Summer Associate Questions

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Summer Associate Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Mar 06, 2018 9:39 am

Going to be a summer at a firm in a major market with about 125ish attorneys. The firm has a full summer associate program that pays market rates. From past years it appears that either all of the SA's get offers or all but one receive offers. Question is what is the reason that smaller firms such as this wouldn't give offers? Is it economic reasons or is it for fit? Basically, what is the advice for getting an offer at a non-big law firm over the summer?

woopig2017

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Re: Summer Associate Questions

Postby woopig2017 » Tue Mar 06, 2018 11:06 am

I'm a 1L about to start somewhere this summer too, so take this with a grain of salt, but I worried about this exact same thing and the common advice that I got was that when a firm usually does 100% offer then they normally will only no-offer if there is an issue with fit or the summer just really underperforms. This could be a variety of things (pissing of a partner, turning in really bad work, falling asleep at your desk, etc.) but all of them should be pretty avoidable as far as I know. Again, I don't know this firsthand but I wouldn't worry too much about it unless you feel like you didn't fit in with the firm when you interviewed (in which case I'd be questioning why you took an offer there!)

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Re: Summer Associate Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Mar 06, 2018 1:06 pm

Biglaw associate here. Personality reasons are the biggest reason. Usually these are pretty egregious, like saying something blatantly sexist/racist or doing something inappropriate at a work event. Another reason I've seen is the firm at the end says they aren't hiring for a certain department the SA had their heart set on and the SA doesn't agree to be put in another group. Usually the firm will still give them a soft offer and tell them to go look elsewhere though. As for work product, it would have to be horrifically bad (and bad in a lazy way that shows you put no effort and not just normal incompetence) or if you routinely missed deadlines without communicating it to the associate. If this is the case though, they'll often have a mini-intervention in the middle of the summer (if you get an unscheduled review, this means you).

Firms want to hire all of the SAs because a lower offer rate dissuades potentially good future candidates. Relax, you'll do fine.

snowball2

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Re: Summer Associate Questions

Postby snowball2 » Tue Mar 06, 2018 1:17 pm

One useful rule of thumb is to have a couple of drinks so you don't come across as judgmental or a recovering alcoholic but not so much that you start speaking your mind in a loud voice. Frat-level drinking can be tolerated for a rainmaker but for a SA it's a death knell.

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nealric

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Re: Summer Associate Questions

Postby nealric » Tue Mar 06, 2018 3:59 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Going to be a summer at a firm in a major market with about 125ish attorneys. The firm has a full summer associate program that pays market rates. From past years it appears that either all of the SA's get offers or all but one receive offers. Question is what is the reason that smaller firms such as this wouldn't give offers? Is it economic reasons or is it for fit? Basically, what is the advice for getting an offer at a non-big law firm over the summer?


Smaller firms are much more sensitive to workflow variations and also much more sensitive to specific fit. If there is an office with 200 attorneys that usually takes 20 summer associates ever year, it's not the end of the world if they make an offer to a dud. They can staff the dud on doc review for a couple of years before politely asking them to seek other opportunities. Moreover, if it's easier to shuffle someone around if a particular practice group is slow. If an office with 20 attorneys and 2 summers makes an offer to a dud, they won't be able to just ignore them. Or, if a partner loses a major client, there's nowhere else for the associate to get work from.

Long story short, smaller firms/offices tend to be a lot more selective with their summers and have lower offer rates. If you got no-offered at Skadden NYC, you probably did something to seriously upset someone. If you got no-offered at a small satellite office of a lower v100 firm, it may just be you were in the wrong place at the wrong time.

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Re: Summer Associate Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jul 23, 2018 2:43 pm

Bumping for a related question. (I’ve got about three weeks left, so I should’ve probably gotten an answer to this sooner.) I’m splitting my summer between two firms. At the larger firm, social activities and lunches with attorneys were planned. I assumed something similar would happen at the smaller firm, but aside from a lunch our first day, there have been no scheduled events or lunch invitations.

After the first week, I mentioned the possibility of having lunch sometime with a couple of the attorneys, but there’s been no response. Maybe that’s not unusual here, but I’m beginning to feel like I’m at a disadvantage. There are currently three SAs—one summered here last year, and the second has a very outgoing personality. We have offices in different parts of the building, and I rarely see the other SAs other than to say hello. I have no idea if they are going out to lunch and socializing with attorneys while I eat in my office. I’ve gotten compliments on my work, have missed no deadlines, and am always here early, so I’m not worried about that.

Do I need to be more aggressive about getting to know people? I make an effort to speak and be friendly to everyone—from the partners to the garage attendant—but I still feel like “fit” may go against me when hiring decisions are made. I’m unable to get a feel for their opinion of me. They had six SAs this summer and, from what I’ve been told, not all of us will get offers. How do I maximize my chances in the short time left without coming across as awkward or pushy?

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Re: Summer Associate Questions

Postby gregfootball2001 » Mon Jul 23, 2018 3:41 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Bumping for a related question. (I’ve got about three weeks left, so I should’ve probably gotten an answer to this sooner.) I’m splitting my summer between two firms. At the larger firm, social activities and lunches with attorneys were planned. I assumed something similar would happen at the smaller firm, but aside from a lunch our first day, there have been no scheduled events or lunch invitations.

After the first week, I mentioned the possibility of having lunch sometime with a couple of the attorneys, but there’s been no response. Maybe that’s not unusual here, but I’m beginning to feel like I’m at a disadvantage. There are currently three SAs—one summered here last year, and the second has a very outgoing personality. We have offices in different parts of the building, and I rarely see the other SAs other than to say hello. I have no idea if they are going out to lunch and socializing with attorneys while I eat in my office. I’ve gotten compliments on my work, have missed no deadlines, and am always here early, so I’m not worried about that.

Do I need to be more aggressive about getting to know people? I make an effort to speak and be friendly to everyone—from the partners to the garage attendant—but I still feel like “fit” may go against me when hiring decisions are made. I’m unable to get a feel for their opinion of me. They had six SAs this summer and, from what I’ve been told, not all of us will get offers. How do I maximize my chances in the short time left without coming across as awkward or pushy?

You should start trying to set up lunches with the people that like you the best/have influence at your firm. You may need someone to stand up for you in the end and say that they like you and will give you work. Reach out, say that you'd love to grab lunch if they're available, and that you're open M-W of next week. Copy their admin. Be proactive. In the morning, wander around, stop in to someone's office, and ask them to lunch that day. If not everyone will get an offer, it may not be solely merit based - you need to have people on your side.

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LaLiLuLeLo

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Re: Summer Associate Questions

Postby LaLiLuLeLo » Mon Jul 23, 2018 4:26 pm

snowball2 wrote:One useful rule of thumb is to have a couple of drinks so you don't come across as judgmental or a recovering alcoholic but not so much that you start speaking your mind in a loud voice. Frat-level drinking can be tolerated for a rainmaker but for a SA it's a death knell.


Highly, highly dependent on firm and office.

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Re: Summer Associate Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jul 23, 2018 4:58 pm

gregfootball2001 wrote:You should start trying to set up lunches with the people that like you the best/have influence at your firm. You may need someone to stand up for you in the end and say that they like you and will give you work. Reach out, say that you'd love to grab lunch if they're available, and that you're open M-W of next week. Copy their admin. Be proactive. In the morning, wander around, stop in to someone's office, and ask them to lunch that day. If not everyone will get an offer, it may not be solely merit based - you need to have people on your side.



That’s basically what I did week 2, when it became apparent that attorney/SA lunches would not be scheduled here as they were at my former job. The response was pretty much “Sounds great,” and then nothing. I wasn’t sure if it was better to push the issue, or just assume that maybe people didn’t socialize much here. Last summer, I worked in a gov office which was very informal, and during the first half of this summer, all the SAs had a common area and were able to share information. I wasn’t sure whether to take the seeming lack of interest as an indication of anything, or whether this is just a normal thing at some firms. It’s been awhile, so I suppose there’s no harm in asking again. Thanks for the reply!

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Re: Summer Associate Questions

Postby RaceJudicata » Tue Jul 24, 2018 1:03 am

Anonymous User wrote:
gregfootball2001 wrote:You should start trying to set up lunches with the people that like you the best/have influence at your firm. You may need someone to stand up for you in the end and say that they like you and will give you work. Reach out, say that you'd love to grab lunch if they're available, and that you're open M-W of next week. Copy their admin. Be proactive. In the morning, wander around, stop in to someone's office, and ask them to lunch that day. If not everyone will get an offer, it may not be solely merit based - you need to have people on your side.



That’s basically what I did week 2, when it became apparent that attorney/SA lunches would not be scheduled here as they were at my former job. The response was pretty much “Sounds great,” and then nothing. I wasn’t sure if it was better to push the issue, or just assume that maybe people didn’t socialize much here. Last summer, I worked in a gov office which was very informal, and during the first half of this summer, all the SAs had a common area and were able to share information. I wasn’t sure whether to take the seeming lack of interest as an indication of anything, or whether this is just a normal thing at some firms. It’s been awhile, so I suppose there’s no harm in asking again. Thanks for the reply!


Instead of just saying hello to your fellow summers why don't you... you know... ask them if they have been going on lunches.

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Re: Summer Associate Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jul 24, 2018 8:14 am

:D yeah I know. But at this point, I feel like that would just expose my paranoid insecurity.

shock259

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Re: Summer Associate Questions

Postby shock259 » Tue Jul 24, 2018 10:33 am

Good point. Definitely better to not get an offer than to let people see that you are trying to (perhaps over zealously) get lunches with folks, socialize, and meet people at your firm.

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Re: Summer Associate Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jul 24, 2018 7:13 pm

shock259 wrote:Good point. Definitely better to not get an offer than to let people see that you are trying to (perhaps over zealously) get lunches with folks, socialize, and meet people at your firm.


Yeah, I understand how it sounds. There are fewer than fifty attorneys, three SAs (currently), and I feel like I’m in a fishbowl. As someone who already feels at a disadvantage, I’m just trying not to make a misstep. I’m no doubt overthinking it.



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