Summer Employment Success

Summer Employment Success

1L Summer Goals

2L Summer Goals

Communication Tips

  • Be formal: don’t open with “hey,” use abbreviations, or send emojis.
  • Nothing is a draft: proofread the body of your email and the subject line.
  • Edit the subject line if you’re replying to (or forwarding) an email and the content has changed.
  • State the purpose of your email within the first two sentences.
  • If you’re unsure that someone will recognize your email address, remind them who you are. (e.g., “As a reminder, I am a summer associate working on the [client] matter. You asked me to research whether [explanation of research assignment]. . .”)
  • Consolidate emails: combine relevant questions into one email—don’t send multiple emails to the same attorney on the same day. 
  • If a supervisor asks you to make a call, don’t send an email. Seriously—don’t do it.
  • Always answer your phone, “This is [Name].” 
  • Leave a message—you will never get a call back if you don’t.
  • State your name and number twice
Voicemail tips:
  • Know what you need to say. Most legal employers use a voice to email system where awkward fillers (uh, um, etc.) are transcribed—you don’t want to look confused.

Manage Your Summer Assignments 

Getting an Assignment
  • Take notes. Always bring a pen and pad of paper with you when meeting an attorney/receiving an assignment.
  • Ask how your work will be used. For example, is your memorandum going to advise a client, or will it be used in drafting a brief?
  • Ask for a time estimate. Find out when your project is due and how long the project should take.
  • Make sure you understand the assignment. Repeat it back to the assigning attorney to confirm you understand the scope and goal of the assignment.
  • Learn the habits of your assigning attorney. Talk with colleagues and assistants to learn the assigning attorney’s preferences, and match your schedule to their schedule.

Managing an Assignment
  • Work with a librarian for help. A D’Angelo Law Librarian or librarian at your employer can help you research or suggest databases and resources.
  • Nothing is a draft. Treat all work product as if it were going directly to a client.
  • Be skeptical of spell check. Proofread your work and if you’re working with an assistant, check their work, too—mistakes reflect poorly on you, regardless of who made them.
  • Check in about the status of your work. Keep the assigning attorney updated about your progress, and be honest. Don’t surprise the attorney at the last minute when you cannot finish your work in time.

Social Events

  • Read about current events in your area. Read local newspapers, business publications, and blogs of interest before you attend an event. (Local sports teams can provide great talking points, too.) You'll be prepared for small talk, and will demonstrate that you're interested in the geographic area.
  • Set a goal to talk to new attorneys. Try and meet at least two to three new attorneys per social event--socializing within your comfort zone is a rookie mistake.
  • Don't drink too much. Don't be remembered for the wrong reasons. (And, yes, it happens.)
  • Wear your nametag on the right. The person you're introducing yourself to can easily make eye contact with you and your name badge.

Reviews and Evaluations

  1. Ask your supervisor or mentor about reviews and evaluations now. Ask if there is a review or evaluation process, and ask what you will be evaluated on.
    1. No formal evaluation? Seek out feedback. Ask assigning attorneys for comments and observations about your work product.
  2. Prepare for criticism. Don’t act defensive or argumentative when you receive feedback—feedback is a normal part of the process, and everyone is expected to make improvements.
    1. Not-so-great feedback? Develop an action plan. Ask if you can take on an another project for the same attorney or practice group to show you’ve incorporated their feedback, or seek out work in another practice area.
    2. Great feedback? Build on it. Incorporate positive feedback into your game plan: think about what you’re doing right, what you haven't done yet, and who you still need (or want) to meet and work with.
  3. Don’t be negative during exit interviews! Your employer may give you an exit interview at the end of the summer—this is another form of evaluation, and harsh criticism isn’t welcome.

Tips from an Employer

You're Hired! Now what? (tips and employer advice to ensure you get started on the right foot to your summer job)