The Law Firm Summer Associate Dance - Week 4By Jennifer Smith
June 7, 2012
Use Common Sense
Throughout the summer you are being evaluated on both your fit with the firm and your ability to do the legal work. The hiring committee is considering whether they would trust you to handle clients in a professional manner. Use the social activities during the summer to demonstrate that you have common sense and a level of maturity. Remember that you have an obligation to maintain confidentiality for the firm’s clients and the matters on which you work. Do not discuss cases on which you are working with your friends or family, or with colleagues in a public setting (train, elevator, etc).
While your firm is interested in making sure you have a good summer experience, it is your responsibility to seek out the type of work you want. If you hear about a particularly interesting case, make it known that you would be happy to assist. If there are certain attorneys with whom you wish to work, make an effort to meet them and discuss your interests. Be enthusiastic and responsible on all matters you work on, whether they are with the managing partner or a first-year associate. Take responsibility for your own success.
At the end of the summer, or soon thereafter, firms will give offers to their summer associates. Whether or not you plan to return to your firm, it is useful for you to obtain an offer. Having an offer under your belt will enable you to speak freely with prospective employers about your summer experience without worrying about how to handle questions that may arise about your offer status. If you do not receive an offer at the end of the summer, accept the news politely; ask for constructive criticism so you have an understanding of what went wrong; and speak with your career development office when you return to school.
The above information was adapted from Yale Law School's Career Development Office.