Monday, May 19, 2008

The Call For Stupid Behavior (Firm Summer Edition)

My first day of firm summer "work" was today. And I'm sure I'm not the only one that is wondering what crazy stories people have about fellow summer associates* losing their offers (hopefully stories about someone ELSE---wait, nevermind...about yourself is even better.)

Use this thread to share your (true) tales of people being incredibly unwise in their quest for a full-time offer!


*I hope it is obvious...but please don't mention any names.

22 Comments:

Blogger Armen said...

I'm not so sure you're going to get the kind of responses you're looking for. Fact of the matter is, every year there's one or two stories about a summer associate who does something outrageous. But there are far more summers who don't get offers than simply the number who act outrageously. The more common scenario is simply doing something stupid that shows bad judgment. And crappy work-product doesn't help either.

5/20/2008 12:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not to dispute the Armen, but I've seen a thing or three in my day. One summer didn't end up getting an offer because, when he left, it turned out that he had generated zero (0) work product during the entire time he was there. That's more of a comment on the mentoring at Nameless Firm which didn't bother to notice that he wasn't doing anything.

Same firm--no offer to the summer who spent most days playing video games at his desk and often spent the night in his office. Like, the whole night. Sleeping under the desk and such.

Bonus points to the guy who had his offer revoked before he even showed up because he got drunk and talked shit at a dinner for prospective summers.

5/20/2008 1:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oops.

http://www.abajournal.com/news/university_of_chicago_law_grad_accused_of_altering_transcripts_in_sidley_au

5/21/2008 9:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The only person from my summer who didn't get an offer was super nice and never did anything wrong socially - she just never was able to produce anything on time.

5/21/2008 10:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know people who worked hard all summer. Kissed ass and still didn't get an offer. You have an awesome chance of getting an offer, but not getting one happens more often than people talk about. Sometimes its the person, sometimes theres too many summer assoiates, sometimes its the economy. just a heads up, nothings guaranteed at this point.

5/21/2008 11:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dig: Esquire article on JYoo--
http://www.esquire.com/features/john-yoo-0608

5/21/2008 3:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Since there was no post on graduation, I'll ask it here. I graduated on Saturday, and was really embarrassed by the hoopla in front of the lawschool after we came back with our families. The protestors had us boxed in, and I felt like my family was being assaulted (yelling in our faces, signs calling us endorsers of torture, woman running down the street screaming "FCK YOO!" over and over, etc.). I apologized to my family several times, and found a back way out of the building for them. I'm a liberal, all that, don't like what Yoo did, etc. etc., but it still left me with a very bad taste in my mouth. (But I guess that was the protestors' point.) I feel like the police could have created a larger perimeter so that we were not boxed in that way. A few members of my family had the sense to walk out in the middle of Bancroft to avoid them, but I was walking with some frail members of my family who did not have that option. I really wish I had not taken them down to the law school.

5/21/2008 5:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, if the protesters convinced Yoo to resign, I guess it was all worthwhile.

5/21/2008 6:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This thread is making me nervous. Any optimistic "everyone gets offers" commentators out there?

5/21/2008 9:28 PM  
Blogger McWho said...

I think that given the current legal market, it really isn't a good idea to give any Boaltie the impression that "everyone gets an offer." But it doesn't mean we still can't add some humor to it.

5/21/2008 9:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tell me how many hours I need to "bill" a day to get an offer!

5/21/2008 11:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ask the hiring coordinator what the median billables per day is for summers, plus or minus one hour.

5/22/2008 8:09 AM  
Anonymous VoR said...

Everyone gets offers. You have to mess up royaly bad to get turned down. True, the economy is slowing down, but a) that usually is a boon for litigation shops, and b) firms will hire summer classes according to anticipated need. More important than work product and time spent "billing" over the summer,is your ability to fit in. Put your energy into getting to know your mentors, practice group leaders, and hiring committee members. If they like you, you could have done no work and still get an offer. Relax, Boalties, life is still good.

5/22/2008 10:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Getting an offer is NOT about billing a bunch of hours; summers are not expected to work as hard as real attorneys - getting an offer is about showing that if you are given an assignment you can complete it in a timely manner and do it well. Getting things done on time is huge - don't ask for extensions unless you really do need one, and you certainly don't want to ask for more than one over the summer. The hiring partners will talk and notice.

That said, you have to screw up royally to not get an offer.

5/22/2008 10:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

to follow up on 10:49:

I mainly agree that what you need to do work-wise as a summer is about completing assignments competently and on time.

But I do work at a firm where summers have not been given offers because their work product has been inadequate. So don't blow off work and expect that you'll get an offer because people like you.

If you don't understand the assignment, ask for clarification. Ask for where you should start your research. Ask the associate in the office next door or your mentor or someone to read over your work if you're not sure about something.

5/22/2008 11:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Some thoughts from a former hiring partner.

SA's get no-offered for several reasons. In my experience, in decreasing order of importance, the main reasons are: (1) teamwork, personality, and fit; (2) quality of work issues; (3) punctuality, timeliness, and meeting deadlines; and (4) the firm's pessimistic assessment of future staffing needs.

Regarding the first issue -- the most common one -- the issues are often expressed as "sense of entitlement," or "not a team player," or "can't work with them." In my view, those phrases sometimes try to capture the notion that the SA views the firm at arms-length and "games" the firm. Firms have developed fairly sensitive radar for that kind of thing. Sometimes those phrases mean the old fashioned notion of team work. Did you do your share? Did you dump work on others? Did you try to solve the problem or just point a finger of blame? I'd guess that for every SA dinged on work quality, 2-4 are dinged on these factors.


Regarding the second issue, written work product matters. All the stuff you were taught in your legal writing section matters. If you are on a team and your written work product is un-usable, you presence at the firm is very expensive and has no compesating benefits. Sorry to repeat myself but it bears repeating: written work product matters.


The third issue is tragic to me, because who wants to no-offer a nice person who can do quality work? But law firms live and die on time management and if you set a pattern of missing deadlines you will be very expensive to hire permanently. Many SA let the project balloon on them. They need to confirm the deadline and the form of final output that is being requested. Then, at the outset, they need to chart out their intermediate steps and give themselves internal deadines.


For example, if the partner asks for a memo on a particular circuit's law of forum non-conveniens, youd ascertain the due date, find out of they want a full memo, short annotations, or just an oral walk-through of the best and worst cases. Then the SA would go back to her office and break the project down into pieces and give herself due dates on the pieces. Build in some leeway for yourself. Then deliver.

One last note: you don't want to be throwing together three memos in your last two days. Build in some leeway for the end of your time there.


Occasionally, you will not be able to meet a deadline. For example, a simple project will lead to a quick answer, and the partner then needs you to look at the issue from a different angle. Great. But what if you've got other deadlines looming and the first project is now expanding? The key is to show how professional you are. You've spotted the time crunch and you then ask the partner how hard the original deadline was -- and you say that it's because you're working on other projects. You offer an alternative deadline, or you say that you can provide the intermediate results by the orginal deadline.

In other words, you are thinking ahead, alerting the supervisor of the problem (no surprises!), and thinking of ways to reconcile the projects. If you find that both projects are immovable and there is a clash, and if you can't get either supervisor to budge, there is typically a workflow coordinator or other person to turn to. But you don't want to do that until you've run through the options I've discussed here. The workflow coordinator will see how professionally you're managing your time and how professional your attitude is. (Remember: don't freak out when there's time pressure in the workplace, because that's essentially what law firm life is.)


Fourth, I know that law students worry about economic downturns. But remember that the firms are for the most part hiring 2 years in advance. Sometimes more. They know about business cycles and know that they can't chop this summer class because we are today in a sluggish economy. That being said, it's a fact of life that firms will reduce offers if the practice group has shrunk or if there have been many partner defections, or if that particular practice group looks like its headed for an extended economic downturn. It's not a fun fact.

5/22/2008 12:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did anyone from Boalt get no-offered last year? Nobody I know of didn't get an offer. Nobody even seemed worried about it, at least after the first week of work.

5/22/2008 9:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

from two years ago, I can name five people who didn't get offers and that's just people I know of . . . however, the other 50 people I knew did get offers . . . i presume

5/22/2008 10:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was super curious about all the 3Ls I saw interviewing for OCIP...

5/23/2008 12:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I didn't know anybody that got no-offered last year, but I knew 2 that got no-offered 2 years ago. I think most of the 3Ls that were interviewing either were doing it because they hadn't heard back from their firm yet, or they never got the biglaw job in the first place.

5/23/2008 11:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The 3Ls I know who were at OCIP were re-interviewing because of life changes that made them want to go to different cities..it happens, folks.

5/23/2008 3:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Proofread everything you write several times (memos, emails, everything). The powers that be are much more likely to notice a grammatical error than they are to notice that you spent 27 hours on a project that should only have taken 25 hours.

And a lot of 3Ls reinterviewed because they changed their minds about where they wanted to live or they learned something about their firm during the summer that made them want to look elsewhere. It's not that uncommon.

5/25/2008 7:22 PM  

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