I am a second-year student at Harvard Law School, and will be returning to my home state of California for internships in both Palo Alto and Los Angeles this summer at Brobeck, Phleger & Harrison. If I am fortunate enough to receive an offer for permanent employment from them, I will have to decide whether my summer has been, in some subjective sense of the word, a “success.” How will I define success? I could define the success or failure of my summer internship by the amount of training I receive, the amount of feedback I get, or the amount of exposure I get to my area of interest. I want to work with high-tech, emerging growth companies, as they define the topography of business and law in the new economy. All of these are things that I (genuinely) told my employer were important to me in a summer program. But to restrict my definition of success to such parameters would be to let the interview process define my job search rather than the other way around.
I think the criteria I employed in selecting a firm, and those I will use to evaluate my success at that firm, were general enough for anyone to relate to. At the end of the perfect summer internship, I would find my firm to be well-respected, well-grounded, and profitable. I hope my firm would be in tune with its youngish dot-com clientele, not stuffy, but not without history. I also hope it would be a place where early responsibility leads to rapid advancement as a matter of course. It would be someplace, I admit, that pays well. In short, I would find it to be full of opportunity. While nearly all firms claim such attributes, you must work at a firm in order to discover if its claims are true. In a very profound way, the success of my summer may simply turn on whether I find the people I work with to be as excited on a daily basis as they were last October, whether they have been offered the opportunities that they have promised will also be offered to me.
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