SA-ing.....starting tomorrow

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Big Shrimpin
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Re: SA-ing.....starting tomorrow

Postby Big Shrimpin » Thu Jun 02, 2011 8:23 am

Sup Kid wrote:
liLtuneChi wrote:anyone else working on substantive matters that are actually interesting?

I'm actually writing part of a brief that is due in court in a week or so. Its pretty cool cause I'm working one on one with the partner on the case.

are there other summers doing equally exciting work?

Advice: Don't try creating another flame a mere 3 days after being called out for the last one (http://www.top-law-schools.com/forums/v ... 3#p4443543) or you'll just get banned, which would be a shame, since the last one was was pretty hilarious.



roflcopter nice spot sup. According to the 1L grade waiting thread, that dooderino is also top 5% at CLS.

stayway
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Re: SA-ing.....starting tomorrow

Postby stayway » Fri Jun 03, 2011 1:08 am

Big Shrimpin wrote:
nooyyllib wrote:Day 2. No assignment yet. Freaking out.


Don't sweat it, dood, just seek it out. If your assignments are pending some developments beyond your control (e.g. client hasn't yet given greenlight for suit/deal, parties are negotiating settlement, whatever...), then take advantage of the free time. Work comes in ebbs and flows. When it rains, it pours.


Ok, so attorneys contacted me telling me to summarize bunch of opinions and memos and that they'll contact me with the specifics. No contact yet. sigh.

jkay
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Re: SA-ing.....starting tomorrow

Postby jkay » Sat Jun 04, 2011 12:47 am

End of week 2. I have already written more than I did all of 1L year. Some of it has been filed in district court with minimal changes.

I hope to continue this trajectory of tricking people into thinking I know WTF I am doing for the rest of my career.

markymark
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Re: SA-ing.....starting tomorrow

Postby markymark » Sat Jun 04, 2011 12:59 am

jkay wrote:End of week 2. I have already written more than I did all of 1L year. Some of it has been filed in district court with minimal changes.

I hope to continue this trajectory of tricking people into thinking I know WTF I am doing for the rest of my career.



I find it very interesting that some firms actually expect their summers to work and others do not. I am glad that I am a t a firm that does not expect us to work very hard at all.

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Moxie
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Re: SA-ing.....starting tomorrow

Postby Moxie » Sat Jun 04, 2011 11:24 am

markymark wrote:
jkay wrote:End of week 2. I have already written more than I did all of 1L year. Some of it has been filed in district court with minimal changes.

I hope to continue this trajectory of tricking people into thinking I know WTF I am doing for the rest of my career.



I find it very interesting that some firms actually expect their summers to work and others do not. I am glad that I am a t a firm that does not expect us to work very hard at all.


That's funny, I'm at a firm where expectations are very low for SAs, but it's a little frustrating since I've been able to get my work done well before the deadline (with good feedback so far) I was hoping for the work to be a bit more substantial/challenging, but as a 1L I'm just enjoying the SA experience and hoping my work is good enough to get an offer for next summer (or at least some good recommendations)

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DoubleChecks
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Re: SA-ing.....starting tomorrow

Postby DoubleChecks » Sat Jun 04, 2011 11:50 am

Moxie wrote:That's funny, I'm at a firm where expectations are very low for SAs, but it's a little frustrating since I've been able to get my work done well before the deadline (with good feedback so far) I was hoping for the work to be a bit more substantial/challenging, but as a 1L I'm just enjoying the SA experience and hoping my work is good enough to get an offer for next summer (or at least some good recommendations)


i recommend, if you have extra time, to ask for a pro bono project an associate is handling. imo, it is more substantive in the sense that you get to take charge more often and have greater responsibilities on it :)

Anonymous User
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Re: SA-ing.....starting tomorrow

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Jun 04, 2011 1:28 pm

Are there things that you wish you had known about the firm before starting your job/accepting your offer that you are now finding about? Are there questions you would have asked before-hand? e.g., I too want to be at a firm that actually gives its summer projects, is there a good way to ask this question, because I suspect all firms will say something along the same lines. thanks.

--Rising 2L

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thesealocust
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Re: SA-ing.....starting tomorrow

Postby thesealocust » Sat Jun 04, 2011 1:53 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Are there things that you wish you had known about the firm before starting your job/accepting your offer that you are now finding about? Are there questions you would have asked before-hand? e.g., I too want to be at a firm that actually gives its summer projects, is there a good way to ask this question, because I suspect all firms will say something along the same lines. thanks.

--Rising 2L


The best way to get this information is second-hand. The summer program descriptions on the lateral link / above the law profile pages seem accurate so far. Economic climate / offer rate factor into it too. As a random example, I don't know how Kirkland runs its summer program, but they're infamous for having a 'free market' assignment system and I'd be surprised if at least some of that didn't work its way into the way summers are staved. As a rough proxy, the lower the traditional offer rate the more I'd anticipate a firm having a 'real' associate experience as a summer, though obviously there are exceptions (I believe Cravath is infamous both for very high offer rates and for working their summer class very hard).

Also, note that there's a difference between getting a light or manageable amount of work as a summer, but still getting real projects, and getting busy work or make work all summer. My personal belief is that the ideal program gives a manageable flow of substantive work. Once you graduate and sign on as a first year associate, a major firm will own your soul and almost every minute of your waking hours. You'll get a sense of what that entails just by being at the firm whether you're rarely staying late and attending lots of events or working like a dog from day one.

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Big Shrimpin
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Re: SA-ing.....starting tomorrow

Postby Big Shrimpin » Sat Jun 04, 2011 2:16 pm

One week in...couldn't be happier with my choice of firms.

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DoubleChecks
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Re: SA-ing.....starting tomorrow

Postby DoubleChecks » Sat Jun 04, 2011 2:29 pm

Big Shrimpin wrote:One week in...couldn't be happier with my choice of firms.


same here, loving it a lot at the moment.

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thesealocust
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Re: SA-ing.....starting tomorrow

Postby thesealocust » Sat Jun 04, 2011 4:15 pm

Renzo wrote:This isn't universally true. I have been explicitly told one assignment would be billed (accounting called me and yelled at me for not entering my time correctly when they generated the bill); I've also been given real (as opposed to make-work) assignments and told not to bill it to the client account.


+1 on both counts. 1-off memos are likely to be written off, but sometimes there's work that just has to get done and it falls into a summer's lap.

Firms aren't dumb, so they know if we work 9 to 5 (or whatever) we'll still see tired associates there longer hours. But you have to remember that firms who now have all the power not half a decade ago we're scrambling to get and keep associates. The business model requires working associates hard, but it makes sense for them to treat summers well and add perks and salary to be able to retain talent. SulCrom lost more than 30% of its associates in a single year once, which had to have been deeply unnerving to the partners. Like everything else in business and in life, it's a balancing test, and the crazy economy has showed a lot of us a skewed version of the employment dynamic at work at big firms.

2LLLL
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Re: SA-ing.....starting tomorrow

Postby 2LLLL » Sat Jun 04, 2011 4:20 pm

I've been billing all of my time, and I'm pretty sure at least a good chunk of it will get charged. Of course some will get written off because a first week SA is going to take longer to do things than a seasoned associate, but I'm pretty sure a reasonable amount will get to the client. I mean would clients rather have to pay midlevel associate rates for a basic research memo that an SA can do just as well (assuming that the memo needs to get done either way)?


My firm is definitely more on the substantive side, and I love that. I've already written an Opposition to Summary Judgment (albeit on a very minor matter that I'm pretty sure we're just handling as a favor to a big client) that was basically filed as I wrote it, as well as a research memo that was forwarded to the client with minimal, mainly stylistic, alterations. There hasn't been as much as the social aspect as I've expected, but that's more my style anyways...

markymark
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Re: SA-ing.....starting tomorrow

Postby markymark » Sat Jun 04, 2011 4:40 pm

I cannot believe all the people in this thread gushing about doing lots of worrk. I'd die if I wasn't getting my daily 2.5ish hour lunch. Sure the assignments are "cool" but the drinking and lunches are way more fun.

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MrKappus
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Re: SA-ing.....starting tomorrow

Postby MrKappus » Sat Jun 04, 2011 5:09 pm

Anyone who actually believes their work's getting billed to clients just doesn't understand the attorney-client dynamic in the current business environment. The majority of clients do not even want to see juniors on their matters. Clients don't care what a non-certified law student's able to accomplish, and they're sure as hell not paying for it. I don't care what your firm tells you. A partner's not going to hand a bill to a client with a law student's hours on it. Maybe your firm doesn't want you to feel like you're spinning your wheels. Maybe they hand it to an associate who goes over it and then bills those hours. I don't know. Enjoy your work and be proud of a job well done, but also know our firms are losing money on us this summer.

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Moxie
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Re: SA-ing.....starting tomorrow

Postby Moxie » Sat Jun 04, 2011 5:15 pm

markymark wrote:I cannot believe all the people in this thread gushing about doing lots of worrk. I'd die if I wasn't getting my daily 2.5ish hour lunch. Sure the assignments are "cool" but the drinking and lunches are way more fun.


Haha, I won't disagree that the drinks and food are way more exciting than the work. But if I'm getting paid to work, I'd like to have enough to work on during that time.

MrKappus wrote:Anyone who actually believes their work's getting billed to clients just doesn't understand the attorney-client dynamic in the current business environment. The majority of clients do not even want to see juniors on their matters. Clients don't care what a non-certified law student's able to accomplish, and they're sure as hell not paying for it. I don't care what your firm tells you. A partner's not going to hand a bill to a client with a law student's hours on it. Maybe your firm doesn't want you to feel like you're spinning your wheels. Maybe they hand it to an associate who goes over it and then bills those hours. I don't know. Enjoy your work and be proud of a job well done, but also know our firms are losing money on us this summer.


I doubt many people would argue that firms lose money on their SA programs, but that doesn't mean no firms bill clients for SA assignments. At my firm, SAs bill out at a reduced rate compared to attorneys, but the firm makes it very clear that our work is still billed.

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MrKappus
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Re: SA-ing.....starting tomorrow

Postby MrKappus » Sat Jun 04, 2011 5:22 pm

Eh, non-billed isn't synonymous with "make-work." I care less if my time's billed and more if my work-product's adding value. Either way, the summer's about meeting and talking to as many people in the firm as possible. And apparently eating/drinking 5x a day, which I was not expecting.

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BunkMoreland
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Re: SA-ing.....starting tomorrow

Postby BunkMoreland » Sat Jun 04, 2011 6:29 pm

Does anyone know the reason we are taxed as if we are actually making 160,000K instead of 30-37k? It's really disgusting to see how low my paycheck goes, and I have a LOT less money than I thought I was going to have. Not that I'm complaining about getting paid, but does anyone feel perturbed about giving so much to the government for free for 6-8 months, knowing we will get a huge tax refund in 2012?

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swc65
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Re: SA-ing.....starting tomorrow

Postby swc65 » Sat Jun 04, 2011 6:45 pm

amyLAchemist wrote:
BunkMoreland wrote:Does anyone know the reason we are taxed as if we are actually making 160,000K instead of 30-37k? It's really disgusting to see how low my paycheck goes, and I have a LOT less money than I thought I was going to have. Not that I'm complaining about getting paid, but does anyone feel perturbed about giving so much to the government for free for 6-8 months, knowing we will get a huge tax refund in 2012?


Change federal exemptions to 4-5 on your w4 and state to 2-3 (at least CA), according to H&R Block.



Seconded. Withholding is calculated base on the paycheck*numbers of checks per year. You will get it back at the end of the year.

Renzo
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Re: SA-ing.....starting tomorrow

Postby Renzo » Sat Jun 04, 2011 8:35 pm

MrKappus wrote:Anyone who actually believes their work's getting billed to clients just doesn't understand the attorney-client dynamic in the current business environment. The majority of clients do not even want to see juniors on their matters. Clients don't care what a non-certified law student's able to accomplish, and they're sure as hell not paying for it. I don't care what your firm tells you. A partner's not going to hand a bill to a client with a law student's hours on it. Maybe your firm doesn't want you to feel like you're spinning your wheels. Maybe they hand it to an associate who goes over it and then bills those hours. I don't know. Enjoy your work and be proud of a job well done, but also know our firms are losing money on us this summer.


Or, maybe you just do shit work that no one wants to bill for.

What the f.supp?
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Re: SA-ing.....starting tomorrow

Postby What the f.supp? » Sat Jun 04, 2011 9:22 pm

I'd be interested in hearing more about how to have less money withheld from my paycheck, if there is such a legal way (in a perfect world, there would be a summer temporary job form we could fill out!) I think I only had one exemption (unmarried; no dependents). That's rough that we won't get the refund for a while, as I was hoping to start learning investing with some of my extra earnings. It's hard to bitch though, as we're lucky to have jerbs.

Renzo
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Re: SA-ing.....starting tomorrow

Postby Renzo » Sat Jun 04, 2011 9:26 pm

What the f.supp? wrote:I'd be interested in hearing more about how to have less money withheld from my paycheck, if there is such a legal way (in a perfect world, there would be a summer temporary job form we could fill out!) I think I only had one exemption (unmarried; no dependents). That's rough that we won't get the refund for a while, as I was hoping to start learning investing with some of my extra earnings. It's hard to bitch though, as we're lucky to have jerbs.


The firm won't get audited for anything less than 8 claimed exemptions, so go ask the HR people for a new form.

What the f.supp?
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Re: SA-ing.....starting tomorrow

Postby What the f.supp? » Sat Jun 04, 2011 9:44 pm

Thanks Renzo! I'll check with HR. I just started Tuesday and won't get my first check until middle June, so I should still have some time to make adjustments.

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Rotor
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Re: SA-ing.....starting tomorrow

Postby Rotor » Sat Jun 04, 2011 11:04 pm

BunkMoreland wrote:Does anyone know the reason we are taxed as if we are actually making 160,000K instead of 30-37k? It's really disgusting to see how low my paycheck goes, and I have a LOT less money than I thought I was going to have. Not that I'm complaining about getting paid, but does anyone feel perturbed about giving so much to the government for free for 6-8 months, knowing we will get a huge tax refund in 2012?

+1 to those who said it's because the IRS assumes that check will be coming for the entire year. However, there may be an explicitly permitted way for you to do it (rather than messing with the exemptions). My firm sent us a form to fill out so that we could get withheld at the lower rate as long as we qualified for the "Part Year Employment Method." The form lists IRS Reg. 31.3402(h)(4)-1(c) as the source and can be found here: --LinkRemoved--)(4)-1

Good luck however you try to attack it.

Sup Kid
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Re: SA-ing.....starting tomorrow

Postby Sup Kid » Sat Jun 04, 2011 11:20 pm

Rotor wrote:
BunkMoreland wrote:Does anyone know the reason we are taxed as if we are actually making 160,000K instead of 30-37k? It's really disgusting to see how low my paycheck goes, and I have a LOT less money than I thought I was going to have. Not that I'm complaining about getting paid, but does anyone feel perturbed about giving so much to the government for free for 6-8 months, knowing we will get a huge tax refund in 2012?

+1 to those who said it's because the IRS assumes that check will be coming for the entire year. However, there may be an explicitly permitted way for you to do it (rather than messing with the exemptions). My firm sent us a form to fill out so that we could get withheld at the lower rate as long as we qualified for the "Part Year Employment Method." The form lists IRS Reg. 31.3402(h)(4)-1(c) as the source and can be found here: --LinkRemoved--)(4)-1

Good luck however you try to attack it.

You would need at least 20-25 exemptions claimed on your W4 to bring a $160,000 salary down to the $31,000 you're actually making, which firms normally won't allow because of strict IRS auditing rules. However, you can ask your firm if they will do what Rotor suggested (I believe the term is "annualize your pay") so that you end up paying 5.2x what your weekly tax would be at a regular $31,000/year job. Essentially, they figure out what your total tax liability will be, and withhold the exact amount of the liability. Talk with your payroll department, and see what they say. Note, these figures are all assuming that your summer is 10 weeks, they change slightly if its 8 or 12, and you CAN'T do this if you have other income this year, or you won't be withholding enough.

Addendum: Just checked my payroll stub and federal income taxes for 2 weeks (I'm single and have no other deductions other than the personal exemption and standard deduction) on the annual basis are $550. Compare that with what you have had withheld, and see if its worth it for you to adjust your withholding.

Anonymous User
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Re: SA-ing.....starting tomorrow

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jun 05, 2011 1:24 am

So a partner I'm excited to get to know better in the group I'm rotating through offered to take me and another SA to lunch on either Wednesday or Friday of this coming week. The other SA said that Friday worked better for him. I agreed.

Major brain fart: I'm the best man in a wedding on that Friday. The main attorney that I'm working for had even given me the go ahead to take half the day off! The lunch is scheduled to take place right when I need to leave for the wedding.

Any tips on how to extricate myself from this sticky situation? My initial thought is to try to move the lunch to Wednesday somehow ...




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