Career Center

According to the more than 1,000 responses we received to this week’s Career Center survey, 65% of respondents took the Fourth of July holiday off to celebrate their freedom or something like that. That’s a huge jump from the 27% of respondents who reported not working on Presidents’ Day, and the 34% of respondents who reported not working on MLK Day.

For the unlucky 35% of respondents who reported working on Independence Day, what were the top reasons given for missing out on the festivities?

  • 54% said that nobody specifically asked them to do work, but they had work they needed to get done.
  • 29% said a partner or associate asked them to do work.
  • 14% said a client asked them to do work.
  • 9% said they needed the hours.
  • 5% said everyone else in their office was working.
  • 5% said that Independence Day is not recognized as an official firm holiday.

Now let’s look at some firm-specific data….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Career Center Survey Results: Who Worked on the Fourth of July?”

Back in the winter months, we surveyed Biglaw associates about working on the MLK Day and President’s Day holidays. Well, over half of respondents said they still clocked in on those holidays. But now that the weather is warmer, the barbecue grills are up and running, and partners are on vacation, surely more of you took Independence Day off, right? Take our short survey, brought to you by Lateral Link, and let’s find out.

As always, your responses are kept completely confidential. Stay tuned later this week when we reveal the survey results. For more information on vacation policies, check out the updated law firm profiles at the Career Center, hosted by Lateral Link.

This week’s Career Center Summer Associate Tips Series focuses on the importance of maintaining client confidentiality. Nothing is more sacred to the legal profession than the confidential relationship between lawyer and client. This goes far beyond what is required by the rules of professional conduct. Your personal rule should be very simple — do not talk about the firm’s business, its clients, their problems, or anything related to them outside the four walls of the firm. With anyone. At any time. It is that simple.

The greatest risks are casual social comments. Somewhere in the middle of a case of Heineken you pass along information about something of great sensitivity to a firm client. It was an innocent, alcohol-induced disclosure on your part, but it was a disclosure nonetheless. Now, you may not worry about divulging sensitive information to a trusted friend or confidant, but the greater risk involves those comments made in restaurants, public places, or cocktail parties that directly or indirectly reveal the business of the firm or its clients.

The group at the next table may include three employees of the client, their banker or accountant, a competitor, or associates working for someone about to make a competing offer to buy your client. Trust me. They are there — perhaps not as nattily attired and lacking the Bombay Sapphire martini — but there nevertheless. It is not just legal advice or technically privileged information that you should refrain from discussing freely. It is anything about the client and their business. You risk immediate termination if you violate this rule.

To learn how to avoid more bone-headed disclosures, read more by clicking here. These tips are brought to you by Lateral Link’s Frank Kimball, an expert recruiter and former Biglaw hiring partner.

Don’t forget, for additional career insights as well as profiles of individual law firms, check out the Career Center.


It’s inevitable, but at some point during your summer clerkship, you will have to write, and odds are, you will be writing a lot. Words are the currency of lawyers. Once you graduate from law school, you will be paid hundreds of dollars an hour to write brilliant briefs, ironclad contracts, and demand letters that would even make Dick Cheney cry. With that in mind, you will need to proof and analyze everything you write during your summer clerkship –- even if it is as an informal as a one-page memo or quick email.

This week’s Career Center Summer Associate Tips Series focused on helping you develop your writing skills, and is brought to you by Lateral Link’s Frank Kimball, an expert recruiter and former Biglaw hiring partner.

Read on for more information on how to manage your written work product as a summer associate….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Career Center: I’ll Take the Pen is Mightier for $500, Alex”

In case you might have forgotten, a summer clerkship at a law firm is a job. You are expected to be at work during normal business hours, to follow instructions, and to complete assignments. The fact that the firm may take you to concerts and fancy restaurants should not control how you perceive the summer clerkship experience. You must determine your priorities and plan accordingly. By far, the most frequent problems encountered by summer associates are the challenges presented by handling multiple assignments or meeting tough deadlines. This week’s Career Center Summer Associate Tips Series features advice on managing your assignments and deadlines from Lateral Link’s Frank Kimball, an expert recruiter and former Biglaw hiring partner.

Lawyers live in a world of deadlines — depositions must be taken, briefs must be filed, statutes of limitation will run, deals must be closed, and client presentations may be made. Some deadlines change unexpectedly. Others are immutable. Before tackling any assignment, you must understand the relevant deadlines….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Career Center: Blown Deadlines & Mismanaged Assignments (Or Things to Do to Not Get a Permanent Offer)”

'Please take me to a nice lunch!'

If the law firm is a circus, the summer associates are the clowns –- albeit clowns with one heck of a paycheck. I could go on and on with other circus-themed comparisons: the partner is the ring leader, the senior associates are the lion tamers, the junior associates on document review are the shovelers following the elephants to “sort” what comes out. But this post focuses on the summer associates who, like clowns, must learn how to juggle –- and instead of balls or bowling pins, summer associates must learn how to juggle several work assignments simultaneously.

According to Lateral Link’s Frank Kimball, an expert recruiter and former Biglaw hiring partner, one of the toughest challenges for young lawyers is managing their own workload. It is difficult to estimate the time that a project will take, especially since nothing in law school prepared you for the actual practice of law. Not to mention you will be working for several partners and attorneys simultaneously, which places an additional burden on you.

Here are some tips to help you juggle your assignments….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Career Center: Juggling Assignments and Your Sanity During the Summer”

Mastering assignments begins with understanding what the lawyers you are working for want. You are not in law school; this is not a contest where you are graded against other students. Clients want answers, not issue spotting. Sophisticated clients already know the issues. Clients want answers based on the facts and applicable law — not theory based on policy arguments, law review articles, cases from other states, dissenting opinions, or model statutes that have not been adopted.

According to Lateral Link’s Frank Kimball, an expert recruiter and former Biglaw hiring partner, the most frequent problems in summer programs arise from misunderstood assignments. Common errors include spending the wrong amount of time on a project, delivering the wrong type of work product, memoranda that speak with the voice of a law student rather than that of a lawyer, and inadequate or excessive legal research. Each is preventable.

If you do not enjoy research, call that truck driving school. If you do not have a natural curiosity about legal issues, you are in the wrong profession. That means a rigorous, disciplined approach to defining problems and finding answers even if it means going through scores of cases, stacks of treatises, and hitting innumerable dead ends until you are satisfied.

Know that your assignment will be delivered by an attorney responsible for coordinating projects for summer associates or the attorney for whom the work will be done. Therefore, do not leave the office of the assigning lawyer without answers to these eleven questions — which you can read by clicking here. Don’t forget, for additional career insights as well as profiles of individual law firms, check out the Career Center.

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’s Frank Kimball, an expert recruiter and former Biglaw hiring partner. Now on to the tips…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Career Center: Manage Your Time — Life on a Professional’s Clock”

Welcome to the joys of the billable hour.

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.

Now on to the tips….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Advice for Summer Associates: Don’t Cost Law Firms More Than You Have To”

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.…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Is Your Summer Clerkship Too Boring for a TV Show? Good!”

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