Summer Associate: Thoughts, Anxieties, Experiences, etc.

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homestyle28
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Re: Summer Associate: Thoughts, Anxieties, Experiences, etc.

Postby homestyle28 » Thu Jun 20, 2013 7:52 pm

mephistopheles wrote:I've been given somewhat critical positions on a couple of major matters actually. I've been working similar hours because I need to be there.

Don't take this the wrong way because I've seen you play chess and get that you are a smart guy, but I am pretty sure giving anything actually important to a summer associate would be mal practice.

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Flips88
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Re: Summer Associate: Thoughts, Anxieties, Experiences, etc.

Postby Flips88 » Thu Jun 20, 2013 7:54 pm

homestyle28 wrote:
mephistopheles wrote:I've been given somewhat critical positions on a couple of major matters actually. I've been working similar hours because I need to be there.

Don't take this the wrong way because I've seen you play chess and get that you are a smart guy, but I am pretty sure giving anything actually important to a summer associate would be mal practice.

What do you mean, bro? He has CRITICAL POSITIONS. CRITICAL.

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holdencaulfield
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Re: Summer Associate: Thoughts, Anxieties, Experiences, etc.

Postby holdencaulfield » Thu Jun 20, 2013 10:18 pm

homestyle28 wrote:
mephistopheles wrote:I've been given somewhat critical positions on a couple of major matters actually. I've been working similar hours because I need to be there.

Don't take this the wrong way because I've seen you play chess and get that you are a smart guy, but I am pretty sure giving anything actually important to a summer associate would be mal practice.


Meh, it could be stuff like organizing large exhibit binders, sifting through discovery, reviewing documents before closing a large deal, or researching procedural issues to double-check that everything is done right. All of it could be critical (especially on major matters), and all could be assigned to an SA.

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Skye
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Re: Summer Associate: Thoughts, Anxieties, Experiences, etc.

Postby Skye » Fri Jun 21, 2013 1:54 am

AllTheLawz wrote:
Skye wrote:My day today included lunch to with a couple of BL school cohorts and they all like it — they get to leave at 5P most of the time. The differences is that they tend to be confined to assignments with no one yet having observed a deposition, discovery or going to court to see how a case was unfolding (granted I’ve only been invited to court once). Plus, not much in the way of lunches with partners or meeting with partners in their office (it isn’t that it never happens, just not often).


Hate to break it to you but you can do all that stuff in BigLaw as an SA too. No need to try to rationalize being at a boutique.

I was just passing along what my BL SA friends said. As far as the term boutique, I don’t know what else to call it. The firms we oppose are often at the top of the V rankings and a couple of cases I am working are in the headlines. As far as I can see, the big difference is that we don’t have as many attorneys.

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homestyle28
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Re: Summer Associate: Thoughts, Anxieties, Experiences, etc.

Postby homestyle28 » Fri Jun 21, 2013 10:15 am

holdencaulfield wrote:
homestyle28 wrote:
mephistopheles wrote:I've been given somewhat critical positions on a couple of major matters actually. I've been working similar hours because I need to be there.

Don't take this the wrong way because I've seen you play chess and get that you are a smart guy, but I am pretty sure giving anything actually important to a summer associate would be mal practice.


Meh, it could be stuff like organizing large exhibit binders, sifting through discovery, reviewing documents before closing a large deal, or researching procedural issues to double-check that everything is done right. All of it could be critical (especially on major matters), and all could be assigned to an SA.


I'm sure it can vary a little bit based on firm size, but if it's critical to a case or a deal, I doubt they'd let it rest with a summer. The summer might take first crack at it before an associate reviews it, but I think it's unlikely that if Mephisto didn't get it done something would fall through. Being a summer myself, and surrounded by other summers, each as neurotic as the last, I think it's more likely that it FEELS critical.

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Re: Summer Associate: Thoughts, Anxieties, Experiences, etc.

Postby jetsfan1 » Fri Jun 21, 2013 10:51 am

tag

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Re: Summer Associate: Thoughts, Anxieties, Experiences, etc.

Postby the_phoenix612 » Fri Jun 21, 2013 5:21 pm

Has anyone else had difficulty with the lack of substantive feedback? All I hear back are positive things, aside from a few red editing marks on assignments I turn in to my mentor before actually turning them in, and I just can't tell if they're being polite and I'll get the real harsh stuff all at the end, or if I'm genuinely doing a really good job....

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Re: Summer Associate: Thoughts, Anxieties, Experiences, etc.

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jun 21, 2013 5:47 pm

the_phoenix612 wrote:Has anyone else had difficulty with the lack of substantive feedback? All I hear back are positive things, aside from a few red editing marks on assignments I turn in to my mentor before actually turning them in, and I just can't tell if they're being polite and I'll get the real harsh stuff all at the end, or if I'm genuinely doing a really good job....


I've reviewed a bunch of summers working for me now. The name of the game is positive attitude and reasonable diligence... the tasks you're assigned aren't going to be ones that you can accomplish quickly or impressively. Just not how it works. We're looking for signs of engagement with the process and the team - the hiring committee took care of making sure you were smart enough to handle things.

When you have a task to work on, it may feel like a mini exam or paper in school. You do some things correctly, other things less correctly, and hope to get 94% and earn an A or whatever. But to me, your work product is unlikely to be that important to my projects, and really you're either making my life easier or you're not. I don't actually care if you make mistakes or produce something gold plated, I don't have time to train you, and you won't be around to help (or not help) in just a few weeks.

So relax. If you have a good attitude and aren't dumb, you're 99% of the way there. It's really not a test.

And to the extent that it IS a test, everyone screws up sometimes. Because of that fact, nobody is going to be shocked or horrified when you (inevitably) screw something up. But if you handle it with poise and take active steps to correct it, that will stand out very positively.

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Re: Summer Associate: Thoughts, Anxieties, Experiences, etc.

Postby Summerz » Sat Jun 22, 2013 1:06 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I've reviewed a bunch of summers working for me now. The name of the game is positive attitude and reasonable diligence...

Are you a coordinator, associate or partner? Is your firm mostly 100% offered?

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Re: Summer Associate: Thoughts, Anxieties, Experiences, etc.

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Jun 22, 2013 8:13 pm

I split at a Vault firm in DC and a mid sized lit firm in Dallas last summer, and had very different experiences at each.

At the large firm, I did almost no substantive work of any kind, a few memos here and there, some brief checking and cite checking - I think I drafted portions of two different briefs that would never really see the light of day. I spent most of my time researching and summarizing the results of my research in memos. I was taken to lunch almost daily at great restaurants and we had multiple social events every week, from events out at bars to summer league softball, the whole nine yards. And when you factor in the money, it was amazing. But none of it was why I wanted to be a lawyer, and I think a lot of people get lost in that. I want to do trial work, and I met with people there who had been working for years and never saw the inside of a courtroom. It felt a lot like I was working on little things that would get put into slightly larger things that would one day make up even bigger things and then way down the line someone else was actually doing the lawyering. I know that it was just being a summer associate, but I didn't see fifth and sixth year associates doing the kind of work that was interesting and meaningful either. There was a serious strata between partners and associates, and I never got any substantive feedback on anything I did. After it was all over, I felt like it was an awesome summer vacation, but other than the great pay and the things I could do with that, my legal skills weren't going to improve very fast there and I wasn't going to really enjoy the work.

On the other hand, when I went to Dallas, it was a different ball game. To give you some idea, the firm I was working at is about 50 attorneys, so not a large firm, but not a little mom and pop shop, either. First off, the climate was very different. All work was substantive, and I was treated essentially as if I was a first year associate. I had work from associates all the way up to the managing partner of the firm, and when I was asked for my opinion on topics, it was actually taken as a legit opinion. I got regular feedback when I asked about it, and they didn't pull any punches when I fucked up, but also didn't give me shit for it, either. In one situation I was asked to do some research on a topic, and when I came in to give my results to the managing partner, he asked what I thought we should do next. I told him we should file Brief XX, and he paused for a second, then asked if I felt comfortable writing it, and so I did. I knew that later on it would get modified if we ever needed to file it, but it felt like at least my work was worthwhile. On top of that, the Dallas firm actually goes to trial on a regular basis, which is exactly what I want to do.

After working for both places, I knew I didn't want to work at Biglaw. There was a 25% pay difference between the two, but in the end it was an easy decision. I also worked for a small firm of about 6 attorneys and got the feel for that as well, and now that I've been in each environment, I took the job at the Dallas firm. I think the number one thing for people to realize is that you need to think about whether you will be happy at a place long term before accepting the job, if you do have the option. If your only concern is how to get the offer, then just bust your ass on your work as best you can, kiss ass (if you are actually trying to get a feel for whether you are a good fit for the firm, then be yourself, but if you just want the job, just make them like you and tell them their shit don't stink and you love them to death - most people in law have healthy egos), and don't drink too much or make a fool of yourself in any way at social functions.

The only errors I've ever heard of at most firms (especially the ones that offer almost everyone, like a lot of Biglaws) are people who act out in some way - be it by getting drunk, saying strange things, or just not fitting in. Personally I don't recommend that if you have options, but if you just need a job then do what you gotta do. I think that people should realize that the most important thing to being a successful person is being happy in what you do. Before law school I had another career for about a decade and I loved my work, and that was why I was willing to put in 12 hour days. If you can't see yourself putting in 10-12 hour days at a law firm from time to time because you love the work you're doing and it interests you, find a different firm.

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AreJay711
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Re: Summer Associate: Thoughts, Anxieties, Experiences, etc.

Postby AreJay711 » Sat Jun 22, 2013 9:42 pm

I know for a fact that they don't expect us to do a great job. I had one assignment in which I had and hour to look something up so we could get this deal closed asap. I submitted what I found saying there was nothing negative but only really general, broad things in support. The next day when I asked the assigning attorney about it, he said I did a good job and was right because he spent 2 hours researching it after I submitted it. Another research assignment got sent to 3 separate summers to all do exactly the same thing (this was something critical but damn if they were going to trust it with just one person).

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Re: Summer Associate: Thoughts, Anxieties, Experiences, etc.

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Jun 22, 2013 9:58 pm

V10 SA @ large office w/ questions relating to firm social events: Multiple male attorneys keep pushing me to cheat on my gf with a particular female SA (think: alpha male banter + occasionally shoving me into the female SA). Also, a couple of other attorneys regularly sh*ttalk (not playfully) about other attorneys to the SA class.

Is there a more credited response than simply ignoring these tools?

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Bronte
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Re: Summer Associate: Thoughts, Anxieties, Experiences, etc.

Postby Bronte » Sat Jun 22, 2013 10:06 pm

Anonymous User wrote:V10 SA @ large office w/ questions relating to firm social events: Multiple male attorneys keep pushing me to cheat on my gf with a particular female SA (think: alpha male banter + occasionally shoving me into the female SA). Also, a couple of other attorneys regularly sh*ttalk (not playfully) about other attorneys to the SA class.

Is there a more credited response than simply ignoring these tools?


Just laugh it off and don't engage in anything that could implicate you in either matter. Gossip is normal. I wouldn't worry about it. The thing with the woman is more concerning, but I don't know that there's much you can do that wouldn't put you and her in a bad spot.

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Re: Summer Associate: Thoughts, Anxieties, Experiences, etc.

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Jun 22, 2013 10:26 pm

you need to remember that they have jobs and you don't, so they can act like jackasses and you need to behave yourself.

just try not to offend anyone, that's about it. there's no downside to behaving yourself, because they can just chalk it up to their general hazing mentality. on the other hand, if you do go along, then there's a chance you could offend someone or end up looking bad.

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JO 14
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Re: Summer Associate: Thoughts, Anxieties, Experiences, etc.

Postby JO 14 » Sun Jun 23, 2013 3:28 am

AreJay711 wrote:I know for a fact that they don't expect us to do a great job. Which of course is total BS because I am playing on message boards during SA hours.... just sayin'

FTFY

User has been outed and warned.

Pokemon
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Re: Summer Associate: Thoughts, Anxieties, Experiences, etc.

Postby Pokemon » Sun Jun 23, 2013 3:43 am

V10 anon with the weird alpha male banters.


That is really fucked up stuff. I would probably edit out your post because I cannot imagine that many people being like that in the field. Ok, I am sure there is all (some) sort of weird sexism and inappropriate behavior going on in firms, but the sheer rudeness and boldness of it probably makes it rare. About the alpha monkeys you are dealing with, a saying in my country is that you can cook shit all you want, it will not turn into a pie.

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Re: Summer Associate: Thoughts, Anxieties, Experiences, etc.

Postby NYstate » Sun Jun 23, 2013 3:48 am

AreJay711 wrote:I know for a fact that they don't expect us to do a great job. I had one assignment in which I had and hour to look something up so we could get this deal closed asap. I submitted what I found saying there was nothing negative but only really general, broad things in support. The next day when I asked the assigning attorney about it, he said I did a good job and was right because he spent 2 hours researching it after I submitted it. Another research assignment got sent to 3 separate summers to all do exactly the same thing (this was something critical but damn if they were going to trust it with just one person).



This is wrong. They expect you to do a great job but they know you don't know anything. For anything crucial they are never just going to rely on what you say. God help you if you miss something easy to find and the associate finds it. Your work has to be thorough and perfect within the time constraints given. The fact they are checking your work means they don't trust you. It doesn't mean you can be shoddy.

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Re: Summer Associate: Thoughts, Anxieties, Experiences, etc.

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jun 23, 2013 3:50 am

Anonymous User wrote:I split at a Vault firm in DC and a mid sized lit firm in Dallas last summer, and had very different experiences at each.....After working for both places, I knew I didn't want to work at Biglaw.


Anon_8:13 - Any regrets? I'm feel similar in some ways, but I'm much less averse to the work at biglaw.

How much did location factor in to your choice? My firm options are in 2 different markets as well and I think that might wind up pushing me in one direction or the other.

NYstate
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Re: Summer Associate: Thoughts, Anxieties, Experiences, etc.

Postby NYstate » Sun Jun 23, 2013 4:24 am

Anonymous User wrote:V10 SA @ large office w/ questions relating to firm social events: Multiple male attorneys keep pushing me to cheat on my gf with a particular female SA (think: alpha male banter + occasionally shoving me into the female SA). Also, a couple of other attorneys regularly sh*ttalk (not playfully) about other attorneys to the SA class.

Is there a more credited response than simply ignoring these tools?


You might want to say that you don't treat women that way, either your girlfriend or the other attorney who is building up a great sex harassment case here. Walk away. Steer as far clear of that possible fiasco as possible.

Never engage in shit talk either. These aren't your friends. They sound like they may just want to stir up trouble. You can always just say nothing or say " I've never found that to be the case." I'm really good at just saying nothing but not everyone can do that.

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Re: Summer Associate: Thoughts, Anxieties, Experiences, etc.

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jun 23, 2013 7:58 am

Bronte wrote:
thesealocust wrote:
Skye wrote:The firm, isn’t a V250 (around 50 attorneys) but they are prestigious inasmuch as they have an impressive fortune-whatever client list.


This is the best sentence everyone has ever written. It fills me with such a strange mixture of despair and joy.

Rankings, prestige, rankings based on prestige, rankings based on other rankings, misunderstanding of rankings... it really sums up our profession.

I don't mean that to be critical at all - it's not an obnoxious sentence or anything, it's perfectly reasonable. It's just... beautiful.

Beautiful.


Lol, nice.

Anyway, my advice would be to try not to worry to much about the offer. I definitely did. At best, it made my summer less enjoyable. At worst, it made me seem awkward.


Well, after worrying, did you ultimately get an offer? Just had my review. Was told my work is excellent, but I need to relax now. I guess they are sensing my anxiety. I am wondering now if you got an offer?

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Re: Summer Associate: Thoughts, Anxieties, Experiences, etc.

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jun 23, 2013 10:54 am

Well, mid term review went well. All positives. Need to try and work with a few more people to get my face out there. But it sounded very positive. Fingers crossed for an offer.

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Flips88
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Re: Summer Associate: Thoughts, Anxieties, Experiences, etc.

Postby Flips88 » Sun Jun 23, 2013 10:59 am

I have my midsummer review coming up next week. Crazy that the summer's already half over. It's really blowing by. So far I've turned in two memos and then i've worked on another case where I've done a bunch of discrete research questions where I'm basically doing email answers. Fingers crossed for good feedback.

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Re: Summer Associate: Thoughts, Anxieties, Experiences, etc.

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jun 23, 2013 2:27 pm

Mid summer review is coming up too. Have turned in two substantive memos and some smaller, discrete editing assignments and summaries. I'm always really paranoid that my memos end up being on the wrong topic or refer to cases in the wrong jurisdiction or, God help me, cases that have been overruled.

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TTRansfer
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Re: Summer Associate: Thoughts, Anxieties, Experiences, etc.

Postby TTRansfer » Sun Jun 23, 2013 6:14 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Mid summer review is coming up too. Have turned in two substantive memos and some smaller, discrete editing assignments and summaries. I'm always really paranoid that my memos end up being on the wrong topic or refer to cases in the wrong jurisdiction or, God help me, cases that have been overruled.


Hah. You should probably ask what jurisdiction they want before you research. I've done that and it has saved my ass a few times when the law is insanely different somewhere else.

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Re: Summer Associate: Thoughts, Anxieties, Experiences, etc.

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jun 23, 2013 8:20 pm

TTRansfer wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Mid summer review is coming up too. Have turned in two substantive memos and some smaller, discrete editing assignments and summaries. I'm always really paranoid that my memos end up being on the wrong topic or refer to cases in the wrong jurisdiction or, God help me, cases that have been overruled.


Hah. You should probably ask what jurisdiction they want before you research. I've done that and it has saved my ass a few times when the law is insanely different somewhere else.


Oh I definitely ask but both times (and from two different people), it's this vague response - "just feel it out" or something along those lines, which makes me think it's busy work. Regardless, I check the federal and state law of whatever state the case is currently pending in, and hope for the best.




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