How demanding is a summer associate's job?

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chicoalto0649
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How demanding is a summer associate's job?

Postby chicoalto0649 » Tue Nov 24, 2009 4:45 pm

Much of the discussion on this board centers around law students (2ls and 3ls) looking for summer work, however very little is said about the kind of work they do/how demanding their job is once (if) they get one. So what I am wondering is being a summer associate really just a test of who has good decorum, who can show up on time, and who can do a good job of not pissing off partners and other attorneys in the firm, or will a SA face very demanding challenges during their three months? How hard is it to screw up at a place you summer and if you do screw up will this destroy your chances at future employment at other firms?

Thanks!

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kittenmittons
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Re: How demanding is a summer associate's job?

Postby kittenmittons » Tue Nov 24, 2009 5:04 pm

This is an example of what you should not do:

--LinkRemoved--

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rondemarino
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Re: How demanding is a summer associate's job?

Postby rondemarino » Tue Nov 24, 2009 5:08 pm

ITE, you should be busting your ass as much as possible.

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jchoggan
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Re: How demanding is a summer associate's job?

Postby jchoggan » Tue Nov 24, 2009 5:11 pm

SA positions used to be a recruiting tool. Now they're a proving ground. From what I've heard, SAs work pretty hard (depending on the firm), and their performance has a much greater bearing on whether they actually get hired or not than they used to.

Bottom line: be prepared to work like a lawyer, not just stand around and be polite. "Decorum" should be a gimme. Don't F up like the ATL article says.

tumbleweed664
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Re: How demanding is a summer associate's job?

Postby tumbleweed664 » Tue Nov 24, 2009 5:19 pm

"A. Unimpressed with the quality of the wine being served at the summer welcome dinner, summer associate orders a special bottle of wine. To make matters worse, summer associate charges the wine to the firm.

S. Summer associate visits Internet porn sites at the office.

R. Summer associate throws up after a firm cocktail party as a result of excess consumption of alcohol."

---

Wow, if the recession means these people are not summer associates, i think we just stumbled onto the silver lining.

(I know that isn't necessarily true, but it is nice to imagine interviewers having a douche-o-meter)

tumbleweed664
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Re: How demanding is a summer associate's job?

Postby tumbleweed664 » Tue Nov 24, 2009 5:20 pm

"H. Summer associate sleeps 12 hours a day during the firm’s three-day sailing trip."

Are you kidding me?

IStillPlayVideoGames
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Re: How demanding is a summer associate's job?

Postby IStillPlayVideoGames » Tue Nov 24, 2009 5:23 pm

tumbleweed664 wrote:"H. Summer associate sleeps 12 hours a day during the firm’s three-day sailing trip."

Are you kidding me?


In all fairness, I read this and thought "sea-sickness".

democrattotheend
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Re: How demanding is a summer associate's job?

Postby democrattotheend » Tue Nov 24, 2009 5:29 pm

Do summer associates usually work on weekends? I've heard from some people that summer associates have very normal hours, in stark contrast to the reality once they actually start working there. Does this vary by firm?

Anonymous User
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Re: How demanding is a summer associate's job?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Nov 24, 2009 5:55 pm

It depends quite a bit on the firm and what the economy is doing.

I worked crazy hard as a summer associate. Social events can be nice, but when on top of work, they can make for an exhausting day. I still remember one two-day stretch I had last summer:

Day 1:

6:00AM: Wake up
7:30AM: Formal breakfast with managing partner
9:30AM: Get to office
9:30AM-12:00PM: Furiously work on memo
12:00-1:30: Lunch with two partners
1:30-6:30: Resume furiously working on memo while struggling with food coma
6:30-7:30: Stressful meeting about a SA project that isn't going well
7:30-10:00PM: Dinner with Partner
10:00-1:30AM: Drinks with a partner (you really can't say no to a partner no matter how exhausted you are)
2:30AM: Finally get home and in bed

Day 2:

7:30 AM wake up
9:00AM get to office
9:00AM-3:00PM: Furiously work on memo while about to pass out. Lunch at desk.
3:00PM: Get the "fire drill" call RE the same project from yesterdays meeting
3:00PM-1:00AM Run around like headless chicken trying to get documents together, write documents, edit documents. Eat dinner at desk.
2:30AM: Finally get home

Total sleep hours for that 6 day week: about 25

As you can see, I didn't do all that many hours of "work" per se- but enough of these days in a row (while having to be "on" all the time) is insanely exhausting.
Last edited by Anonymous User on Tue Nov 24, 2009 6:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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nealric
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Re: How demanding is a summer associate's job?

Postby nealric » Tue Nov 24, 2009 5:59 pm

Do summer associates usually work on weekends? I've heard from some people that summer associates have very normal hours, in stark contrast to the reality once they actually start working there. Does this vary by firm?


I worked about half of the weekends. A few late-nights as well. I was on track to bill 2600 hours if I had stayed all year. Associates from the same firm told me they worked about 1/2 as many hours when they were summers.
Last edited by nealric on Tue Nov 24, 2009 6:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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BradyToMoss
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Re: How demanding is a summer associate's job?

Postby BradyToMoss » Tue Nov 24, 2009 6:37 pm

Anyone who isn't busting their ass this summer after what happened this past summer is making a huge mistake.

06072010
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Re: How demanding is a summer associate's job?

Postby 06072010 » Tue Nov 24, 2009 6:44 pm

I worked pretty hard and sometimes on the weekends. It wouldn't be that bad except the social events (I know, boohoo) were a huge time sink. The food coma is for real though. After one ridiculous lunch with steaks and chocolate cake, I could barely move.

When I worked from home on weekends I was far more productive. I'd say my normal hours were 9 to 7/8 ish. I only stayed super late a couple of times and only when I really had some pressing work. My firm was the kind of place where if you didn't have work, you should go home.

Anonymous User
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Re: How demanding is a summer associate's job?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Nov 24, 2009 7:49 pm

I remember working until 10 once this summer (and was told the next day that was not expected). Generally I was at the office 8-6:30. Never worked a weekend.

Was at a fairly large IP boutique. Also, it was 1L summer, so maybe that makes a difference.

Anonymous User
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Re: How demanding is a summer associate's job?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Nov 24, 2009 8:00 pm

I worked fairly hard last summer. My hours weren't brutal but I was very focused when I was in the office. I'd still socialize, but when I was in my office alone I did not screw around.

Projects were challenging. I showed up hung over once and it was miserable, I recommend trying to get solid sleep because I really needed it to do my best work. I'd generally worked 8:45 or so until 6 or 7. I really didn't have to deviate from this schedule much. There would be at least one social event per week where the hours would go later of course. I can't remember how much time I put in on weekends, but it was just minimal and more my choice.

My fellow summer associates generally worked more hours than me. I think I got partially got lucky with assignments, and partially was a bit more focused in the office. At my firm, the quality of our work was very important. There were no offers based upon work because the firm had to cut back total offers. This year will likely be less cut-throat because firms should have already cut back (unless the economy tanks again).

Nevertheless, I would work hard, be polite and be sociable. Cultivate connections with partners and associates if you find a connection. This doesn't mean kiss ass, it means making an effort to get to know the partners with whom you share common interests. Show that you are a team player.

Anonymous User
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Re: How demanding is a summer associate's job?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Nov 24, 2009 10:33 pm

I worked 40-45 hours a week. My firm definitely encouraged us not to overwork ourselves. That said:

1. There was def a group of summers who got into a weird silent competition with each other regarding who could stay the latest each night.

2. All of my friends at other firms worked way more. My firm is/was known for being one of those doing the very best in this economy.

And regardless, the most important thing is getting your assignments done on time and doing them well. You work however many hours it takes to do that.

Anonymous User
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Re: How demanding is a summer associate's job?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Nov 24, 2009 10:35 pm

Anonymous User wrote:the most important thing is getting your assignments done on time and doing them well. You work however many hours it takes to do that.

This. Some people work slow, some work fast.

Anonymous User
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Re: How demanding is a summer associate's job?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Nov 25, 2009 8:34 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I worked 40-45 hours a week. My firm definitely encouraged us not to overwork ourselves. That said:

1. There was def a group of summers who got into a weird silent competition with each other regarding who could stay the latest each night.

2. All of my friends at other firms worked way more. My firm is/was known for being one of those doing the very best in this economy.

And regardless, the most important thing is getting your assignments done on time and doing them well. You work however many hours it takes to do that.

I think I may have worked at the same firm as the poster quoted above. My hours were more like 45-50 hrs/wk, with occasional stretches where I'd put in more (e.g., if an big assignment was due). I shared an office with a fellow summer who worked longer hours than me, but not by a lot.

I agree that the bottom line was getting your work done (1) well and (2) on time. As long as you did this and didn't do anything totally abnornal, nobody seemed to care. The summers who had offices near lots of other summers did have some strange unspoken competition to not be the first to leave, but even that didn't seem to be a big deal based on what I observed.

As for the assignments themselves, some were very easy to get done quickly (meaning long lunches and short hours, since most attorneys didn't want stuff handed in early, as doing so would screw up timing for other assignments). Others, however, were really challenging--far moreso than anything I'd seen in school. On those, I'd work late and, on one or two occasions, on the weekend.

On the whole, though, SA work is not tough and the hours aren't bad at all. If you're at a firm that is doing well, the experience can be very relaxed and enjoyable.




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