Associate Life

Lindsay Kosan

The Assignments

July 23, 2012 4:47 PM | Permalink | Print

Believe it or not, the summer associates here actually do real work. For me, this has been very important and telling about WilmerHale.

For starters, it’s been great to see the firm so busy that the summer program co-chairs are constantly looking for summers available to take on new projects. And, importantly, these project opportunities span across a multitude of the firm’s practice groups as well as pro bono matters. For example, in my inbox right now are requests for help on intellectual property litigation, investigations and criminal litigation, securities litigation, transactional, corporate, investment management and Housing Court matters. As attorneys have been eagerly requesting substantive assistance from summers, it’s become more and more clear that the firm not only has confidence in our abilities to make significant contributions, but also that there is plenty of work to go around.

To shed some light on the way the assignment process works, I thought I’d provide an example of a project I was given at the start of the summer. During my first week, I received an e-mail informing me that I had been placed on a small section of a much larger case, reporting directly to a second-year associate in the Litigation/Controversy Department. I met with the associate to discuss the case’s intricate background and was then delegated a very specific research task searching for ways to draw parallels between our case and potentially analogous federal case law. The associate asked me to stay in touch and let her know what I was finding in the days immediately following, with the ultimate goal of documenting my analysis in a research memo.

Throughout the next few weeks, I spent time researching the question, intermittently checking in and discussing my results with the attorney (one such conversation was followed by an attorney/summer excursion to a local cupcake bakery, a truly ideal place to visit after a meeting). I even had the opportunity to briefly present the focus of my research at a case team meeting before approximately twenty attorneys. After completing a rough draft of my memo, I sent it to my associate mentor who gave me invaluable feedback on both its structure and analysis. After making several suggested changes, I submitted my final work product to the assigning attorney.

These opportunities to work on real projects have not only allowed me to feel like I am contributing to the firm’s work, but have also enabled me to develop both my skill set and practice area interests. Additionally, being able to observe firsthand the type of work that WilmerHale does, the clients the firm represents, and the ways in which cases are handled has provided me with invaluable insight into the work I hope to one day do.