Advice on being a good summer associate?

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Itiswritten

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Re: Advice on being a good summer associate?

Postby Itiswritten » Thu Mar 30, 2017 11:31 am

I don't drink. Is that going to be weird when I'm attending social events? It's been fine during my life but I've never navigated a professional setting. Any advice would be appreciated.

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Re: Advice on being a good summer associate?

Postby deepseapartners » Thu Mar 30, 2017 11:47 am

Itiswritten wrote:I don't drink. Is that going to be weird when I'm attending social events? It's been fine during my life but I've never navigated a professional setting. Any advice would be appreciated.

Spent two summers at big firms where drinking was the most important part of each social event, and each summer one of the other summer associates was an observant Muslim. They made it known pretty early on, still went to all the firm social events and looked like they were having a good time (which was the key I believe), and didn't suffer socially or work-wise for it. I've read elsewhere that the secret is to always have a drink in your hand, even if it's just club soda w/lime.

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Re: Advice on being a good summer associate?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Mar 30, 2017 11:48 am

deepseapartners wrote:
Itiswritten wrote:I don't drink. Is that going to be weird when I'm attending social events? It's been fine during my life but I've never navigated a professional setting. Any advice would be appreciated.

Spent two summers at big firms where drinking was the most important part of each social event, and each summer one of the other summer associates was an observant Muslim. They made it known pretty early on, still went to all the firm social events and looked like they were having a good time (which was the key I believe), and didn't suffer socially or work-wise for it. I've read elsewhere that the secret is to always have a drink in your hand, even if it's just club soda w/lime.


Great advice and I appreciate the anecdote. Will definitely keep that in mind

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Re: Advice on being a good summer associate?

Postby Right2BearArms » Thu Mar 30, 2017 12:02 pm

deepseapartners wrote:
Itiswritten wrote:I don't drink. Is that going to be weird when I'm attending social events? It's been fine during my life but I've never navigated a professional setting. Any advice would be appreciated.

Spent two summers at big firms where drinking was the most important part of each social event, and each summer one of the other summer associates was an observant Muslim. They made it known pretty early on, still went to all the firm social events and looked like they were having a good time (which was the key I believe), and didn't suffer socially or work-wise for it. I've read elsewhere that the secret is to always have a drink in your hand, even if it's just club soda w/lime.


Second this. Summered with several Mormons, and there are several others in our office. They all went to the social events and had cokes, or water or whatever. Not on a coast, so maybe it is a bigger deal there, but no one really cared. If offered a drink, just politely decline or order something non-alcoholic.

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Re: Advice on being a good summer associate?

Postby RaceJudicata » Thu Mar 30, 2017 12:18 pm

Itiswritten wrote:I don't drink. Is that going to be weird when I'm attending social events? It's been fine during my life but I've never navigated a professional setting. Any advice would be appreciated.


Being a non-drinker will only be a deal (let alone a big deal) if you make it one.

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Re: Advice on being a good summer associate?

Postby elendinel » Thu Mar 30, 2017 12:28 pm

deepseapartners wrote:
Itiswritten wrote:I don't drink. Is that going to be weird when I'm attending social events? It's been fine during my life but I've never navigated a professional setting. Any advice would be appreciated.

Spent two summers at big firms where drinking was the most important part of each social event, and each summer one of the other summer associates was an observant Muslim. They made it known pretty early on, still went to all the firm social events and looked like they were having a good time (which was the key I believe), and didn't suffer socially or work-wise for it. I've read elsewhere that the secret is to always have a drink in your hand, even if it's just club soda w/lime.


Thirded. Have a soda with lime the whole time; people won't feel weird, and will assume you are "participating" as long as you're holding something.

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Re: Advice on being a good summer associate?

Postby RaceJudicata » Thu Mar 30, 2017 3:12 pm

elendinel wrote:
deepseapartners wrote:
Itiswritten wrote:I don't drink. Is that going to be weird when I'm attending social events? It's been fine during my life but I've never navigated a professional setting. Any advice would be appreciated.

Spent two summers at big firms where drinking was the most important part of each social event, and each summer one of the other summer associates was an observant Muslim. They made it known pretty early on, still went to all the firm social events and looked like they were having a good time (which was the key I believe), and didn't suffer socially or work-wise for it. I've read elsewhere that the secret is to always have a drink in your hand, even if it's just club soda w/lime.


Thirded. Have a soda with lime the whole time; people won't feel weird, and will assume you are "participating" as long as you're holding something.


I'd go a step further -- no need to 'pretend' drink - have whatever the hell you please. If someone asks if you want a drink, politely decline or politely say "no thanks, I don't drink."

Like anything else summer associate related... don't over think things, and be yourself.

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Re: Advice on being a good summer associate?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Mar 30, 2017 4:05 pm

Thanks for all of the responses. You've definitely put me at ease.

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Re: Advice on being a good summer associate?

Postby LurkerTurnedMember » Thu Mar 30, 2017 4:35 pm

Your summer is likely gonna be an about equal mix of three things. First, you will do a lot of training. This includes the first whole day or two where you just sit in a room with a lot of other summer associates and learn about your firm's interface (how and where to save files, how to find assignments over the summer, talks from lawyers at particular groups and likely managing partners and hiring people, etc). It's basically the logistics of the firm and the summer. After the first whole day or two, you'll likely have additional meet ups like this throughout the beginning of the summer.

Second, you'll be going to a lot of events. I mean a lot. And they vary from cocktail drinks and the like to even weekend trips to places depending on how baller your firm is. You must go to the vast majority of these if not all. It's a way to show face, let them know you're normal, and network with fellow SAs and lawyers at the firm. You'll get tired of the events (ugh! Another cracker and cheese wine tasting in the lobby!? Lol) but go to each one. It's all free and it gives you a break anyway.

Third, you'll do some work. But the work won't be significant. Don't even plan on doing work for an actual client. It'll be like, "write a memo on this issue for me because I'm a partner and I'm just interested in this." Or, "find the cases in X jurisdiction citing this case and give me a short summary for each." Here are some tips. Make sure you take these assignments seriously! They might be legally inconsequential, but they let the firm know your work ethic, work product, etc. So make sure you get it back to them on time, make it look good (bluebook and everything), make it well researched and organized. Just do a good job. Also, show face in your department. Come in early and don't be the first to leave unless there's an event. Spend a few nights late at the office (10 pm) to really bring the message home. Also, be excited about the assignments, always bring a pen and legal pad.

You'll do fine. Most of it is events and hanging out. There's some work but maybe 7 to 10 small projects tops for the whole summer.

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Re: Advice on being a good summer associate?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Mar 30, 2017 8:37 pm

LurkerTurnedMember wrote:Your summer is likely gonna be an about equal mix of three things. First, you will do a lot of training. This includes the first whole day or two where you just sit in a room with a lot of other summer associates and learn about your firm's interface (how and where to save files, how to find assignments over the summer, talks from lawyers at particular groups and likely managing partners and hiring people, etc). It's basically the logistics of the firm and the summer. After the first whole day or two, you'll likely have additional meet ups like this throughout the beginning of the summer.

Second, you'll be going to a lot of events. I mean a lot. And they vary from cocktail drinks and the like to even weekend trips to places depending on how baller your firm is. You must go to the vast majority of these if not all. It's a way to show face, let them know you're normal, and network with fellow SAs and lawyers at the firm. You'll get tired of the events (ugh! Another cracker and cheese wine tasting in the lobby!? Lol) but go to each one. It's all free and it gives you a break anyway.

Third, you'll do some work. But the work won't be significant. Don't even plan on doing work for an actual client. It'll be like, "write a memo on this issue for me because I'm a partner and I'm just interested in this." Or, "find the cases in X jurisdiction citing this case and give me a short summary for each." Here are some tips. Make sure you take these assignments seriously! They might be legally inconsequential, but they let the firm know your work ethic, work product, etc. So make sure you get it back to them on time, make it look good (bluebook and everything), make it well researched and organized. Just do a good job. Also, show face in your department. Come in early and don't be the first to leave unless there's an event. Spend a few nights late at the office (10 pm) to really bring the message home. Also, be excited about the assignments, always bring a pen and legal pad.

You'll do fine. Most of it is events and hanging out. There's some work but maybe 7 to 10 small projects tops for the whole summer.


Not OP but thank you for the practical advice/ preview. As a first-gen everything, this makes me less scared.

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Re: Advice on being a good summer associate?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Mar 31, 2017 3:31 pm

will firms give July 3rd off? 4th is on a tuesday, I imagine a ton of people take vacations..any input?

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Re: Advice on being a good summer associate?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Mar 31, 2017 4:20 pm

As a non-drinking former drug addict who doesn't like small talk I can tell you that not drinking at firm events that are centered around alcohol is boring but not problematic. Just relax and be pleasant and no one will think twice.

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Re: Advice on being a good summer associate?

Postby EncyclopediaOrange » Fri Mar 31, 2017 4:41 pm

Anonymous User wrote:will firms give July 3rd off? 4th is on a tuesday, I imagine a ton of people take vacations..any input?


The firm I'm going to this summer is giving us the day.

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Re: Advice on being a good summer associate?

Postby lavarman84 » Fri Mar 31, 2017 11:56 pm

Go to events, be personable and likable, and act enthusiastic. As for work, do your best with it. Make sure the writing is polished. Try not to be overly wordy. Turn things in on time. Be communicative with the lawyers who give you assignments (but recognize that their time is valuable).

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Re: Advice on being a good summer associate?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Apr 01, 2017 1:06 am

LurkerTurnedMember wrote:Spend a few nights late at the office (10 pm) to really bring the message home.


Everyone in my summer class talked shit about the person who did this, YMMV.

Edit: with the exception of a handful of firms, there is literally nothing you will do as a summer at most firms that will require you to stay until 10PM in the office. You will stand out if you do this on "few nights" and not necessarily in a good way like this dude is suggesting.

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Re: Advice on being a good summer associate?

Postby LaLiLuLeLo » Sat Apr 01, 2017 1:49 am

We have a couple associates who are notorious assholes and dump last minute work on summers when there is supposed to be a cool event that night. They do it so they can attend, which is super fucked up. Keep in mind, the summer is for *you* and the firm is putting all these events on for you. If you're unsure whether you can attend an event because you have an assignment, it's okay to ask whether you can go. If you suspsect you're working with a dickface associate as in the above scenario, don't be afraid to ask the work/assignment coordinator whether you can attend the event. 99% of work you'll be given isn't vital anyway.

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Re: Advice on being a good summer associate?

Postby nick417 » Sat Apr 01, 2017 10:19 am

LaLiLuLeLo wrote:We have a couple associates who are notorious assholes and dump last minute work on summers when there is supposed to be a cool event that night. They do it so they can attend, which is super fucked up. Keep in mind, the summer is for *you* and the firm is putting all these events on for you. If you're unsure whether you can attend an event because you have an assignment, it's okay to ask whether you can go. If you suspsect you're working with a dickface associate as in the above scenario, don't be afraid to ask the work/assignment coordinator whether you can attend the event. 99% of work you'll be given isn't vital anyway.


I'd have to imagine this scenario is the exception. I can only speak for my firm, but that associate would be in hot water if they tried to pull that.

The other fact you have to accept as an SA: the work you do is meaningless. Even though you are a law student, you are not a lawyer. Thus you are at best an inexperienced paralegal. Is the client going to pay for an inexperienced paralegal, probably not. I would never miss an event because of an assignment.

As for drinking: do what you think is comfortable and be yourself. Have a spine and show that you can think for yourself. Our first SA event, everyone was drinking wine (I do not drink wine or liquor). I declined and asked for a beer. The world did not end. Be yourself and eat/drink what you want too. Anyone who judges you has problems.

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Re: Advice on being a good summer associate?

Postby AT9 » Sat Apr 01, 2017 4:26 pm

If a partner (or an associate) asks you to meet and talk about an issue that you've already written up as a memo or e-mail or something, assume the partner hasn't even looked at it and won't read it. Know the details of everything you've used to support your memo (i.e., more than just your basic conclusion and reasoning). I made the mistake of not doing that and came across as a bumbling idiot in front of two important partners during my first week.

This probably falls under the "do competent work" category of general advice, but thought I'd offer this tip for dumb SAs like me.

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Re: Advice on being a good summer associate?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Apr 01, 2017 4:32 pm

Focus on the person you're working with, not the partner or the matter itself. Your goal isn't to crack the case or even to do great work. It's to make the person writing your review say you did great work. The one exception to this is written work, which may be used to analyze your writing skills.

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Re: Advice on being a good summer associate?

Postby AT9 » Sat Apr 01, 2017 4:32 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
LurkerTurnedMember wrote:Spend a few nights late at the office (10 pm) to really bring the message home.


Everyone in my summer class talked shit about the person who did this, YMMV.

Edit: with the exception of a handful of firms, there is literally nothing you will do as a summer at most firms that will require you to stay until 10PM in the office. You will stand out if you do this on "few nights" and not necessarily in a good way like this dude is suggesting.


Yeah idk if this advice is serious, but I'd echo the above. Don't stay late unless (1) you've talked to associates who say this is actually expected (unlikely) or (2) you actually do have an urgent deadline on work that needs to be done. Staying late as a summer without any need for it will make you look like a weirdo.

On that note, just ask your associate mentor or someone in the know who can tell you what times you're expected to be there.

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Re: Advice on being a good summer associate?

Postby RaceJudicata » Sat Apr 01, 2017 4:34 pm

AT9 wrote:If a partner (or an associate) asks you to meet and talk about an issue that you've already written up as a memo or e-mail or something, assume the partner hasn't even looked at it and won't read it. Know the details of everything you've used to support your memo (i.e., more than just your basic conclusion and reasoning). I made the mistake of not doing that and came across as a bumbling idiot in front of two important partners during my first week.

This probably falls under the "do competent work" category of general advice, but thought I'd offer this tip for dumb SAs like me.


This is very good advice. My partner mentor clued me into this on week 1, and without the advice I woulda seemed unprepared on more than one occasion.

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Re: Advice on being a good summer associate?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Apr 02, 2017 4:46 am

Anonymous User wrote:
LurkerTurnedMember wrote:Spend a few nights late at the office (10 pm) to really bring the message home.


Everyone in my summer class talked shit about the person who did this, YMMV.

Edit: with the exception of a handful of firms, there is literally nothing you will do as a summer at most firms that will require you to stay until 10PM in the office. You will stand out if you do this on "few nights" and not necessarily in a good way like this dude is suggesting.


I suggested that. Staying late a few nights (as in 2 or so) out of the whole summer program (about 70 days) is good. No one with half a brain would make fun of you. If the summer associates at my firm made fun of another for staying late 2 or 3 nights, I'd think less of them cause it seems like they're already complaining about work. And I'd mention that during the review process when we determine offers.

This is really important: your whole summer will be made to seem like fun, games, rainbows, and butterflies. There will be ton of events, not a lot of work, and everything will be laid back. But don't for a second think it's ok for you to go with it and treat things just as carelessly. The whole summer is an interview. Treat it like an interview. It's more than ok to relax and enjoy the events, but don't be that guy/girl who gets tricked into thinking that's how firm life really is so he/she thinks it's all a party and anyone treating it otherwise is a loser. Usually, in big firms, you'll get an offer at the end no matter what unless you punch a partner in the face or something. But you should still treat it like an interview, especially in smaller firms where 100% offer rate isn't a given.

Edit: Although you might not get assignments that require staying at the office until 10, you'll likely have law review/journal work over the summer, and so many firm events that it'll eat up your time. So staying late a few nights to make sure the work you're turning in is good and on time, and to show facetime, won't hurt at all. I know someone who summered in my class and he took it too lightly. He got an offer of course but was walked out the door essentially at a first convenient chance the firm got, only a few months after he started.

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Re: Advice on being a good summer associate?

Postby umichman » Sun Apr 02, 2017 10:09 am

Anonymous User wrote:
LurkerTurnedMember wrote:Spend a few nights late at the office (10 pm) to really bring the message home.


Everyone in my summer class talked shit about the person who did this, YMMV.

Edit: with the exception of a handful of firms, there is literally nothing you will do as a summer at most firms that will require you to stay until 10PM in the office. You will stand out if you do this on "few nights" and not necessarily in a good way like this dude is suggesting.


We had a couple people who did this. The head of the group actually yelled at the associates who assigned the SA work because the associates are supposed to tell the SA to leave at 5:30 or whatever. Then a couple of the partners and associates I went to lunches with talked shit about these 2 or 3 SAs (they should have asked) and the associates that forgot to tell them to leave the rest of the summer.

Also recruitment gets really pissed at the assignor if you miss and event to do work, so always ask whether you should stay and finish the project or go to the event and finish tmrw.

Remember the associates for the most part were summer associates very recently. They know what is going through your head and for the most part will do what they can to help you out if you just ask.

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Re: Advice on being a good summer associate?

Postby PeanutsNJam » Sun Apr 02, 2017 11:41 am

Lol @ any associate who would trust a summer with their substantive work so they can attend an event

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Re: Advice on being a good summer associate?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Apr 02, 2017 3:24 pm

umichman wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
LurkerTurnedMember wrote:Spend a few nights late at the office (10 pm) to really bring the message home.


Everyone in my summer class talked shit about the person who did this, YMMV.

Edit: with the exception of a handful of firms, there is literally nothing you will do as a summer at most firms that will require you to stay until 10PM in the office. You will stand out if you do this on "few nights" and not necessarily in a good way like this dude is suggesting.


We had a couple people who did this. The head of the group actually yelled at the associates who assigned the SA work because the associates are supposed to tell the SA to leave at 5:30 or whatever. Then a couple of the partners and associates I went to lunches with talked shit about these 2 or 3 SAs (they should have asked) and the associates that forgot to tell them to leave the rest of the summer.

Also recruitment gets really pissed at the assignor if you miss and event to do work, so always ask whether you should stay and finish the project or go to the event and finish tmrw.

Remember the associates for the most part were summer associates very recently. They know what is going through your head and for the most part will do what they can to help you out if you just ask.


I remember when I was a SA, I had a good number of projects and events. I got annoyed a bit (but of course never showed it) at the associate that would always come by and say around 5 or so, "what are you doing here still? Go home man." And I got annoyed at all the events because as soon as I'd get in the groove of doing work I'd have to get up and do crackers and cheese or some networking event. And I got annoyed at things like this for two reasons. First, I'm a workaholic by nature so when I have work, my initial instinct is to work work work and get it done, and then do other stuff. So I naturally get annoyed when I have to stop work to do some event that small and inconsequential. Second, when I tried doing what other people here said (follow the associates' advice, go to events and not stay late, etc), during my mid summer review I was told my work product was really good but I have trouble prioritizing work over non-work stuff. It wasn't said outright but i took this to mean I should learn to work more on my assignments and maybe not go to some events. So I understand the general atmosphere of the SA program, but staying a couple nights to finish your work or get a lot of it out the way early isn't a bad idea. Actually, I sometimes get tired of people so opposed to that cause of my natural workaholic perspective.



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