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Summers are a Happy Lot

Summer associates gave their firms overall good reviews in The American Lawyer's 2007 Summer Associates Survey, and why shouldn't they? After all, what's not to like? Some found exotic adventures abroad, with one traveling four-and-a-half hours by horseback across the Egyptian desert and another put up in a fancy apartment in Paris. Others were treated to skyboxes at baseball games, cooking classes, musicals, symphony concerts, whitewater rafting trips and scavenger hunts. In New York, there was Kobe beef and Picasso at the Museum of Modern Art, while in San Francisco there was helicoptering under the Golden Gate Bridge and debauchery at Half Moon Bay. All that and a paycheck of nearly $3,000 a week.

Not bad work if you can get it. And of the 10,000 law students who did get it, 7,300 responded to the AmLaw survey. Those at smaller firms were generally happier than those at larger firms, but almost all the firms scored at least a four on a scale of one to five, with the average score for all firms 4.513. The top-scoring firm was Boston's 155-lawyer Nutter McClennen & Fish, which earned perfect scores in eight of nine categories. The second-ranked firm, Philadelphia's Fox Rothschild, jumped from a rank of 110 the year before.

What made the difference in firms? "Students craved juicy assignments, friendly offices and lots of attention, and the firms that best satisfied these needs tended to be medium-size shops with relatively small summer programs," writes reporter Paul Jaskunas. One summer associate at Nutter summed up the experience this way: "They go out of their way to make you feel like a part of the family from day one." By contrast, firms that ranked lower on the survey got there because their associates felt neglected. All but one of the 10 lowest-ranked firms scored below 4.0 in training and guidance. "Give the summer associates more real work! I want to write motions, not just research motions," pleaded one associate. Just don't let up on the Kobe and debauchery.

Posted by Robert J. Ambrogi on November 19, 2007 at 01:32 PM | Permalink | Comments (2)

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