Thursday, April 26, 2012

"Avoid the Summer Associate Pitfalls"

Good advice via the New York Law Journal:

These are challenging times for the legal market. The market for summer associates has retracted significantly from its peak in the 2006 to 2008 time period. Most firms have not gone back to the size of the summer associate classes they used to hire and are remaining conservative with their class sizes for the 2012 summer and beyond. Consequently, becoming a summer associate and obtaining an offer is highly competitive. Therefore, you have to approach your summer associate position with a healthy amount of trepidation and be the best version of yourself at all times. Your mere presence at the employer for the summer will not guarantee an offer—it has to be earned. The standard length of a summer program (eight to 12 weeks) is not a lot of time to prove being worthy of a permanent offer. To make the most of this experience, here are few things to keep in mind during the summer.

Be Social, but Not Too Social

A summer associate program is almost never without a social component. The social activities may be presented to you as optional, but in the interest of your future employment, these activities are actually mandatory. If we want to distill the entire purpose of a summer associate program down to one word, it might be "fit." The entire purpose of social activities as a part of a summer associate program is to integrate "Summers" into the culture of the firm and make sure they are a good "fit."

. . . .

Work Hard

This seems like an almost laughable thing to mention. Of course, Summers are going to work hard during the few weeks they will spend with the firm, right? Summer programs are rigorous programs designed to give a real world experience of what being an associate at that firm really means. Summers need to do excellent work at all times. The first thing to do is be prepared. When asked to go into a lawyer's office to take instruction on an assignment, show up with pad and pen ready to take notes. Appear eager and pay attention. Lawyers (as most people) hate having to waste time and repeat themselves. Summers must manage and juggle assignments professionally.

One of the biggest complaints from partners is that young associates often do not know how to prioritize their work.
. . . .

Find Champions

In other words, get one or more mentors.

Play Nice

Always remember that there are people lined up for your position. If you are difficult in any way, the employer simply won't keep you. No one wants to work with someone who is nasty or difficult. Keep in mind that your attitude towards support and administrative staff counts.
. . . .

Read the rest here.


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