X

Thank you for sharing!

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.
Although summer associates love the firm-sponsored lunches, dinner parties, and golf outings, what they really ask for is involvement with attorneys at the firm. In fact, end-of-summer surveys show us that what summer associates crave most is not another great meal, but substantive involvement with firm attorneys, especially partners and other senior attorneys. So the challenge becomes how to get attorneys involved in the summer program. The Washington, D.C., office of Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker has found a successful way to involve senior attorneys: two special weeklong role-playing exercises, one highlighting litigation and employment and the other focusing on our corporate transactional practices. Each has become a hallmark of our summer program. In addition to promoting important team building and class bonding, these programs allow partners and other senior attorneys in the office to serve as faculty, legal advisers, judges, and clients, providing them a real opportunity to interact with and observe the summer class. TRIAL WEEK The litigation training program, in one form or another, has been a part of the summer experience in our office for more than a decade. This year will see the introduction of the third or fourth hypothetical case we have created for our summer associates since we started the program. Before the start of what we call trial week, partners and other senior attorneys serve as faculty, leading practical discussions on such topics as establishing the attorney-client relationship and the ethical issues involved, the development of a discovery plan, effective direct and cross-examination, negotiations and settlement of claims, and other pretrial activities. As senior attorneys provide litigation war stories, they also fill their lectures with serious and substantive instruction and insights. During trial week we take other work assignments off the summer associates’ desks. We divide the summer class into teams of plaintiff and defendant lawyers (there are both corporate and individual defendants), with three or four summer associates per team. Each team is assigned midlevel to senior associates to serve as litigation coaches. Various lawyers and staff members from the office, including the office administrator, take on roles as clients and witnesses. Summer associates take and defend 30-45 minutes of deposition (complete with transcripts, prepared by student court reporters, that can be used during the trial) and are observed by senior attorneys who provide constructive criticism; they argue a motion in limine (asking the court to exclude evidence before a trial) before a judge played by one of our partners or other senior lawyers; and, with the advice of their litigation-coaching teams, they prepare for trial. The week culminates in a full-blown trial with a jury of office staff members. Each summer associate delivers a portion of an opening and closing statement, and each conducts a direct and a cross-examination. One of our litigation partners, Chuck Patrizia, has served as presiding judge at trial week for many years. The Honorable Judge Patrizia usually takes the opportunity to demonstrate effective examination techniques when one of our student lawyers fails to elicit crucial facts necessary to advance the trial. Patrizia and other partners and attorneys who have observed the trial debrief the trial teams after closing argument. A social event usually caps the jury decision, maintaining the sense of trial realism. CORPORATE TRAINING As the practice mix in Paul, Hastings’ D.C. office has become increasingly transactional, we have looked for ways to highlight our transactional practices for summer associates. Summer 2005 saw our inaugural corporate training program. In this program, the summer associates are again divided into teams, this time representing two companies about to enter into a corporate transaction. Partners from our corporate and real estate department become the supervising partners of the summer associates’ “law firms.” Other senior corporate attorneys serve as the CEOs and general counsel of the companies in the deal. As law students often have not previously received any substantive transactional training, in the weeks leading up to the exercise, partners and senior attorneys from our corporate, environmental, and other transactional practices lead practical training sessions on common transactional issues and skills, including due diligence, environmental and regulatory issues, negotiation, and drafting. This gives our senior lawyers an opportunity to share with the summer associates their personal insights and stories derived from years of doing deals. When the corporate training week arrives, the summer associates are introduced to their “clients” and the proposed deal. We call it Project Mountain, and it’s a proposed acquisition by a leading racing-bicycle manufacturer of another bicycle company with a well-regarded line of mountain bikes. When the “lawyers” arrive on the scene, the principals of the companies have prepared a draft letter of intent and term sheet for the deal. The summer associates will finalize the letter of intent and term sheet before commencing detailed due diligence. Our corporate attorneys have created a condensed packet of due-diligence documents exclusively for the exercise, complete with commercial, environmental, employment, and other common issues. Each company even has its own Web site, created by one of our more computer-savvy associates. Each summer-associate deal team, under the supervision of the team partner, reviews the due-diligence materials for key issues and briefs the CEO and general counsel of the client on selected matters. The exercise concludes with negotiation of open points in a purchase-and-sale agreement, culminating in a signing ceremony by the client CEOs. The successful conclusion of Project Mountain is celebrated with a closing party and distribution of a “deal toy” — a Lucite block commemorating the deal — just like in real corporate transactions. We consider these role-playing exercises skills workshops, not opportunities to evaluate summer associates for future employment. Although some summer associates have shown anxiety as they conducted their first cross-examination in front of their summer class and a courtroom full of attorneys, and although others have gone glassy-eyed attempting to negotiate the indemnity provisions of a multimillion-dollar acquisition under the gaze of corporate partners for whom they may soon be working in earnest, at the end of the summer, we always hear that the interaction with partners and others in these hands-on programs was among the highlights of their Paul Hastings summer.
Jon A. Geier was hiring partner at the D.C. office of Paul Hastings for 10 years, from 1995 to 2005. Ellis M. Butler is the current hiring partner, and this year they are co-leading the office’s summer program.

This content has been archived. It is available through our partners, LexisNexis® and Bloomberg Law.

To view this content, please continue to their sites.

Not a Lexis Advance® Subscriber?
Subscribe Now

Not a Bloomberg Law Subscriber?
Subscribe Now

Why am I seeing this?

LexisNexis® and Bloomberg Law are third party online distributors of the broad collection of current and archived versions of ALM's legal news publications. LexisNexis® and Bloomberg Law customers are able to access and use ALM's content, including content from the National Law Journal, The American Lawyer, Legaltech News, The New York Law Journal, and Corporate Counsel, as well as other sources of legal information.

For questions call 1-877-256-2472 or contact us at [email protected]

 
 

ALM Legal Publication Newsletters

Sign Up Today and Never Miss Another Story.

As part of your digital membership, you can sign up for an unlimited number of a wide range of complimentary newsletters. Visit your My Account page to make your selections. Get the timely legal news and critical analysis you cannot afford to miss. Tailored just for you. In your inbox. Every day.

Copyright © 2021 ALM Media Properties, LLC. All Rights Reserved.