Monday, May 11, 2009

good luck to those starting this week

I got a few emails from people starting summer jobs this week.  Good luck, all!   Remember, you need to be on your game.  Consider every day an interview.  Don't be psycho on edge, deer in the headlights, but don't get too comfortable either.  People engage in office gossip?  Don't go there.  Feel like complaining?  Don't do it.

A female reader indicated she is going to work in a warm climate and wonders if wearing hose is necessary. Now, some may vary on this, but HP says to wear the hose, especially at the beginning. You can see as the summer develops if others go without, but I always go with the conservative side and that is to recommend wearing the hose.  Most offices are cool in the summer anyway, so most of the day you will be just fine. 

You will be getting your first assignments soon.  With any assignment, make sure you understand a few key points: 

 when is it due?  Note the date and make sure you give yourself a reminder and plenty of time to complete it AND time to carefully proof (I always print out my docs and sit and read the hard copy through). 

what kind of product does the assigning person want?  A memo?  An email summarizing the key cases?  Document summaries?  Make sure you understand what they want delivered.

what resources can be used/are recommended?  Lexis ok - some clients have restrictions on what can be utilized.  

how should you bill?  This can vary -- .25 or .10; some clients require task codes, or specific breakdown by descriptions -- for instance, instead of "draft memorandum; research regarding statute of limitations; conference with J. Smith" 1.75;they want "draft memorandum (1.0); research regarding statute of limitations (.5), conference with J. Smith (.25).  A good question to assess this is "are there any special billing instructions for this client/project?

another question: what is the best way to contact you if I have questions? Or how do you prefer I contact you if I have questions?

***

Those are a quick few thoughts to get you going.  I am sure you all will have some queries for me as the weeks progress.  Remember, it is always good to clarify instructions in advance.  AND, seriously, it is REALLY important to deliver the product ON TIME AND WELL PROOFED.  I cannot stress this enough.  Jobs have been lost over this.  Manage expectations-- If you encounter roadblocks in your research, you should go to the assigning person, BEFORE the deadline.  

Good luck !  


12 comments:

MovieLawver said...

Would you recommend asking for a sample memo, email, etc. to get a sense of the style and format they prefer?

Anonymous said...

Great post

Anonymous said...

I started today. I won't get any more specific than this but the firm did a really good job of allaying our offer fears. Perhaps the sky isn't falling everywhere.

Anonymous said...

Hi HP,

First time poster with a question.

I'm about to start as summer associate and have been getting a few emails about pro-bono activities. A couple of them are during regular work hours. Thoughts on attending versus working?

Anonymous said...

MovieLawyer,
Yes, this is a proper question to ask. Firms (especially the big ones) have an internal computer network where several sample documents are available for you to use. During your orientation, your firm will show you how to access those files and might even provide you with sample memos with your orientation packet.

If you aren't provided with this information, it is especially important that you ask the assigning attorney about format and samples. Most of the memos I wrote did not require a "statement of facts" or a "statement of the issue," but I did have to write a memo for a partner who wanted that info.

Anonymous said...

HP, I am a rising 3L and was hired for a gig on the spot this morning. In complete shock, I accepted. I anticipate hearing back from another place next week sometime. The issue is this: Stick with where I'm at now and get to do real, substantive work doing something I'm not necessarily interested in pursuing post-law school, or take the [hypothetical] offer doing more law-schoolish work [think: memos. . . organizing 20,000 discovery docs]but in a legal area I would like to work in post-grad?

Anonymous said...

Agree with HP. I would add the following:
1. Bring a notepad (and pen) to assigning partner's office--take notes on assignment details.
2. Get the relevant client/matter billing code for the project.

Anonymous said...

If you have already accepted the first internship, that is it. You could have asked for some time to think about it, buying yourself some time until you heard back from the other place. But, you didn't, so the job you accepted is the job you take. You should let all pending jobs know that you have accepted elsewhere. And certainly do not go on any more interviews.

Anonymous said...

I agree with 5:40

Anonymous said...

May 14, 2009 3:34 PM again here:
3. Shepherdize *everything* you cite carefully.

Mike R said...

Why haven't you made a new post in over a week?

Anonymous said...

A lot of summer programs have been straight forward that offers will be very limited. If my program is telling me otherwise, do you think they are feeding me a line? Or is it probably true?