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

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Newberry642
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Re: What are the top 5 tips you would give an incoming SA?

Postby Newberry642 » Mon May 23, 2011 3:34 pm

As a senior associate at a large law firm, I think that I could offer some advice on how to be successful in receiving an offer at the end of your summer associate position.

1) Always have a positive attitude. I can't tell you how many summers I've seen ruin their chance at receiving an offer by having a negative attitude. There was one summer recently where a very significant number of our summer associates did not receive an offer for this reason.
2) Never hesitate to work on pro bono matters. For one thing, many of the partners that you will be working for enrolled in law school because they wanted to effect great change in their communities. Furthermore, many of the people who need legal representation the most are those who will be the least able to afford it.
3) When you have work, do it at the office. Make it look like you actually enjoy being where you work instead of sneaking off to do it from home.
4) Don't make lawyer jokes, ever. They reflect poorly on the profession, and law firm partners rarely find them funny.
5) Say "thank you" when you receive an assignment. Say "please." Open the door for people. Be nice to the paralegals and the secretaries. You will come to rely on other people greatly during your time at a law firm.

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

Postby What the f.supp? » Mon May 23, 2011 7:32 pm

Holy cow I found this thread so interesting and at times entertaining that I had to start a TLS account and pose a couple related questions:

What is to be expected for a SA's first day of work (or the first couple of days, for that matter)? Is is mainly just introductions, meeting people, and learning the lay of the land? I am a 2L starting as a SA for a large DC firm next week and have no idea what to expect from a private firm (I worked in-house for an investment bank last summer.) Though I've been given a (lengthy) list of prospective social events, I know nothing other than to be there at 8:30am on Tuesday and ask for John Doe.

Seriously folks, thanks for all the great information!

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

Postby solotee » Mon May 23, 2011 8:45 pm

To PKSebban, or another associate working in biglaw:

Can you give an example of how your billable record looks for a given day (or half day)?

A little perspective will go a long way.

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

Postby Anonymous User » Mon May 23, 2011 9:14 pm

Smell good

Look great in a suit

Look great in everything

Drink and smoke constantly

Take 3 hour lunches

Disappear for weeks at a time

Have everything you say be profoundly groundbreaking

Have a great name

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

Postby PKSebben » Mon May 23, 2011 9:26 pm

solotee wrote:To PKSebban, or another associate working in biglaw:

Can you give an example of how your billable record looks for a given day (or half day)?

A little perspective will go a long way.


If you are talking about how billing narratives are structured, this is really something you should ask your firm as this is a client-by-client thing. Regarding how many hours I bill in a day, it's between 9-11. I don't dick off a lot at work, so I'm super efficient. I have a spreadsheet that I input each task I do and it calculates the .1's for me.

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

Postby PKSebben » Mon May 23, 2011 9:28 pm

Newberry642 wrote:As a senior associate at a large law firm, I think that I could offer some advice on how to be successful in receiving an offer at the end of your summer associate position.

1) Always have a positive attitude. I can't tell you how many summers I've seen ruin their chance at receiving an offer by having a negative attitude. There was one summer recently where a very significant number of our summer associates did not receive an offer for this reason.
2) Never hesitate to work on pro bono matters. For one thing, many of the partners that you will be working for enrolled in law school because they wanted to effect great change in their communities. Furthermore, many of the people who need legal representation the most are those who will be the least able to afford it.
3) When you have work, do it at the office. Make it look like you actually enjoy being where you work instead of sneaking off to do it from home.
4) Don't make lawyer jokes, ever. They reflect poorly on the profession, and law firm partners rarely find them funny.
5) Say "thank you" when you receive an assignment. Say "please." Open the door for people. Be nice to the paralegals and the secretaries. You will come to rely on other people greatly during your time at a law firm.


Solid advice, although I don't follow #3 as a "real" associate. billables be billables.

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

Postby Anonymous User » Mon May 23, 2011 9:54 pm

When in doubt, remain absolutely silent.

When asked about your past, give vague, open-ended answers.

Have a great name.

Look fantastic in a suit.

Look fantastic in casual wear.

Look fantastic in anything.

Sound good.

Smell good.

Kiss good.

Strut around with supreme confidence.

Be uncannily successful at your job.

Blow people away every time you say anything.

Take six-hour lunches.

Disappear for weeks at a time.

Lie to everyone about everything.

Drink and smoke constantly.


Your friend,

-DD

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

Postby dresden doll » Mon May 23, 2011 10:09 pm

Anonymous User wrote:When in doubt, remain absolutely silent.

When asked about your past, give vague, open-ended answers.

Have a great name.

Look fantastic in a suit.

Look fantastic in casual wear.

Look fantastic in anything.

Sound good.

Smell good.

Kiss good.

Strut around with supreme confidence.

Be uncannily successful at your job.

Blow people away every time you say anything.

Take six-hour lunches.

Disappear for weeks at a time.

Lie to everyone about everything.

Drink and smoke constantly.


Your friend,

-DD


I like how you signed off on an anonymous post.

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

Postby Anonymous User » Mon May 23, 2011 10:17 pm

I as a Mormon apologize for the preachy-weirdness of the poster who was lecturing everyone about drinking.

I also think it was really disgusting that some of our more fratty bros threw down on people who abstain for religious reasons from alcohol. I guess mods will only moderate when shots are taken against more popular religious groups/ races (What if someone said "Hey orthodox Jew, why not learn to not wear your Yamaka at work, or go work for some Jewish law firm in Brooklyn instead).

Anyway, to respond to anyone still worrying about the drinking issue, I went to a top-10 undergraduate b-school. They taught us if we didn't drink to never make some point about it in public as a challenge to others, or announce it-- you'll just look self-righteous and contemptuous. Instead, the best way to handle it is to order soda, and if someone asks, just let them know straight up in a non-awkward/creeper way.

Any sane biglaw partner/firm will understand and support that people have religious or other beliefs that may conflict with some aspect of work (vegans, Sabbath-observers, Hijab-wearers, religious holidays, recovering-alcoholics, etc).

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

Postby Anonymous User » Mon May 23, 2011 10:26 pm

Anonymous User wrote: Anyway, to respond to anyone still worrying about the drinking issue.


No one cares about the drinking issue.

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

Postby underdawg » Thu May 26, 2011 11:02 am

associates can tell who is brown-nosing and will talk shit about those who are. but they have no real say in hiring. partners are oblivious. brown-nose away. you know you want to.

and most of my time was billed to clients too, dunno wtf that one dude was talking about. your firm will charge as much of that time as they can get away with

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DavidYurman85
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Re: What are the top 5 tips you would give an incoming SA?

Postby DavidYurman85 » Thu May 26, 2011 12:29 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Lawquacious wrote::lol: at some of the professional advice in this thread... Not buying you must drink or play golf be successful as an SA or biglaw attorney. I'm not saying there aren't firms where the culture is truly this petty, but I'm fairly sure there are plenty that actually have a professional, rather than frat-house, atmosphere. God at least I hope so. :roll:


I was the last anony to actually give 5 tips.

This is absolutely true. I have no idea what firm would force you to drink or play golf but thank god it's not mine. I didn't drink at several summer events (in fact, I only went to about 2/3 of them as a 2L because I was either staying late in the office billing or just couldn't make it) nor did I play golf or do any other kind of ridiculous wannabe madmen bullshit - fyi, absolutely nobody cares about that shit if you can't do the work. I still got an offer and got to work on interesting deals with both partner and client exposure. Why? All that matters is whether or not you're going to bill enough to make partners money. You're generally too inexperienced for them to even judge you on ability or potential as a summer. They're not hiring you as a partner, they're hiring you as a junior associate and junior associates are profitable because they are billing machines as opposed to offering high level value-adding advice on deals. You bill a ton as a summer and you'll be golden as long as: 1) you aren't so socially messed up that people just can't stand being around you, and, 2) you're capable of doing boring, menial tasks while paying tons of attention to detail (hence my advice to follow up quickly, do things on time, ask enough questions to understand what your assignment is, keep people informed, and double or triple check everything you send to anybody).


i'm not a sa or an associate, but my g/f is one and i've been to several of these events with her and she usually says the above. it just seems that you need to do great work and have a collegial personality. at her vault firm, she has yet to go golfing or witness anyone ridiculed for not drinking. she isn't a huge drinker herself, if she's in the mood and there's alcohol present at an event, she'll drink - but it's no huge deal. she's noticed other summers or associates who don't drink and no one gives a shit about it. this could possibly be an extension of firm culture and i'm sure that the "pressure" to drink varies by firm. people don't drink for a variety of reasons: religion, health (one summer was training for a marathon, another had diabetes), don't like the taste of alcohol, etc...

when we've de-briefed about some of these summer events, one of the things that she has mentioned is that a lot of the summers are cliquish at the events. they only talk or hang around each other, which defeats the purpose of these outside-of-work gatherings. so have your drink, club soda, or whatever and talk to the associates that are there. it's a great way to build relationships. oh and the topics don't always have to be legal.

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

Postby Anonymous User » Sun May 29, 2011 11:12 pm

there are a shitload of summers in my class that are vegetarians. way more annoying than non-drinkers, because teetotaling doesn't deprive me of my rightful steakhouse. assholes.

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

Postby japes » Mon May 30, 2011 12:16 am

Anonymous User wrote:there are a shitload of summers in my class that are vegetarians. way more annoying than non-drinkers, because teetotaling doesn't deprive me of my rightful steakhouse. assholes.


as a vegetarian:

1) most restaurants have some sort of workable veggie options. veggos can go to steakhouses. they just have to get like a baked potato or something.
2) at least we're not vegans

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

Postby Anonymous User » Mon May 30, 2011 12:47 am

What the f.supp? wrote:Holy cow I found this thread so interesting and at times entertaining that I had to start a TLS account and pose a couple related questions:

What is to be expected for a SA's first day of work (or the first couple of days, for that matter)? Is is mainly just introductions, meeting people, and learning the lay of the land? I am a 2L starting as a SA for a large DC firm next week and have no idea what to expect from a private firm (I worked in-house for an investment bank last summer.) Though I've been given a (lengthy) list of prospective social events, I know nothing other than to be there at 8:30am on Tuesday and ask for John Doe.

Seriously folks, thanks for all the great information!


Learning the lay of the land is important, but I also got an assignment on my first day of work, and I've had to put in extra hours outside of the office every day. I'm not intentionally gunning either; I just don't have enough time during the day to do everything.

As for billables, it depends on the assignment. Some of my assignments are billed 100% to the client, and others are not.

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

Postby What the f.supp? » Mon May 30, 2011 1:05 pm

Hey thanks anony.

I'm sure this has already been addressed somewhere in the annals of TLS, but I start 2L SA tomorrow and I'm often grappling with the seeming paradox of on one hand being eager to work hard/stay late but on other, not coming off as a jackass brown nose/gunner. It seems to be a really fine line.

I really like the work I'll be doing, and since I just moved some 500 miles from MA to DC (and have like one friend here) I would be totally cool with working into the evenings. I would really appreciate any practical advice based on prior experience, preferably in larger private firms (only if there is a difference between small, large, gov't jobs in this regard). Oh what the hell, even if not based on prior experience, I am all ears to logical ideas.

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

Postby PKSebben » Mon May 30, 2011 1:29 pm

What the f.supp? wrote:Hey thanks anony.

I'm sure this has already been addressed somewhere in the annals of TLS, but I start 2L SA tomorrow and I'm often grappling with the seeming paradox of on one hand being eager to work hard/stay late but on other, not coming off as a jackass brown nose/gunner. It seems to be a really fine line.

I really like the work I'll be doing, and since I just moved some 500 miles from MA to DC (and have like one friend here) I would be totally cool with working into the evenings. I would really appreciate any practical advice based on prior experience, preferably in larger private firms (only if there is a difference between small, large, gov't jobs in this regard). Oh what the hell, even if not based on prior experience, I am all ears to logical ideas.


Do the work that is assigned. Do not skip firm social events unless you have to. If you just have to stay late, use extra time to meet associates and partners. It's okay to be sort of a gunner, but being seen as a no-life workaholic weirdo does not win you any points. If you are completely out of work, there really is no point to staying late -- at my firm, this is straight up frowned upon. As a summer, you're in a position where you want to convey you have what it takes to get the work done and understand the requirements of the job. However, you also don't want to piss off associates by soliciting tons of work. This is shitty for a variety of reasons: you look like a chap who has nothing outside of work, and those people suck to stay late / work with; you may call attention to their own work ethic / hours; and if you're yoinking billable work from people who may be slow, that's shitty. You should play to win, but no need to steal bases when you are up by ten runs, friend.

tipler4213
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Re: What are the top 5 tips you would give an incoming SA?

Postby tipler4213 » Mon May 30, 2011 1:32 pm

When should you apply for a 1L summer associate position? As in, how do you balance no grades with applying early?

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

Postby markymark » Mon May 30, 2011 1:40 pm

I am shocked that some of you have to actually work late at your firms.

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RVP11
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Re: What are the top 5 tips you would give an incoming SA?

Postby RVP11 » Mon May 30, 2011 1:41 pm

tipler4213 wrote:When should you apply for a 1L summer associate position? As in, how do you balance no grades with applying early?


Do you really think this is the appropriate thread in which to ask this question?

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

Postby traehekat » Mon May 30, 2011 1:43 pm

tipler4213 wrote:When should you apply for a 1L summer associate position? As in, how do you balance no grades with applying early?


12/1, update with grades as soon as you get them.

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

Postby thesealocust » Mon May 30, 2011 1:46 pm

markymark wrote:I am shocked that some of you have to actually work late at your firms.


I know a lot of people who put in extra hours the first week. I think it's a combination of a steep learning curve (piecing together how file systems work, wtf a memo is, learning how much work is expected on any given assignment, etc.) with a desire to really knock it out of the park - or at least not look like an idiot - on the first assignment. My guess is it will become more rare as people grow more efficient and aware of the expectations. I only know a small handful of firms with a reputation for demanding huge hours out of their summer class.

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

Postby What the f.supp? » Mon May 30, 2011 3:05 pm

thesealocust wrote:
markymark wrote:I am shocked that some of you have to actually work late at your firms.


I know a lot of people who put in extra hours the first week. I think it's a combination of a steep learning curve (piecing together how file systems work, wtf a memo is, learning how much work is expected on any given assignment, etc.) with a desire to really knock it out of the park - or at least not look like an idiot - on the first assignment. My guess is it will become more rare as people grow more efficient and aware of the expectations. I only know a small handful of firms with a reputation for demanding huge hours out of their summer class.


Yep, according to those lateral link firm bios (very neat if you haven't checked them out yet), mine is one of those that likes to make the summers work, a lot.

PKSebben: your comments were really helpful. I had never really thought about it, but it never came to mind that my work as a SA is actually work that would have gone to an actual associate. Now I see how this zero-sum aspect could create some tension. This is great info to know and just what I was looking for!

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

Postby Renzo » Mon May 30, 2011 3:10 pm

thesealocust wrote:
markymark wrote:I am shocked that some of you have to actually work late at your firms.


I know a lot of people who put in extra hours the first week. I think it's a combination of a steep learning curve (piecing together how file systems work, wtf a memo is, learning how much work is expected on any given assignment, etc.) with a desire to really knock it out of the park - or at least not look like an idiot - on the first assignment. My guess is it will become more rare as people grow more efficient and aware of the expectations. I only know a small handful of firms with a reputation for demanding huge hours out of their summer class.


Psssh. Friday afternoon I saw five of my classmates get tagged with assignments due Tuesday morning. I broke the fuck out early so they wouldn't see me sitting around and get me too. Granted, it was the perfect storm of a huge transaction and an even bigger service of a zillion subpoenas dropping at the same time, but none the less...

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

Postby What the f.supp? » Mon May 30, 2011 3:40 pm

What's the deal with "attorney lunches"?

I received an email weeks ago with several bullet points about the summer program, and one said how we get unlimited attorney lunches, valued at $55 per person, but there was no additional explanation. It said to contact with questions, but I'd rather take a little ridicule from you all than seem like a simpleton to my recruiter. So, does an attorney lunch mean you treat an attorney to lunch and just get reimbursed? $55 per person sounds extremely high for a lunch, so I am wondering what I am missing here. Certainly I wouldn't be ordering a cocktail during the lunch.

If I am right about summers treating associates/partners to lunch, is there any advice/unwritten rules about extending invites? E.g. don't ask same person on more than one lunch, partners will usually decline, etc.

Thanks!!




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