For the second year in a row, almost all law firm summer programs will be remote. Although recruiting teams now have experience running a summer program virtually, this year presents a new challenge: Your summer associates have had limited exposure to your unique firm culture. This class has never met any of your attorneys in person or stepped foot into your offices because all on-campus interviewing was done virtually.
Last week I attended a PR & Communications professional association monthly meeting, and the topic was “Firm Culture.” As I listened to the speakers, who were all heads of communication at major law firms, I became a little concerned when they mentioned that a firm’s culture is based on its values. Although most firms have a Values Statement prominently displayed in their reception area and somewhere on their website, most employees pick up on these work values implicitly from their daily interactions with colleagues.
As I thought about all those who are in the midst of planning summer programs, one question that came to mind was, “How will you communicate your firm’s values to law students who will not have experienced being in the presence of your people and culture?”
I recently created a new training program to help summer associates thrive in a virtual summer program, which will be tailored to each firm’s unique culture. To customize this interactive webinar, we will gather firm-specific feedback from last year’s summer associates’ experiences as well as input from firm leaders. During the webinar, we will also host breakout rooms for summer associates to process what they learn and create an action plan for success. My goal is that your summer associates will leave the session with tools such as questions they can ask mentors to figure out the unwritten rules of your firm’s unique culture and how they can take initiative when meeting your attorneys to really understand how to thrive in your work environment.
I am also writing an article for Bloomberg Law on different trainings law firms will be offering their summer associates, as well other initiatives you will adding to help your newest recruits integrate into and succeed in your unique culture. I want to better understand how you are handling virtual summer program 2.0, what you learned from last summer, and you will change this summer. I would love to interview you for this article! Please reach out if you are interested. I know how invested you all are in making sure your new hires have the support and resources to thrive!