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To summer associates fretting about their prospects in a cold job market, we offer this observation: Others have been in your position and not only survived, but prospered. Consider this excerpt from our summer associates survey report 10 years ago: From Bingham, Dana & Gould in Boston to Foley & Lardner in Milwaukee to Morrison & Foerster in San Francisco, law school students bemoaned their bad timing and cursed the fates for making 1991 their summer to clerk at a large firm. Declared one MoFo recruit in written comments submitted with our survey: “This is not the Summer of Love. It’s the Summer of Fear!” Competition, anxiety, and skepticism about the future of the legal profession as a whole were up among the summer associates most recently surveyed by The American Lawyer; fun, freebies, and the security of knowing that a summer well spent would mean a job in hand come graduation were down. “We’re working long hours at a harried pace,” wrote a recruit at Atlanta’s Powell, Goldstein, Frazer & Murphy. “Among summer associates here there is an ambient pressure to get this job.” A respondent at Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker in Los Angeles described his peers as “scampering around like scared, hyper-competitive rabbits.” At New York’s Breed, Abbott & Morgan — the top-ranked firm in both the city and the country in our last summer associates survey, in 1989 — this year’s respondents cited low morale, concern about the firm’s financial stability, and competition among recruits regarding who would get an offer. “An oft-asked question,” wrote one summer associate there, “was ‘How many times have you been asked out to lunch?’ “ The tables appear to have been turned on most of this year’s summer associates. Unlike their easy-riding counterparts of the previous decade, who basked in the glow of lazy days and lively nights, this year’s students entered an employer’s market and said they felt compelled to spend a largely no-frills summer proving themselves — even at firms with decidedly subpar summer programs. — from “Summer of Fear” by Caroline V. Clarke, October 1991

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