Summer Associates

A summer dreaming of having more friends.

Back in February, with the help of a report from the National Association for Law Placement (NALP), we described the summer associate hiring market as “anemic.” Recruiting volume in fall 2012 was down compared to fall 2011, and the entry-level recruitment environment, in general, was characterized as “flat and faltering.” No wonder we haven’t heard many tales of summer associate glory — they’re probably still too terrified to have fun.

Be that as it may, amid news of layoffs and rumors of stealth layoffs, right now, Biglaw firms are handing out offers of employment like candy. But have you ever stopped to think about why they’re passing out $160K offers so freely?

Perhaps it’s because the size of their summer classes are significantly smaller than ever before…

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Hope you enjoyed your small summer classes.

* “[J]ust because something is constitutional doesn’t mean it’s the best idea, or even a good one.” Perhaps we’ve given Chief Justice John Roberts a little too much to do. No wonder he’s gotten cranky. [Opinionator / New York Times]

* “It’s raining lawsuits.” As Justice Scalia predicted, in the wake of the Supreme Court’s ruling in the Windsor case, gay couples across the nation have banded together to challenge bans on same-sex marriage. [NBC News]

* The Fourth Circuit ruled that state authorities in Maryland can’t arrest and detain people just because they look like they might be illegal immigrants. They can only do that in Arizona. [Baltimore Sun]

* No more fun during sequestration, ever! Judges, get ready to kiss your “lavish accommodations” at judicial conferences goodbye, because Senator Tom Coburn is on the case. [National Law Journal]

* For all of the talk that Biglaw is in recovery, summer associate hiring just isn’t what it used to be. Summer class sizes shrank since last year. We’ll have more on this later today. [Am Law Daily]

* On Friday, the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar will consider making changes to its law school accreditation standards. Yes, the ABA does have standards. [ABA Journal]

* Open wide and suck this down: A film on the life and times of porn star Linda Lovelace may be lost to the cutting room floor because Deep Throat’s rights holders are seeking an injunction. [The Guardian]

You’d be jumping for joy if you landed an offer from a top law firm.

It’s harder to be a partner in Biglaw today, both in terms of making partner and remaining a partner. You can no longer just coast along after making partner; you need to prove yourself and your value to the firm, year after year. That’s a change from past practice (and people can argue when exactly the change took place).

But some things in Biglaw haven’t changed. The practice of being generous with offers to summer associates — too generous, some might argue — is alive and well. Summer programs are smaller today than they were before the Great Recession, but offer rates remain robust.

Following up on Monday’s story, here are more firms that have given offers to all of their summers:

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In our recent offer rate round-up, we suggested that the summer associates of 2013 might be a bit… boring. Based on the dearth of juicy summer associate stories, the outgoing SAs don’t sound very fun.

That doesn’t mean, however, that they didn’t have fun this summer. They probably did — because as we know from prior years, Biglaw firms know how to put on great summer programs (which bear little resemblance to what life as an associate is like; you all know the old joke about summer programs).

This takes us to today’s topic: which law firm put on the best summer associate event of 2013?

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This summer has been slow in terms of summer associate gossip. It got off to a promising start, but then it just fizzled. Maybe we need to stop running stories like How to Be a Stellar Summer Associate, How To End Your Summer In Biglaw On A High Note, and similar posts offering career advice to young lawyers.

We miss last summer. The summer of 2012 boasted helicopter rescues in Canada, showstopping performances at the Apollo, guns found in drawers, and steamy lesbianic trysts.

Given all the boring, goody-two-shoes summer associates this year, offer rates should be sky high. Let’s find which firms are rocking the 100 percent offer rate — information that rising 2Ls will want to know as the new on-campus interviewing season starts up….

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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…

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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