I'm a little slow today. I just switched to Sanka. So...have a heart?

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

By now

Some of you have started your Summer Associateships. Here is my exceedingly brief list of "do's" and "don'ts" (Although, I don't really know how reliable my advice is for you, all things considered...)

1) Do try to stay late, and when you do, make sure people see that you're there late. They'll tell you "Get outta here! It's your summer!" I took that advice. Oops. You should probably not be leaving until after 6:30...or later...if you got to the office by 8:20.

2) Do order a salad, entree, and dessert at lunch. And offer bites to other people at the table. The firm is paying for it, and apparently, it's tax deductible. When you drop food on yourself, laugh it off...don't get tied up in knots - show your sense of humor. Don't order booze at lunch. I never did, despite being encouraged to do so. The last thing I needed was a buzz while trying desperately to find some case law that didn't exist...

3) Do make friends with all the secretarial support staff. Definitely makes for easier access to partners, and they really run the office. They can be your best friends. Buy them candy bars.

4) Ask for as many assignments from as many different people as possible. Even if they're scary. And do amazingly on all of them. Try not to ever decline an assignment. I declined one, once, when I had like a million other things going...maybe that's why I didn't get a job. Early July will be an awful time for you. Get ready and try not to cry every time the phone rings with another assignment for you to do, "NOW!"

5) Keep your partners apprised of the status of what you're doing for them. Every day. Even if it's a count-down to when you are going to get to their assignment.

6) Make best friends with some associates. They'll give you some help, read your stuff, give you pointers and ways to research...

7) LEARN HOW TO USE THE BOOKS! OH, SWEET LORD, LEARN HOW TO USE THE BOOKS. You don't think they're useful but they're much, MUCH better than the internet. Ask the librarian for help at the beginning. You'll get it and find stuff more relevant to your topic and much faster.

8) Get into work early. Be there when other people roll in. Leave your door open. Have people comment about the fact that you're there at 7:30 on a Friday evening...

9) Ugh. If you can avoid a writing assignment like an Article...do it. They're black holes that mean you're not billing anything and they take up too much time and cut in to your time to ask other people for assignments. But don't think that the partner has forgotten that he assigned you an article, even if it was 2 months prior. He hasn't. He'll come to you when you have 2 more weeks and say, "Where's that article?" And you won't have one...so you have to hustle to get it written, and it'll be okay, but it'll never get published, and that's probably one of the main reasons you don't have a job now, EINSTEIN...

10) Have lunch with everyone. Solicit lunches, and email the partners and their secretaries about scheduling lunches. Take advantage of the Miami Spice menus when they become available...lots of tasty lunches there!! At the same time, if you can, try to get just one or two partners in your lunch party. In large parties, the summers get boxed out of the conversations, because everyone else knows each other really well, and talks about current cases. Try to have 2 summers and 2 partners or associates or one of each. Makes for more fluid conversation and greater participation.

11) Go 'head! Take those baseball tickets! Just remember to AT LEAST write a thank-you email. I probably should have written notes, and that's why I have no job.

12) Fridays are breakfast days! Get to the office early, and eat some fruit to kill your hangover. Keep a low-profile on Fridays, though, and pour yourself into working on something, so you don't get one of those "over the weekend" assignments...Which you'll freak out about, take, home and do, not understand, and return to the partner, in an okay, but not great condition, and then that's probably why you don't have a job now.

13) Maybe sometimes when evaluating damages from a liquidated damages contract, if you end up making a graph showing expected profits v. expected losses, maybe you've gone too far...or maybe you haven't and that partner just isn't effusive at showing your brilliance. But chances are, you've probably gone way off on a tangent, and that's why you don't have a job.


15) Highlight relevant Westlaw headnotes. Cases in Westlaw, Shepards in Lexis.

16) As much as they say it, the Westlaw phone people aren't that helpful. Try them, but the librarian and the books are probably better, unless it's research for a jurisdiction where you have no library books. In that case, GO TO LEGAL ENCYCLOPEDIAS LIKE AMJUR AND CORPUS JURIS SECUNDUM AND ALR OR THE RESTATEMENTS OR WHATEVER. Ugh. If only I knew how to research this summer....tsk. Maybe that's why I have no job.

17) Think up some interesting topics to bring up (not politics or religion) when you have to go to Firm events. You might not feel like you have anything in common with the people you're talking with - you probably don't. You live in a completely different world than many of the people you work with. You're a student, they're not. They have a job every day, you go to class and lay out by the pool and gossip. 'Nuff said. Some local governmental scandal, zoning decision, sports score or national crisis (NOT POLITICAL) might be good topics. Or good restaurants in the area, or movies out. Who knows. Have something to blab about, otherwise there will be lots of uncomfortable awkward silence with you beaming like an idiot out of sheer discomfort.

18) Shave every day. And keep your hair short.

19) Earplugs might not be a bad idea. Speakerphone is the bane of my existence, but everyone uses it...I don't understand why.

20) Remember. No matter what anyone says to you...you don't have a job yet, so never, ever, ever act like you do, regardless of how "laid back" the firm touts itself to be. Until you get a congratulatory phone call, sign up for OCI, and walk on eggshells at work... ::sigh:: I probably know more people that didn't get an offer out of their summer employment, than that did. Now I'm going to get back to studying for the bar, so that I don't lose my imaginary job.