Last Thursday, the Palo Alto summers along with a handful of associates and partners made our way up to the gorgeous North Beach neighborhood of San Francisco, where we were invited to partake in a food tour of the local cuisine. I don’t mean ten people sampling tiny bites of cheese and bread. Much to the contrary, this was a full-blown experience. We found ourselves at Sotto Mare, one of the first Italian seafood restaurants in San Francisco, devouring cioppino made with freshly and sustainably-caught fish. Then, we strolled over to Park Tavern for homemade silky burrata and two kinds of chips: brussel sprout and lemon (yes…fried. lemon. chips.). I had never in my life felt so intellectually challenged—and satisfied—eating an appetizer. Following Park Tavern, we headed to Barbara to enjoy a pasta with the five P’s, which I won’t soon forget: pasta, pancetta, pomodoro, pepperoncini, and pecorino cheese. We ended the evening on a sweet note at Lush Gelato, cleansing our palates with a refreshing lemon gelato and fulfilling all of our chocolate cravings with a decadent stracciatella flavor. At each of the stops, our well-versed tour guide explained to us the rich history of North Beach and of the places that hosted us. She emphasized that North Beach—and San Francisco, more generally—became home to so many who moved to America in pursuit of a better life. I felt proud to be able to live and work in a region so welcoming to immigrants, a place where the cultures of other countries became part of what is truly “San Franciscan” today.
In the same spirit of trying different things, this past week, WilmerHale Palo Alto hosted a little “tasting tour” of its own for summer associates. We got a chance to hear from attorneys in several different practice groups—Technology Transactions and Licensing, Securities Litigation & Enforcement/Investigations & Criminal Litigation, Government & Regulatory Litigation, and Corporate—and learn about what their day-to-day work looks like. The attorneys described why they picked their various practice areas when joining the firm and what has made them stay there since. What I was most surprised by was the emphasis that the senior attorneys we heard from placed on the value added by junior associates in the firm. Junior associates often become “experts on the facts,” so that when the senior attorneys conduct interviews, interface with government officials, or even just counsel their clients, junior associates can provide critical information. Hearing that reaffirmed for me that the culture at WilmerHale is one of respect, where everyone—from a first-year associate to a senior partner—is entrusted with important responsibilities and is encouraged to collaborate with one another.
I am now just about one-third done with my summer associate position, and time really is flying by. I can’t wait to see what other amazing things are in store the next few weeks!