Taking classes as a Summer Associate

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Npret

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Re: Taking classes as a Summer Associate

Postby Npret » Mon Mar 11, 2019 1:46 pm

People that are not taking a class this summer should spend their time:
Proofreading
Triple checking that the case holding says what you think it does
Organizing
Creating a work flow that makes sense to you so you can find anything easily
Becoming familiar with the transactions and litigation the firm is handling
Going out with classmates
Attending bar association events if there are any in your city
Networking as much as possible without being obnoxious
Looking at neighborhoods you might live

I’m certain if I tried I could come up with 50 things that are a better use of your time as a professional lawyer than taking a class.

QContinuum

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Re: Taking classes as a Summer Associate

Postby QContinuum » Mon Mar 11, 2019 4:35 pm

Npret wrote:You’ve missed the entire point.
It’s foolish to take a class assuming it will work with an unknown schedule. If you want to get up at 5 every morning to do your class work before your job, go ahead.
You’re making your summer unnecessarily harder and nothing about this class is going to help you get a job.

Are you so confident your work will be good? That you will know what you are doing? That no partner will take a dislike to you? That your classwork will absolutely not interfere with any aspect of your summer job?

It’s not a great sign that you are not comprehending or accepting advice from experienced people wanting to help you. Don’t do that this summer.

To be fair, Jane doesn't seem to be the OP. Jane just seems to have decided - with zero SA experience under her belt - to parachute in to advise OP, and pooh-pooh the actual experiences of everyone else ITT who's actually summered.

Fletch23

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Re: Taking classes as a Summer Associate

Postby Fletch23 » Mon Mar 11, 2019 4:43 pm

Some folks may assume the worst and speculate that you have to take a summer course after bombing/withdrawing from a class during the school year. Regardless, like others said it will just raise eyebrows and be a distraction when you miss work events to take a summer class. Please don't do this.

Edit: accidental anon

Npret

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Re: Taking classes as a Summer Associate

Postby Npret » Mon Mar 11, 2019 5:14 pm

QContinuum wrote:
Npret wrote:You’ve missed the entire point.
It’s foolish to take a class assuming it will work with an unknown schedule. If you want to get up at 5 every morning to do your class work before your job, go ahead.
You’re making your summer unnecessarily harder and nothing about this class is going to help you get a job.

Are you so confident your work will be good? That you will know what you are doing? That no partner will take a dislike to you? That your classwork will absolutely not interfere with any aspect of your summer job?

It’s not a great sign that you are not comprehending or accepting advice from experienced people wanting to help you. Don’t do that this summer.

To be fair, Jane doesn't seem to be the OP. Jane just seems to have decided - with zero SA experience under her belt - to parachute in to advise OP, and pooh-pooh the actual experiences of everyone else ITT who's actually summered.

That’s even worse.

Tenzen

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Re: Taking classes as a Summer Associate

Postby Tenzen » Mon Mar 11, 2019 6:31 pm

janereacher wrote:
mtf612 wrote:Now I feel worried since everyone is saying OP won't have an hour of free time per day.

Do people have time to hit the gym during their SA? If I don't workout four times a week I start getting cranky.


Seriously, I have a hard time conceptualizing a SA gig as a 112 hour a week commitment. I might feel differently after this summer, but I doubt it. I promise to check back in at the end of the summer :D


Hello. 911. I think I've been trolled.

It's inconceivable one smart enough to land a SA can have such bad judgment.

QContinuum

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Re: Taking classes as a Summer Associate

Postby QContinuum » Mon Mar 11, 2019 10:21 pm

Tenzen wrote:Hello. 911. I think I've been trolled.

It's inconceivable one smart enough to land a SA can have such bad judgment.

Well, y'know, there have been all those ATL stories over the years of summers hitting on partners' spouses, vandalizing property, sexually harassing staff, being drunk & disorderly... Folks inevitably slip through the cracks!

Less egregiously, I'm sure we've all encountered/heard of the occasional weird/antisocial/otherwise odd and/or unqualified summer.

Npret

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Re: Taking classes as a Summer Associate

Postby Npret » Mon Mar 11, 2019 10:46 pm

QContinuum wrote:
Tenzen wrote:Hello. 911. I think I've been trolled.

It's inconceivable one smart enough to land a SA can have such bad judgment.

Well, y'know, there have been all those ATL stories over the years of summers hitting on partners' spouses, vandalizing property, sexually harassing staff, being drunk & disorderly... Folks inevitably slip through the cracks!

Less egregiously, I'm sure we've all encountered/heard of the occasional weird/antisocial/otherwise odd and/or unqualified summer.


I prefer to think I’ve been trolled than to think these SAs didn’t understand the concepts we explained.

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Mullens

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Re: Taking classes as a Summer Associate

Postby Mullens » Mon Mar 11, 2019 11:20 pm

I know a few people who did this and it worked out fine for all of them. Was a very very easy online class though. Would probably be fine at my firm as long as the class didn’t require you to do anything before 6 pm but we have a super laid back summer program (summers are told to bill 3-4 hours/day).

QContinuum

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Re: Taking classes as a Summer Associate

Postby QContinuum » Tue Mar 12, 2019 12:03 am

Mullens wrote:I know a few people who did this and it worked out fine for all of them. Was a very very easy online class though. Would probably be fine at my firm as long as the class didn’t require you to do anything before 6 pm but we have a super laid back summer program (summers are told to bill 3-4 hours/day).

Yes, but observe the critical prerequisites not known to summers in advance:
  • Even if the class is said to be easy, whether they will personally find the class easy (especially if they want to get a good grade);
  • Whether their firm expects summers to hit the exits by 6 PM every day;
  • Whether their firm will instruct them to bill only 3-4 hours/day.
I also think that pre-summers shouldn't ask whether they will have a "super laid back summer," or whether it'd be okay for them to head out at 6 PM every day.

Further, I'd venture to say that a summer program that routinely lets summers leave by 6 PM is more of an exception than not these days. Far more common for summers to be expected to stay past 6 PM most days (even if "only" for social activities).

Finally, "billing" 3-4 hours/day doesn't really say much, necessarily, about the amount of time/energy required. Summer programs typically involve things like court observations and training programs, none of which are billable. (And of course things like lunches or social activities also aren't billable.) Maybe your firm really has summers only working 3-4 hours, spending another 3-4 hours watching Netflix, and leaving by 6 PM every day. If so, it's really the exception and not the rule.

Look, none of us ITT are saying that taking a class is guaranteed to lead to a no-offer or cold offer. We're just saying that the risk/reward calculation doesn't work out. It isn't even close. It could work, with certain classes, at certain firms, and possibly if the summer manages to avoid certain seniors who might be rubbed the wrong way. But it's just too much of a gamble - with minimal upside - to be worth it.

alawyer2018

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Re: Taking classes as a Summer Associate

Postby alawyer2018 » Tue Mar 12, 2019 9:15 am

QContinuum wrote:
Mullens wrote:
Look, none of us ITT are saying that taking a class is guaranteed to lead to a no-offer or cold offer. We're just saying that the risk/reward calculation doesn't work out. It isn't even close. It could work, with certain classes, at certain firms, and possibly if the summer manages to avoid certain seniors who might be rubbed the wrong way. But it's just too much of a gamble - with minimal upside - to be worth it.


As long as the OP understands there are potential risks of conflicting demands for his time between the SA position and class work, and is willing to sacrifice time spent on class work for the SA position work (which might result in a lower grade for the class), I don't think the risk is nearly as extreme as some are making it out to be. Bottom line, don't take the class if you don't have to, but if OP is really hurting hours for credit hours, taking a class over the summer isn't the end of the world.

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Vursz

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Re: Taking classes as a Summer Associate

Postby Vursz » Tue Mar 12, 2019 9:26 am

Contrarian opinion (from someone who was an SA twice and is now a biglaw associate): taking a class would almost certainly be fine.

Everyone is obviously correct to point out that you shouldn’t be watching lectures during the workday, missing social events, publicizing that you’re taking a class, etc. That’s just a matter of baseline professionalism. But it is absolutely ridiculous to suggest that any SA experience is so jam-packed with work and events that there wouldn’t be time to handle a single garden-variety law class. You’ll have time, unless your time management skills are truly subpar.

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Re: Taking classes as a Summer Associate

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Mar 13, 2019 12:59 am

I took a course while a biglaw SA. It was in-class, one night a week, at a local law school. I cleared it with the SA recruiter ahead of time, with a note that I’d prioritize work and miss class if needed.

Turned out to be a great experience. The class tied to a practice area I was interested in, so a few attorneys (and one partner) regularly asked me about what we discussed in class. It also helped me get assignments that I wanted. One night I left the office mid-assignment to attend class, then returned to finish up the assignment at around midnight. The assigning partner commented favorably on my work ethic. Finally, the professors were pretty lenient on me (e.g., not upset at me walking in late), and loved to hear how my SA was going—kind of reliving their days in that position.

A lot of folks are saying what a bad idea it is, and I was a little nervous about it, but it turned out to be great for me. You may not get some of the positive aspects noted above due to its online nature, but you’ll have even more flexibility to make it work. So if you’re really interested in the class, go for it!

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Re: Taking classes as a Summer Associate

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Mar 13, 2019 8:00 pm

Vursz wrote:Contrarian opinion (from someone who was an SA twice and is now a biglaw associate): taking a class would almost certainly be fine.

Everyone is obviously correct to point out that you shouldn’t be watching lectures during the workday, missing social events, publicizing that you’re taking a class, etc. That’s just a matter of baseline professionalism. But it is absolutely ridiculous to suggest that any SA experience is so jam-packed with work and events that there wouldn’t be time to handle a single garden-variety law class. You’ll have time, unless your time management skills are truly subpar.


This was my experience too, also as a current biglaw associate and SA at two different firms. Unless you consider yourself especially risk-averse, I would do it if you are interested.

I don't know what the average is, but perhaps 3 nights a week there will be social events that you should attend and participate in. Some may be "Let's take a bus somewhere, do something together, have dinner and go out for drinks afterward" and some may be "Let's do a happy hour starting at 5:30 in the office," so they'll vary a lot in terms of how open your night could be even as a participant in them. But you should have the other 4 nights, as well as pretty much all the weekend mornings and afternoons, wide open to whatever you want to do. So long as you are willing and able to catch up on the class on a Saturday morning - rather than skipping a summer event on a Thursday because you're not willing to give up part of the weekend for the class - you'll be fine.

Being an SA can feel pretty busy, but I'm a little surprised by some of the other takes here - and maybe I just went to a firm with more of a laid-back summer program than others. As long as the class is flexible and you can complete the work at any time of day or night, there's no way this would have to be an issue for a reasonable SA.

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Re: Taking classes as a Summer Associate

Postby lavarman84 » Thu Mar 14, 2019 12:59 am

Anonymous User wrote:Being an SA can feel pretty busy, but I'm a little surprised by some of the other takes here - and maybe I just went to a firm with more of a laid-back summer program than others. As long as the class is flexible and you can complete the work at any time of day or night, there's no way this would have to be an issue for a reasonable SA.


Every SA program is different, but the point isn't that OP likely can't do it. The point is that there's no real gain with some risk. It's three credit hours. There's plenty of time as a 3L to knock out those hours. It is what it is. People make decisions all the time that I think are nonsensical. Hopefully, they have their reasons.

splitmuch

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Re: Taking classes as a Summer Associate

Postby splitmuch » Thu Mar 14, 2019 10:32 am

mtf612 wrote:Now I feel worried since everyone is saying OP won't have an hour of free time per day.

Do people have time to hit the gym during their SA? If I don't workout four times a week I start getting cranky.



If I were you, the thing I would be more worried about is your reading comprehension.

Even as an associate it’s not the total hours that are really that bad, it’s the lack of flexibility. As everyone here has said, that is the concern. If it just so happens you’re needed once past 6 on a day you have a class, it could be an issue.

Now if someone takes a class, and picks the S.A. gig any time a conflict arises, this may be doable. Especially since almost by definition your grade no longer matters.

M458

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Re: Taking classes as a Summer Associate

Postby M458 » Thu Mar 14, 2019 1:12 pm

To the OP, I think this will depend on the structure of the online class. If it's self-paced and you can watch lectures/do readings/assignments at your own pace, then I'd go ahead and take the class (in big law now, did same thing when I was a summer associate); however, if you actually have to watch lectures or participate in activities at certain times, then probably not worth it for the reasons others in this thread have already stated. Basically, it comes down to flexibility - you don't want to ever have to cancel or not be fully available as a summer associate, whether that means social events or work.

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Re: Taking classes as a Summer Associate

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Mar 14, 2019 10:51 pm

splitmuch wrote:
mtf612 wrote:Now I feel worried since everyone is saying OP won't have an hour of free time per day.

Do people have time to hit the gym during their SA? If I don't workout four times a week I start getting cranky.



~rude comment~

Even as an associate it’s not the total hours that are really that bad, it’s the lack of flexibility. As everyone here has said, that is the concern. If it just so happens you’re needed once past 6 on a day you have a class, it could be an issue.

Now if someone takes a class, and picks the S.A. gig any time a conflict arises, this may be doable. Especially since almost by definition your grade no longer matters.


I briefly skimmed the thread during class and posted an anxious comment. I am a first gen student and don't know very many previous SA's. I am used to online courses where the lectures are on demand, so I simply thought time constraints might be a concern. There was no need to be rude.
Last edited by Anonymous User on Fri Mar 15, 2019 8:21 am, edited 1 time in total.

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BeeTeeZ

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Re: Taking classes as a Summer Associate

Postby BeeTeeZ » Fri Mar 15, 2019 4:24 am

Here's the concern boiled down, OP:

Let's say your total emotional, intellectual, stress tolerance is 6/10 (or 8/10, whatever your baseline is). One side is saying OP should give 6/10 effort on/during your SA--the remaining 4/10 doing whatever you want/need (e.g., sleep, friends/family, food).

The other side is saying take your 6/10, and it's no biggie to take a 1/10 class, because 5/10 (or 7/10) to spend on your SA is fine. You'll get an offer. They are saying that 1/10 has merit, and is not a complete waste of time.

They're both right for different reasons.



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