“The people.” It's the archetypal response given by attorneys when asked about their favorite aspect of their firms. Throughout the interview season, I was often skeptical of the sincerity behind this answer, given how frequently I heard it. But while I can't speak for other firms, I can confidently say that at WilmerHale, the people really have made all the difference in my summer experience.
The summer class in the DC office, to begin with, is filled with 21 other intelligent and kind individuals from a variety of law schools across the country. Though I was nervous about finding time to bond with the other summers, the firm has provided a number of social events for us to get to know one another, and we've also planned some of our own. Plus, we all share offices, and I've become very close with my office mate, Andrew. Additionally, the summers' offices, though they span multiple floors, are usually close together, so I can always stop in for a quick chat whenever I go to the kitchen for a coffee or tea refill. And we've all become friends in no time—though we may seem a motley assortment, the firm really did exercise great care in selecting a cohesive and fun group of summers.
We've also had ample opportunity to get to know the other attorneys in the firm. While we each get Work Assignment Coordinators, associate mentors, counsel mentors and partner mentors to guide us through our summer, the Legal Personnel and Development team and the attorneys themselves have really gone above and beyond to create opportunities for us to meet as many of the firm's attorneys as possible.
For example, Bob Novick, one of the firm's co-managing partners, planned a wonderful dinner in his beautiful backyard for the summer associates and partners. I was surprised and gratified by the number of incredibly busy partners who made time to have cocktail and dinner conversations with us. Additionally, Nina Tallon, a partner in the litigation group, also graciously invited the summer associates to her home when she was hosting a WilmerHale Women's Leadership Initiative dinner event, where we had the chance to meet many of the female attorneys working at the firm.
In addition to these more formal events, the summers are invited to practice group lunch events and breakfasts to learn about the work of that particular group and mingle with the group's attorneys. And of course there are always associates and partners happy to take us out to lunch, whether to a fancy restaurant or a fast, casual spot.
The support staff has been equally generous and welcoming. From answering questions about how to get to various offices to helping us navigate some of our trickier research projects, members of the WilmerHale support staff have been nothing but accommodating and warm.
In sum, I could not have imagined a better group of people to work with during the summer. Because attorneys work so hard, it's really important to make sure that you surround yourself with co-workers who are kind, helpful and fun to be around. I feel extremely lucky that WilmerHale has made doing that so easy.