If you’re one of
the fortunate law school graduates then you’ve probably landed a summer
associate job at a law firm. If so, you want to make the best impression
possible. Below are a few qualities that can make any summer associate shine:
on and off the job. This may seem
like a no-brainer; but many new lawyers make the mistake of getting a little
too comfortable in their summer associate positions. Just because a law firm
wines and dines you this does not mean that you should let you hair down. Even
at casual after work events, summer associates are under the scrutiny of their
superiors. Remain on your best
behavior at all times.
power to say no. While it is in
the best interests of the summer associate to take on as much meaningful work
as possible to show off their skills, taking on more work than you can
competently complete could be a disaster. One of the biggest mistakes that some
summer associates make is failing to inform their superiors when they are
overwhelmed. Don’t make the same
to build relationships. Law firms want to know that their summer associates
have solid interpersonal skills. Demonstrate your superior social skills by
building professional relationships with various people throughout the law
firm’s ranks. Don’t limit your relationships to only those who hold
considerable power, befriend first year associates as well as paralegals,
secretaries and your fellow summer associates.
to constructive criticism. While most law firms have some type of review system
for their summer associates, you should take the initiative to seek feedback on
your performance before the official review. If there are issues, make a
concerted effort to correct course and make notes of your progress.
with a mentor. Some law firms assign mentors to their summer associates; but
even if they don’t you should take the time to find one of your own. Once again, don’t limit your mentor
search to only those lawyers in the higher ranks of the firm. It’s perfectly acceptable to find
mentors who have only a few years of legal experience under their belt.