It’s a little-known secret that I was a big firm summer associate at Dorsey & Whitney in 1971. For two weeks and three days. So, while Bitter Lawyer already has a solid list of the Nine Summer Associate Don’ts, it doesn’t cover the less deadly sins that often apply to people like me and you. For that, I have my own experience and observations. Surprisingly, not much has changed.
1After Hours D&D. If a partner or more senior associate approaches you and asks if you want to “fit in a game of Dungeons & Dragons later, after work,” politely decline the offer. First, you don’t just “fit in” a game of D&D. It takes a long time. Second, most lawyers I’ve encountered who play D&D are far too technical and uptight about being dungeon master. Big firm associates are even worse, and they’ll totally harsh your game by using some skanky ogre or a rare but deadly cockatrice. Don’t go there. Put D&D on ice for the summer.
2Installing a Black Light. Black lights are pretty cool, I’ll have to admit that. But, surprisingly, most lawyers are not impressed by them. Calling a partner into your office to show him how much your teeth shine in the black light, while appealling, does not normally execute well. Keep the black light at home in your mom’s basement. Same goes for the felt black light poster.
3Chive Mouth. Legal skills are more important than social skills during the summer, but one social faux pas can undo any hard-earned progress: spinach flapping around in your teeth. Buy yourself a small mirror and keep it handy. Or agree in advance with another summer associate to do mutual chive checks after lunch. Or just avoid green food.
4Bad Ass Dog. Honestly, if you have a bad ass dog, don’t bring it into the office or to law firm events. The same reasoning behind leaving the bad ass boyfriend at home applies just as much to bad ass dogs, whether pit bull, Mastiff, or Rottweiler. Inevitably, one or the other will take a dump on the carpet and building maintenance will be called in to clean it up.
5Using Non-Issue Office Equipment. During my summer, I made the classic rookie mistake of insisting on bringing my own desk and office equipment. I wanted Bostich instead of Swingline and didn’t see the big deal. Whoa. Don’t do it at a big firm. Apparently, it takes a firm sixteen months on average to change stapler brands, and introducing a different brand caused a significant amount of discord. I was thereafter called “Bostich” by everyone in the office, as in “way to go, Bostich.” Not a good thing.
6Office Plaza Suntanning. It’s good to have good skin and a healthy tan. But, speaking from experience, stripping down to a Speedo and suntanning in the law firm’s outdoor plaza is not the best idea, especially if you like to wave and say “Hi,” to all the partners and associates coming back from lunch. Use a sunlamp instead, if you have to.
7Getting High at Concerts. Honestly, even if everyone else is doing it, don’t get high before a firm-sanctioned Bread concert. You’ll embarrass yourself singing “Baby I’m a Want You” to one of the other associates. Honestly.