Associate Life

Taylor Gooch

The Work

July 17, 2012 12:02 PM | Permalink | Print

I think one of the most important things to consider when choosing what summer internship to accept, or for that matter what firm offer to accept, is the work. For us summer associates, the question is twofold: (1) is the work topically related to what you want to do for a career (or for those that do not know, can you be exposed to a multitude of different areas?), and (2) is the work that will be assigned to you substantive?

For WilmerHale, the answer to the first question by definition is going to vary by person. While WilmerHale has a lot of practice areas, it does not have all of them. But speaking for myself and my interest in patent litigation, WilmerHale has me covered. By the way, my gut feeling is that WilmerHale has everyone covered, or at least everyone that has gotten to the point of reading this blog.

As for the second question, the simple and honest answer is yes. The work we do as summer associates is substantive and it matters. The truth is that WilmerHale has ample work to go around for all of its attorneys and there is absolutely no need to invent projects simply because summers are here. Research I conducted for one partner became a page long argument in a recent court filing, work for another was used to help negotiate a better deal for a client, and my current project deals with a novel legal issue that will be a key component to a pending lawsuit. I am not arguing that my work would not, or could not, have been completed by another associate. In fact, it most certainly could have been, as summer associates are only around for ten weeks and the firm certainly doesn’t cease to exist without us. Instead, the point is that we are handed work to do that associates would otherwise have to do themselves. The work is potentially billable to a client and the work has an effect on whatever the relevant case is.

I know I say this blog post after blog post, but for me this fact is incredibly important. We are being provided a real sample of the work that we would be doing if we came to work for WilmerHale. We are expected to work real hours, and to bill real time. We are provided a real opportunity to determine for ourselves, without the smoke and mirrors, or even worse the pointless research projects that so many of my friends are doing at other firms, if WilmerHale is where we are meant to be. We are being provided a fair and real opportunity to judge the firm that we will hopefully all soon be part of. And for me, it continues to be wonderful.