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June 21, 2001 It’s the first day of summer, and that can only mean one thing: Lunch. Not just any lunch — lunch with summer associates. Yes, I had set my sights on a summer associate lunch. Not only would it fill that awkward gap between breakfast and dinner, but it would provide a break from the old sandwich-at-my-desk-and- mustard-on-my-documents routine. What’s more, it would be a chance to provide a little mentoring to a receptive audience. Even my secretary, Paula, approves of the practice. This morning she asked: “Are you going to take any of the summers to lunch?” “Maybe,” I said, nonchalantly — I didn’t want to appear over-eager. “You should enjoy the summer,” she said. “It’ll be over before you know it.” Couldn’t have said it better myself. Now, the only trick is selecting the lucky summer associate who would go to lunch with me. It almost seems a shame to exclude any of them. For a moment, I imagined a maitre d’ saying, “Freedman party of 25 — your table is ready.” But no, I must narrow it down. June 28 As luck would have it, I have found my summer associate. We’ve been working together on a securities litigation and he’s done a great job researching various obscure jurisdictional issues. Just this afternoon, we were discussing the case. The summer associate spoke with enthusiasm about the experience he was getting at the firm. That’s when I knew it was time for me to make a move in the direction of a Summer Lunch. What an opportunity — for him, I mean. Here I was, a senior associate, ready to dispense hard-won lessons (like, “come the fall, you’ll have to start paying for your lunch again”). “I’ve got an idea,” I said, casually. “Why don’t we do lunch next week?” He shook his head. “Next week is bad for me.” It was a short week, he explained, what with the July 4th holiday, and he already had some lunches booked. I said that I understood, of course. Inwardly, I wondered: Had I underestimated the demand for summer associates? July 11 Today, I will have my Summer Lunch! This time, I’ve left nothing to chance. I teamed up with a corporate associate, and together, we planned a leisurely lunch. I invited “my” summer associate, and my colleague invited a summer associate who had been working in her department. The invitations were accepted and a reservation was made. There are no national holidays this week. Just as I was about to head for the elevator, the phone rang. It was my summer associate. “I can’t make lunch,” he said, apologetically. It seems that the corporate department was holding a negotiation workshop, and it was running overtime. I rode the elevator — alone — and went to the little plaza in front of our building where I was supposed to meet my colleague and her summer associate. My colleague was there, but without her summer associate. “Negotiation workshop?” she said. “Negotiation workshop.” We stood there, the sun beating down and (was this my imagination?) tumbleweed swishing past us, the bleached skulls of bison littering the deserted streets. The bleak prospect brought about a momentary paralysis, but at length, we struggled to a restaurant on our own. July 12 This evening, my firm held its summer party. It was a great occasion for partners, associates, staff — and summer associates. On my way back from the buffet, I ran into my summer associate. He was, as ever, friendly. “Hey, sorry about lunch the other day.” “That’s OK,” I said with a hearty chuckle. And then, I spoke impetuously. “Why don’t we reschedule for next week?” He shook his head. “Next week is tough. I’m out of the office most of the week on a pro bono assignment.” “Please.” “I’ll see what I can do.” July 18 Just when I was losing hope, the Summer Lunch was rescheduled for today. Once again, I was about to leave my office when the phone rang. I picked up. “OK, OK, forget it,” I said. “We don’t have to have lunch today.” “Excuse me?” It was Joanne from the personnel department. She was actually calling to invite me to that evening’s summer associate event: a walking tour of Manhattan. When it rains, it pours — now I had two summer associate events in one day! The Summer Lunch was worth the wait. I enjoyed every minute — all 120 of them. But when I came back, I realized an important truth. The Summer Lunch requires another tradition: the Summer Siesta. My belly full, I fought to keep my eyes open during the long afternoon. By 5 p.m. I was seriously behind in my work. I called Joanne in Personnel — I had to cancel out of the walking tour. Paula overheard me, and shook her head sadly. “It’s like I told you — you should enjoy the summer. It’ll be over before you know it.” Adam Freedman is a senior associate at Schulte Roth & Zabel.

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