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Once upon a time, in a legal galaxy far, far away, second-year law students dreamily looked forward to their summertime gigs. For many, summer associate time was seen as a much-needed vacation from the nonstop rigors of law school — do a little legal research, get wined and dined on expense accounts and make a ton of cash to help defray those student loans.

Alas, as the galaxy’s economy changed, so too did those fantasy summer jobs. Rather than wooing law students with the resortlike experiences of twice-a-week happy hours, catered bus trips to Camden Yards, country club outings and make-work research projects, some firms are cutting back on the social aspects and giving students more of a “real lawyer” experience.

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