Smokey’s Guide to Biglaw Summer Associate

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Expand view Topic review: Smokey’s Guide to Biglaw Summer Associate

Re: Smokey’s Guide to Biglaw Summer Associate

by Guest » Fri May 24, 2019 7:08 pm

Great, was starting to worry — thanks!

Re: Smokey’s Guide to Biglaw Summer Associate

by Danger Zone » Fri May 24, 2019 6:55 pm

Yep very common, just keep checking in

Re: Smokey’s Guide to Biglaw Summer Associate

by proteinshake » Fri May 24, 2019 5:39 pm

is it okay to be incredibly slow some weeks? I only billed like 8 hours this week and I was asking for work but no one really gave me anything that took a long time - definitely expecting to bill substantially more next week though.

Re: Smokey’s Guide to Biglaw Summer Associate

by UVA2B » Thu May 16, 2019 4:23 pm

SmokeytheBear wrote:
Thu May 16, 2019 3:39 pm
UVA2B wrote:
Thu May 16, 2019 3:35 pm

Good to see you, Smokey.
'been preoccupied putting out some fires in this great state of California.
Insert Uber joke

Re: Smokey’s Guide to Biglaw Summer Associate

by rockathon » Thu May 16, 2019 4:16 pm

Good tips all. Thank you

Re: Smokey’s Guide to Biglaw Summer Associate

by SmokeytheBear » Thu May 16, 2019 3:39 pm

UVA2B wrote:
Thu May 16, 2019 3:35 pm

Good to see you, Smokey.
'been preoccupied putting out some fires in this great state of California.

Re: Smokey’s Guide to Biglaw Summer Associate

by beep » Thu May 16, 2019 3:36 pm

My firm is pretty far afield in terms of trying to give summers actual work, and I would also be surprised if a summer got something that legitimately required 10.5 hours on the second day. That said, like, yea, summers are just going to take 3x as long to do anything as even a second-year associate would and it wouldn't surprise me that much if a clueless partner did not realize what they handed off wasn't as simple as they thought. There's usually enough layers between random partner and summer associate that it doesn't happen a ton.

In terms of how to handle it on the summer side: there has to be some kind of mentor or work coordinator the summer can talk to, and this is exactly the type of thing a summer SHOULD talk to a work coordinator about. I doubt pretty much any firm intends to give summers real 10-hour days off the bat.

Re: Smokey’s Guide to Biglaw Summer Associate

by UVA2B » Thu May 16, 2019 3:35 pm

SmokeytheBear wrote:
Thu May 16, 2019 3:09 pm
UVA2B wrote:
Thu May 16, 2019 1:57 pm
rockathon wrote:
Thu May 16, 2019 12:25 pm
How do you handle being assigned a lot of work from different attorneys during your 1L SA? I have a friend who said he worked 10.5 hours by her second day.


For anyone who's had both a 1L and 2L summer in biglaw, are there any differences between the 2/how the SA is treated/work load?
This will be somewhat firm-dependent, because not all summer programs are handled the same. It’ll depend on firm, market, and practice group.

Generically, if you’ve been assigned more than you can handle (and there aren’t assigned SA work coordinators managing this for you), you should find your mentor at the firm (assigned or through a developed relationship) and ask how to handle the various assignments, where to budget your time, and how best to meet the expectations for the assigning attorneys on each assignment. And if there are senior associates who are in charge of the summer program, you can also ask them how to manage your workload effectively.

I wouldn’t be too scared about a 10.5 hour workday by itself though*. Those days will happen, and while you don’t necessarily come in as an SA expecting those kinds of days, you absolutely must suck it up and put in the work with a smile on your face and your best foot forward. In both of my SA experiences, people understood when social events came up and when your time would be limited, but that doesn’t mean you are in any position to complain or worry about the number of hours you’ve worked or the amount of time your assignments might take. You can look for advice on how to handle those assignments, but it’s still your responsibility to see to it that you present solid work product on every assignment on time.

SAs are a really long interview and typically the workload is beyond manageable. But there may be times where you have the opportunity for interesting and valuable experiences, so you’ll want to take advantage of those. And if you find yourself working one or two longer days, you just need to do it, and do it well with a smile. And if you have an entire summer of 12+ hour days where you’re miserable, maybe that’s a good sign that you won’t enjoy working at that firm long-term.

As for the 1L/2L distinction, they’re minimally different since 1Ls still have OCI up ahead where the bulk of hiring is done, but in terms of assignments given and expectations, they won’t differ much, if at all.

*note: a 10.5 hour work day isn’t that big of a deal, but if somehow your friend billed 10.5 hours on their second day, that’s an impressive amount of time they accounted for that will all be written off.
I am also super, super surprised (and a bit skeptical) of having 10.5 hours on the second day. This could also be more of a reflection of your friend than it is of the work given. When I was a junior, I had people who I worked with where it took them 4-5 hours to assemble signature pages to a purchase agreement (this is not an exaggeration), whereas it would have taken a less anally retentive person 45 minutes to do a superb job of organizing pieces of paper, checking a box on a checklist, and double checking.
Good to see you, Smokey.

And yes, the likelihood that the person is overthinking their day 2 assignments is pretty high.

Re: Smokey’s Guide to Biglaw Summer Associate

by SmokeytheBear » Thu May 16, 2019 3:09 pm

UVA2B wrote:
Thu May 16, 2019 1:57 pm
rockathon wrote:
Thu May 16, 2019 12:25 pm
How do you handle being assigned a lot of work from different attorneys during your 1L SA? I have a friend who said he worked 10.5 hours by her second day.


For anyone who's had both a 1L and 2L summer in biglaw, are there any differences between the 2/how the SA is treated/work load?
This will be somewhat firm-dependent, because not all summer programs are handled the same. It’ll depend on firm, market, and practice group.

Generically, if you’ve been assigned more than you can handle (and there aren’t assigned SA work coordinators managing this for you), you should find your mentor at the firm (assigned or through a developed relationship) and ask how to handle the various assignments, where to budget your time, and how best to meet the expectations for the assigning attorneys on each assignment. And if there are senior associates who are in charge of the summer program, you can also ask them how to manage your workload effectively.

I wouldn’t be too scared about a 10.5 hour workday by itself though*. Those days will happen, and while you don’t necessarily come in as an SA expecting those kinds of days, you absolutely must suck it up and put in the work with a smile on your face and your best foot forward. In both of my SA experiences, people understood when social events came up and when your time would be limited, but that doesn’t mean you are in any position to complain or worry about the number of hours you’ve worked or the amount of time your assignments might take. You can look for advice on how to handle those assignments, but it’s still your responsibility to see to it that you present solid work product on every assignment on time.

SAs are a really long interview and typically the workload is beyond manageable. But there may be times where you have the opportunity for interesting and valuable experiences, so you’ll want to take advantage of those. And if you find yourself working one or two longer days, you just need to do it, and do it well with a smile. And if you have an entire summer of 12+ hour days where you’re miserable, maybe that’s a good sign that you won’t enjoy working at that firm long-term.

As for the 1L/2L distinction, they’re minimally different since 1Ls still have OCI up ahead where the bulk of hiring is done, but in terms of assignments given and expectations, they won’t differ much, if at all.

*note: a 10.5 hour work day isn’t that big of a deal, but if somehow your friend billed 10.5 hours on their second day, that’s an impressive amount of time they accounted for that will all be written off.
I am also super, super surprised (and a bit skeptical) of having 10.5 hours on the second day. This could also be more of a reflection of your friend than it is of the work given. When I was a junior, I had people who I worked with where it took them 4-5 hours to assemble signature pages to a purchase agreement (this is not an exaggeration), whereas it would have taken a less anally retentive person 45 minutes to do a superb job of organizing pieces of paper, checking a box on a checklist, and double checking.

Re: Smokey’s Guide to Biglaw Summer Associate

by UVA2B » Thu May 16, 2019 1:57 pm

rockathon wrote:
Thu May 16, 2019 12:25 pm
How do you handle being assigned a lot of work from different attorneys during your 1L SA? I have a friend who said he worked 10.5 hours by her second day.


For anyone who's had both a 1L and 2L summer in biglaw, are there any differences between the 2/how the SA is treated/work load?
This will be somewhat firm-dependent, because not all summer programs are handled the same. It’ll depend on firm, market, and practice group.

Generically, if you’ve been assigned more than you can handle (and there aren’t assigned SA work coordinators managing this for you), you should find your mentor at the firm (assigned or through a developed relationship) and ask how to handle the various assignments, where to budget your time, and how best to meet the expectations for the assigning attorneys on each assignment. And if there are senior associates who are in charge of the summer program, you can also ask them how to manage your workload effectively.

I wouldn’t be too scared about a 10.5 hour workday by itself though*. Those days will happen, and while you don’t necessarily come in as an SA expecting those kinds of days, you absolutely must suck it up and put in the work with a smile on your face and your best foot forward. In both of my SA experiences, people understood when social events came up and when your time would be limited, but that doesn’t mean you are in any position to complain or worry about the number of hours you’ve worked or the amount of time your assignments might take. You can look for advice on how to handle those assignments, but it’s still your responsibility to see to it that you present solid work product on every assignment on time.

SAs are a really long interview and typically the workload is beyond manageable. But there may be times where you have the opportunity for interesting and valuable experiences, so you’ll want to take advantage of those. And if you find yourself working one or two longer days, you just need to do it, and do it well with a smile. And if you have an entire summer of 12+ hour days where you’re miserable, maybe that’s a good sign that you won’t enjoy working at that firm long-term.

As for the 1L/2L distinction, they’re minimally different since 1Ls still have OCI up ahead where the bulk of hiring is done, but in terms of assignments given and expectations, they won’t differ much, if at all.

*note: a 10.5 hour work day isn’t that big of a deal, but if somehow your friend billed 10.5 hours on their second day, that’s an impressive amount of time they accounted for that will all be written off.

Re: Smokey’s Guide to Biglaw Summer Associate

by rockathon » Thu May 16, 2019 12:25 pm

How do you handle being assigned a lot of work from different attorneys during your 1L SA? I have a friend who said he worked 10.5 hours by her second day.


For anyone who's had both a 1L and 2L summer in biglaw, are there any differences between the 2/how the SA is treated/work load?

Re: Smokey’s Guide to Biglaw Summer Associate

by proteinshake » Thu Mar 14, 2019 7:12 pm

UVA2B wrote:
Thu Mar 14, 2019 2:27 pm
proteinshake wrote:
Thu Mar 14, 2019 2:22 pm
is it okay to ask for one day off for my sister’s grad ceremony?
Yes, but it’s still important how you do it. Inform your primary contact at the firm (likely recruiting) that you have a potential conflict on the date of her graduation, and ask if that would conflict with any firm events. If not, just let them know of the family event, and they’ll likely be fine with it. If they have some big event on that day, consider whether you should miss that thing (not saying you should or shouldn’t, but sometimes even social events at firms can be low-key a big deal for summers), and if you’re sure you need to miss, just ask how you make it work. They should give you some guidance on how to proceed.
thank you, but I actually figured it out! gonna miss the ceremony but visit over the weekend so I can actually spend some time. do firms ever have events on the weekends?

Re: Smokey’s Guide to Biglaw Summer Associate

by UVA2B » Thu Mar 14, 2019 2:27 pm

proteinshake wrote:
Thu Mar 14, 2019 2:22 pm
is it okay to ask for one day off for my sister’s grad ceremony?
Yes, but it’s still important how you do it. Inform your primary contact at the firm (likely recruiting) that you have a potential conflict on the date of her graduation, and ask if that would conflict with any firm events. If not, just let them know of the family event, and they’ll likely be fine with it. If they have some big event on that day, consider whether you should miss that thing (not saying you should or shouldn’t, but sometimes even social events at firms can be low-key a big deal for summers), and if you’re sure you need to miss, just ask how you make it work. They should give you some guidance on how to proceed.

Re: Smokey’s Guide to Biglaw Summer Associate

by proteinshake » Thu Mar 14, 2019 2:22 pm

is it okay to ask for one day off for my sister’s grad ceremony?

Re: Smokey’s Guide to Biglaw Summer Associate

by beep » Wed Feb 27, 2019 9:57 pm

lkoy wrote:
Wed Feb 27, 2019 9:37 pm
Is it rare to turn a 1L SA into a 2L SA? Do firms typically extend return offers at the end of the summer? I'm trying to figure out ways to maximize my chances heading into this summer.
I didn't have a 1L SA but had several friends in law school who did - from observation, it seemed like the standard was for 1L summers to be invited back for a few weeks at the end of 2L summer, but not to go back and do the entire 2L summer program with the same firm. Your mileage may vary and there'll be variation between firms and markets here. My firm has a 1L program but basically never invites 1L summers back for the 2L summer program (but does, occasionally, give strong indications that 1L SAs should apply as 3Ls if they would like to work here), or so it used to work, at least. Texas is an entire different ballgame w/r/t 1L SAs and someone else can speak better to that.

Re: Smokey’s Guide to Biglaw Summer Associate

by lkoy » Wed Feb 27, 2019 9:37 pm

Is it rare to turn a 1L SA into a 2L SA? Do firms typically extend return offers at the end of the summer? I'm trying to figure out ways to maximize my chances heading into this summer.

Re: Smokey’s Guide to Biglaw Summer Associate

by pneumonia » Sat Jul 14, 2018 5:19 pm

cprit91 wrote:
Sat Jul 14, 2018 3:25 pm
This seems like Smokey’s Guide to Your First Job Ever or for People Who Suck
that's because lots of law students have never had a job before and/or suck

Re: Smokey’s Guide to Biglaw Summer Associate

by riot » Sat Jul 14, 2018 4:29 pm

cprit91 wrote:
Sat Jul 14, 2018 3:25 pm
This seems like Smokey’s Guide to Your First Job Ever or for People Who Suck
Yes that’s the point

Re: Smokey’s Guide to Biglaw Summer Associate

by cprit91 » Sat Jul 14, 2018 3:25 pm

This seems like Smokey’s Guide to Your First Job Ever or for People Who Suck

Re: Smokey’s Guide to Biglaw Summer Associate

by riot » Thu Jun 14, 2018 9:55 am

SmokeytheBear wrote:
Thu Jun 14, 2018 9:51 am
riot wrote:
Thu Jun 14, 2018 9:50 am
In all seriousness OP it’s going to be more awkward if you don’t eat. People wants summers fat and happy. Recruiting will be more than willing to work with you. Let them. If you have a list of acceptable restaurants, share it with them. If there are no acceptable restaurants on the area, I would think deeply about whether that’s an area you want to be long term, because I would hazard a guess that it’s missing other cultural things that are important to you.
Issue spotting life right there.
I CANT TURN IT OFF. live your life OP, sorry for lawyering at you

Re: Smokey’s Guide to Biglaw Summer Associate

by SmokeytheBear » Thu Jun 14, 2018 9:51 am

riot wrote:
Thu Jun 14, 2018 9:50 am
In all seriousness OP it’s going to be more awkward if you don’t eat. People wants summers fat and happy. Recruiting will be more than willing to work with you. Let them. If you have a list of acceptable restaurants, share it with them. If there are no acceptable restaurants on the area, I would think deeply about whether that’s an area you want to be long term, because I would hazard a guess that it’s missing other cultural things that are important to you.
Issue spotting life right there.

Re: Smokey’s Guide to Biglaw Summer Associate

by riot » Thu Jun 14, 2018 9:50 am

In all seriousness OP it’s going to be more awkward if you don’t eat. People wants summers fat and happy. Recruiting will be more than willing to work with you. Let them. If you have a list of acceptable restaurants, share it with them. If there are no acceptable restaurants on the area, I would think deeply about whether that’s an area you want to be long term, because I would hazard a guess that it’s missing other cultural things that are important to you.

Re: Smokey’s Guide to Biglaw Summer Associate

by SmokeytheBear » Thu Jun 14, 2018 9:47 am

Looks like we got this food issue covered.

I fully agree it won’t be an issue unless you make it one.

Re: Smokey’s Guide to Biglaw Summer Associate

by pneumonia » Thu Jun 14, 2018 6:45 am

I took the "sinful" comment as a joke, which I think (?) was how it was intended.

I worked one summer at a large firm in TX where there several full-time associates who kept kosher. They never came to any of the lunch events, but they were generally pleasant and they participated in the other stuff that didn't involve food. Then at the end of the summer they loaded up all the summer associates and took us 45 minutes across town to their favorite kosher restaurant. Morals of the story are (a) these guys got jobs at a big law firm, and (b) your dietary restrictions will only be an issue if you make it one.

I agree with Zuck though that you can probably expect firms to trip over themselves to accommodate you. So I wouldn't worry about it.

Re: Smokey’s Guide to Biglaw Summer Associate

by UVA2B » Wed Jun 13, 2018 11:01 pm

Anonymous Online wrote:
Wed Jun 13, 2018 9:51 pm
UVA2B wrote:
Wed Jun 13, 2018 9:23 pm
Anonymous Online wrote:
Wed Jun 13, 2018 8:31 pm
Touching on the "not making a big deal about not drinking", what do people who have dietary restrictions do? I've never been able to navigate this well. I do NOT want anyone to make special arrangements, I'm fine eating before/after and just nursing a drink, but at food events it can be really awkward. Advice?
Maybe I’m wrong, but I’ve never experienced a stigma around having dietary restrictions. In fact, every food event I’ve ever been to (lunches, mixers, dinners, etc.) have specifically asked in the RSVP about dietary restrictions. I would just voice your particular restriction to someone you’ve gotten to know early on and just mention you’re vegan, vegetarian, pescatarian, ciliacs/gluten resistance, etc. anytime an event that includes food is proposed or planned. I think it’s sufficiently in people’s consciousness that dietary restrictions are a reality of modern day life.

Now if you’re particularly vegan, vegetarian, etc. on ethical grounds where you struggle being around people eating meat or animal products, you’ll probably just have to suck that up and accept you don’t have a choice in the matter.
RSVP makes it worse, because you really stand out if you have a Special Meal waiting for you. Been there.

Smokey- I keep kosher, and a pretty strict version of it. Location isn't relevant, but it's not NY, where people are a bit more familiar.

I've never had anyone care, nor does it bother me if others eat their sinful pork and seafood, but it makes for awkward social interactions. My goal is to fulfill Smokey's cardinal rule of being as forgettable as possible, while also going to events and lunch meetings. I'm not worried about stigma, not that there's anything I can do about it, I'm just looking for tips on how to navigate this a little less awkwardly.
But it's not awkward, because everyone accepts that these restrictions exist and they don't even warrant a question.

Respectfully, you might be overthinking this. And I wouldn't refer to other people's food choices as "sinful," especially when you're the one worried that your choices will be seen as somehow a problem.

If you're orthodox and require completely kosher meals, RSVP or let the person in charge of handling food know you're orthodox and need kosher accommodations. Then, when the topic comes up, just briefly mention that your religion requires kosher foods, and that will likely be the end of it. Much like the drinking conversation, the only one who can make it weird or uncomfortable is you.

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