Welcome to the world of Biglaw — a world of wonder, a world of magic, a world of pure imagination — okay, not really. After you are done watching Willy Wonka, come with me and you’ll see a world of schedules, time constraints, and statutory deadlines with loopholes and an infinite number of exceptions. If you haven’t already, buy yourself a watch — and no, not a Rolex (as Elie well knows, student loans are not easy to live with).
Transforming your wake-up-at-9:55-to-get-to-class-by-10 schedule to a working-at-a-law-firm schedule is not easy. The work habits of many students do not match well with the daily life of a firm. I’m not saying that law students do not know how to work hard, but when you join a law firm, you follow the pulse and practice of the firm, its partners, and its clients.
The following tips on managing your time and transitioning from law school to law firm are brought to you by Lateral Link’sFrank Kimball, an expert recruiter and former Biglaw hiring partner. Now on to the tips…
Jerry Maguire made a memorable plea to retain his client: “Help me, help you. Help me, help you.” As a summer clerk, you are very expensive for the law firm — in addition to your salary and entertainment expenses, firms spend hundreds of attorney hours monitoring your work and keeping you interested. You do not want to add more to that expense if it can be avoided, especially if it involves simply following firm policies and procedures. While we have already covered how summer associates should act in social settings in and outside the firm, summer associates must learn how to properly manage their work and conduct research on their day-to-day work assignments.
The following tips on time entry are brought to you by Frank Kimball of Lateral Link, an expert recruiter and former Biglaw hiring partner. Please note that these are general guidelines a summer associate should adhere to — be sure to check with your firm to determine what the firm’s actual policies are.
Your summer associateship should be unfit for television (reality TV or otherwise).
What you do during your summer clerkship should not be viewed as a potential plot line in a TV series — or your future at the firm will last as long as The Deep End. From your fashion prowess to your social interactions, you should really be remembered for your work ethic and social competence. When you are being considered for a permanent position at summer’s end, you don’t want to be known as “Jäger Boy” or “Cleavage Girl.”
It only takes one momentary lapse in judgment to derail your future at the firm. Read these tips, brought to you by Frank Kimball of Lateral Link, an expert recruiter and former Biglaw hiring partner.…
Summer associates are inundated by invitations to lunches, dinners, in-firm programs, and social activities outside the firm. Particularly in a summer when the economic outlook is still a bit uncertain, summer associates must act with care and discretion at firm-sponsored social events.
Almost invariably misconduct involves excessive late-night drinking. Someone once said “nothing good happens after midnight.” They were right. The following tips, brought to you by Frank Kimball of Lateral Link, will help you navigate the social scene this summer.…
If Oprah had a book club for summer associates, you can bet the following reading materials would be on that list (in addition to Above the Law). While I am sure extra reading is the last thing you want to do after long days (and nights) of working and schmoozing at the firm, the items identified below provide great insight into subjects a savvy summer associate should be on top of.
For extra credit, consider forming a summer book club with your classmates and/or fellow summer associates, read some of the material suggested below, and take some time to discuss. The following reading recommendations are brought to you by Lateral Link’sFrank Kimball, an expert recruiter and former Biglaw hiring partner.
Today’s Career Center tips for summer associates focus on how you can successfully split your summer between firms. Obtaining a summer clerkship at one firm is great, so splitting the summer with another firm is even better, right? Not necessarily.
In some cities, such as Dallas and Houston, the split summer has been a fact of life for decades, and summer associates often divide the summer into two, three, or more parts. But even in markets where split summers are the rule rather than the exception, a summer associate must take each firm seriously. Like speed dating, you are going to have to bring your “A-game” the entire time you are with each firm if you hope to land a “long-term relationship” with either firm.
On the one hand, you are going to have to make the firm you are currently summering at feel special — like they are the only firm that matters. On the other hand, both you and the firm know that you are “seeing other firms” and are not quite ready to make your employment status official on Facebook.
Let’s consider the risks here — and how to manage and minimize them, if you’re a summer associate who’s doing a split.
The Career Center is featuring a special series this summer for law students who want to excel as summer associates and ultimately secure permanent offers. Starting today and continuing throughout the summer, we will feature tips to help you manage your assignments, juggle conflicting demands, account for your time, handle feedback and criticism, and much more. These tips, focused on helping you navigate your law firm and summer associate internship, are provided by Frank Kimball, a principal of the Kimball Partner Group – a Lateral Link company, and an expert recruiter and former Biglaw hiring partner.
Today’s tips focus on how to maintain an attitude that will help you win over the partners at your firm and put you on the fast track to success. While not known for offering useful legal guidance, Elle Woods from Legally Blonde: The Musical offers great advice to summer associates: “Be positive.” You have already passed the first test, by initially securing the summer associate clerkship. Now you need to show off your dazzling personality — or at least demonstrate that you are at least tolerable during late-night doc review projects that await your future.
Keep the following tips in mind, whether you are working on a legal memo or hanging out at a partner’s summer house in the Hamptons….
Summer is almost here, which means summer associates will begin working at major law firms around the world. Will you be summering at one of the law firms profiled below? If you are a Biglaw summer associate and want to know what firm associates really think about the firm you are clerking at, check out the Career Center for great insight on all the leading firms.
Formal training and mentoring are big at this firm, but some associates still feel ill-prepared to handle the actual work they are assigned. As one of the first U.S.-based firms to expand internationally, it can be “sink or swim,” according to Lateral Link members, and there is virtually no chance at becoming partner here. Still, the firm is considered a market leader with respect to family leave and has one of the highest average percentages of new female partners.
Associates at this top-tier firm, known for its intellectual property practice, enjoy the collaborative work environment as well as the manageable work hours. It is a free-market system when it comes to work assignments, but associates in the firm’s satellite offices warn that work may be hard to come by relative to the associates in the main office. With a five- to six-year partnership track and a minimum billable requirement of 1,750, becoming partner is a realistic goal for most associates here.
Some firms handled the great recession with grace and poise, while others need lots of improvement if they ever want to receive a Miss Congeniality award in the near future. Check out the blurbs below, as well as the firm profiles at the Career Center, to see which firms are pageant contenders and which firms are just pigs with a little lipstick on.
This firm is known for its prestigious bankruptcy practice and has handled several newsworthy bankruptcies during the economic crisis. Associates here receive lots of quality work and direct client contact; however, Lateral Link Members warn that some clients have unrealistic demands on associate availability and deadlines. On the plus side, since associates are pretty self-sufficient with getting their own work, the firm is not very strict about minimum billable hours.
While some Lateral Link Members describe the compensation model at this firm as “laughably low in comparison to other firms,” face time expectation at the firm is minimal, and associates say there is “lower stress” than at other large firms. Pro bono work is also encouraged, and the firm counts the first 100 pro bono hours towards billable hours and bonus consideration. As a result of its pro bono commitment, 99% of associates firm wide participated in some form of pro bono work last year.
Not all of the players in the Biglaw scene are based in New York City. Check out the firms below that established their roots outside the Big Apple. True, total compensation at these firms is sometimes lower, and you may not earn the respect of Partner Emeritus — but the majority of associates surveyed who work at these firms seem to enjoy the lifestyle and opportunities their respective firms offer. You can view the profiles of other firms at the Career Center to see how associates rated their experiences in the past year at each firm.
This Boston-based firm has been around for more than 150 years and continues to grow. While the firm is typically a follower and matches market in terms of associate compensation, Lateral Link Members lament that the firm operates within a “black box,” and management is not very transparent with decisions. Still, associates appreciate the “wonderful formal training” offered, as well as the responsibility they receive.
Making partner at this firm, based in Seattle, is an achievable goal, according to most of the associates we surveyed. Even if you do not make partner your first go-around, there is no up-or-out policy, and the firm has a very flexible partnership policy. While associate compensation is lower relative to other Biglaw firms, the firm is one of the few law firms consistently recognized on Fortune Magazine’s “100 Best Companies to Work For”.
Ed. note: The Asia Chronicles column is authored by Kinney Recruiting. Kinney has made more placements of U.S. associates, counsels and partners in Asia than any other recruiting firm in each of the past seven years. You can reach them by email: email@example.com.
Things have changed recently in Korea – a few of our US and UK client firms are looking, very selectively, for a lateral US associate hire. Until just recently, there was not much hiring like this going on in Korea, since US and UK firms started opening offices there. We have already placed two US associates in Korea in the past month at top firms. Most of the hiring partners we work with in Korea do not actively work with other recruiters.
If you are a Korean fluent US associate in London, New York or another major US market, 2nd to 6th year, at a top 20 firm, with cap markets or M&A focus (or mix), or project finance background, and you are interested in lateraling to Korea to a top US or UK firm, please feel free to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. Our head of Asia, Evan Jowers, was just in Korea recently, and Evan and Robert Kinney will be in Korea in a few weeks. We are in the process of helping several firms open new offices in Korea (a number of which are interviewing our partner level candidates) and also helping existing offices there fill openings.
Professor Joel P. Trachtman has developed a unique, practical guide to help lawyers analyze, argue, and write effectively.
The Tools of Argument: How the Best Lawyers Think, Argue, and Win is a highly readable 200-page book, available for about $10 in paperback or e-book. Chapters focus on foundational principles in legal argument: procedure, interpretation of contracts and statutes, use of evidence, and more. The material covered is taught only implicitly in law school. Yet, when up-and-coming attorneys master these straightforward tools, they will think and argue like the best lawyers.
For most attorneys, time spent managing the books is a necessary evil at best. Yet it is undeniably a crucial aspect of running a successful practice. With that in mind, we invite you to view or download a free webinar by Above the Law and our friends at Clio to learn how to better manage your finances.
Take this opportunity to learn what it takes to streamline your accounting and get the most out of your time. The webinar agenda:
● The basics of accounting for lawyers.
● How legal accounting differs from regular accounting.
● Report and reconciliation issues surrounding trust accounts.
● How to pick and integrate the best accounting tools for your practice.
● Steps to prepare your tax return for your firm’s income.
Do not miss this crucial chance to optimize your accounting practices. Save time and get back to billing!