It’s early June, and Wilmerhale’s Summer Associate Program has officially begun at the Palo Alto Office. Actually, it began two weeks ago. Our first week primarily consisted of trainings and social events where our summer cohort got to know each other and the associates and partners of this office, but this week we’ve really had a chance to be introduced to firm life. I’ve received several interesting assignments spanning the patent litigation, corporate, and regulatory fields. The assignments at the Palo Alto office are coordinated by Becca Kline and Khoa Tran, the Summer Program Co-Chairs. In meeting with them, I was happy to find that they were receptive to my interests (patent and regulatory law), while also pushing me to explore the corporate practice area as well. They noted on the first day the beauty of WilmerHale’s Summer Associate Program is that it allows you to try new fields and practice groups that you usually wouldn’t. As it turns out, the mixture of assignments complements each other well, so I intend on continuing to step “out of my shell” this summer and try out assignments in other practice areas.
The partners and associates I’ve interacted with have been eager to provide work, but also understanding at times when I have questions or need more background to understand the legal issue. In fact, the patience and kindness of my colleagues has been what has made my first couple weeks here so wonderful. Instead of feeling like an intern, they’ve made me feel like part of a team, and when we discuss the legal issues at hand I engage with the process while I learn. One example of this was with an observational opportunity to view a court hearing as part of a pro bono case. Prior to going to the court, the associate on the case explained the facts of the case and what she anticipated would happen at the hearing; because of that background context, I was able to better understand and immerse in the hearing itself once we were in the courtroom. It made for a truly unique experience.
The Palo Alto office has also planned several very exciting social events for the summers. Our first social event was to do glass blowing. We drove to this beautiful, historic part of San Jose to reach the Bay Area Glass Institute, where we were given the opportunity to make our own glass art project. I’d never seen the glass blowing process before; it was quite neat, but also very complex! It made me appreciate the artisans who use the glass medium even more. Some of the attorneys joined the summers at the event and it was great to interact with everyone in a social setting. We laughed and bonded together, and to top it off one of the attorneys was generous enough to host us in his home afterward for a BBQ. We finished the night watching the first NBA finals game featuring the local team (Golden State Warriors) against the Cleveland Cavaliers. The whole afternoon was just awesome. It was emblematic of the culture in this office. It’s nice to have colleagues that are willing to socialize outside the office after a day of lawyering!