Today is the end of my first week at WilmerHale’s Palo Alto office as a Summer Associate. It certainly flew by! Another summer associate and I started this week and delved right into an in-depth orientation, understanding the ins and outs of the sophisticated technology and rich research resources this firm has to offer. In total, there are eight of us in the Palo Alto summer class.
The assignments at the Palo Alto office are coordinated by Thomas Sprankling and Cyndy Chueh, the Summer Program Co-Chairs. Cyndy, along with a handful of other attorneys from the Palo Alto office, was invited to help set up the firm’s new San Francisco office in the heart of the Financial District. I could sense everyone’s excitement throughout the Palo Alto office at this new development. WilmerHale is clearly a force in the Bay Area, and now our attorneys can be closer to their clients in the city. Cyndy came down to Palo Alto to introduce herself to the summers. I had met Tom during my interview, and I was pleasantly surprised when he remembered my areas of interest from Intellectual Property litigation to criminal justice and found interesting projects for me within those spaces the first week itself. However, both Tom and Cyndy encouraged me to try projects in a variety of areas. Although I came in with an interest in litigation, I have already been given an incredibly interesting corporate project. That is the benefit of WilmerHale’s summer program—my supervisors are receptive to my interests, but also urge me to step out of my comfort zone and discover new potential interests.
What I was most impressed by was how incredibly welcome everyone at this firm has already made me feel. On my first day here, I got lunch on sunny California Avenue with my assigned Partner and Associate mentors, learning more about their work at the firm and tips on how to make the most of my summer experience. They assured me that I could always reach out to them with questions I may have. The very next day, the firm catered a delicious make-your-own noodle bar and encouraged all the Palo Alto summers to eat lunch out on the gorgeous patio next to the volleyball court and ping-pong table. I even saw some scooters along the path outside that I’m told some attorneys love to use.
I quickly got the impression that WilmerHale cares just as much about training its summers as it does about making sure we have a strong sense of camaraderie amongst each other and with everyone else at the firm. The Palo Alto office has planned a plethora of fun events for us to get to know each other and the firm’s attorneys even more. A foodie at heart, I am especially excited for our food tour of San Francisco next week and a cooking class we will all be participating in a couple of weeks after that. Another way WilmerHale encourages its members to bond is by giving back to the community. Today, we volunteered at the Second Harvest Food Bank, sorting canned goods to be distributed to families in need. I am excited to do more community outreach with WilmerHale in the coming weeks and even involve myself in the incredible pro bono client-based work for which the firm is nationally recognized.
The attorneys tell me that our ten weeks in the summer program will fly by. I hope I can make the most of my time here!