- What is the firm's general character? Its stability and reputation? Work environment?
- You might learn the answers to these questions by asking several different lawyers why they came to work there.
- What attracted them to this particular practice?
- Is any department responsible for the lion's share of the firm's business? (i.e., Does the litigation department exist primarily to service clients of corporate partners or vice versa?)
- Has the number of the firm's partners and associates grown significantly in the past 15 years?
- How many new associates have been hired annually over the past several years?
- What is the rate of associate turnover?
- Is the firm's success tied to many clients or a few?
- How has the firm been affected by the recent economic and political climate?
- What are the prospects for the firm's future?
- In recent years, has it acquired important new clients?
- Is a merger imminent?
- Is it expanding its practice soon?
- How independent are the branch offices?
- If you are interested, can you spend part of the summer in a branch office?
- What has the attrition rate been in recent years?
- What kinds of practice are the "alums" of your firm engaged in?
- Where do people go when they leave here?
- What matters are you (the interviewer) involved in now?
- What kinds of work have you done since you started working for the employer?
- Describe a "typical" day at work.
- If you could change anything about the firm, what would you change?
Summer Associate Life
- Does the firm have an active pro bono program?
- What kinds of pro bono work do the attorneys handle?
- How is it treated for assignment, workload, and evaluation purposes?
- What emphasis is placed on getting new business, and how does this affect compensation? What are the compensation systems for associates and partners?
- [If firm represents foreign clients or has foreign offices:] How are attorneys selected for posting to foreign offices?
- Is such posting highly competitive?
- What effect does an attorney's decision to accept or decline such a posting have on his or her career at the firm?
- Does the firm have any lawyers who work less than full-time?
- How does the firm define "part-time?"
- How does it view this prospect among lawyers who already have a track record at the firm?
- Have any part-time associates become partners?
- Are there any part-time partners?
- What is the average number of billable hours expected?
- What types of required activities are included/not included in billable hours?
- Is pro bono work included in billable hours?
- What is the firm policy governing maternity and paternity leaves?
- Describe a few typical projects done by summer associates.
- Do summer associates participate in working on pro bono issues?
- If so, what type(s) of issues did they work on last summer?
- Are offers extended by a particular department?
- Once you join a department, is there mobility?
- Does the summer program have a mentor system? Please describe.
- Does your summer program have an official start and end date?
- Are there a minimum/maximum number of weeks that a summer associate works?
- Are new associates assigned to one department or rotated through several?
- How is their work determined, assigned, and evaluated?
- When does an associate become a specialist? Who decides and how?
- What do you consider essential qualities in your new associates?
- When does an associate generally have contact with clients and take on primary responsibility for cases or matters?
- To what extent are new associates involved in training programs?
- Is there a mentoring program designed to assist associates in learning how to generate business?
- Do new associates travel?
- Does the firm require its associates to participate in Continuing Legal Education events? Which courses are required?
- If CLE is not required, is it subsidized by the firm?
- How is performance judged, and by whom?
- What are the criteria for advancement and partnership?
- How long is the partnership track?
- What factors are considered in selecting partners?
- How many partners have been selected in the last year?
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