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Advice for Summer Associates

At Counsel to Counsel, Stephen Seckler posts his advice to this year's crop of summer associates. What surprised me most about his article is to discover that any firms are actually hiring summer associates. Let's hope these associates are getting paid for their labors.

Seckler tries to be upbeat, nonetheless. "Work hard, be responsible, ask good questions and do quality work," he advises. In summers past, associates who followed this advice were likely to end up with an offer of permanent employment.

Of course, this summer is not like previous summers. "Your path to success may look a little different," Seckler notes. "Many firms have shortened their programs, most have decreased the number of social activities on the agenda, and at the end of the summer fewer associates will get permanent offers."

On that cheery note, Seckler suggests summer associates try even harder to make themselves stand out. To that end, he counsels:

  • Be very aware of making a good impression
  • Ask good questions when you get assignments
  • Attend every social function that you can
  • If social situations make you uncomfortable, keep your expectations low
  • Be proactive about seeking out work
  • Look for opportunities to "shadow"
  • Get to know partners and associates

As a long-time and sometimes cynical observer of the legal scene, I might add a few of my own:

  • Do not get drunk and fall off the mid-summer harbor cruise
  • Do not reveal any more skin than normal "business casual" would permit
  • Do not accept or extend offers of inappropriate relationships with supervisors or senior partners
  • If you disregard any of the above advice, do not write about it or post photographs of it on Facebook

Seckler says that even if the summer ends without an offer of a permanent job, you should build on the relationships you create during your internship. At the very least, that might lead to a referral to a job elsewhere. Alternatively, you can always go back to working as a lifeguard or camp counselor for the summer.

Posted by Robert J. Ambrogi on June 3, 2009 at 01:03 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)


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