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As a summer associate at Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson, Rachel Slutsky has eaten lunch at Nobu and Gramercy Tavern, gone bowling at Bowlmor Lanes and seen “The Wedding Singer” on Broadway. But the biggest event she attends this summer may be one associated with her law school, not her firm. Tonight the Harvard Law School Association of New York is throwing its 25th annual summer reception. Over the years, the gathering has become one of the legal community’s tentpole summer events, drawing as many as 1,500 people to its open bar, including big-name partners, judges, law professors and, this year, Ann Coulter. “It’s very big,” said Ms. Slutsky, who just finished her second year at Harvard Law. “I think it’s going to be a great opportunity. A lot of smart and successful people will be there.” The scale of the party, which will be held in the galleries of Sotheby’s auction house on the Upper East Side, is a testament to the continuing importance and influence of the Massachusetts law school within the New York bar. No less than 22 law firms, all keen to recruit Harvard students, have signed up to sponsor the party with a further 12 kicking in enough to be listed as patrons on the invitation. Cravath, Swaine & Moore, whose presiding partner Robert D. Joffe is Class of ’67 and co-chair of the event, is even providing the name tags and sending a dozen paralegals to lend a hand with preparations. Ms. Slutsky’s firm, Fried Frank, is hosting a post-reception party for Harvard grads at a nearby bar. Charles L. Brock, the chairman of investment firm Brock Capital Group and another member of the Class of ’67, launched the first Harvard summer reception and still puts the party together. He said the growth of the party had necessitated some changes. “There were 15 bartenders and you still couldn’t get a drink,” he said of the 2004 reception held at Christie’s auction house in midtown. “This year, there’ll be waiters to hand you champagne or a cocktail as you walk in.” Mr. Brock said he thought much of the party’s success had to do with the fact that, unlike other summer mega-events, it was purely social. “There are no speeches, no fundraising,” he said. “Once in a while, it’s nice to go to something that’s just for fun.” Of course, to most New York lawyers who have no connection to the school, the thought of hundreds of Harvard Law School students and alumni enjoying a well-catered affair is either intensely annoying or highly amusing. “I’m a little jealous,” said Michael Carlinsky, a Hofstra Law School graduate who is a partner in the New York office of Quinn Emanuel Urquhart Oliver & Hedges. “The best my law school did was throw a beer and hot dogs party at the end of the school year.” On the other hand, many non-Cantabs take advantage of the liberal guest policy. Conlyn Chan, a lawyer who earned her degree at the University of Western Ontario but has attended the Harvard party a number of times as a guest, said the event had a natural attraction for outsiders. “A traditional definition of a good catch is having a stable job, good grooming and good schools,” she said. “People assume people who went to Harvard Law School have all that.” A liberal guest policy does not always mean liberal guests, however. Ann Coulter, the controversy-courting author of the recent “Godless: The Church of Liberalism,” is set to appear tonight. The Michigan law grad is on the list as a guest of her lawyer and friend, Richard Signorelli, a member of Harvard Law’s Class of ’87. Mr. Signorelli, a former federal prosecutor now in solo practice, said he had always been too busy to attend the summer party in the past but had heard more and more about it in recent years. Of his well-known guest, Mr. Signorelli said: “She’ll not only enjoy this event but also probably liven it up.” Conflicts of interest Some invitees from large firms may feel torn, however, as Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison and Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom both have major events scheduled tonight, despite being sponsors of the Harvard event. Paul Weiss is throwing its annual diversity networking event at Jazz at Lincoln Center while Skadden is having its annual formal dinner dance for lawyers at Rockefeller Center. Carol Sprague, Skadden’s director of legal hiring, said the conflict was due to the early planning necessary to secure the Rockefeller Center space. She said the Harvard people had typically called in the past to inquire about the dates of major summer events at the firm, but she said she received no such call this year. “It’s a shame,” she said. “I know it’s a fun event and we usually send a lot of people.” It may be just as well. Proskauer Rose senior counsel Mark D. Harris, a 1992 Harvard Law grad, said the party was a great way to network with old classmates, many of whose careers have taken interesting directions. But he also noted an unpleasant reality likely facing many partygoers. “Probably most people have to go back to work,” he said. Anthony Lin can be reached at [email protected]

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