Summer Associates

Summer associate programs will be wrapping up soon. May the offer rates be ever in your favor.

As programs finish, we hope to hear some interesting tales of summer associate fun. This year, as in previous post-recession years, it seems that summers are playing it pretty close to the vest. Programs are smaller, and people are more terrified about not getting an offer thanks to the bleak 3L hiring market.

It looks like this year, people left their guns at home. Our biggest summer story of 2013 so far was the Cleary summer with a sex-offender past. And it’s not like he was sex-offending people in the office. Right now, even political interns are blowing away private practice summer associates.

To prime the pump a little bit, we have a summer associate story from a good firm in flyover country that shall remain nameless. It’s more humorous than scandalous, particularly as it involves summer-on-summer inappropriateness.

But there’s a detail in here that I really like….

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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…

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Ed. note: This is the latest installment in a series of posts from the ATL Career Center’s team of expert contributors. Today, Sunny Choi interviews a fifth-year associate at a Biglaw firm who has some advice for summer associates.

If this is your 2L summer at a Biglaw firm, then you’re probably reveling in a copious number of three-hour lunches and nightly open bars, courtesy of the firm’s unofficial summer wallet. However, as a summer associate, this is also your time to make a lasting impression on the firm where you’ll most likely settle down for the next several years of your legal career.

I’ve conducted an unofficial interview with “Lady G,” a fifth-year associate at a certain Biglaw firm in Manhattan. She has kindly offered tips on how to be a stellar summer associate, based on her experience serving as an assignment coordinator for the summer associate program and working with summers in general.

How big is the summer associate program at your firm?

Pretty big, I would say 100+ associates divided into six teams. Each summer gets matched with an associate mentor and a partner mentor.

Could you describe your role as an assignment coordinator for your firm’s 2011 program?

Continue reading at the ATL Career Center…

Joint degree programs appeal to some people. The thought of walking away from school with a J.D. and an M.B.A. in hand is nice. I’m not counting any other joint degree program. It’s nice to get a Master’s in Interpretive Dance with your law degree, but that’s not what people are really thinking of when they hear “joint degree program.”

It is another year of schooling, though. And that extra year comes with extra tuition and debt. However, most students going the joint degree route reason that it doesn’t matter because in the end, a joint degree will open many more job opportunities. Plus, you get two years to summer and try out places to work!

But at Harvard, some joint J.D./M.B.A. students are being locked out of job interviews. Is Harvard screwing over these students, or making a prudent call to protect the rest of the class?

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Last week, I shared some thoughts regarding Biglaw summer associates. I thought it would be interesting to interview a current summer associate, and I was happy to hear from some brave volunteers.

The summer associate who is the subject of this interview has an impressive résumé and is off to a solid start at their highly-rated law school. That their credentials are strong is not surprising, considering the challenging job environment for those hoping to land a summer associate position in the first place.

The words of our interviewee are unedited, except to protect their anonymity. I’ve added some responsive parenthetical commentary after each response. I thank our interviewee for their candid observations and thoughtful opinions in response to these questions….

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Ed. note: This is the latest installment in a new 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.

Summer is officially in full swing — long lunches, here you come! Quick question, though: Do you know which is your water glass? One of our top posts on Corporette is on the subject of business lunch etiquette, so let’s do a super quick review…

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* A bleak, expressionist write-up of the bar exam experience. If you ever wondered what the subject of The Scream was doing right beforehand, it was apparently “taking the bar exam.” [Law of the Dead]

* The traditional summer associate program model needs restructuring. Are you suggesting four-hour lunches are passé? Because… shame, sir, shame. [SSRN]

* The sequester is slowing down the patent office. So now the irate patent attorney has something else to blame for not getting his client’s application approved. [Patently O]

* As our tipster put it, this may be a statement against interest: Snowden once declared that traitors should be “shot in the balls.” [NY Post]

* A breakdown of unconstitutional animus in U.S. v. Windsor. If the author could figure out Justice Kennedy’s train of thought all the way through, kudos! [Associate's Mind]

* If you’re ever planning a graduation party, just don’t do this. [Legal Juice]

* Examining the misappropriation of trade secrets on Earth-616, and whatever Earth the DC people are in these days. I gave up on them two Crises ago. [Law and the Multiverse]

* Federal prosecutors may go after Long Island Power Authority for their poor response to Hurricane Sandy. [Breaking Energy]

* And this recap of the Hollingsworth opinion concludes with a GIF that is sure to warm the hearts of many an ATL commenter. [Eff Yeah SCOTUS]

Summer is finally here, and the halls of Biglaw are more clogged than usual. But it is not because the partners have been hitting the desserts harder at their monthly meeting in an attempt to look even worse during bathing suit season. Nope, the guys and gals walking the halls do not look like your typical Biglaw legal eagle. They are too young, too fit, and too excited to be there.

Yup, it is summer associate season. A new crop of recruits, eagerly brandishing their 1L transcripts as evidence of their legal ability, ready to conquer Biglaw. Or at least to eat as much good free food as they can, while pretending to “work” in between breakfast with the real-estate group, lunch with the litigators, and a social event after-hours with whatever motley crew of “presentable” lawyers the firm can pull together.

There were strict rules as to which lawyers were allowed to interact with the summers. It usually came down to looks/personality, and enthusiasm for the firm. Everyone wanted the summers to leave with a good impression. No firm wanted to be lowly-ranked on the summer associate surveys that would follow summer associate season. “Uh-oh, our five summer associates in Miami gave us a 3.8 out of 5 on their happiness scale. This is a crisis — next year we need to rent a party boat for an impromptu cruise to Key West, and make everyone take the survey while still happily boozed up.”

Quaint as it now seems, that kind of thinking (if only a bit exaggerated) was normal for Biglaw in the go-go late-90s and 2000s. Oh how times have changed….

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Ed. note: This is the latest installment in a series of posts from the ATL Career Center’s team of expert contributors. Today, Alison Monahan shares some practical advice with summer associates.

I read this advice for summer associates this morning, and it made me want to poke my eyes out.

I’m trying to imagine what I would have done if a summer had approached me at a firm event and said, as suggested: “I’m working on an IP matter with Joe. Your IP practice was one of the reasons I chose the firm, and I am researching an interesting X issue.”

Where to start?

Read more at the ATL Career Center…

Yesterday, some summer associates watched kitten videos on YouTube.

It’s the middle of June, the sun is shining, and Biglaw summer associate programs are in full swing. An old joke: Satan offers incredible wealth to a man in exchange for his soul. The man replies, “B-b-b-but, won’t I have to go to Hell?” Satan says, “Oh, don’t believe what you’ve heard, Hell isn’t that bad. Here, take a look.” And it’s all cocktail receptions and long lazy lunches at fancy restaurants. So he sells his soul. Later, when he dies, he goes to Hell, and sure enough, it’s all flames, pitchforks and eternal agony. The man protests to Satan, who replies – “Oh, that was our summer program.”

The joke smells a bit like 2006 or so, when Biglaw summer programs were at their largest and most extravagant, and most firms barely pretended any substantive work was part of the equation. Yet even though summer associate classes have been significantly downsized post-recession and the perks aren’t as lavish, the summer associate experience certainly retains much of that Bizarro world detachment from the actual realities of practice.

Summer programs have traditionally served as bait-and-switch recruitment tools used to woo rising 3Ls with wine tastings, sporting events, theater outings and boat rides. Since the recession, many firms have begun to emphasize “real work” as central to their summer associate programs (e.g., here and here). But these claims need to be taken with an ocean of salt. As the Dothraki say, “it is known” that newbie lawyers just aren’t ready to do any real work.

In any event, let’s take a look at the top-rated Biglaw summer associate programs, according to the ATL Insider Survey.

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