Associate Life

Lindsay Kosan

Partners: They’re Just Like Us!

July 17, 2012 11:54 AM | Permalink | Print

Okay… maybe partners are not exactly like law students. However, in my time as a summer associate, I have been incredibly impressed by the approachability, friendliness and candor of each WilmerHale partner to whom I have had the privilege of being introduced.

A lot of us began the summer expecting that such esteemed partners of a big firm might not have much time to chat with summers. While it is certainly true that their free time is limited, it has been very refreshing to see the personalities of so many WilmerHale partners shine through at firm-wide events such as the weekly Boston tradition of the Chowder and Marching Society (affectionately dubbed "CAMS”) and the annual Boston office outing.

Let’s start with CAMS, a firm tradition dating a long ways back. Every Friday at 5 p.m., the Boston office provides complimentary appetizers and drinks in the newly renovated café, and WilmerHale partners, associates, summers, interns, and staff take a break to come together and chat with their colleagues in a relaxed setting. Beware, though: the fight for mini hotdogs can get rather contentious.

Before attending my first CAMS, I anticipated that it would be mostly summers in attendance; I was quite mistaken. For every summer there, there was also an associate or partner. Rather than chatting solely amongst themselves, these lawyers came over and joined the summers at our table, encouraging us to ask them a variety of questions about WilmerHale, their careers and life in general. The conversations were neither stilted nor needlessly formal; each partner was gregarious and outgoing, looking to get to know us as individuals rather than just as aspiring lawyers.

The annual, full-day Boston office outing held at the Charles River Country Club was another summer highlight, affording us all an opportunity to leave 60 State Street and spend the "work day” playing golf, bocce, tennis and volleyball. Along with a delicious dinner, Habeas Chorus (a musical comedy troupe composed entirely of WilmerHale lawyers) provided us with hilarious entertainment, including a song about the glorious life of a summer associate to the tune of Miley Cyrus’ "Party in the USA.” Trust me, it was catchy.

Importantly, the outing provided us with another glimpse into the way partners at the firm interact outside of the office with a wide range of people. Whether on the bocce court, during pre-dinner cocktails, or throughout the brilliant Habeas Chorus performance (in which a number of partners allowed for some good fun to be had at their expense), the partners appeared completely at ease, happily enjoying the company of their colleagues. So many of these attorneys took the time to speak with summer associates over the course of the evening, and I left the event feeling a legitimate sense of community within the firm.

I’ve come to realize that this noticeably collegial and friendly culture forms the foundation of WilmerHale, genuinely and drastically setting it apart from my previous expectations of a big law firm. And as a summer associate, it has been remarkably refreshing to see that partners both give back and buy in to fostering this type of work environment.