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It’s June — the time of year when you can’t help but envy the summer associates. Who would turn down $2,400 a week for several months of three-course lunches, catered parties, trial advocacy seminars, pro bono, baseball games, concerts, and respect from partners? Never have so many earned so much for doing so little. If I were running a summer associate program, I would distribute this memo: To: All Attorneys Re: Theyre Baaaack The summer associates, all bright-eyed and bushy tailed, have arrived. As you know, our summer program is a critical part of our recruiting process. We do it to ensure the firm’s reputation, quality, and survival. Therefore, please refrain from “summer camp” jokes or sarcastic comments about their “busy” schedule. We wouldn’t want our impressionable prospects to suspect that we don’t value their work. Think of our summer program as a Rolls Royce or a Jaguar. Yes, we grossly overpay for what we get, but it’s a status symbol that tells the world we’re at the top of our profession. Assignments: It goes without saying that we have to be creative in generating assignments. These tasks should last one to two weeks, require only basic legal knowledge, and appear utterly fascinating. (No, you can’t ask our summer recruits do real junior associate work, like reviewing documents in a musty warehouse in North Dakota or shepardizing a 50-page appellate brief.) If you can only come up with make-work, that’s fine. With a little bit of spin, many summer associates can be convinced that the fate of a Fortune 500 client hangs on their research memo. Don’t let billing concerns deter you. If your client is too stingy to pay for the 40 hours it took a student to prepare a set of document requests, bill the time to the firm’s training number. And don’t forget that our summer program is a recruitment tool: SELL, SELL, SELL the firm. We don’t want to lose a top prospect to Skadden or Brobeck just because he or she was asked to produce a summary of all cases, agency rulings, and related legislative history pertaining to Sec. 367(a) of the Internal Revenue Code. Here’s a few other examples of inappropriate assignments: � Any 50-state survey. Even summer associates can smell this rat. � Sending them to the Library of Congress to ask for a copy of a particular article in the November 1976 issue of Playboy. � Enlisting them in a firmwide contest to find the funniest Westlaw headnote [see, e.g., Washington v. Alaimo, 934 F. Supp. 1395 (S.D. Ga. 1996)]. � Any assignment that involves discovery disputes arising from the Employee Retirement Income Security Act. � Directing them to handle a matter in small claims court, no matter how badly they want “litigation experience.” Lunches: To encourage conversation with summer associates, the firm will foot the bill for you to take them to lunch. We have standing reservations at all the best restaurants to ensure that you get a table (and to keep out the riffraff from the second-tier firms). Remember that the purpose of the lunches is to get to know our future colleagues — not to stuff your face for free. You should not prowl the hallways at noon looking for unattended youngsters. And a single summer associate does not constitute a meal ticket for five or more lawyers. Don’t be frugal. They expect to be wined and dined, and they’ll compare notes with their friends. We certainly don’t want to be known as a “food court” firm. Mentoring: To ensure that they receive truly individualized attention, each summer associate will have three (3) mentors. (Overstaffing is a genuine firm tradition.) While your assigned recruit may be extremely gullible, you should resist the temptation to invent bogus firm traditions like Miniskirt Mondays, Hot-Tub Happy Hours, or Turn-Back-the-Clock Day (during which they’re expected to wear powdered wigs). Social Events: Our firm will not be beat on entertaining. We want our recruits to return to Harvard and Yale with tales that turn their classmates as green as a hundred-dollar bill. Here’s our latest social calendar: “The Nation’s Second Highest Court.” Thanks to our sports clients, our summer associates will be rubbing elbows with Jack Nicholson and Lara Flynn Boyle courtside at the NBA finals this month. “Around the World in Eight Days.” We’ve chartered the Concorde to take the summer class on a whirlwind scavenger hunt through the firm’s 21 offices. The trip will feature five-star dinners and overnight stays in London, Paris, Dubai, Johannesburg, Singapore, San Francisco, and New York. (All the chaperone spots have already been taken.) “West Wing Visit.” Any firm can take a recruit to a client meeting, but very few have a client who lives at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. With the help of soft money and our DNC friends, Bill Clinton has agreed to discuss his various legal difficulties with our summer class. (Note: The Secret Service will bar students with Sam Donaldson complexes.) “The Ultimate Moot Court.” To cap off our trial advocacy course, we’ve booked the Supreme Court for oral arguments in late July. Thanks to our clerk connections, Justices Antonin Scalia and John Paul Stevens have graciously agreed to grill our recruits. “Why Follow the Bulls When You Can Run With Them?” In July, we’ll fly our aspiring corporate associates to Pamplona, Spain, to test their mettle during the annual running of the bulls. “On Top of the World.” What better way to showcase our pre-eminent market position and foster teamwork than a Mount Everest expedition? To save time, we’ll airlift the summer associates to a camp at 21,000 feet, from where they can reach the summit in several days. As with the Pamplona trip, we’ll take reasonable precautions, but this event should help weed out a few slackers. “Lights, Camera, Action.” What law student wouldn’t kill to appear on “Ally McBeal”? (Kudos to our entertainment practice group for arranging this.) The class will be courtroom extras in an upcoming episode, during which Ally is fired for failing to fill out her time sheets. One lucky recruit will have a “love interest” cameo as a summer associate with Cage/Fish & Associates. Thanks in advance for your full cooperation in our summer program. And remember, they’ll pay us back when they return in September 2001 … as first-year associates. Ted Allen, associate legal editor of Legal Times, regrets that he never enjoyed the lavish life of a summer associate. He worked at the Justice Department, which organized a field trip to D.C.’s Blue Plains sewage treatment plant and happy hours that featured $2 pitchers of Pabst Blue Ribbon.

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