Stinson wrote:When I summered there was a ton of variety in people's first assignments - some people got stuff that took two days, a few others got ones that they had for weeks. Sometimes it happens because people express interests in certain things and they try to give you something that is at least in that ballpark, but that means that sometimes the tasks available in that area will be really complex or really simple.
As to the pre-season question, not to create anxiety but in at least one sense it's not. Summering at a firm that hires most or all of its SA's - so most big firms - is about playing defense. You don't need to do awesome. Indeed, you don't know vaguely enough to do awesome. You just need to avoid a big disaster that going to get some partner gunning for you at the hiring committee meeting or put you first on the block if they decide not to offer everyone. That big disaster can come early or late - if someone important really gets you in their sights that won't matter.
That said, as I mentioned it's about playing defense, so tell her that. If it's really complex, she should be asking people for help or guidance, so that it will probably go okay and if it doesn't people will know that she gave it a good shot. The worst thing she can do is shut herself up in her office, work like mad but in the totally wrong direction, and then in three weeks when people ask for the results find that she did the totally wrong thing. Nervous people sometimes do that.
Thank you for the great input. Exactly what occurs when the partners gather on SA offering day (if there is such a thing)? Do all the partners have a vote or do so some partners have a bigger say-so? I would guess some partners would be for or against others neutral.
Instead of me trying to visualize a dozen hypotheticals (firm open to hire 100%, 80%, etc.), could you generalize the likely common procedure? Again, thanks.
It's impossible to generalize - every firm is going to handle the mechanics differently. Usually though size will preclude something like a meeting of all the partners to vote, so the decision will be made by a committee of partners (and associates too, at my firm.) Generally everyone for whom you work will write a review or something and the committee people will look over it. At my firm the committee met every week or two and read the reviews as they came in, and talked to the reviewer if they had more questions or big concerns. That's why screwing up, even early, can hurt you later.
And I think it impossible that some partners would not have more pull than others. A firm has to keep big rainmakers happy, because the firm needs them but they do not always need the firm. So they're not going to do something that's going to piss off someone with a big book of business. And then, of course, there are also partners who are very well respected by their colleagues whose words will carry a lot of weight. Generally the hiring committee people will not work with everyone so they trust their colleagues. They usually re-go over all the reviews at the hiring meeting regardless of when the reviews were turned in, which is another reason early mistakes are as bad as late ones. If you must piss someone off, you want it to be someone who:
1. is not on the committee and
2. nobody likes and
3. does not make it rain.
And even that is still dangerous, and there aren't many people who are all three anyway.