SA life at a smaller firm?

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SA life at a smaller firm?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jan 02, 2017 11:44 am

I know most people on here have SAs at large and more prestigious firms, but could anyone tell me about the experience a summer associate will get at a smaller firm (say, 25-40 attorneys)? I have an SA in the Chicago region at a smaller firm and I'd love to hear what people have to say on this. It might help to know I'll be getting paid less than associates... I'm guessing this will affect the type of work I receive to some extent (the firm said as much in interviews).

Thanks in advance!

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Rlabo

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Re: SA life at a smaller firm?

Postby Rlabo » Tue Jan 03, 2017 2:49 am

Expect it to be closer to that of a full time associate than your typical SA at a big law shop, but hard to say with any certainty as small firms are all different.

Coming from someone who summered at a plaintiffs firm with around 60 attorneys in Nyc.

gregfootball2001

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Re: SA life at a smaller firm?

Postby gregfootball2001 » Tue Jan 03, 2017 4:46 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I know most people on here have SAs at large and more prestigious firms, but could anyone tell me about the experience a summer associate will get at a smaller firm (say, 25-40 attorneys)? I have an SA in the Chicago region at a smaller firm and I'd love to hear what people have to say on this. It might help to know I'll be getting paid less than associates... I'm guessing this will affect the type of work I receive to some extent (the firm said as much in interviews).

Thanks in advance!


I did my 1L SA with a firm of less than 10 lawyers, and my 2L with a firm of about 120, but in an office of about 35. I'm currently working at the second firm. The experiences were similar in that neither place was a summer camp. Few evening events (like 1-2 in the summer). A solid amount of work for every practice group, as needed. Billed time which was billed to the client. It was a good experience and head's-up, at least a little, as to what being an associate there was like. My responsibility was less than the associates', of course, but I wasn't doing make-work. I did go out for lunch almost every day with a different person, though that may have had more to do with the fact that the lunches were on the firm's dime.

One real positive I took is that when I got an offer, I knew exactly who my bosses would be. I knew if I liked them or not. Don't underestimate the power of having a good boss - you can love the work and your firm, but if your boss sucks, your life sucks. The firm was small, so I knew the partners in my group already. That was a big plus.

Good luck!

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Re: SA life at a smaller firm?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jan 05, 2017 5:31 pm

I worked for everyone at the firm. Mid sized as an SA. Then a senior partner really liked my work so I started to exclusively work for him, which helped me obviously.

I got paid more than law clerk (15ish per hour) but MUCH less than a biglaw / associate at that firm. They used the label "summer associate" not law clerk to I guess lure more qualified law students.
Last edited by Anonymous User on Fri Jan 06, 2017 11:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Anonymous User
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Re: SA life at a smaller firm?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jan 05, 2017 6:37 pm

I SAd at a 40 attorney firm in Chicago last summer. Was paid the same as a new associate. The firm was swamped so they really gave us substantive work from the beginning. I drafted a number of motions and briefs (or portions thereof) that were filed in court. Did tons of research and other doc review and feel like I got a good preview of life as a junior associate at the firm. There were three of us and we were never given busy work with no apparent purpose.

Catsinthebag

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Re: SA life at a smaller firm?

Postby Catsinthebag » Fri Jan 06, 2017 9:57 pm

"Don't underestimate the power of having a good boss - you can love the work and your firm, but if your boss sucks, your life sucks."

Truer words never posted on these forums!



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