Making connections is top concern for summer associates, and many want in-person work

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The three most desirable law firms to land a summer associate position with are Latham & Watkins; Kirkland & Ellis; and Skadden, Arps Slate, Meagher & Flom, according to a white paper published Monday by Law360 Pulse.

Titled Summer Associates Survey: On-Campus Interviews, Most Desired Firms and Virtual Program Challenges, the paper focuses on a survey of more than 1,200 law students.

They were surveyed from March to April 2021 and attended various law schools. The survey has two parts—the second, focused on students’ social and work experiences, will go out in late summer.

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Out of the respondents, 52% indicated that the most important factor for accepting offers were law firm practice areas. Practice areas with the most interest from respondents were corporate law (16%), general litigation (13%) and intellectual property (10%).

For 50% of respondents, geography was the most important factor for selecting a summer associate position. And for 40% of respondents, a firm’s reputation was the most important factor.

Also, 48% said they would prefer to work in an office for their summer work, despite the COVID-19 pandemic. Regarding concerns heading into a summer internship, 53% of respondents reported that they were most worried about connecting with colleagues and getting sufficient mentoring because of remote work. Not getting hired when the internship ended was a concern for 19% of respondents.

In terms of who they asked for help during the selection process, only 17% of respondents indicated that they got significant assistance from their law school’s career services office, and 6% looked to law professors who previously practiced at firms.

According to the survey, 18% of the respondents sought help from law school alumni currently working as law firm associates.

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