Advice on being a good summer associate?

(On Campus Interviews, Summer Associate positions, Firm Reviews, Tips, ...)
Forum rules
Anonymous Posting

Anonymous posting is only appropriate when you are revealing sensitive employment related information about a firm, job, etc. You may anonymously respond on topic to these threads. Unacceptable uses include: harassing another user, joking around, testing the feature, or other things that are more appropriate in the lounge.

Failure to follow these rules will get you outed, warned, or banned.
Anonymous User
Posts: 327329
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Advice on being a good summer associate?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Mar 25, 2017 11:07 pm

1L female, URM, and going to be a summer associate at a pretty big firm. I will be the only 1L there, along with a few other 2L's. There's no guarantee they will ask me to come back 2L summer but I'm assuming if I keep my grades up and don't mess up, they will. Let's hope. With that being said: anybody out there (former summer associates, current associates/counsel/partners, or just anyone with some sort of knowledge on this matter) have any advice on how to succeed as a summer associate? I have heard that summer associate is one big fun fest but I'd rather go into it with the mindset of doing good and substantial work. Thanks in advance!

User avatar
nunumaster

Silver
Posts: 915
Joined: Fri Mar 21, 2014 10:11 am

Re: Advice on being a good summer associate?

Postby nunumaster » Sat Mar 25, 2017 11:12 pm

Just sound eager when getting assignments. Looks like you've already got that part down.

BigZuck

Diamond
Posts: 11730
Joined: Tue Sep 04, 2012 9:53 am

Re: Advice on being a good summer associate?

Postby BigZuck » Sat Mar 25, 2017 11:27 pm

Do all your work, go to all the social events, be likeable, and you're good! That's it!

Finch123

New
Posts: 9
Joined: Sun Aug 09, 2015 8:11 am

Re: Advice on being a good summer associate?

Postby Finch123 » Sat Mar 25, 2017 11:50 pm

The one thing I would add to this is, in addition to doing a good job content-wise on your assignments (which I assume is obvious), make sure that anything you turn in looks polished as well. The one piece of negative feedback I got over my 2L summer was on an assignment I had rushed to complete and turned in without reviewing its appearance. Always make sure your fonts are consistent, your bullets line up, etc etc. It seems obvious but, for me at least, it's a bit easier to overlook. I would just act like anything you produce is going to the client (although obviously it likely won't) unless told otherwise.

Also, my firm at least has everyone who interacts with you submit comments re your social fit. Be nice, accept lunch invites, be proactive in getting to know people. You'll be fine!

Anonymous User
Posts: 327329
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Advice on being a good summer associate?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Mar 26, 2017 1:39 am

Upcoming 2L SA here. Sort of nervous w/r/t the assignments. Is bluebooking necessary? Are memos 10-pages long? I have this nightmare of getting an assignment in an area I know nothing about and being forced to ask a bunch of questions to the partner after every 5 minutes of research

Anonymous User
Posts: 327329
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Advice on being a good summer associate?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Mar 26, 2017 8:42 am

As a transactional summer associate... I'm not even sure what my summer will exactly look like (I imagine no blue booking!)

User avatar
PeanutsNJam

Gold
Posts: 4577
Joined: Tue Jul 10, 2012 1:57 pm

Re: Advice on being a good summer associate?

Postby PeanutsNJam » Sun Mar 26, 2017 10:51 am

Do all the assignments well. You're gonna be given assignments and know instantly that this is a waste of everybody's time because it's either gonna be glanced at for 5 mins and then discarded or sent to a 1st year to completely redo.

Don't let that bait you into thinking you can cut any corners. Do your assignments like you're going to file them with a court.

Also bother associates working on the same matter with the partner instead of the partner. Never bother a partner without a Sr. Associate going "ok yeah this is a tough problem you should talk to [partner]." This is made easier by going to social events and being friends with associates.

Can't stress that enough. Partners don't have office hours.

hlsperson1111

Bronze
Posts: 400
Joined: Sun Jul 22, 2012 11:10 pm

Re: Advice on being a good summer associate?

Postby hlsperson1111 » Sun Mar 26, 2017 11:08 am

PeanutsNJam wrote:
Also bother associates working on the same matter with the partner instead of the partner. Never bother a partner without a Sr. Associate going "ok yeah this is a tough problem you should talk to [partner]." This is made easier by going to social events and being friends with associates.

Can't stress that enough. Partners don't have office hours.


This is highly firm-dependent.

thsmthcrmnl

Bronze
Posts: 249
Joined: Fri Dec 25, 2009 3:07 am

Re: Advice on being a good summer associate?

Postby thsmthcrmnl » Sun Mar 26, 2017 11:24 am

Always bring a pen and paper.

Right2BearArms

Bronze
Posts: 116
Joined: Wed Oct 07, 2015 3:48 pm

Re: Advice on being a good summer associate?

Postby Right2BearArms » Sun Mar 26, 2017 11:34 am

Anonymous User wrote:Upcoming 2L SA here. Sort of nervous w/r/t the assignments. Is bluebooking necessary? Are memos 10-pages long? I have this nightmare of getting an assignment in an area I know nothing about and being forced to ask a bunch of questions to the partner after every 5 minutes of research


Transactional associate, but I have done several memos for clients w/r/t some specific issue or question they have. In my experience, no one cares about bluebooking, I usually just copy the cite from lexis and call it good (ymmv in lit, I would think it is more important there). Less is more with memos, most I have done are 3-7 pages. Clients generally struggle to follow long, complex explanations and often times the answer with minimal explanation is best unless you are asked to look further at something specific. Finally, most of the time, no one cares what the research costs are, but if you are worried about it, start with some detailed googling, this will often get you at least some case or secondary source to start a lexis search from.

And as for questions, don't ask every 5 minutes, but if you have legit questions, write 2-4 of them down as necessary and stop by someone's office with then once or twice a day.

nick417

Bronze
Posts: 208
Joined: Wed Dec 26, 2012 11:09 am

Re: Advice on being a good summer associate?

Postby nick417 » Sun Mar 26, 2017 12:40 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Upcoming 2L SA here. Sort of nervous w/r/t the assignments. Is bluebooking necessary? Are memos 10-pages long? I have this nightmare of getting an assignment in an area I know nothing about and being forced to ask a bunch of questions to the partner after every 5 minutes of research


No. A ten-page memo from an SA would never be read. I am associate; no one (Senior Associate or Partner) has the time or desire to read a 2-page memo I write let alone a ten-page memo from a non-lawyer.

Here is what firms are looking at regarding an SA: (1) Can you handle a professional setting. (this means showing up to work on time, handing in assignments on time, follow instructions, being polite/courteous/respectful to staff and other attorneys, handle your alcohol, etc.). and (2) does your work product meet a minimal level of expectation (I think this mostly goes to your ability to write).

Summer programs are different across firms. But if you can handle a professional setting and your work product is not awful, you should be fine.

User avatar
jkpolk

Silver
Posts: 1185
Joined: Thu Nov 10, 2011 10:44 am

Re: Advice on being a good summer associate?

Postby jkpolk » Sun Mar 26, 2017 12:47 pm

nick417 wrote:If you can handle a professional setting and your work product is not awful, you should be fine.


This. And just to add the obvious:

As a summer, you don't know anything. The time to get "good" at the job (if that's your goal) is during the job (and it takes years, just as it takes years to get good at anything). Unlike high school or college or law school, there is no checklist of things that, upon completion of the checklist, will result in the "best" outcome.

You can use your summer as a learning experience by trying to absorb as much as possible but, ultimately, it's a minimum competency endeavor. "Good" summers are, in order of importance: enthusiastic, not bumbling morons (which, if you are a bumbling moron, is not something you can fix), capable of attending events, professional.
Last edited by jkpolk on Sun Mar 26, 2017 1:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Anonymous User
Posts: 327329
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Advice on being a good summer associate?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Mar 26, 2017 1:03 pm

This is the least complicated and least stressful job you will ever have. Don't be an idiot and you'll be fine.

NYC2012

Bronze
Posts: 271
Joined: Tue Apr 03, 2012 3:47 am

Re: Advice on being a good summer associate?

Postby NYC2012 » Sun Mar 26, 2017 1:04 pm

.
Last edited by NYC2012 on Mon Dec 25, 2017 12:52 am, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
tyrant_flycatcher

Bronze
Posts: 137
Joined: Tue Dec 16, 2014 10:05 pm

Re: Advice on being a good summer associate?

Postby tyrant_flycatcher » Sun Mar 26, 2017 1:51 pm

NYC2012 wrote:Another tip, use the 1-800 number/livechat option on Westlaw/Lexis for every assignment.


Same goes for Westlaw and Lexis office hours, if your firm has them. If you're having trouble finding something, IME they're more than happy to help.

dixiecupdrinking

Gold
Posts: 3440
Joined: Sun Oct 26, 2008 2:39 pm

Re: Advice on being a good summer associate?

Postby dixiecupdrinking » Sun Mar 26, 2017 2:00 pm

Work hard, ask questions when necessary, don't blow deadlines, and be pleasant to be around. That's about it. You'll screw things up bc it's hard, and that's fine, but generally you shouldn't let them be sloppy things.

User avatar
BlendedUnicorn

Platinum
Posts: 9319
Joined: Sat Aug 27, 2016 2:40 pm

Re: Advice on being a good summer associate?

Postby BlendedUnicorn » Sun Mar 26, 2017 2:29 pm

Work product is whatever, people here are giving good advice on that. But don't underestimate the importance of the "big fun fest." Don't take on so much work that you can't participate in most of the events. Try to go to most of them- they are part of the job in a way. Have fun, talk to people. Don't drink too much but definitely feel free to have a few and kind of gauge what's appropriate based on what other people are doing and your own tolerance.

Basically you want people to like you and like your work product but also not to think of you as the MOST EXTREME summer either in terms of work or social life. If your firm doesn't assign you a mentor, find one on your own to help you out with the ins and outs of that particular firm.

Anonymous User
Posts: 327329
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Advice on being a good summer associate?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Mar 26, 2017 3:17 pm

OP here. Thanks for all the advice! Regarding the first day, should I bother asking recruiting about dress code or just show up the first day in my suit/skirt and go from there based on what everyone else is wearing?

nick417

Bronze
Posts: 208
Joined: Wed Dec 26, 2012 11:09 am

Re: Advice on being a good summer associate?

Postby nick417 » Sun Mar 26, 2017 3:33 pm

Anonymous User wrote:OP here. Thanks for all the advice! Regarding the first day, should I bother asking recruiting about dress code or just show up the first day in my suit/skirt and go from there based on what everyone else is wearing?



Here is a good rule: for the most part, no one cares if you are overly dressed (i.e., formal). But people will notice if you are underly dressed. This goes with being able to handle a professional setting. But I would much rather have someone tell me I am dressing to formal versus being too informal.

Most firms are moving toward business casual. First day, dress formal. From there, judgment call. Use what the associates wear as a benchmark. Never venture below that benchmark.

Anonymous User
Posts: 327329
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Advice on being a good summer associate?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Mar 26, 2017 9:56 pm

Any advice specifically for people at firms with small summer classes (like 2-5 SAs) or firms with less than 100% offer rates? (Besides the obvious advice of "you should have gone to a firm with 100% offer rate"). Or is the advice pretty much the same regardless of class size?

User avatar
BlendedUnicorn

Platinum
Posts: 9319
Joined: Sat Aug 27, 2016 2:40 pm

Re: Advice on being a good summer associate?

Postby BlendedUnicorn » Sun Mar 26, 2017 10:05 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Any advice specifically for people at firms with small summer classes (like 2-5 SAs) or firms with less than 100% offer rates? (Besides the obvious advice of "you should have gone to a firm with 100% offer rate"). Or is the advice pretty much the same regardless of class size?


Anecdotal but what I've heard is these places tend to have less emphasis on social events and more emphasis on work. Advice is still basically the same- you want people to like you so make sure you're taking advantage of opportunities to socialize when they arise- but maybe be prepared to be doing more work than your classmates at bigger firms.

RaceJudicata

Gold
Posts: 1726
Joined: Mon Jun 22, 2015 2:51 pm

Re: Advice on being a good summer associate?

Postby RaceJudicata » Sun Mar 26, 2017 10:09 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Any advice specifically for people at firms with small summer classes (like 2-5 SAs) or firms with less than 100% offer rates? (Besides the obvious advice of "you should have gone to a firm with 100% offer rate"). Or is the advice pretty much the same regardless of class size?


I was a summer at a very large firm, but at a relatively small office. Summer class of less than 5. Generally, all of the advice discussed holds true. Feel free to PM me if you have any specific questions.

andythefir

Silver
Posts: 590
Joined: Mon Jul 05, 2010 1:56 am

Re: Advice on being a good summer associate?

Postby andythefir » Sun Mar 26, 2017 10:44 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Any advice specifically for people at firms with small summer classes (like 2-5 SAs) or firms with less than 100% offer rates? (Besides the obvious advice of "you should have gone to a firm with 100% offer rate"). Or is the advice pretty much the same regardless of class size?


I was a summer at a firm that had 3 summers. They told us at the outset they might keep 1, they ended up keeping 0. If you know they don't have a 100% offer rate, I'm sure other employers in the market do, too. Do what you can, but don't let yourself get paralyzed by the uncertainty. Try to develop relationships within the firm that would be willing to serve as references for you. Looking back on it, there wasn't much we could have done to make positive impressions, but lots could have made negative impressions. Follow the herds, don't be the only person working until 1 in the morning, and accept that you might be using the summer experience as leverage for another gig.

Anonymous User
Posts: 327329
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Advice on being a good summer associate?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Mar 27, 2017 12:53 pm

OP here. From what I've heard by asking around, most summers get offers. I checked Vault and it said the firm has a 97% offer rate from 2015 (2016 is not available). Now I am just a 1L and can't get an offer just yet, so I have no idea if this information is relevant to me at all, but I am hopeful that it means they will ask me to return next summer, assuming I like it and they like me.

As for the events, they've invited me to a few things so far and I've accepted them all. :D The events sounded really fun during my interview.

fistfullofdollhairs

New
Posts: 73
Joined: Fri May 06, 2016 7:16 am

Re: Advice on being a good summer associate?

Postby fistfullofdollhairs » Mon Mar 27, 2017 2:59 pm

Be a professional. Manage your time well, meet your deadlines and don't be afraid to ask questions if you don't understand your assignment. As soon as you realize you cannot meet your deadline, let someone know. It is always bad when you have to tell someone at the last minute that you cannot get something done. There is no shame in asking for an extension.



Return to “Legal Employment�

Who is online

The online users are hidden on this forum.