Now that 2011 summer programs have officially come to an end at Biglaw firms everywhere, law students are returning to their schools a little less naïve about working in Biglaw, a little bloated from all the free food, and seriously missing their fat summer associate paychecks. But how hard did they have to work, and how well were they fed on the firm’s dime?
Here at the Career Center, we know that summer programs are about much more than numbers and stats. So we surveyed summer associates at the top law firms in the country to find out about all aspects of their summer experience. Based on these survey results, brought to you by Lateral Link, we have completely updated the summer associate program sections of the Career Center’s firm profiles.
As befits the end of any school year, we’re also handing out some summer program superlatives to commemorate the 2011 summer class. Click on the links after the jump to see if the firm you work at, or want to work at, made the cut….
View the interview as an athletic contest that requires energy, preparation, and constant flexibility. You will turn the tables and impress the employer with your knowledge of her firm. Even the toughest question (about bad grades and the like) can be handled with aplomb. The lawyer who projects an image of relaxed self-confidence will carry the day. Think for a moment about the differences between nervous, high energy politicians (George Bush “41″ and Michael Dukakis) and relaxed and self confident politicians (Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton). In politics, law, or medicine, a good bedside manner is critical to care for citizens, clients and patients.
You have begun a multi-decade career as a lawyer after investing three years and a small fortune. Just as the first year of law school was a demanding mélange of information, chaos, rumor, fact, stress, and progress, so too will be the process of finding the right place to continue your career. From the beginning of the process through the final decision, the student who understands the prospective employer will compete more effectively.
How can you become better prepared for an interview? Read on, after the jump….
Now that the summer is almost over, the Career Center will be switching gears and posting tips and advice on the most magical time of the year for law students — On-Campus Interviews (OCI). In the next few weeks, law firms will be dropping down the chimneys of law schools across the country, giving summer clerkship offers to good little boys and girls. Obviously, you need the grades and class rank to be initially placed on the “Good List,” but to remain on that list once firms are “checking it twice,” it is important to be prepared when firms are “gonna find out who is naughty or nice.”
Now enough with the Christmas puns and on to the first OCI Tips post, brought to you by Lateral Link’sFrank Kimball, legal recruiter and former Biglaw hiring partner….
It is the end of the summer and it happened: NO OFFER! Looking back at your summer you are completely caught off-guard. You kissed the right butts, you avoided grabbing the wrong butts, you chewed with your mouth closed, you only got blackout drunk twice, and you even managed to turn in a memo or two that even had footnotes. What went wrong?
Once upon a time, you had to make out with a partner’s wife, send a firm-wide racial joke, and charge over $1,000 on the firm’s bar tab to be “no offered” –- and even then, you would at least get a soft offer that you could show off during 3L OCI. In the new economy of today, “no offers” are much more frequent, and are less about the individual, and more about the firms themselves. While the stigma of being “no offered” reflects less on your capabilities as a Biglaw associate, it still stings, and you are still without a job at graduation.
If you are hit by this truck, and want to learn how deal with the disappointment of a “no offer,” follow the advice of Lateral Link’sFrank Kimball, legal recruiter and former Biglaw hiring partner, after the jump….
In this week’s Career Center Summer Associate Tips Series, Lateral Link’sFrank Kimball, an expert recruiter and former Biglaw hiring partner, discusses the importance of evaluating your summer associate offer.
Succeeding in a summer program means more than receiving an offer of employment. While receiving an offer is probably the most important objective of a summer program, you have many more responsibilities. First, you must understand the fit between you and the firm, you and a practice area, you and the city, and you and the profession. That you are able to receive an offer of employment does not validate the wisdom of your choice.
Too often the summer zips by in a fog of assignments, reviews, baseball games, dinners at partners’ homes, and cocktail parties. You are making a very important decision. The law firm is not your fiduciary, and your parents cannot make this choice for you. There is no automatic next or right step. Only you can decide about fit, temperament, tempo, and style of practice.
If you’re bummed about having to shelve your plans for a nice tropical vacation this summer, you’re not alone. According to 43% of survey respondents, this summer is turning out to be busier than the rest of the year.
The top reasons cited for the increased billables are that partners are bringing in more business (63%) and the economy is improving (42%). Some of the other reasons, however, are not as upbeat: respondents report having to pick up the slack for other associates who left their firm voluntarily or involuntarily (28%), or who went on vacation (15%).
Another 30% of survey respondents say that this summer has been slower than other months (while the remaining 27% of respondents report that their workload is about the same as the rest of the year).
Why the work slowdown? Which firms and practice areas are turning up the heat this summer? An which ones are cooling things down?
The summer months can be a mixed bag at Biglaw firms. Some firms are incredibly busy, with trials and deals heating up at the same time. Other firms experience a work slowdown, as partners go on vacation, but try to maintain a façade of being busy while the summer associates are still around.
Now that we’re well into the summer, have you noticed a difference in your work flow compared to the rest of the year? Take our short Career Center survey, brought to you by Lateral Link, and tell us how busy you’ve really been this summer and why (your responses are kept completely confidential). Then check back later this week for the survey results.
So how do firms decide how many summer associates will get permanent offers? Why do some firms have high offer rates, while others tread closer to the 50% offer range? The law firm recruiting process is very similar to the rush process of fraternities and sororities. There are a ton of drinking and “rush events” that summer associates partake in as law firms try to woo in new associates; but on the flip side, summer associates still have to “prove themselves worthy” enough to be accepted in the Brotherhood of Six-Figure Salaries or in the Sisterhood of Big Law Prestige.
Unlike sororities, you will not have to strip down to your underwear as current members take black sharpies and draw marks on the parts of your body that can use some “improvement.” Rest assured, however, that you will still have to work to impress the people at your summer law firm to keep the number of black sharpie marks on your file to a minimum, and ultimately secure that coveted permanent offer….
Last week we discussed the art of receiving feedback from your firm. The coin of feedback has two sides — praise and criticism. You learn more from the latter than from the former. If you are a solid citizen who is committed and enthusiastic, you can learn great deal from constructive criticism. You must understand why it is given and what it means. In this week’s Career Center Summer Associate Tips Series, Lateral Link’sFrank Kimball, an expert recruiter and former Biglaw hiring partner, discusses how to best handle criticism over the summer.
Criticism is usually well-intended. Firms want you to succeed; if you are bright, well-liked, and energetic, the natural human instinct takes over. The partners running the summer program want to run a successful program. Experienced lawyers love to find new lawyers who they can bring into their groups or teams. That, in one respect, is what the summer program is all about. Criticism is not delivered in the abstract. It is delivered (1) on the spot when you have made a mistake, (2) at a quieter moment during the project when the assigning attorney has a moment to breathe, or (3) during the regular review process.
Some lawyers are just unpleasant or angry people. Usually, however, the lawyer is angry about your mistake because it disrupted his or her schedule, confused his client, screwed up an issue in a brief, or otherwise made his professional life unpleasant. The lawyer might also be angry because it was his or her fault for not providing enough instruction or sufficient oversight (but don’t you point this out). Depersonalize your reaction and learn from it. Contain your own hostility, rage, anger, and other emotional reactions. Do not head to your office in tears, vent your emotions to other summer associates, or storm off into professional oblivion. At the end of the day, run five miles or bike around the lake. Go to the gym and beat the heck out of a punching bag. Get on Above the Law and yell at Elie for a spelling mistake in one of his posts.
For more tips on handling criticism and making the most out of your summer clerkship experience, click here. For additional career insights, as well as profiles of individual law firms, check out the Career Center.
Welcome back to school, summer associates –- well, not yet — but many of your summer clerkships are coming to an end. With the scent of sweet, sweet money still lingering in the air since spring bonuses were announced, Biglaw summer associate programs are roaring back to life –- or are they?
Are partners partying like it’s 2007, or groveling before their clients like it’s 2009? Are full-time offers being passed out like candy, or hoarded like the world’s last Twinkie? Are future associates (gasp!) no longer going to be subject to deferred start dates, or is your start date contingent upon a group hug between the Democrats and Republicans?
If you are a 2011 summer associate, let us know if it’s okay to go ahead and pop the bubbly by filling out a short survey (as always, responses will be kept strictly confidential), sponsored by Lateral Link.
Watch to find out what some of our subscribers received in their May box!
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We currently have a number of active openings for associate roles at US and UK firms in HK / China, Singapore and two new in-house openings. As always, please feel free to reach out to us at email@example.com in order to get details of current openings in Asia, as well as to discuss the Asia markets in general and what we expect for openings later this year. Our Evan Jowers and Robert Kinney will be in Beijing the week of March 25 and Evan Jowers will be in Hong Kong the week of April 1, if you would like to meet them in person.
The US associate openings we have in law firms are in the usual areas of M&A, cap markets, FCPA / white collar litigation, finance, and project finance. The most urgent of our top tier (top 15 US or magic circle) law firm openings in Asia (among many other firm openings that we have in Asia) are as follows:
• 2nd to 5th year mandarin fluent M&A associates needed in Beijing and Hong Kong at several firms;
• Korean fluent 2nd to 4th year cap markets associate needed in Hong Kong;
• 2nd to 5th year Japanese fluent M&A associates needed in Tokyo;
• 4th to 6th year mandarin fluent cap markets associate needed in Hong Kong;
• 2nd to 4th year M&A / cap markets mix associate needed in Singapore.
The last time I flapped my wings your way, I tried to make at least enough noise about your mobile phone to make you more than a little bit uncomfortable. I hope I did. If enough of us become anxious enough about the known and unknown unknowns and knowns in our mobile phones, then we can start making wise decisions about how to manage that information and its resultant investigations.
Today, I’d like to put a finer point on the last installment’s topic by asking a question that seemed to catch most attendees off-guard at a conference panel that I moderated last week: is there discoverable personal information in a mobile app? Our panelists’ answer was a uniform “yes” with one stating that, if he had to choose only one type of data that he could discover from a mobile phone, he’d choose app data. Why? Because there’s simply so much of it and because almost all of it is objective – not just user-created like an email – but machine-tracked like GPS, usage duration, log in and log out times, browsed web addresses, browsed actual addresses. Also, most of us seem to have the idea that data doesn’t actually “stick” to our mobile devices the way it “sticks” to our hard drives. Maybe there’s a disconnect based on the fact that our phones are mobile so we assume the data is mobile to?
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