NEW YORK – Some of the first advice I received as an incoming summer associate was to try to get a chance to observe what partners and associates do on a daily basis. Seeing what partners and associates actually do is the best way to find out if a certain practice group is right for you. Further, many of the daily activities of partners and associates are never covered in classes, but are centrally important to success in the practice of law. During my first week at the firm, I was assigned to a case team in the litigation department. The associates working on the case quickly welcomed me and brought me up to speed. I was then given the opportunity to observe deposition preparations, and given the opportunity to observe a deposition the next day.
This experience was invaluable. The partner involved took the time to make sure I was informed of the relevant issues. She walked me through her approach to preparing deponents and defending depositions. An associate worked closely with me to ensure I understood the issues, and had context for each step of the preparations. Observing the partner and associate during preparations was a great learning experience. Their level of preparedness was evident, which helped to keep the atmosphere calm and professional. Observing the deposition was also a great learning experience. It brought to life what had previously only been lines on a transcript or discussions in civil procedure. Observing these activities also showed me what it is like to work on a large, complex matter.
Now as I continue to work on the case for the next few weeks, I have a better perspective for my work in the overall context of the case. Being part of the case as it develops has made me feel welcomed at the firm. And participating on an actual case team closely replicates what it is like to work day to day in the litigation department. It was great to see associates and partners in action. Observing how experienced attorneys interact with clients, witnesses, and other attorneys has been a great experience, and has definitely enhanced my learning this summer. I would definitely recommend a similar experience for anyone who is interested in litigation.