After the thrill of the hefty paychecks and summer camp activities subsides, third-year law students are faced with the daunting task of choosing a firm in which to bill an annual 2,000 hours. While most 3Ls return to the firms where they “summered,” others go a different route or forgo firm life all together. It is not surprising that most first-year associates said summering is the best way to get a feel for a firm, and it allows associates to build relationships with partners, talk to many attorneys and experiment with different practice areas.

Overall, for law students who choose to work at large New York City firms, the main draws are the training and the variety of practice areas. Paul Appelbaum, a first-year associate in the corporate division of Dewey Ballantine did not spend the summer at the 417-attorney firm, but landed the job through New York University’s recruitment program. Mr. Appelbaum summered at a mid-size firm and said he wanted “a bigger New York firm … where there’s a lot more training and infrastructure than [at a] smaller place , otherwise it’s just sink or swim.”