This summer is not as thrilling for law students as summers past. Firms have tightened their belts, and the law students lucky enough to snag one of the few summer associate positions out there are not getting the royal treatment. Or they are, but now the royal treatment is defined as allowing summers to order anything they want off the McDonald’s Dollar Menu (“All the McChickens and baked apple pies you can eat, 3Ls! But get it to go. There’s work to be done.”).
The Philadelphia Inquirer laments the decline of the summer associate experience:
The programs themselves, with trips abroad and lavish entertaining, could seem more like summer enrichment for precocious college students than real employment. But as a general rule, that sort of treatment is a thing of the past.
More typical is the summer program at the Wilmington office of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom L.L.P., where Temple second-year Nick Mozal is spending his summer in corporate law. Mozal said there has been some entertaining, but the big event so far has been a night at a Phillies game.
Well, it is Wilmington. Are there better options than that?
But even in much more glamorous Philadelphia, the summer experience is lackluster:
James Lawlor, a Reed Smith partner who recruits and hires summer associates, said the firm has been doing less entertaining of summer associates, and when it does, it is more likely to schedule events at the firm’s Center City offices rather than at costly restaurants.
“We took away some of the bells and whistles,” Lawlor said.
Not all firms have silenced their bells and thrown out their whistles, though. After the jump, check out this year’s contenders for best summer associate event. And vote for the firm that should take home the shorter and smaller prize…
Here are the contenders for best event of the summer:
- Quinn Emanuel: Firm-sponsored hiking trip up Mount St. Helens. (Bonus: If you make it back down the mountain, you get an offer.)
- Paul Hastings: Dinner at a partner’s house in a posh neighborhood, with different street food trucks parked in the driveway, dispensing delicacies and blasting music. (Negative: Summer associates aren’t deemed respectable enough to be served dinner inside the house.)
- Schulte Roth & Zabel: DJ School, where they teach you to mix and be a DJ. (Bonus: If you don’t get an offer, you can work house parties.)
- Irell & Manella: Firm-sponsored weekend trip to Catalina Island off the southern California coast, including hotel rooms, food, drink, kayaking, biking, glass-bottom boat tours, zip-lining, mini golf, arcade tokens. (Bonus: Some summers scored an invite to a partner’s yacht that he keeps docked near Catalina. Potential Negative: Seeing colleagues in bathing suits.)
- Davis Polk & Wardwell: Trapeze School and rock climbing. (Hidden agenda: The firm can make sure their prospective associates’ bodies are well-toned and live up to DPW’s hottie standards.)
Of course, universally, the best event for any summer associate this year is this one:
Gotta admit, the best event this year is likely to be getting an offer to actually start work in Sept. 2011.
That’s not an option in our contest, though. Which event do you think is the best of 2010?
Philadelphia-area law firms cutting back on summer internships [Philadelphia Inquirer]