This month and next, law firms around the country are interviewing rising second-year students for summer associate positions next year. Meanwhile, rising third-year students are in the final weeks of their summer associate programs and awaiting word whether they will receive offers of post-graduation employment.

Students should not be fooled into thinking that these programs are all fun and games. They are, in effect, year-long job interviews that begin with on-campus and callback meetings in the Fall of the 2L year and conclude through the end of the summer associate program itself. For most firms, gone are the days when every summer associate was guaranteed a permanent offer when the summer was over. In this competitive job climate, students—if they wish to be invited to join the firm after graduation—must demonstrate that they will add value to the firm. They do so through hard work, proactivity, basic social manners, and professionalism throughout the entire experience.

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