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For the second year in a row, most of Connecticut’s largest law firms have trimmed the size of their summer associate programs, uncertain of what their hiring needs will be a year from now. The reductions come as law firms are inundated with requests for on-campus interviews and r�sum�s coming to them electronically or otherwise. Hartford-based Murtha Cullina is among those hosting fewer summer associates this year — from six to four-and-half, said hiring partner Hugh F. Murray. The “half” associate is someone who will work at the firm for just the last two weeks of the summer. In assembling its summer program, Murtha was “slightly more cautious” this year, Murray admitted. “We have to look and see what our needs are going to be in a year [from now], which is sometimes hard to do,” he said. Day, Berry & Howard also is testing out one less summer intern this year, according to hiring partner Richard P. Colbert. That is far less of a cut than a year ago, when the Hartford-based firm welcomed aboard five fewer summer interns than in 2001 and 10 less than 2000. Actually, if a British law student visiting Day Berry this summer is factored into the mix, the number of summer associates at the firm this year is the same as last summer: 14. “We didn’t make a conscious decision to not hire as many summer associates,” Colbert noted. Two other firms’ programs also had a difference of just one summer associate: New Haven-based Wiggin & Dana has 10 summer associates this year, down one from 2002, while eight interns are finishing up their stints at Hartford-based Shipman & Goodwin, one less than last year’s group. “When you’re shooting for three and you get two, you can’t control it,” said Stephen K. Gellman, head of Shipman & Goodwin’s hiring committee. Last year, Shipman hosted three fewer summer associates than the year before. Not every firm is scaling back, however. The number of summer associates at Hartford-based Robinson & Cole grew by 50 percent this year, from eight to 12. “We tend to take a long-term view of our hiring process,” explained summer program coordinator Joey Lee Miranda. “We had exceptional candidates … and we didn’t want to miss an opportunity to work with them.” MIXING BUSINESS WITH PLEASURE The interview process for summer associates is a tedious one, with firms combing through hundreds of r�sum�s each year. Shipman & Goodwin conducts on-campus interviews at 23 law schools. “If we go to a school,” said Gellman, “we might get 220 r�sum�s and pick 14 to see on campus.” Day Berry goes to 15 schools, but gets “hundreds and hundreds of resumes,” said Colbert. This year, Day Berry invited students to apply online through its web site. Colbert said it may have gotten even more resumes electronically than it did through the mail. Activities for summer associates vary from firm to firm, though all try to mix business with pleasure. Day Berry has a process in which its attorneys list the assignments and events on their calendars with the idea of inviting summer associates along whenever possible. There is a “significant emphasis that the hiring committee makes to try and get the attorneys at the office to get the summer associates involved in very hands-on work,” said Colbert. Robinson & Cole also encourages its summer associates to be involved in all aspects of their firm’s work. “One of our summer associates participated in a trial start to finish with one of our mid-level associates,” said Miranda. “We try to open it up so they can see what things are like outside the office rather than having them do the standard summer-associate-type work projects.” At Murtha Cullina, there is a rule, said Murray, “if you’re leaving the office in the summer, you have to check and see if there’s a summer associate available to go with you.”

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