Ed. note: This is the latest installment in a series of monthly posts, brought to you by Corporette’s Kat Griffin, which will deal with topical business and lifestyle issues that present themselves in the world of Biglaw. Send your ideas for columns to us here.
One of my favorite (and earliest) posts to write was about how to end your summer associateship on a high note. I still agree with most of my advice therein — getting in that last bit of targeted networking (lunch, coffee), being gracious with thank-you presents to your secretary and the HR department, saying goodbye to people in person — as well as my post-summer advice, such as keeping in touch with people you liked via email, and focusing on the positive parts of your experience once you’re back at school. There are a few more tips I’ll add to those ending their summers soon…
- Look professional. This is an ongoing topic for us at Corporette, of course, but this becomes even more important as your last day approaches. Particularly in this economic environment, you don’t want something like an iffy fashion choice to count against you if a decision has not yet been made. If you know when your big meeting is where you might, presumably, get a job offer, consider wearing your interview suit to the meeting.
- Decide before you go to the meeting whether you want to accept the job offer on the spot — or what questions will help you decide the answer. As my friends here at ATL have noted, layoffs are looming large in many corners of the legal world, so if you should be so lucky to get an offer, do a happy dance, and strongly consider taking it.
- As with any advice on gracefully ending a job, make sure that you close projects and loopholes. It is very important, of course, that you finish all of your assignments (and finish them well), but if there is a rare case where something is unfinished, you need to write a crystal clear memo explaining why it is unfinished. (For example: The decision hasn’t been handed down yet, but is expected within the next two weeks. The documents were in French, and XYZ Service was taking longer than expected.)
- Consider using LinkedIn to connect with associates and partners you worked with and were friendly with over the summer. A lot can change in the time between the end of this summer and when you (hopefully) begin work, and now is a great time to solidify connections.
- Do your best to clean out whatever stuff you’ve accumulated at your office before the last day — that way you’ll be free to attend whatever happy hour ensues, unencumbered by a huge box.
Readers, what are your tips for ending a summer associateship on a high note? What gaffes have you seen people make?
Kat Griffin is the founder, publisher, and editor-in-chief of Corporette. She received her JD with honors from Georgetown University Law Center, and then returned to New York to work at Cahill Gordon & Reindel LLP, where she worked as a litigator for six years; she then worked as a staff attorney at the Media Law Resource Center for two years. You can contact Kat here.