The National Law Journal features columns by attorneys from around the country. We asked them to respond to the question: “How should a summer associate approach the experience during an uncertain economic climate, when firms are considering or making cutbacks?”
Associate at Beus Gilbert in Scottsdale, Ariz.
Times are tough right now. My wife used to scoff at my claims of saving money on gasoline by riding a motorcycle and bicycle to work. Now she asks me why I have to ride that gas-guzzling 41 miles-per-gallon motorcycle and can’t just rely on my bicycle.
In this economy, law firms are in a situation similar to the one I was in — only the way they’re seeking balance includes reducing the number of associates they keep around.
So how can you, a summer associate in a tough market, get an offer and keep your gig?
I have one word that I will repeat three times: litigation, litigation, litigation.
If you are observant, you will probably notice that the associates who are spending time at the summer programs tend not to be litigators. Why? The litigators have all the work when the economy goes sour and corporations sue each other. While corporate and tax associates play with summer associates and worry that their salaries will not be justified, litigators are eating three meals a day at their desk while they respond to hundreds of requests for admission and interrogatories, spend hours on Lexis or Westlaw, review thousands of pages of useless documents and digest deposition transcripts.
Looking for job security? Litigate. And it won’t hurt if people like to work with you.
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