NEW YORK – From my first interactions with members of Weil’s team, it was clear to me that the firm’s culture emphasized collegiality and approachability. Subsequent exchanges only served to reinforce my initial impressions, and give credence to the firm’s reputation as a dynamic workplace. Although word of Weil’s strength in mentoring summer associates had trickled down to me through law school peers, all manner of firms make similar claims. So I admit to overlooking mentorship as a key consideration when choosing Weil over other firms. Yet from my first day at Weil it was abundantly clear to me that mentorship was no simple catchphrase.
Even before beginning the summer program at Weil, I was contacted by my “summer sibling,” a first-year associate in a department I had expressed an interest in joining. Summer siblings are junior associates who serve as mentors, offering summer associates a particularly valuable perspective during weekly meetings. Given that they were recently in our shoes, these encounters provide a free and wide-ranging exchange.
Summer associates are also provided with two Summer Program Committee partner mentors, who lead regular social outings. In addition to encouraging interdepartmental exchanges with summer associates one might not have otherwise met due to rotation schedules, it allows us to converse with partners in a more casual setting.
Within each rotation, summer associates are paired with an assignment coordinator. Beyond merely assigning work, coordinators operate under an effectively open-door policy that removes much of the apprehension a new associate might feel when approaching unfamiliar subject matter.
Rotations also include group-specific partner and associate-level mentors. Particular groups also contain social coordinators, who are tasked with matching partners and associates with summer associates for weekly lunches. Given the inevitable time constraints of the summer program, being able to meet with group members on a regular one-on-one basis helps guide undecided summer associates toward their preferred areas of practice.
In addition to these official mentoring positions, I have also been able to glean a great deal from junior associates more generally. In both formal and informal settings, many have made a point of introducing themselves and offering support with whatever I happened to be working on.
I have only been at Weil for two weeks. Yet I have already experienced all of the above, and have been made to feel at ease and welcome here. Determining an area of focus can sometimes be difficult within the bounds of a summer program. Weil clearly invests a great deal of time and professional experience in offering its summer associates the kind of mentoring opportunities necessary to make that eventual decision a fully informed one.