You have submitted a few applications for a summer associate position and now you have a few options to choose from. How can you determine what offer is the best one for you? Choosing a good offer is important for several reasons. For one, landing a summer associate position where you are actually mentored is vital for your career as an attorney. Second, choosing the appropriate law firm for a summer position can definitely help you secure a job once you have actually passed the State Bar Exam. In order to evaluate your options, consider the following tips.
Do Your Homework: Analyze Carefully
There are a couple of questions you should prepare to ask yourself before making a decision in regard to what summer associate position is the best option for you.
- Considering your career interests: does the law firm excel in the type of law you are looking into practicing?
- Accepting the offer of a big law firm will not always be the best choice. In a large firm, you could potentially have more resources at your disposal, but you may also not always have the opportunity to be mentored and coached by a senior attorney. The same can also be the case if you go for a smaller law firm, however. So which firm do you choose? While considering all factors, place a high regard to the following element: align your interests with those of the firm. That is, consider choosing the firm that has the same legal practice you are considering for your career.
- Choosing a firm that has similar interests as yours can be really beneficial for you. You could end your summer with very valuable knowledge. Having experience in the field you are interested in applying for after law school can also boost your chances of getting hired at a different law firm.
- The difficulty in this question arises when you are not sure of what type of law you want to practice after law school. It is not necessarily the end of the world, however. Getting experience at a law firm can help you discover what you do or don’t want to practice. It can also help you discover that it might not matter what field you practice so as long as you have associates who are willing to teach and mentor you.
- Will you have any control over your experience?
- Similarly, understanding how much control you have over your learning experience before you accept an offer can be beneficial. If you already know what type of law you would like to practice and know that the firm can offer you the opportunity to learn on that type of practice, the next step is seeing if the firm has the resources to mentor you. If the firm has the ability to mentor you, this could be a greater summer experience than accepting an offer from a firm who will have you answering phone calls all day.
- Is the firm financially stable?
- When selecting a firm to gain experience from over the summer, many students will often accept an offer from a firm they consider potentially working for post-law school. If this is the case for you, do your research. Find out if the law firm has been laying associates off or if the firm has been consistently revoking offers.
- How are the partners compensated?
- While you are only looking to accept a summer associate position, you should consider the possibility that an actual job offer can come out of it. If you have done your research and know that you would want to work for this firm after law school, know how the associates are compensated. There are different methods of compensation that will greatly depend on the law firm. Some forms of compensation can be more competitive than others and some may even offer stability once an associate has reached a certain level of seniority. If you are considering working at this firm, know and understand their method of payment. Doing so can ensure that you are content in your new employment since you will know what to expect.
- Are the firm’s associates content working for that firm?
- Knowing whether the firm you are considering accepting a summer position from has happy and content associates can be important for several reasons. For one, the happier associates are, the more likely they are to offer you guidance and support as you begin your journey working and learning from the company. Secondly, if the associates are generally content, this can be a very good indicator that there is good teamwork, the compensation is at the very least reasonable, and that the firm enforces a work-life balance.
- What is the likelihood that you will make partner?
- Making partner in any law firm is not an easy accomplishment. Since it is a great accomplishment, however you should consider understanding how this particular firm chooses their partners. Be mindful: some law firms will not promote internally but will rather obtain someone from outside the firm. If you are interested in one day making partner, be aware if this is the situation for the firm. You would not want to invest years of effort in a firm that will never consider giving you the promotion you are looking for.
- How is the firm’s work allocated among associates?
- Once you have had an initial interview, you will have the opportunity to ask more in-depth questions. One of these questions should be how is the work assigned among attorneys at the firm. The more freedom an associate attorney has to choose his or her work, the better.
- Is the firm easy to deal with?
- Without a doubt, many law firms will deal will belligerent clients, but within your initial interaction with the firm, consider how easy it is to work with the firm. Pay close attention to their level of responsiveness and even politeness. If there is no effort for client satisfaction, that could be a good indicator that the firm is not managed appropriately.
Once you have researched the firm and answered the initial questions, you should consider contacting your interviewer to ask any other lingering questions. Doing so can ensure that you are happy with your decision and will also give you an added boost in the process since the interviewer will note that you really considered your options before deciding on the firm.
About the Author: Justin H. King is recognized as one of the preeminent personal injury litigation attorneys in the Inland Empire. Justin has built his reputation, one case at a time, by vigorously and compassionately representing injury victims against insurance companies and Justin has achieved numerous six and seven figure results for his clients.