The American Lawyer will report next week that some law firm summer associates wonder what life will be like “when the party’s over.” Writer Tamara Loomis digs in to the survey results to serve up the real world view of pre-lawyers in their second season. Some firms call these lucky clerks “summers.”
A sample of why things may have changed over the years (the named quote is from Jennifer Gotch, director of recruiting at Arnall Golden Gregory in Atlanta):
There’s also a generational difference. These aspiring lawyers want to have a life, too. “They’re really looking for a balance — they’re not interested in the churn-and-burn,” Gotch says. Summers want to know about alternative work arrangements, such as part-time work and telecommuting, and the firm’s family-friendliness, including child care facilities and paternity leaves. “Work-life balance is not some faddish buzzword, but a pending crisis that will, eventually, affect your firm’s prosperity and longevity,” warned a clerk at Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft.
Does this clerk expect an offer of $150,000 per year to start? Nights and weekends off, too?
While there seems to be an admirable attempt to provide a dose of reality for summers, sometimes it was a bit too real:
At other firms, things sometimes got too authentic. “Keep summers away from the horrendous partners that are hard to work with and make people cry,” whimpered one summer at fifth-ranked Cozen O’Connor. A clerk at 156th-ranked Cadwalader grumbled about the “torture of working for an associate who is notoriously awful to work with.” Apparently, there’s reality, and there’s reality, summer-style.
In my world, this is 100% wrong. Any firm that wants summers to make an intelligent decision should have them work with a curmudgeon or two, not just the stunt Perfect Partner called up from central casting.
The top three firms in TAL’s survey of summers satisfaction:
Congratulations to these firms. It would be interesting if TAL goes back in two years and sees how associate satisfaction correlates with the summers 2006 hit list.
The Wired GC has obtained a copy of the training manual used at one of the top-ranking firms:
And, in a stunning coup, The Wired GC also was emailed a photo from an event for summers earlier this year at a cellar-dwelling white-shoe firm in Gotham City (note: update firm policy on cellphones with cameras):
If you’re partner material and you know it clap your hands….