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Tips for Being a Successful Summer Associate

published January 07, 2013

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Now that you have been through the grueling recruiting process and have found a home for the summer, you are ready to jump on the law firm bandwagon as a summer associate. There are worse ways to spend a summer. My father always said that if he could be reincarnated, he wanted to be a summer associate in his next life. The decadent summer programs of the 1980s may be gone, but being a summer associate, even today, remains an educational and event-filled experience.
Tips for Being a Successful Summer Associate

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Once you have decided where to work for the summer, make an effort to stay in touch with the firm during the winter and spring months. Contact the firm every few months just to say hello, or if proximity allows, stop in and meet the attorneys face-to-face. Your transition to summer associate will be easier if you make a few friends before coming on board. The attorneys will feel more comfortable with you, and you will feel more at ease with them. The firm will also appreciate the effort you make to stay in touch, especially if you are the only summer associate who has taken the trouble to do so.


Law students put tremendous pressure on themselves to be successful summer associates. But some students fail, not because they cannot do the work, but because they fail to make a seamless transition from law student to summer associate. Being able to do the work is imperative, but you also must "fit" into the firm and make a solid impression. Before becoming a summer associate, many students have little exposure to law firm culture. Students sometimes try too hard to fit in. They overcompensate for their shortcomings despite the fact that everyone has them. Be yourself, never forgetting that the firm hired you because they liked you. The following are some overlooked guidelines that should help you succeed as a summer associate. Some of this advice is the same as for first-year summer associates, but it is worth repeating:

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