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The climax of the recruiting season is when you finally hear from the firms you've been interviewing with since early fall. You eagerly, but nervously check your mailbox each day, hoping that you'll find offers instead of rejections. This can be nerve-racking. But there is much to consider during this time, and you need to cover your bases. Should you split your summer between two firms? How much time should you take to make your decision without jeopardizing your offers? What facts should your offer letters contain? I'll lead you through this maze and help you answer these questions so that you cover your bases.
If you are not on an early graduation plan that will include classes during the summer break, then you need to seek employment that will enhance your legal education and hopefully increase your future employment options. Although first-year students are understandably worn, having survived the first year of battle, they cannot afford either financially, or future-placement-wise, to sit idle or endure unrelated employment.
There are essentially three phases to a lawyer's career, one of which may or may not ever be realized. They are: (1) the Grinder, (2) the Minder, and (3) the Finder and Binder. The Grinder is the first- through third-year attorney who grinds out legal product—of a sufficient quality and in a billable quantity—to keep the partner and firm happy. Some time around the fourth year (give or take a year), management of other attorneys and a bit of client contact usually come into play. The attorney who is more than seven years out of school and has no clients is the Senior Minder, the most precarious position one can have in the profession. Why? If firm profits ever take a dive, these are the first people fired (in most cases, eventually replaced by less expensive associates). Finally, if knowledge, talent, training, and support from the firm are present, an attorney may become a Finder and Binder, also known as a Rainmaker.