Law Firms

Summer Associate 'Worry Levels' Peak, Survey Finds; Some Criticize Abundant Activities

Summer associates responding to a survey are reporting record-high worry levels and concerns about too many fun events.

About 4,000 associates surveyed were asked to rank their “worry level” on a 1-to-5 scale, the Am Law Daily reports. Their average response was a 3.95. That’s a record high since the American Lawyer began asking the question in 2009. Last year, the number was 2.76.

A “vocal minority” are asking law firms to cut back on the fun events, the story says. A summer associate at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher in Irvine, Calif., asked for “a bit more time for work” in an open-ended survey question, saying there have been times that work assignments had to go on the backburner because of social events. A summer associate at Cooley in Virginia expressed concern that “Mandatory social events can be physically and mentally taxing.” Summers also expressed concerns about their packed social lives at Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft; Nixon Peabody; and Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom.

Summer activities included casino nights, karaoke parties, cooking competitions, swimming with dolphins, and skeet shooting.

The survey ranked the top law firms based on summer associate ratings in nine key areas, including interest level of the work, interactions with lawyers, and communication. Cozen O’Connor came out on top, with summers praising the law firm for a collegial atmosphere and contacts with high-level partners.

The top five were:

1) Cozen O’Connor

2) Foley Hoag

3) Duane Morris

4) Katten Muchin Rosenman

5) Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy

The lowest overall score for a law firm on a 1-to-5 scale was 4.193, received by Cravath, Swaine & Moore. In written comments, one summer associate suggested the firm should not require work after midnight if it’s not absolutely necessary. Others described the work as “hardcore” and “very intense.”

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