Summering this Summer?

Here is some more advice from Hiring Partner/Committee Member Jay Price. More advice, don’t use the same word twice in one 3 word sentence.

The Quest for the Golden Ring – Advice for Summer Law Clerks, Part 1 of 2
Guest post by Jay Price

My earlier blog entitled The Biglaw Devil Wears Brooks Brothers/Ann Taylor focused mainly on the importance of summers getting along with others, not taking anything for granted and being team players. With summer approaching, here are some additional tips. While my suggestions may seem obvious, I’ve witnessed many “fails” over the years.

  • Be Visible (In a Good Way). Don’t lock yourself in your office. Meet as many attorneys as you can. Don’t assume it’s the attorneys’ responsibility to seek you out. While it’s initially intimidating at large firms, you have the perfect excuse to introduce yourself to people. Don’t finish the summer without at least meeting the attorneys on your floor or in your practice areas of interest.
  • Utilize Mentors. Most firms assign mentors (often associates or younger partners) to help you get settled. Ask them questions about the firm, projects and opportunities to meet other people.
  • Show Genuine Interest. Attorneys hire people that want to work for them. If someone seems lukewarm about a practice area or firm, attorneys are reluctant to risk the time and money in training them in a permanent position.
  • Communicate. Keep attorneys updated on the status of projects. If you have a project with a longer timeline, don’t wait until the day you are leaving to turn in the project. Stay in touch and make sure you’re on the right track. You don’t want an attorney’s review to report that the work product wasn’t on point and you only came by on the first day and last day of the summer. Also follow up after turning in assignments and ask for (and professionally accept) feedback.
  • Keep Your Calendar. A critical part of being an attorney is keeping your calendar. It’s not cute or funny to be the person always forgetting when meetings are scheduled or always being late for events. Someone will be responsible for keeping track of the summers. Don’t make them feel like your personal baby-sitter.

Digest this Part 1 and you can be the judge of what matters for you. Honestly consider your strengths, weaknesses and tendencies. 8-10 weeks at a firm is a relatively short time. Make the most of it and avoid the basic traps. Part 2 to follow soon with additional thoughts.

Note: Part 2 has been published! Read it here.

Joel (“Jay”) A. Price, Jr. is a partner at Burr & Forman LLP, a full service law firm with offices in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi and Tennessee. Jay has served terms as Associate Chair, Recruiting Committee Member, Hiring Partner and as a member of the firm’s Executive Committee. Jay earned a B.A. in Economics and a J.D. from Vanderbilt University. You can follow Jay on Twitter @jprice_burr.