Less ‘mentally taxing’ than social events?

Things have definitely changed since the summer associate days of yore. There are no more Aquagirls, no more lesbianic lip-locks, and no more Katten kreeps. These days, we’re looking at a group of law students who were so scared about being no-offered that they actually wished their firms would’ve worked them harder instead of forcing them to have mandatory fun.

At least that seems to be the conclusion to be drawn from the American Lawyer’s 2012 Summer Associate Survey. Am Law polled 4,138 interns at 138 firms about their summer experiences and used the results to rank 111 summer programs. Truth be told, it seems like they were too anxious to really enjoy their time as summers, because when asked to rank their “worry level” on a 1-to-5 scale, the average was higher than it has been since 2009′s summer of discontent.

But even so, the overall rankings were still pretty good. If you’re a law student trying to figure out where to spend your summer, you’re probably asking: which law firms came out with the highest scores?

Here are the top ten summer programs, as ranked by American Lawyer (click to enlarge):

Our congratulations go out to Cozen O’Connor for clinching this year’s top spot; with the firm’s rise to number one, we imagine that there weren’t any “huge [bleep]holes” present during their summer program. In fact, all of these fine firms deserve a pat on the back for their near-perfect scores, especially the ones that managed to climb to the top of the rankings ladder — Duane Morris, Schulte Roth (they definitely scored points for their epic go-karting trip), and Wiley Rein. You can see how all 111 firms ranked over at Am Law.

Now let’s talk about all of the nervous Nellies who comprised the summer class of 2012. According to Sara Randazzo over at Am Law Daily, a “vocal minority” of respondents reported that they wanted fun to be de-emphasized, with greater attention paid to work assignments. Perhaps all work and no play would make a summer associate… less worried about being no-offered? From Am Law:

Asked specifically whether they worried about getting job offers, this year’s summers expressed a slightly greater level of concern (3.98) than their 2011 counterparts (3.89). Though small, the increase is notable mainly because nearly 84 percent of respondents said in response to a separate survey question that they already had or expected to receive permanent job offers from the firms where they spent the summer.

Of course they were worried! We hate to continually beat this dead horse, but 2012 brought the biggest collapse of a law firm in U.S history. And even though a good number of Biglaw firms had 100 percent offer rates this year, these summers were rightly scared about being no-offered — just look at what happened over at Winston & Strawn. The firm’s offer rate in the Chicago office was less than 70 percent.

At the end of the day, despite all the worry, it seems that all summer associates had a good overall experience. Even the lowest-ranked program — that of Cravath, in case you’re wondering — still emerged with a satisfaction score of 4.193 (on a 5.0 scale).

So, dear summer associates, please try to stop worrying. Now’s the time to sit back, relax, and savor the fact that you’ve got an offer for full-time employment — when so many of your law school colleagues are putting the “bar” back in barista.

2012 Summer Associate Survey: Overall Rankings [American Lawyer]
2012 Summer Associates Survey: Cut the Fun and Put Us to Work [Am Law Daily]


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