One of the most important elements of being a Summer Associate is getting to know the attorneys that make up the firm. Meeting and speaking with the partners and associates of a law firm is an integral way to learn about the firm’s culture, the different practice groups, and gain advice from those who were once in your shoes.
Coming into an entirely remote summer program, my fellow Summer Associates and I were unsure how much of those interactions we would be able to have. Fortunately, we quickly realized that there would be no shortage of opportunities to meet the wonderful people of Bilzin Sumberg.
From the first time I opened my email on my firm laptop, I was greeted with half a dozen welcome messages and requests to set up zoom “coffee chats.” I quickly learned that these are not your parent’s “coffee chats.” While the traditional “coffee chat” has become a ubiquitous component of networking, it is highly likely that the zoom variant will become the preferred networking tool of the world. The reason for this is simple; there is nothing more low-pressure or comfortable then speaking to someone from your own home. That comfort makes conversations with new people easy and effortless, and that has certainly been the case this summer.
Later on our first day, I had a zoom “lunch” with my mentor, Forrest. After Forrest got a sense of the questions I had and the practices I was interested in, he quickly set up several group “coffee chats.” These group chats would usually include me, Forrest, and two other attorneys that work in the same practice group with each other. This group format is great because it allows you to learn from more people in the same amount of time and also drastically eliminates the biggest fear of most zoom chats—awkward silence. There is always a flowing conversation in these group chats and silence is never an issue.
After I realized how happy everyone was to carve out thirty minutes to grab a “coffee” and chat, I was confident that the remote summer would have every bit of interaction as in-person summer programs.
Since that first day, my fellow Summer Associates and I routinely reach out to partners and associates for “coffee,” we invite each other to join the chats that we have set up, and we have made quality connections solely through digital communication. And while there is nothing quite like sitting across the desk from someone and working in the same office, Bilzin Sumberg has done a terrific job ensuring that we have every opportunity to truly get to know the company they keep.