DALLAS – Over the course of our first three weeks at Weil, social events have been just as great as the work assigned to us. We have been rock climbing, had dinner at a partner’s house, sung karaoke and even attended a Texas Rangers baseball game. Our calendars for the coming weeks are no less full: a Drake concert, bowling and a casino night.
Weil’s emphasis on social events in the summer associate program reflects an inescapable reality of the dynamics of working at a law firm: professional life in today’s workplace involves not only an active schedule in the office, but also an active calendar after hours. In like manner, these events require us to manage our time effectively, to communicate any schedule conflicts and to prioritize among our various obligations.
They reflect another reality as well: work does not happen in a vacuum. The contours of an associate’s professional life are inevitably shaped by more than just the nature of the work he/she is given. It is shaped by the attorneys who assign the work; by the mentors who provide guidance and feedback; by the peers who share the same assignments; and by the staff who provide technical and logistical support.
But good working relationships cannot be created out of necessity—they need context. And that is exactly what the summer associate program has provided. It has given us opportunities to interact with the people who will color our professional experiences, and to know them outside the confines of the office. I have met their spouses. I have seen them rock climb. I have heard them sing karaoke. And they have seen me place last at trivia. These events have created connections and substance where none previously existed, and in so doing, they have communicated the understanding that Weil is a place where its attorneys work with, not simply next to, each other.
So while they have undoubtedly been some of my most enjoyable and memorable experiences as a summer associate, these events have also been as informative, if indirectly, as our work assignments. They have allowed me to become acquainted, on a more personal, less formal level, with the attorneys I see on a day-to-day basis, and they have highlighted the importance of balancing work with other personal commitments.