or tells you what's wrong with your work, just say "ok, thank you. I'll be sure to correct that in the future."

Don't ever respond with "but..." or "well I thought..."

NotMyRealName09
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Re: What are the top 5 tips you would give an incoming SA?

Postby NotMyRealName09 » Fri May 13, 2011 3:45 pm

1. Don't be weird.
2. Drink when lawyers are drinking, but never get belligerent. Don't not drink - see No. 1.
3. Stay late - be seen staying late, even if you don't have to.
4. Communicate project status with the assigning attorney on a regular basis - NEVER be in the situation where someone is asking where an assignment is.
5. Be eager, volunteer for everything, and be pro-active about getting exposure to as much real legal work as you can.

Ellie80
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Re: What are the top 5 tips you would give an incoming SA?

Postby Ellie80 » Fri May 13, 2011 3:50 pm

Great advice. This thread touches upon mistakes I have made in the past. Advice is also applicable to all work situations, and not only to SA. Thank you!

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Veyron
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Re: What are the top 5 tips you would give an incoming SA?

Postby Veyron » Fri May 13, 2011 3:51 pm

NotMyRealName09 wrote:1. Don't be weird.
2. Drink when lawyers are drinking, but never get belligerent. Don't not drink - see No. 1.
3. Stay late - be seen staying late, even if you don't have to.
4. Communicate project status with the assigning attorney on a regular basis - NEVER be in the situation where someone is asking where an assignment is.
5. Be eager, volunteer for everything, and be pro-active about getting exposure to as much real legal work as you can.


This thread is relevant to my interests.

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maxpayne
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Re: What are the top 5 tips you would give an incoming SA?

Postby maxpayne » Fri May 13, 2011 4:01 pm

NotMyRealName09 wrote:1. Don't be weird.
2. Drink when lawyers are drinking, but never get belligerent. Don't not drink - see No. 1.
3. Stay late - be seen staying late, even if you don't have to.
4. Communicate project status with the assigning attorney on a regular basis - NEVER be in the situation where someone is asking where an assignment is.
5. Be eager, volunteer for everything, and be pro-active about getting exposure to as much real legal work as you can.


How do you balance the arriving early and leaving late with the perceived brown noser effect?

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Re: What are the top 5 tips you would give an incoming SA?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri May 13, 2011 9:43 pm

I'm a first-year associate, so it's my first time on the other side of the table. I may change my opinion by summer's end, but here's my 5:

1. Hierarchy of communication: face-to-face > phone > e-mail > text. Talk to people in person whenever possible - it builds the best connections and helps people remember you.

2. Keep people updated on progress and availability. We know the summer program is more relaxed and we don't expect you to work like us, but we're still billing hours and keeping the clients happy. We need to know what's up with you.

3. Ask questions, and be aware who you can ask what questions. Junior associates can handle small questions and "I don't want to look dumb" questions. Senior associates and partners can and usually like to handle more substantive questions.

4. Double-check spelling and grammar on everything - memos, briefs, e-mails. Double-check who you are sending an e-mail to before sending.

5. You summers are taking work that would normally go to us. Don't rub it in. Or else we'll find a way to get you on a 50 state survey assignment.

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Re: What are the top 5 tips you would give an incoming SA?

Postby Renzo » Fri May 13, 2011 10:12 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I
5. You summers are taking work that would normally go to us. Don't rub it in. Or else we'll find a way to get you on a 50 state survey assignment.


This is one of my biggest concerns for the coming summer, and I'd appreciate any real associates input.

I like to work; I'm one of those weird people that would rather have more work than getting an afternoon off. If it were up to me, I'd probably work like a real associate over the summer. BUT, I also realize that I'm stealing hours from someone who probably needs them. Any tips for getting plenty (even an overabundance) of work, without making enemies of the junior associates or looking like a showoff/suckup?

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Re: What are the top 5 tips you would give an incoming SA?

Postby Leira7905 » Fri May 13, 2011 10:27 pm

0L Paralegal chiming in. One of the biggest mistakes I've seen law students make in their SA/clerking gigs is trying to hide mistakes. If you mess up, even just a little, make sure you tell someone about it. In the legal field a little "boo-boo" can turn into a BIG problem if it's not identified and rectified immediately. In other words, if you know you've made an error, be willing to fall on your sword, point it out, and be ready to figure out a way to fix it.

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Re: What are the top 5 tips you would give an incoming SA?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat May 14, 2011 12:38 am

Renzo wrote:I like to work; I'm one of those weird people that would rather have more work than getting an afternoon off. If it were up to me, I'd probably work like a real associate over the summer. BUT, I also realize that I'm stealing hours from someone who probably needs them. Any tips for getting plenty (even an overabundance) of work, without making enemies of the junior associates or looking like a showoff/suckup?


A couple suggestions:

Non-billable work. Frankly, us associates hate it because it's just as much time and pressure without any billable credit. Take on some non-billable work. You'll probably work closely with partners, learn a lot of substantive law, and not rob anyone of any billables.

Ask to be part of a team, like for a closing. Closings are hectic and there's always a lot to do. It's one of those times where everyone wishes we had more hands on deck. You can be those hands and experience a dose of a real associate's life. The litigation equivalent is probably when a big brief or motion is due... there is always tons of research that could be done.

Pro bono work. There's always pro bono matters available that will allow you to get a lot of experience, close contact with clients, and is more rewarding (most of the time).

Lastly, just relate to us juniors and commiserate with us. Sometimes the work is cool, sometimes its a slog. That's just what firm life is. Don't go rambling on and on about how you want "meaningful" work with lots of "responsibility" and that some assignments are just beneath you. That's just irritating.

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Re: What are the top 5 tips you would give an incoming SA?

Postby Sup Kid » Sat May 14, 2011 12:47 am

Anonymous User wrote:Ask to be part of a team, like for a closing. Closings are hectic and there's always a lot to do. It's one of those times where everyone wishes we had more hands on deck. You can be those hands and experience a dose of a real associate's life. The litigation equivalent is probably when a big brief or motion is due... there is always tons of research that could be done.

I was under the impression that at most firms, SAs were just assigned projects by a senior associate/partner, or by an assigning partner. How feasible is it to actually request to do a specific assignment, and how would you suggest we go about asking for something if it is feasible?

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Re: What are the top 5 tips you would give an incoming SA?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat May 14, 2011 1:28 am

Sup Kid wrote:I was under the impression that at most firms, SAs were just assigned projects by a senior associate/partner, or by an assigning partner. How feasible is it to actually request to do a specific assignment, and how would you suggest we go about asking for something if it is feasible?


The method of delegating assignments varies by firm, but you can always go outside the system. Talk to partners directly, ask them what they do, and ask them if they could bring you aboard. Trust me, if a partner likes you, he or she can make it happen. It's basically what we do as associates to pick up work - pound the pavement, make connections, and express interest in the work.

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Re: What are the top 5 tips you would give an incoming SA?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat May 14, 2011 1:39 am

1) This is for 1L SAs, but whether you want to go back to the firm or not, make sure you get at least one recommender. (Also, obvi an offer and a finished work product you can use as a writing sample.)

2) Remember that your law school is no longer relevant once you join your summer class. (Hint: if someone else is from a shittier school, they have better grades, so stfu. The flip side being if someone is from a way better school and had crappy grades, he/she can probably schmooze like hell, because that's how you stand out below median.)

3) Do not shit where you eat, esp. as a summer. If you do, you best be able to keep your shit on the DL. (Tangent: these are the people you will be spending 80 hours a week with, for at least a few years. Keep that in mind.)

(Related) If you have to ask the question "is this appropriate?", don't do it. That goes for behavior (read: alcohol-induced debauchery), attire, jokes/comments, etc. If you must, run it by your office-mate first. Just because you see associates/partners do/wear things does not necessarily make it OK for your to mimic. They have jobs. You do not. Your presence loses money for the firm in the short-term. (Girls - invest in quality black pumps and an a bag. You're making money this summer. Splurge on things that will make you look like an adult. This does not include ANY nylon totebags. Ugh. It could include regular mani/pedis and hair maintenance. I shouldn't have to say these things, but considering how some people showed up to OCI, it's better to err on the side of caution.)

4) Just remember that New York in July is disgusting (which is why all sane people are in the Hamptons, or at least Fire Island). Be prepared. Same goes for DC. Muggy as balls. Certain-dri the living hell out of yourself in advance if you can. Don't cake on the make-up if you're taking the subway. Keep extra clothes in the office, just in case.

5) Get feedback. Early. So you can actually get better over the summer in case you discover you can't write for shit.

BONUS ADVICE: know how to smile. dazzle. don't be a creeper.

The Insider
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Re: What are the top 5 tips you would give an incoming SA?

Postby The Insider » Sat May 14, 2011 2:39 am

Is it true that if you don't drink or are T-Total they will likely discriminate against you or consider letting you go?

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Re: What are the top 5 tips you would give an incoming SA?

Postby HBK » Sat May 14, 2011 3:40 am

The Insider wrote:Is it true that if you don't drink or are T-Total they will likely discriminate against you or consider letting you go?


A boss at my old job (nonlegal) always used to say "Can't trust a person who doesn't drink."

I think the perception is that you either lack self control or have a stick up your ass and don't want to have fun with everyone else.

I don't know about law, but that's been my experience in the corporate world.

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Re: What are the top 5 tips you would give an incoming SA?

Postby The Insider » Sat May 14, 2011 4:20 am

HBK wrote:
The Insider wrote:Is it true that if you don't drink or are T-Total they will likely discriminate against you or consider letting you go?


A boss at my old job (nonlegal) always used to say "Can't trust a person who doesn't drink."

I think the perception is that you either lack self control or have a stick up your ass and don't want to have fun with everyone else.

I don't know about law, but that's been my experience in the corporate world.


Wow, that is a pretty caustic statement, one lacks self control or has a stick up his/her ass? On the contrary I think. It is a totally personal decision, one that should not have any bearing on your ability to perform. I think its indisputable that alcohol use in the long-term can cause brain damage, but if one wants to take it further and refrain from touching it indefinitely, then how would that pose an unreasonable risk to trust? It seems to me that political correctness forgot to include T-Totalers in its objective to avoid forms of expression or action that can exclude, marginalize, or insult certain groups of people.

HBK
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Re: What are the top 5 tips you would give an incoming SA?

Postby HBK » Sat May 14, 2011 5:44 am

The Insider wrote:
HBK wrote:
The Insider wrote:Is it true that if you don't drink or are T-Total they will likely discriminate against you or consider letting you go?


A boss at my old job (nonlegal) always used to say "Can't trust a person who doesn't drink."

I think the perception is that you either lack self control or have a stick up your ass and don't want to have fun with everyone else.

I don't know about law, but that's been my experience in the corporate world.


Wow, that is a pretty caustic statement, one lacks self control or has a stick up his/her ass? On the contrary I think. It is a totally personal decision, one that should not have any bearing on your ability to perform. I think its indisputable that alcohol use in the long-term can cause brain damage, but if one wants to take it further and refrain from touching it indefinitely, then how would that pose an unreasonable risk to trust? It seems to me that political correctness forgot to include T-Totalers in its objective to avoid forms of expression or action that can exclude, marginalize, or insult certain groups of people.


Some people have stupid beliefs and base character assessments on those beliefs. Whether or not you agree with them is not the point. You can't tell someone how they should react to your nondrinking anymore than someone can tell you to drink. Some people assess your likeability based on quick observations, the fact that a person wears bowties instead of neckties, doesn't have a firm handshake, or won't look a person in the eye when they meet them, are all things people consider. Following your line of reasoning, those are forms of expression or action which cause certain groups to be marginalized or excluded. Like choosing what to wear, you are making a personal decision not to drink. That personal decision will be interpreted by people.

People also base their character assessments on similarities with the person being assessed. I know one guy who got a job largely because when he went in to interview with a company the interviewer participated in the same activities (triathlons). They spent the whole time talking about bikes, bike trails, etc. People like to be around people with similar interests. If a person likes to drink, they may prefer the company of fellow drinkers over nondrinkers. Similarly, nondrinkers may prefer to spend time with other nondrinkers.

My initial post was an attempt to explain the premise behind the anti-teetotaler sentiment. There are things about you that will rub someone the wrong way. If you don't want to drink, that's entirely your decision, and it's a very personal one. If you don't want to drink, you shouldn't feel compelled to just to satisfy people- there's no reason to change yourself to try to fit someone else's mold. Not everyone's going to like you your entire life. I'd bet that when you tell people that you don't drink, about 20% of people will ask themselves "What's wrong with that guy/girl?" (this bet is invalid in Utah).

As far as it being "indisputable" that long term alcohol use damages the brain, that's a misleading statement. The studies have shown that long term alcohol abuse can damage the brain, but I have not seen anything that says casual or social (non-binge drinking and not drinking heavily daily) can damage the brain. If you have any conclusive studies you would like to cite, I would be more than happy to retract my statement.

There are a couple of other teetotalers on this site who have some very good tricks and tips to fit in better if the company you work has a drinking culture. If I recall, they included drinking club soda with a lime in it, offering to be the DD, etc. There are threads on this. Use the search tool and good luck.

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Re: What are the top 5 tips you would give an incoming SA?

Postby Kohinoor » Sat May 14, 2011 6:22 am

The Insider wrote:
HBK wrote:
The Insider wrote:Is it true that if you don't drink or are T-Total they will likely discriminate against you or consider letting you go?


A boss at my old job (nonlegal) always used to say "Can't trust a person who doesn't drink."

I think the perception is that you either lack self control or have a stick up your ass and don't want to have fun with everyone else.

I don't know about law, but that's been my experience in the corporate world.


Wow, that is a pretty caustic statement, one lacks self control or has a stick up his/her ass? On the contrary I think. It is a totally personal decision, one that should not have any bearing on your ability to perform. I think its indisputable that alcohol use in the long-term can cause brain damage, but if one wants to take it further and refrain from touching it indefinitely, then how would that pose an unreasonable risk to trust? It seems to me that political correctness forgot to include T-Totalers in its objective to avoid forms of expression or action that can exclude, marginalize, or insult certain groups of people.

You asked a question, he answered.

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Re: What are the top 5 tips you would give an incoming SA?

Postby JG Hall » Sat May 14, 2011 11:46 am

The Insider wrote:
HBK wrote:
The Insider wrote:Is it true that if you don't drink or are T-Total they will likely discriminate against you or consider letting you go?


A boss at my old job (nonlegal) always used to say "Can't trust a person who doesn't drink."

I think the perception is that you either lack self control or have a stick up your ass and don't want to have fun with everyone else.

I don't know about law, but that's been my experience in the corporate world.


Wow, that is a pretty caustic statement, one lacks self control or has a stick up his/her ass? On the contrary I think. It is a totally personal decision, one that should not have any bearing on your ability to perform. I think its indisputable that alcohol use in the long-term can cause brain damage, but if one wants to take it further and refrain from touching it indefinitely, then how would that pose an unreasonable risk to trust? It seems to me that political correctness forgot to include T-Totalers in its objective to avoid forms of expression or action that can exclude, marginalize, or insult certain groups of people.

^ why people don't like people who don't drink

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Re: What are the top 5 tips you would give an incoming SA?

Postby shoeshine » Sat May 14, 2011 11:52 am

The Insider wrote:
HBK wrote:
The Insider wrote:Is it true that if you don't drink or are T-Total they will likely discriminate against you or consider letting you go?


A boss at my old job (nonlegal) always used to say "Can't trust a person who doesn't drink."

I think the perception is that you either lack self control or have a stick up your ass and don't want to have fun with everyone else.

I don't know about law, but that's been my experience in the corporate world.


Wow, that is a pretty caustic statement, one lacks self control or has a stick up his/her ass? On the contrary I think. It is a totally personal decision, one that should not have any bearing on your ability to perform. I think its indisputable that alcohol use in the long-term can cause brain damage, but if one wants to take it further and refrain from touching it indefinitely, then how would that pose an unreasonable risk to trust? It seems to me that political correctness forgot to include T-Totalers in its objective to avoid forms of expression or action that can exclude, marginalize, or insult certain groups of people.


You must be real fun at parties.

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Re: What are the top 5 tips you would give an incoming SA?

Postby Julio_El_Chavo » Sat May 14, 2011 12:17 pm

NotMyRealName09 wrote:1. Don't be weird.
2. Drink when lawyers are drinking, but never get belligerent. Don't not drink - see No. 1.
3. Stay late - be seen staying late, even if you don't have to.
4. Communicate project status with the assigning attorney on a regular basis - NEVER be in the situation where someone is asking where an assignment is.
5. Be eager, volunteer for everything, and be pro-active about getting exposure to as much real legal work as you can.


It sounds so much like trying to get into a frat. :lol:

The Insider
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Re: What are the top 5 tips you would give an incoming SA?

Postby The Insider » Sat May 14, 2011 1:21 pm

JG Hall wrote:
The Insider wrote:
HBK wrote:
The Insider wrote:Is it true that if you don't drink or are T-Total they will likely discriminate against you or consider letting you go?


A boss at my old job (nonlegal) always used to say "Can't trust a person who doesn't drink."

I think the perception is that you either lack self control or have a stick up your ass and don't want to have fun with everyone else.

I don't know about law, but that's been my experience in the corporate world.


Wow, that is a pretty caustic statement, one lacks self control or has a stick up his/her ass? On the contrary I think. It is a totally personal decision, one that should not have any bearing on your ability to perform. I think its indisputable that alcohol use in the long-term can cause brain damage, but if one wants to take it further and refrain from touching it indefinitely, then how would that pose an unreasonable risk to trust? It seems to me that political correctness forgot to include T-Totalers in its objective to avoid forms of expression or action that can exclude, marginalize, or insult certain groups of people.

^ why people don't like people who don't drink


I don't have anything against anyone who drinks; in fact, 90% of my friends do. It's just a personal decision and like he said, there is nothing wrong with it if you refrain from doing so. And I may be playing Devil's Advocate, so to assume that I don't drink is not relevant as I might be bringing up this issue for the sake of argument. What I do find perplexing is how non-drinkers pose an unreasonable risk to trust as the person's former boss stated. That is just asinine and anecdotal; is there any evidence or research to support this statement? Plus, if one is religious (i.e. Mormon or Muslim), wouldn't hiring firms completely take that into consideration and refrain from judgment?
Last edited by The Insider on Sat May 14, 2011 1:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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dood
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Re: What are the top 5 tips you would give an incoming SA?

Postby dood » Sat May 14, 2011 1:32 pm

The Insider wrote:
HBK wrote:
The Insider wrote:Is it true that if you don't drink or are T-Total they will likely discriminate against you or consider letting you go?


A boss at my old job (nonlegal) always used to say "Can't trust a person who doesn't drink."

I think the perception is that you either lack self control or have a stick up your ass and don't want to have fun with everyone else.

I don't know about law, but that's been my experience in the corporate world.


Wow, that is a pretty caustic statement, one lacks self control or has a stick up his/her ass? On the contrary I think. It is a totally personal decision, one that should not have any bearing on your ability to perform. I think its indisputable that alcohol use in the long-term can cause brain damage, but if one wants to take it further and refrain from touching it indefinitely, then how would that pose an unreasonable risk to trust? It seems to me that political correctness forgot to include T-Totalers in its objective to avoid forms of expression or action that can exclude, marginalize, or insult certain groups of people.


stfu, u non drinking analer




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