For many law students, accepting a summer associate position is an important first step along what will hopefully be a long and rewarding career path. Most students approach the on-campus interviewing process with nervous anticipation, meticulously polishing their r�sum�s and interview skills in the hope of securing a summer position and, ultimately, an offer to return as a full-time associate after graduation. But finding the “right” law firm can be a daunting task for even the most highly qualified student.

Most students are naively unaware of the unique intricacies of the legal job market and often feel overwhelmed by the myriad statistics, rankings, salary projections and billable-hour requirements by which they attempt to assess the relative strengths and weaknesses of a firm. These statistical means of evaluation, however, shed little if any light on a firm’s practice and culture. The sad reality is that students fortunate enough to secure summer positions have only a vague idea about the realities of an associate’s life at the firms they have chosen. As a result, the most important question summer associates expect answered during a summer program is: What will life be like if they return as associates?