5 Tips to Make the Most of Your Summer Associate Program & Land a Job Offer

5 Tips to Make the Most of Your Summer Associate Program & Land a Job Offer

How to Make the Most of Summer Associate Program to Land a Job Offer

We’re excited to launch a three part series designed to help law students secure a legal internship and employment post law school.  Read more for great tips in our first article. Stay tuned for our next article on the subject on February 9, 2017!

To fill their ranks, many law firms rely on summer associate programs to evaluate potential hires and to attract top talent. With summer associate interviews right around the corner, you may be wondering how to make the most of that opportunity once you’ve landed that summer role.

While being offered a salaried first-year associate position is never a sure thing, there are some steps you can take to put your best foot forward, maximizing your chances of receiving an offer.

1. Attitude matters

When you’re working as a summer associate, the best advice is to treat the entire summer as an extended job interview. The firm is doing more than evaluating your work; they’re also evaluating you to see if you would be a good fit with the company’s culture.

Be genuine, pleasant and professional in all interactions with partners, associates and other firm personnel, just as you would in any job interview. The firm wants to know whether you’re a team player – your job is to spend ten weeks demonstrating that you are.

As far as the work you’re given, don’t complain about assignments or other tasks. Instead, accept the opportunity to learn something new or hone your skills. Showing that you’re eager and willing to work hard, no matter the assignment, can go a long way toward a job offer for a summer associate.

2. Make the most of social events

A big part of the summer associate experience at many firms is regularly-scheduled social events 1-2 evenings/week, and often at least one weekend over the course of the summer. As a summer associate, plan to attend as many of these events as possible.

These social functions are a way for the firm’s partners, associates and others to get to know you better, so see how you interact with others and how you comport yourself. Remember that you’re being evaluated during social functions, so always maintain control, especially if alcohol is involved.

Absence from multiple social events without explanation could be misinterpreted as disinterest in the firm, so bring up any previous obligations as early as possible.

3. Communication is key

Keep the lines of communication with partners and associates open throughout the summer – the importance of good communication for a summer associate can’t be overstated. If possible, try to work on assignments and projects for more than one attorney, as this may lead to more people advocating for hiring you at the end of the summer.

4. Manage Assignments & Expectations

When you receive an assignment, find out the supervising attorney’s preferred communication method. Doing so at the start can help set the tone for a positive working experience. If there’s anything you don’t understand, ask questions to clarify it. Make sure you understand expected deliverables and deadlines.

If you have more work than you can handle, ask how to prioritize assignments with scheduled social events – remember, the firm expects you to attend those social functions. The firm is investing in you as a summer associate. Because of that, they want to see what you can handle but they also don’t want to overwork you.

5. Give Every Project Your Best Effort

Finally, know that you’ll be judged by the quality of the work you complete, so give every project your all. If you’re asked to produce a rough draft, your work should be as complete and polished as possible. The good news is that nobody expects perfection out of a summer associate.

When feedback is offered, take the time to understand it and ask questions as needed. Remember that you’re trying to impress the firm, so treat every interaction as another opportunity to do just that.

Contact us to learn more

While there are no guarantees, keeping these tips in mind as a summer associate can help you land a job offer at the firm at the end of the summer. Contact us today to request more information about opportunities in the legal field.

About the Author

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Special Counsel

Special Counsel is the largest full-service provider of legal staffing solutions and recruiting services in the United States. Apply online today!

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