If you have had a mid-summer evaluation/assessment, you should have some sense of how you have been doing. If you have not yet had an assessment, you may want to ask for one. It is important to know how the attorneys have viewed your work product and your interaction in the law firm. This is also a good time to ask the assigning attorneys for projects in areas in which you have an interest.
If you received an evaluation with some constructive criticism, hopefully you have taken it to heart and tried to remedy any issues within your control. For example, I once knew a summer associate from a top law school. He was not, however, a very good proofreader. His analysis was sound, his research thorough. However, he did not take the committee's mid-summer advice to print out and carefully proof his documents. This failure to incorporate advice became a problem.
[NOTE: a few comments have noted that some of these seem obvious. The point is that some of them are obvious -- that is the problem. You would be amazed at some of the things we HPs see -- it is not just me. Remember, HP has friends who are HPs and recruiting committee members. The crux of the blog is that there's some basic common sense and courtesies missing sometimes. Yes, several of this items are basic, but apparently that is what's needed: some basic advice.]
In an effort to render short words of wisdom, here are my top 10 things you should/should not do to finish the summer strong:
10. Do not cry in your mid-summer evaluation. There is no crying in baseball, or in law firms.
9. Do not allow your helicopter parent to call Hiring Partner or Recruiting Coordinator to ask about your work, evaluation, or offer potential. PEOPLE: We are sure your parents are nice, but we don't need them involved in our decision-making. Parental involvement at your age (i.e,. over 22) is only appropriate if your mom or dad is the CEO or GC of a Fortune 500 company, thank you very much. I'm kidding here, of course. Please leave your parents at home.
8. Do not take criticism poorly. Most of us Hiring Partners and recruiting committee members want you to do well. We want to make offers (well, I do). We are giving you advice in an effort to help you develop as a summer associate and a lawyer. Take it to heart. You may ask questions seeking further guidance , but try not do so defensively.
7. Do not get toasted at end of summer events. This would seem to be an obvious point but it does happen. Remember the previous advice: do not seek romance or miscellaneous encounters at firm events. FOCUS.
6. Do not assume everything you tell your paired associate/lawyer advisor is "privileged." At some firms, the paired associates participate in the evaluations and would share how you cried every afternoon at 3 p.m.
5. Do say yes to opportunities to participate in observation events with partners, associates, and other attorneys. Attendance at a deposition is a great learning opportunity. Moreover, you will often get some good one on one time with the attorneys since there's often travel involved.
4. Do continue to be courteous to attorneys and staff. Yes, this is a repeat but VERY important. Staff often give input to the recruiting committee/hiring partner, and "it's nice to be nice."
3. Do wrap up your open projects, making sure you do a great job even in the very last sentence of your last memorandum. Be helpful --for example, include copies of cases in the event the attorneys have questions about the cases after you have left.
2. Do thank the Hiring Partner, the recruiting committee and staff, your assistant, the office manager and your advisor at the end of the summer for making your clerkship great. It is generally acceptable to ask for final feedback from the recruiting committee, even if they are not in a position to issue an offer on your last day.
1. Do not send an All Firm email. I'm torn on all office emails or all attorneys in office emails. Ask your advisor or the recruiting staff if it would be appropriate. If yes, make it VERY SHORT and SWEET: "Today is the last day of my time as a summer associate with XYZ Firm. I wanted to take an opportunity to thank you all for a terrific summer. I have enjoyed working with all of you. I return to law school with great things to say about XYZ Firm. " [Note: this is just an example folks, please do not copy and paste in two weeks!]
Btw, work and other commitments permitting, Hiring Partner will field questions from time to time, so feel free to comment (nicely!)