Many U.S. law students have spent recent weeks interviewing for summer associate jobs — the gigs before the last year of law school that are essentially 10-week interviews.
It’s pretty well known among lawyers that summer associates don’t end up doing a ton of work. They do go to a lot of parties.
We spoke to one former summer associate at a big New York firm who said she gained 10 pounds after a summer of cocktail parties and firm-sponsored dinners.
“It was kind of an exhausting social calendar,” she said.
The wining and dining of summer associates began as a way for law firms to attract top talent. Now, many of the lawyers at the firms have grown accustomed to these events.
“The attorneys at these firms really like these events,” the former summer associate told us. “It’s fun to go to a cocktail party with these shiny summer associates.”
The summer associates she worked with had a general operating procedure to make sure they were behaving appropriately during those parties. “As long as there was a partner there who was drunker than you were,” she said, “then you were in the clear.”
Of course, some firms might have better parties for summer associates than others. Careers site Vault recently did a survey of law firm associates who had participated in their firm’s summer associate programs to find out which ones were the most fun. (Vault also did a separate ranking of which firms prepared summer associates the best, and which ones had the best overall program.)
Here are the firms that associates ranked as the most fun:
1) Kasowitz, Benson, Torres, & Friedman LLP — The firm says it tries to give summer associates a balance of work and play. Recent summer events included an art tour followed by dinner with artists, a Yankees game, and an evening at New York’s oldest beer garden. There are also a lot of happy hours and summer lunches, associates told Vault.
2) Shook, Hardy, & Bacon LLP — Summer associates at Shook, Hardy participate in cultural and sports events and have dinner in partner’s homes. The firm says specifically says it wants summer associates with a good sense of humour.
3) Irell & Manella LLP — This California firm organizes many fun events for its young summer lawyers, including a weekend in Catalina and a night at a Newport beach resort.
4) Troutman Sanders LLP — Each regional office of Troutman has an “abundant” mix of social events, according to the firm. There’s also a firm-wide retreat every year at a beach resort.
5) Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP — Summer associates in the Denver office recently went to a weekend golf and spa retreat in the Rocky Mountains. The summer associate program at Gibson Dunn includes so many social events that one law student who participated in it had this to say to The American Lawyer: “I would ask that the Summer Associate Program be scheduled so that there is a bit more time for work.” Another summer associate told Vault, though, that the firm hits the “work/play balance perfectly.”
6) Linklaters LLP — The most fun part about the summer associate program at Linklaters’ New York office could be the trip to London.
7) Ropes & Grey LLP — Summer associates here participate in scavenger hunts, trips to museums, baseball games and cooking classes.
8) Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher, & Flom LLP — The firm says its sponsored events provide a “social outlet” for summer associates to get to know the lawyers there. Recent events included a party at the Museum of Modern Art in New York and a Rolling Stones concert in Philadelphia, according to Above the Law.
9) Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP — Summer associates get to sail around Manhattan, go to cocktail parties, and watch Shakespeare in the Park.
10) Haynes & Boone LLP — “You’ll have fun!” the firm promises prospective summer associates on its website. Associates get to participate in firm parties, go to dinners, and attend sports games.
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