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Sunday, June 13, 2010

More on the shifting law firm paradigm.

Another great article from our buddy Bernie Burk, who found this in the AmLaw Daily (here).  If you're lucky enough to have a summer associate job, you might well be doing more interesting work than summer associates did in years past, and you should still report all of the hours that you've billed to the work that you're doing.  But fewer clients will be paying for your work on their matters, reflecting some sea changes in how law firms are running their business (see here).


  1. Any thoughts on how to handle unethical and/or unprofessional conduct by attorneys during a summer associate position? I don't feel lucky to have this position -- rather, I feel like I've made a mistake that will follow me around to future firms...

  2. Thanks for your question, Anonymous. First question: do you have enough information to form an understanding about whether the conduct is in fact unethical? If so, does your firm have an ethics committee?

    Here's what you might want to do:

    1. IF you trust the mentor to whom you were assigned, raise the issue w/that mentor.
    2. IF you don't trust that mentor (i.e., the mentor is the one behaving unprofessionally), what about the partner who interviewed you? Can you raise the issue with him or her?
    3. If your firm has an ethics committee, you might consider raising it with that committee.
    4. If there's no one at the firm whom you trust, then you know that you don't want to work there after graduation. If things are really, really bad and you can resign before the end of the summer--and do anything else to make money--consider doing that.

    I'm so sorry that you're experiencing this problem.

    BTW, there IS always the chance that you aren't seeing both sides of the matter. If there IS someone at the firm whom you trust, please do try to parse the issue with him or her. GOOD LUCK!


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