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by Vault Law Editors | April 14, 2010


Last night I attended the Summer Associate Kick-Off Party, hosted by Above the Law and Practical Law Company, at Amity Hall in New York. In addition to the open bar and parade of snacks, the event gave law students the opportunity to mingle with staff from ATL and PLC (not to mention the distinguished Vault staffers on hand). Students also received a few practical tips on how to make the most of their summer associate experience — or at least how not to totally botch it.

Despite the absence of law firm representatives, it was clear that most attendees approached the event as an informal, employment-related function, rather than a free booze fest. Dressed in suits or business casual, the students (most of whom seemed to be from nearby NYU) came across as a genial and polite crew. I was impressed by the relatively subdued atmosphere, which was in keeping with advice offered by the event’s organizers — one of the key messages being that, in this job market, you can’t take anything for granted.

Among the summer associate dos & don’ts presented by ATL editors:

  • Don’t do anything that merits attention by Above the Law; that’s not where you want people to read about your exploits. Citing the cautionary tale of the threat-making, you-tubing NYU student Mr. Chuck, Elie Mystal warned attendees, “You don’t want me knowing your name.” David Lat reminded us of the 2006 adventures of Aquagirl as an example of what not to do in 2010: sad to say, employers are not likely to look so kindly on stripping, river-plunging summer associates these days.

  • Do your homework. Follow the news and keep abreast of what’s happening at your firm before you start work there.

  • Don’t be put off by drudge work; every summer associate gets their share. But also don’t be afraid to ask for more responsibility.

  • Do take advantage of PLC’s resources. They are free for students and offer invaluable, practical instructions for understanding and handling transactional assignments.

Those tips, along with a good attitude, a willingness to work hard and learn as much as possible — and a bit of luck — should help you survive the summer. And maybe even turn your eight-week stint into a full-time offer.

- posted by vera


Filed Under: Law